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This is a new JHT peer review stage article, in the re-formatting and or re-constructionreformatting iconstage of development, about which: commentsspeech bubble icon, suggestions, and or criticism are welcome, which can be submitted via: (a) the threads below, (b) comments added into the "this" wiki page, via the EasyEdit button, (c) attachment added to this page, via EasyEdit tools, (d) review posted externally, e.g. in beta wikiExternal link icon (c), WordPressExternal link icon (c), Blogger, your own website, etc., or (e) email comments sent to JHT editor Libb Thims directly via libbthims@gmail.com, which will be made public.
Article
Juarrero, Deacon, Nonreductive Physical Materialism, and Chemical Teleology | Peer Review
(a JHT submission)

Article | Review versions
Formatted article | 21 May 2013 | Pages: 36 | Format: PDF

Abstract
The formatted abstract of the working draft-article is as follows:

In the aftermath of the 2012 University of California, Berkeley 120-day research misconduct investigation into the accusation of ‘idea plagiarism’ in the nonreductive physical materialism teleology theories of UC Berkeley anthropology professor Terrence Deacon, a parallel reading of the respective nonreductive physical materialism teleology theories of plagiarism accuser Cuban-born American philosopher Alicia Juarrero (Dynamics in Action, 1999) and Terrence Deacon (Incomplete Nature, 2011) was done in effort to ascertain any resemblance, novelty, priority, or worth of each. A report of these findings his presented here and along the way a critique and analysis of physical teleology theory in general is given.

Libb Thims (2013) 75Author
Libb Thims
Email: libbthims@gmail.com
Institute of Human Thermodynamics, 4126 N. Keystone Ave, Chicago IL, 60641, USA;

Received: 21 May 2013; Reviewed: 21 May 2013-Date; Published: Date

Review period
This article entered the review period on 21 May 2013 and will close prior to 27 Jun 2013, the date when JHT editor Libb Thims leaves for the University of Pitesti Econophysics and Sociophysics Workshop 2013, if not sooner as Thims will need to focus on completion of his key speaker talk. [1] Comments and review in between these two points will be appreciated.


Peer review

Reviews | Review board | Other

Terrence Deacon 75Terrence Deacon | 22 May 2013 | 12:32 AM EDT | Email

Comments: I hesitate to even write to you. You have a remarkably poisoned pen that seems to overshadow your intellectual care. And you clearly have a love of cheap shots. So I suspect that you are likely to twist what I have to say here. I'll take that chance.

I am responding because I am disappointed. Initially I had the impression that you were a scholar and scientist, not some self-published wacko angry at the world for not taking his theories seriously. And that you would read carefully instead of just using out of context quotations and ad hominem jabs to push your own agenda. Please don't prove this latter revised impression to be the more accurate one.
Juarrero-Deacon theory
Human (outline)








=
Benard cells (Thompson 2011)
A synopsis of Canadian philosopher Evan Thompson's 2011 Nature review of Deacon's book, wherein he summarizes that Deacon's main argument is that "absences", like meaning, desire, longing, morning, etc., arise or emerge similar to how molecules are "constrained" (constraints) to certain paths (Benard cells) when heated, or something along these lines. [2]

What astounds me is how totally you have misrepresented my views, presumably because you needed a straw man intellectual adversary. I must say that I was surprised.

To be clear:

- I am an atheist with no interest in reinserting classical teleology back onto the physical sciences,
- I do not claim or believe that life or mind violate the 2nd law of thermodynamics,
- I am emphatically NOT attempting to resurrect Aristotle,
- I do not believe that the idea of top-down causality makes sense,
- I am not an anti-reductionist,
- I am not a humanist or social scientist
- I don't think that current systems theory, complexity theory, dissipative systems theory, the autopoiesis metaphor, etc., adequately explain the special thermodynamic organization of living organisms
- my attempt "teleodynamics" IS consistent with the 2nd law of thermodynamics (no magic);
- I argue that it is just a special case of thermodynamics not some new physics
- teleodynamics is a testable hypothesis about molecular chemistry (not some metaphysical claim) and I provide sufficient details to empirically test it and prove me right or wrong (the autogen model system),
- I am particularly surprised that given your interest in information theory that you said nothing about my arguments about information or evolution (where I assumed you might come up with cogent critiques).

The argument for teleodynamics (NOT teleology) succeeds or fails with the autogen theory (which is emphatically not the same as autopoiesis). In the relationship I describe between reciprocal catalysis and molecular self-assembly that constitutes autogenesis there is nothing thermodynamically impossible (yes I have discussed this with many physical chemists). Anyway, claims about it don't really matter. It is an empirically testable model system and so the properties I hypothesize can be falsified (unlike your human molecule theory), and I am on the path to test it, to find out if it is right or wrong.

So I ask you, before you go ballistic because of what you THINK I said, spend at least a few minutes trying to understand what I REALLY said. Yes, here and there I use rhetorical tricks, trying to reach a general audience, and yes I invent neologisms to get my point across. But don't make the same mistake as Juarrero and only skim for words or phrases that seem to support your prejudice, or skip from chapter to chapter without trying to follow the argument as have others.

As for my education which you have imaginatively invented in order to make some point about the sciences vs the humanities, I attach my CV [see: attachment to this page below]. I began my college education in physics and took the standard courses including thermodynamics and quantum theory before moving laterally to the neurosciences (being chair of Anthropology does not make me a social scientist or humanist - it's just an administrative penance soon to be over). My research career is as a bench scientist and has mostly focused on brain development and evolution. So let me say this as clearly as I can: REDUCTIONISM WORKS, if I didn't believe this I would have given up lab work decades ago. That doesn't mean that science is over and that we won't discover interesting twists in thermodynamic theory that undermine simplistic reductionism. We just won't find magic. And we won't find that the 2nd law fails. Apparently even the suspicion that I might have a teleological aim was enough to set you off in an imaginary witch hunt. But as they say, you've got the wrong man. I'm not the anti-reductionist, religiously motivated, humanist, Aristotelian metaphysician you seem to imagine me to be.

To conclude this note (that I wouldn't have spent time on, except that you dug deep enough to uncover the silliness of the allegations against me), I found your penchant to quote me out of context, and repetitive self-promotion, to be cheap shots. It is almost as bad as McGinn's invention of what he imagines I must have said (having not spent the effort to really find out) in order to convince folks not to read my book or Juarrero's word-matching spreadsheet game (which you seem to have emulated in your article more than once) that could only convince someone who didn't actually read these texts. Your collection of quotations and piles of books are also now less convincing because you clearly did not read my book all that carefully.

A serious scholarly article would engage the arguments, provide a careful analysis of the key theoretical issues, and provide a clear alternative along with the critique, not just invent an imagined theory against which to promote one's own ideology.

I urge you to give up the ad hominem rhetoric and self-promotion and be that careful scholar.
Sincerely, Terry

Libb Thims (2013) 75
Libb Thims | 22 May 2013 | 2:21 AM EDT | Post

Response: Thanks for the quick response. I will let it digest for awhile before responding fully on the above [this] page.

FYI, I also contacted Juarrero's four cohorts: Lissack, Rubino, McGinn, and Thompson, to give peer review. Hopefully they will have something interesting to say?

Also, to clarify, I read your book in detail, cover to cover, and this reading is inclusive of my standard dissection of books method of pencil noting commenting, boxing in of certain text, stars, checks, boxes, dates, question marks, "what" comments, one or two occasional highlights for exceptional sentences (which in your case amounted to one, namely your statement that Seth Lloyd writes in a "way of telling the story" that "misrepresents the history", which is strikingly true, hence I highlighted it), circles around certain foot notes, etc., etc., etc., which in your case amounted to a total of 1,340 pencil dissection incidences, all the way through your Glossary, Notes, References, Index, up through your second to last page (#601), where I box in all your usages of the term "vitalism", one notation example of which I scanned and will post on the above wiki review page [shown below], namely notation note #1250 your date typo of the Schneider and Kay reference, which you incorrectly put as 1997 (pg. 561), whereas it should correctly be 1994:

Deacon notation scan 1250

I then let the book sit for some time, read two other books [Karl Pearson's 1892 The Grammar of Science and Francis Crick's 1996 Of Molecules and Men], as discussed, then came back to it, went through all 1,340 notation and commentary notes AGAIN and wrote this article with my "remarkably poisoned pen" as you call it.

Again, I will respond more later in [this] wiki page.

Libb Thims (2013) 75Libb Thims | 22 May 2013 | 3:37 AM EDT | Post

Response: Re: "angry at the world for not taking his theories seriously", to quickly comment on this statement, as there is some truth to it, in respect to anger, but to clarify it's for the most part not "at the world" and certainly not about taking "my theories seriously", as you seem to think, everything I write has been said or done before, e.g. you comment "unlike your human molecule theory", correctly: human molecular hypothesis comes from French philosopher Jean Sales (The Philosophy of Nature: Treatise on Human Moral Nature, 1770), who was put in prison for this "theory" because it was against religion, there was but one who came to his defense, namely the great and witty Voltaire, who gave the modern day equivalent of $100,000 dollars towards his release. There have been over 120+ HMS pioneers who, mostly independently, arrived at the same view, which you ascribe as "my human molecule theory". See: human molecule (banned) for a history of opposition and resistance to this notion, the classic case being French physical chemistry philosopher Pierre Teilhard being excommunicated from the church for this view. I would sense that my anger is no different that Newton's anger.

Moreover, as I have said before to many people, a view that I came to discern, in my pre 2007 years, after discovering Goethe nd that everything that I am attempting has been done before by him, two hundred years ago (and that he faced nothing but unkind words [see: Elective Affinities (enemies)] for his remaining 23 years of existence, following the 1809 completion of his tripartite metamorphology theory), I don't expect what I am saying to be taken seriously until the year 3,000, at which point I assume it will be an accepted common fact that people are molecules whose behaviors are governed by chemical thermodynamics. The following two quotes come to mind here at this point:

“We do not have to visit a madhouse to find disordered minds; our planet is the mental institution of the universe.”
— Goethe

“I must say, I started watching your videosExternal link icon (c)over a year ago, and have re-watched many. And they still fascinate me. I’m only 17 and I’m seriously considering doing a degree in chemistry after watching your videos. The only downside is not many people I know can have a conversation about the things you’re talking about. You were right your videos are decades if not a century in front of its time.”
Ben (2011), comment on Human Chemistry 101 YouTube channel

Everything that Goethe wrote, in respect to an explanation of what you call "intrinsically incomplete curious attributes", namely: "longing, desire, passion, appetite, mourning, loss, aspiration" (pg. 3 of your book), was proved correct following the publication of German physicist Hermann Helmholtz' 1882 "On the Thermodynamics of Chemical Processes", at which point the affinity-free energy equation was established and at which point the thermodynamic theory of affinity was established as the bedrock of modern physical science, after which it remains but a task for us to explain what Goethe was talking about in his explanations of longing, desire, passion, appetite, mourning, loss, aspiration, etc., in terms of "affinities" and human chemical reaction theory, albeit now one must do so in terms of the components of free energy G, internal energy U, pressure volume work PV, transformation content TS energy. If you don't believe me, you can consult American physical chemist and former college president Thomas Wallace, who explained it as follows in 2009:

“The thermodynamic parameter free energy:

 \Delta G = \Delta H - T \Delta S \,

represents the fundamental driving force in nature and determines whether physical and chemical processes conducted by nature and society will take place [and] the civilization development model [can be] represented by the following equation:

Melko civilzation reaction development model (1969)

where P is the primitive phase, F the feudal phase, S the state phase, I the imperial phase,double arrow (horizontal)meaning dynamic equilibrium, and meaning complete conversion to products.”

And if you don't believe Wallace, then you can consult the 40+ human free energy theory pioneers. I openly admit that I was ignorant of all of this prior to say about 2001, and especially after 2007, following my discovery of Goethe, and I will gladly and willingly call anyone ignorant (including you) who is not up-to-date on all of this.

What you call "ad hominem" I call a search for the truth and a quest to come closer to the secret principle of the universe that Bacon, Newton, and Goethe all searched for.

Libb Thims (2013) 75Libb Thims | 23 May 2013 | 9:59 AM EDT | Post

Comment: As I see your next response in my email inbox, I thought I would quickly comment on your pejorative labeling of me as a “self-published wacko”. Firstly, as Juarrero formulaically points out in her spreadsheet line #43 (repeated in my article on pg. 78), the nutshell of both your books is as follows:

Dynamics in Action (1999) & Incomplete Nature (2011) = Final cause (Aristotle) + Far-from-equilibrium thermodynamics (Prigogine)

In this light, perhaps you are not aware firstly that the science of thermodynamics was launched by a self-published book? (On the Motive Power of Fire, Sadi Carnot 1824); and secondly, perhaps you are also not aware that according to Aristotle one of the attributes of genius is a tincture of madness, to quote:

“There was never a genius without a tincture of madness.”
Aristotle (c.320BC), Publication

Hence, I may well be mad and possibly wacko, but whatever the case, if so, I am a mad wacko who has over the course of 10 years written over 500 online biographies of people, simply as a curious hobby, to have applied thermodynamics to questions of mind and life:

http://www.eoht.info/page/HT+pioneers

a listing, which to quote from the following abstract (I assume written by you) of the findings of the investigation committee report: [3]

“To adopt this novel standard for defining plagiarism would create some "interesting" situations. Take, for example, the intellectual arena of human thermodynamics, a topic that both Deacon and Juarrero address in their respective books. Hmolpedia: An Encyclopedia of Human Thermodynamics, Human Chemistry and Human Physics maintains a webpage, "HT pioneers," which lists scientists and writers who over the years have contributed theory and logic to the understanding of the thermodynamics of human existence. At the moment the page lists some 505 individuals. How many of these authors would Deacon and Juarrero have to cite to avoid a charge of plagiarism under Lissack's novel definition? Note that this list does not include either Juarrero or Deacon, both of whom have written on the thermodynamics of human existence. So even the encyclopedic Encyclopedia of Human Thermodynamics may not meet Lissack's standards of complete citation.”

The committee, citing the my HT pioneers timeline, that even in the Internet/Google Books age it still takes over 10-years of research to uncover every theorist in a given field (thermodynamics applied to questions of human existence in this case), thus “rejected [Lissack’s] attempt to redefine plagiarism”, concluding that "failure to cite an earlier work with the same subject matter, even an important one, is not by itself research misconduct."

Why exactly is it that you and Juarrero are not on the list? The answer is that you and Juarrero are both small fish. A. you do not use equations (a factor of a big fish). B. if the two of you were notable, someone would have cited you both by now, in respect to your early articles on thermodynamics and mind and or life, I would have read the citations, and thus put you in the table, which was last edited on 29 Mar 2012. Granted, at the 500-person mark I had to stop adding people, as the wiki editing tools are becoming very slow at this rate and granted your book is rather recent compared to Juarrero’s but never the less you are both small fish. A big fish, by contrast, is German theoretical physicist Reiner Kummel whose 2011 book (which I ordered this morning) The Second Law of Economics: Energy, Entropy, and the Origins of Wealth:

The Second Law of Economics
Left: Kummel's 2011 The Second Law of Economics, the result the product of lecture notes for a course he taught for several years on economics and thermodynamics. Right: Kummel giving a 2012 talk on the subject matter of his book.

argues that we need to begin to incorporate energy and entropy thinking into economics. No doubt, Kummel having now taught a course, since 2005, on “Economics and Thermodynamics”, at University of Wurzburg, I will be less "angry" when I read his book, being that it will be closer to reality as compared to your book—and when I say “reality” I am referring specifically to American UC Berkeley chemical thermodynamicist Frederick Rossini’s 1971 Priestley Medal address “Chemical Thermodynamics in the Real World”, which in 2006 launched the ongoing Rossini debate.

Possibly, if you had done the same and taught a course on "Anthropology and Thermodynamics" your book would have been more sensible, as you would have gotten straight-from-the-shoulder feedback from your students that some of the things you say don't make sense. Instead of berating me for giving you a hard review, what you should be doing, recognizing your status as a small fish (the big fishes are all listed here), and what I mean by this is that you no doubt will never be able to explain your theory using partial differential equations, which is the language of thermodynamics, because you are not a trained thermodynamicist or even a self-taught thermodynamicist, and hence thanking me for giving you a hard review.

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Evan Thompson 75Evan ThompsonExternal link icon (c)| 22 May 2013 | Email

Comments
: [wants comments kept anonymous] [2nd email 23 May 2013 at 10:27 AM EDT]

Libb Thims (2013) 75Libb Thims | 23 May 2013 | 9:38 AM EDT | Post

Response: Thank you. I will correct [your non-association with Juarrero] accordingly.

Also, from now having a read of your review [2], and image of it posted above, I notice that both you and Juarrero refer to heated water molecules forming Bernard cells. As far as I am aware, water does not have enough viscosity to form such shapes, only viscous things such as silicon oil and whale oil, in a dish, when heated will make the hexagonal-shaped cells. And also, to correct Juarrero, if she is following along [?], bifurcations are not phase transitions (pg. 120 of DIA), the latter of which are processes such as a liquid to vapor transition.

To note, a reading of your 2011 review, especially this part:

“Deacon stumbles on two crucial junctures—his explanations for the emergence of meaning and for the emergence of consciousness. The problem of meaning is the problem of how it is possible for certain physical phenomena, such as brain states, to have content or be ‘about’ something beyond themselves. Deacon’s answer is not easy to decipher. Roughly, he seems to be saying that certain states of self-generating system acquire content when they correlate reliably with features of the environment that are useful to that system. For example a system that needs molecules form the environment in order to reproduce ‘interprets; the presence of those molecules as meaning that the environment is conductive to reproduce.”

convinced me into ordering your book just now. Hopefully, I will find more of this kind of discussion therein?

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Colin McGinn 75Colin McGinn External link icon (c)| 22 May 2013 | Email

Comment: My only comment is that I've never been Juarero's professor at Miami and have never actually met her. The first I heard of her was when I reviewed Deacon's book.

Libb Thims (2013) 75Libb Thims | 23 May 2013 | 10:22 AM EDT | Post

Response: Thank you. I will correct accordingly.

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Terrence Deacon 75Terrence Deacon | 22 May 2013 | 12:11 PM EDT | Email

Comments: That you sent this to the people you mention suggests to me that your interests are journalistic rather than scientific. Mine are scientific. OK, to get beyond the he said she said quibbling and to the science (not philosophy), there are two simple questions that you need to answer:

Q1. Is the molecular model system that I call autogenesis thermodynamically and chemically realizable? If not why not?

Q2. If so, are the properties I ascribe to it likely to be demonstrated? If not why not?

My arguments hinge on this. Here are the properties I ascribe to this distinctive thermodynamic system:

- that MEPP is violated by this system and therefore cannot adequately account for living thermodynamics (and is probably wrong in general)
- that autogenesis produces an entropy ratcheting effect, thus preserving (and reconstituting) the attractor constraints it generates
- that it produces a higher-order synergy constraint that is substrate transferrable,
- that this creates the capacity to channel the specific form of physical work (in this system the source of free energy must be externally available, e.g. in the breakable chemical bonds of substrate molecules) that can generate the conditions that perpetuate this same capacity
- that these properties are required to explain living thermodynamics and functional information (not merely Shannon/Kolmogoroff information)

If you can demonstrate that this sort of molecular system is impossible, then you have indeed shown my analysis to fail. If you can show that one or more of these properties violates the first or second laws of thermodynamics I will need to rethink that aspect of the argument. This is the kind of exchange that science is about, not polemics about ideology or academic politics. Let's have a dialog about the science.

If you cannot fault these specific claims, then you need to rethink your criticism of the theory and your comments about my personal credibility. Only these sorts of detailed engagements with the theoretical content will convince me that you really read my book rather than merely searched for quotes that you could use.
Sincerely, Terry

Libb Thims (2013) 75Libb Thims | 23 May 2013 | 11:07 AM EDT | Post

Response: I’m low on time today, so to quickly comment:

● Your “autogenesis” is a perpetual motion theory, that violates perpetual motion of the first kind, perpetual motion of the second kind, and perpetual motion of the living kind. I’m guessing you got the “auto-” part from Stuart Kauffman, and his autocatalytic closure theory, whose review I will read and post shortly.

● This comment: “that MEPP is violated by this system” I don’t fully see what you mean?

● This term usage “living thermodynamics” (or life thermodynamics), particularly when applied to human mental interactions, as clarified by Swedish physical chemist Sture Nordholm, in his noted 1997 article “In Defense of Thermodynamics: an Animate Analogy”, is something that should correctly be called “animate thermodynamics”, and if you want to further distinguish between an “animate” thing such as a heat driven Hero steam engine, Hero automaton, or robot, then you would want to signify that it is CHNOPS-based animate thermodynamics that you are discussing. That you ascribe the term “living” to certain types of animation and “non-living” to others is your shortsightedness.

● In this comment “constraint that is substrate transferrable”, can you explain this in simple English, per each term: transferrable, substrate, constraint. You and Juarrero both seem to think that the container of the piston and cylinder is a “constraint” to the molecules inside of it, in the same way that a societal boundary is a “constraint” to humans. Is this correct?

● This statement: “source of free energy must be externally available” is a huge misconception in science—the biggest blunder of which is Nicholas Georgescu-Roegen’s material entropy theory extrapolation of this. Free energy is something, in human mental terms, is something that comes from the changes in bonds “between” people (see: human chemical bond and bond energy), in same way that free energies result from the reactions between molecules, as quantified on free energy tables. What comes externally to us is “heat” from the sun.

● Re: your last point: talking about or even associating oneself with Shannon entropy is like associating one’s theory with either, phlogiston, Peter Tait’s knot theory of the atom (see: atomic theory), or even possibly string theory, though the hat may be still out on this, they are all a waste time. We each only have so many years of moving existence on this planet as a bound state reactive molecule, and in my view there are “so many theories, so little time”. Hence, I prefer not to waste my time on paths with no fruit.

● Re: “convince me that you really read my book” did you not read my response above [22 May 2013 | 2:21 AM EDT]? Not only did I read your book, cover-to-cover, in detail, but I also wrote commentary in your book with my pencil a total of 1,350 times. Here is another scan, showing "personal note" comments (namely: "retarded slop"), again these are personal note comments, I try to refrain from such derisive language in articles and public communication, written in early February 2013, to further satisfy your doubt:

Chemical perpetual motion

Mechanical perpetual motion
Deacon scan 294









Overbalance wheel
Left: Terrence Deacon's 2011 description of chemical perpetual motion, wherein he argues that life started from what he terms an "autogen" that started from "circles of reactions" that "self-generated" 3.85 billion years ago. Right: an overbalanced wheel perpetual motion device, according to which it was reasoned that the metal balls on the right side would turn the wheel because of the longer lever arm, hence achieving perpetual motion.

So, again, please stop accusing me of skipping chapters or not reading. I sometimes read upwards of three books per day and my home library is well over 1,300 books, which is more than Thomas Young (1000 book library) but less than Goethe (5,000 book library).

Libb Thims (2013) 75Libb Thims | 23 May 2013 | 12:00 PM EDT | Post

Response: [2nd] Re: "That you sent this to the people you mention suggests to me that your interests are journalistic rather than scientific", this is one of the stupidest things you've said. I contact people because I what to get this subject out of the closet and to get everybody's cards on the table so we can play the game.

Libb Thims (2013) 75Libb Thims | 23 May 2013 | 1:05 PM EDT | Post

Comment: One last comment, before I close up for the day, specifically regarding my “poisonous pen”. What comes to mind here is American chemical engineer Linus Pauling and his 1987 chapter contribution to Schrodinger: Centenary Celebration of a Polymath, and how he ripped apart Schrodinger’s famous What is Life? booklet. Specifically, while everyone else was and has been patting Erwin Schrodinger (1887-1961) on the back and extolling upon his greatness, Pauling was the only one to call him out:

“When I first read this book, over 40 years ago, I was disappointed. It was, and still is, my opinion that Schrodinger made no contribution to our understanding of life. Several physicists and biologists with whom I have discussed this question have disagreed with me. When I asked what the contribution made by Schrodinger to our understanding of life is, each answered essentially by saying that Schrodinger showed that life is negative entropy, that living organisms utilize entropy in a way different from non-living matter.

I have not had the opportunity to discuss this matter with a physical chemist, a person with a good understanding of the great work by J. Willard Gibbs on chemical thermodynamics. I am sure that he or she would agree with me.

Schrodinger’s discussion of thermodynamics is vague and superficial to an extent that should not be tolerated even in a popular lecture. In the discussion of thermodynamic quantities it is important to define the system. When he is writing about a change in entropy of the system, Schrodinger never even defines the system. Sometimes he seems to consider that the system is a living organism with no interaction whatever with the environment; and sometimes it is a living organism in thermal equilibrium with the environment; and sometimes it is the living organism plus the environment, that is the universe as a whole.”

Pauling here, as we see, has intellectual balls! I would guess that 99 out of 100 scientists have the view in their head that Schrodinger, in his 1943 lecture turned book, solved the what is life in terms of physics and chemistry puzzle. Deacon, you for instance, being well grouped as one of these 99, state the following about Schrodinger (pg. 267):

“A focus of on the far-from-equilibrium dynamics of living systems was highlighted by Erwin Schrodinger’s effort to bring attention to their unusual thermodynamic tendencies.”

This his historical anachronism, just as you deride Seth Lloyd of doing in respect to statistical mechanics and information theory. Far-from-equilibrium dynamics, as you call it was not yet invented until the 1950s, 60s, and for the most part becoming popular in the 70s, some thirty years after Schrodinger’s What is Life lecture. Also you state (281):

“Schrodinger’s answer to the question was that living chemistry must somehow be continuously performing work to stave off the pressures of thermodynamic decay, and to do this it needs to feed off of sources of free energy available in the outside world that he enigmatically called ‘negentropy’, or sources of order”.

This, again, is HUGE misrepresentation. Schrodinger said organisms must "feed of negative entropy", but that was about it. He never said “organisms must continuously perform work to stave off thermodynamic decay. This is your particular reading of his work. Schrodinger eventually got attacked for all of this (just like I am attacking your theory), after which he was forced to pen his famous “Note to Chapter 6” retraction, saying he should have turned the discussion to free energy (or correctly to human free energy theory, in modern 21st century terms).

Again you say that you ran your theory through a number of physical chemists, but did you, as Pauling says, “discuss this matter with a physical chemist, a person with a good understanding of the great work by J. Willard Gibbs on chemical thermodynamics”? There are very few of these in this world, so I’m sure you didn’t. In fact very few people have the ability to read Gibbs' two graphical thermodynamics of fluids articles and followup On the Equilibrium of Heterogeneous Substances cover to cover (see commentary on this here). I still have not completed the task myself.

So, again, a poisonous pen, like that of Pauling, is healthy for everyone and as I like to say “we learn the best from that which wounds us the deepest.” On the flip side, my aim is to found America’s first two cultures department, like John Q. Stewart did at Princeton (1948-1955) with Percy Bridgman, and two other sociologists, which involves two cultures bridge building, so please try to thicken your skin, and not take things personally.

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Stuart Kauffman 75Stuart Kauffman | 22 May 2013 | 12:19 PM EDT | Email

Comments: Thank you. Wife died 6 weeks ago. Hiding on S. Carolina island. Cannot review now. Hi LuigiExternal link icon (c). Stu.

Libb Thims (2013) 75Libb Thims | 23 May 2013 | 11:25 AM EDT | Post

Response: Thanks for the note. Hopefully, you will be back in spirits soon. Review for this article will close on or prior to the 4th week of June, as I will be leaving for Romania, to attend their econophysics workshop (poster).

FYI, a person cannot "die" any more than can any other animate molecule "die" (see: defunct theory of life & life terminology upgrades). Also, to give you some consolation, sometimes great things can come following the analysis (death) of a person. The example that comes to mind, for me, being Goethe's 3 Oct 1809 writing of his self defined greatest work Elective Affinities, or "best book" as he called it, following the analysis (death) of his closest intellectual friend Friedrich Schiller on 9 May 1805, after which he said he was "set free" (see: Goethe timeline).

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Terrence Deacon 75Terrence Deacon | 23 May 2013 | Email

Comments: I should have guessed that it was pointless to have this conversation. Too bad. I had thought there might be some useful scientific discussion possible, not merely polemics, pronouncements, and self-promotion. And by the way just saying that X violates principle Y without a hint of analysis doesn't cut it. My participation in this conversation will end here.


Libb Thims (2013) 75Libb Thims | 27 May 2013 | 4:10 PM EDT | Post

Response: Whatever the case, I've got your theory disproved here: chemical teleology; and have you listed [here] as someone, similar to American historian John Diggins and his 1995 "crank" labeling of Henry Adams, not able to see the forest among the trees.

Good day to you.

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Stephen Ternyik 75
Stephen Ternyik | 2 Jun 2013 | 10:07 AM EDT | Post

Comment: Artificial & machine intelligence researcher Eliezer YudkovskyExternal link icon (c)opines that human life is a painful chain of short-term mistakes & long-term-errors, giving even parameters for 'pain reduction' (=learning to knowledge). Physical teleology can not provide empirical evidence for a supreme cause of the physical world by pure reasoning or experimental design, i.e. scientists seek formal or ideal unity for aesthetic reasons and intellectual reputation. Concerning the cultivation of new & good ideas (=learning), academia (=knowledge) still lacks efficient mechanisms (=tolerance?). Ethical teleology can be supported by physical teleology, thus promoting and establishing practical theological reasoning (e.g. atheism, agnosticism). The hidden curriculum of 'intellectual property' is directed against open learning & knowledge; property is economically physical possession of and in this world.

JDNM is a profoundly written article and it was a pleasure for me to learn about the implicit theological 'explosives' by entering into 'intellectual property'. When Simon Ohm [Georg Ohm] wanted to conduct electrical experiments, the 'Geheimrat' (Goethe) advised him that it is better to look at the beauty of nature than to technically 'vivisect' it; there seems to be no true reason without passion and no true passion without reason, i.e. creative unity of heart and brain (mind).

Libb Thims (2013) 75Libb Thims | 2 Jun 2013 | 12:28 PM EDT | Post

Response: Thanks, for the review.

The following noted quoteExternal link icon (c), from the 1980 film The Shining, for whatever reason, seems to come to mind here:

“Perhaps they need a good talking to, if you don't mind my saying so. Perhaps a bit more. My girls, sir, they didn't care for the Overlook at first. One of them actually stole a pack of matches, and tried to burn it down. But I "corrected" them sir. And when my wife tried to prevent me from doing my duty, I "corrected" her.” (Delbert GradyExternal link icon (c), The Shining)

Sometimes well-intentioned scholars become a bit too smug in their positive feedback embedded old boys review networks, and, lacking any hard, “give it to me straight”, feedback, digress into layered awry arguments greatly in need of "correction".

Re: “implicit theological 'explosives' by entering into 'intellectual property'”, yes, on the latter point this was one of the things that irritated me the most, namely a legal action pressured near-lawsuit investigation into claims of “intellectual property rights” on science, and on the former point, i.e. theological explosives, there is something these three respective authors are digging around at, in the distant vicinity of a minefield (the world religions as a whole), but again they are near but off target.

The REAL “radical new explanation of how life and consciousness emerged from physics and chemistry” [tagline to Deacon’s 624-page book], was long ago done by Goethe, not Deacon, Juarrero, nor Aristotle (thought Goethe absorbed Aristotle), the implicit religion-exploding effect of which was clearly stated in by Victoria Woodhull in her 1871 review:

“[This] work of the greatest genius of Germany [Goethe], the first who promulgated the thought that there is a chemistry of the mind, and that "elective affinities" [A = –ΔG] are as powerful and legitimate in the realm of human sentiment as in the realm of matter. [This] scientific truth cannot be appreciated by the world too soon, nor its immense sweep of consequences be too clearly foreseen and provided for. It will affect the whole scope of morals and social order, whether we accept it in our theories or not, and the less hurtfully and the more beneficently, in proportion as we thoroughly study and understand the subject.

A great revolutionary doctrine pervades the whole. The American public is entitled to know what this great leader of modern thought, one of the founders of comparative anatomy, has thought on the more recondite subject of the chemistry of mind. In none of his works is that question so effectively answered as in Elective Affinities. [Though] it may be thought not radical and outspoken enough [it] prepares the mind for the still more radical change which the next few years [centuries] will inevitably produce.”

This quote, in particular the "American public is entitled to know" statement, greatly captures the "anger" which Deacon, above (22 May), attributes me with. It deboggles my mind, every day, how someone, such as my self, can go through the entire standard American educational process (age 6-18), then through the supposed hardest and most science encompassing degree one can obtain (chemical engineering) (age 19-22), at one of the world's leading engineering schools (University of Michigan, top 13External link icon (c)presently), and not once be taught, amid all of the 1000's of theories and equations learned, the one equation (affinity-free energy equation) and theory (human chemical theory) that explains our existence:

A = –ΔG

and that Goethe, over two hundred years ago, worked out the "micro" sociological aspects (A) of this, that Gibbs, Lewis, and Guggenheim worked out the "macro" chemical (sociological) system aspects (ΔG) of this, and that Helmholtz, famously in 1882, proved ("On the Thermodynamics of Chemical Processes") the two, A and ΔG, were connected by a negative sign (–). The modern American should have been taught all of this before the age of 15. The fact that we are not taught any of this, nor even told about it in passing, and moreover that world leading chemical engineer thermodynamicists, e.g. John Prausnitz, head of molecular thermodynamics at UC Berkeley (world's leading chemical thermodynamics university), openly "deny" the implications of the theory—quote: “In the social sciences and in some humanities, thermodynamics may be useful as an analogy, as a suggestion for looking at a problem, but beyond that, I see little use of thermodynamics outside [physio-chemical] science” (28 Mar 2013)—in the face of the fact that chemical thermodynamicists decades ago declared this as the science that explains the "REAL WORLD" (Frederick Rossini, 1971). In short, it is acutely better to learn about the science of the "real world" than to waste so many years learning about the "make-believes of the economic systems of society" (Frederick Soddy, 1921) that we are currently taught in school.

Stephen Ternyik 75 Stephen Ternyik | 3 Jun 2013 | 2:21 AM EDT | Post

Response: the advancement of electronic communication and intelligent machines will come to terms with mechanical regurgitations of non-applicable formulism; the Goethe-Helmholtz formula seems to have some similarity with the arguments at sintropia.itExternal link icon (c)as affinity can be understood as syntropic effect balancing the entropic causes in complex systems: wo-man is physically variform and hu-man thought will psychologically never follow one path as decisions in real life are also complex. All the best for *Pitesti*.

Libb Thims (2013) 75Libb Thims | 3 Jun 2013 | 8:40 AM EDT | Post

Response: Thanks, for the secondary comments.

Re: "arguments at sintropia.itExternal link icon (c)", I have yet to dig through that school of thought surrounding Italian mathematician Luigi Fantappie (1941) and his modern followers: Italians cognitive psychologist Antonella Vannini and sociologist Ulisse de Corpo, and their recent attempts to mix quantum mechanics, relativity, and entropy to argue the conclusion that “life is moved by final causes” (link), just like the above Juarrero-Deacon argument. My recent readings into chemical teleology, however, have been very illuminating on this particular question. The statement:

Atoms react in order to maintain stability.”

Is final cause based teleological, and hence erroneous, like the statement “life is moved by final causes”, being that both statements "violate temporal constraints by treating an entity's consequence [stability/final cause] as if it could be its own cause in a backward causal fashion." [4] It would be like saying that in the following reaction:

 H_2 + \frac{1}{2} O_2 \rightarrow H_2O \,

the "stability" inherent in the stronger water molecule bonds "caused" the movement. In other words, just as the atoms do not react (or are moved) by the end state (stability)—the final state is simply a point of equilibrium, wherein transformation content stops (entropy reaches a maximum)—or some type of future force, so to is life (animate matter) not moved by final cause.

Current models, to clarify, indicated that the movement is caused by exchange forces and behavior change of the fermion or bound state entity resulting therefrom. A non-teleological statement of the above, I am guessing, would be something along the lines of:

Atoms react spontaneously when the system shows a free energy decrease; increase in stability tends to result.”

or something along these lines. The issue here is is very subtle, often hinging on correctness of phrasing, some of this wording issue of which I am still grappling with. The issue where this teleology/non-teleology subtlety is ripe, as Mexican-born American chemist Vicente Talanquer has found through his 2007 dissectional study of eight leading US college chemistry textbooks, is in three areas: [5]

Second law descriptions (free energy minimization and or entropy maximization)
Le Chatelier's principle (system reaction to perturbation descriptions)
● Octet rule (Abegg's rule) descriptions (electron geometrical patterns for atoms of atomic number 20 or less)

Much of human chemistry, human thermodynamics, and human physics are anchored in these three subjects, hence prudence is advised as to correctness of wording here, in respect to human movement; the library walk problem seems to be a good exercise to get one's bearings.

Stephen Ternyik 75 Stephen Ternyik | 3 Jun 2013 | 12:02 PM EDT | Post

Response: An established Swiss professional psychiatrist revealed to me that he sees his discipline as the true human medical science because all other human diseases can be treated as veterinary medicine, i.e. in this view, only the higher functions of the nervous system are human and animals just lack the linguistic abilities (e.g. they do not walk to libraries) and monetary purchasing power (e.g. they can not go off-shore) to being healed by such sophisticated human experts. The inter-personal differences of human beings are the chemical result of motion and development of matter in this observable world, but the same material conditions do not result in equal behavioral responses of the human actors; this may even apply to animals. So, life seems to be very much about pain and coping successfully with pain; in any case, I will study your above mentioned points painstakingly to arrive at practical applications for our human existence. Multumesc, for all your efforts.

Libb Thims (2013) 75Libb Thims | 4 Jun 2013 | 5:24 AM EDT | Post

Response: Interesting comments. On an aside, what do you think of Vilfredo Pareto's human molecule based socioeconomic theories? I have been working on him today, and I think I might use his homo economicus theories:

Homo economicus (Pareto) new 2
The term homo economicus—a Linnaeus-themed variant of John Mill's 1836 generic utility maximizing "economic man"—is said to be attributed to the work of Pareto and his 1896 statement that: "man himself; stripping him of a large number of his attributes, leaving out the passions, good or bad, reducing him to a kind of molecule that only acts in response to the forces of ophelimity”, which, as summarized by Australian economics historian Michael McLure (2002), is an abstract entity that only responds to the forces of ophelimity, in other words "an abstract molecule that acts only in response to economic forces". [6]

in my Pitesti talk, albeit as a spring board to go into econoengineering based on chemical thermodynamics, rather than material science as Pareto did.

Stephen Ternyik 75 Stephen Ternyik | 4 Jun 2013 | 8:20 AM EDT | Post

Response: The Pareto-optimum closed the scientific gap to marginal benefit (= statistical social science / 2 research articles send to you via e-mail); while working on the political economics of American Independence, I could apply his theory of elite circulation = history as cemetery of elites. Also of methodical interest is his dynamic view of speculation/speculators as drivers of socio-economic change, i.e. of 'Faustian' insight into our current monetary transition period.

Libb Thims (2013) 75Libb Thims | 4 Jun 2013 | 5:14 PM EDT | Post


Response: Thanks. I printed those out. Power law (Pareto principle) stuff—the writings of Mark Buchanan aside—by itself is pretty boring; papers on which seem to be a dime a dozen. What I’m interested in if someone is going to discuss, e.g. 90 percent of a country’s wealth being confined to 10 percent of a population, I what to hear mechanism speculations, such as the following by Pareto:

“The molecules of which the social aggregate is composed don’t stay at rest; some individuals enrich themselves, other impoverish themselves.”

There’s underlying physical laws at work here, as evidenced by the famous 1980s "lazy ant study". I want to know the mechanism to this. How, for instance, as Joseph Schumpeter states, does the following process actuate:

“It can be shown that in all cases, that human molecules rise and fall within the class into which they are born, in a manner which fits the hypothesis that they do so because of their relative aptitudes; and it can also be shown, second, that they rise and fall across the boundary lines of their class in the same manner. This rise and fall into higher and lower classes as a rule takes more than one generation. These molecules are therefore families [see: family molecule] rather than individuals. And this explains why observers who focus attention on individuals so frequently fail to find any relation between ability and class position.”

None of these Pareto principle / Zipf's law articles, give or take a few rare ones, attempt to go into this.

Stephen Ternyik 75 Stephen Ternyik | 5 Jun 2013 | 2:15 AM EDT | Post

Response: Response: Yes! This is the reason why the Pareto approach has certain methodically limited applications and why you received the boring articles; social scientific research into the psychophysical laws of human action/behavior comes first and mathematical social science/statistical data science can consequently condense the body of learned knowledge. Your molecular methodology will be very effective at the micro-methodical level of group dynamics as decisive evolutionary quantum of humankind; however, also the content of a book is psychochemically more than ink, paper, etc., i.e. on the macro-methodical level, we have to explain the inter-re-active energetics of group behavior patterns as mass motion & development of animate matter (e.g. observe the large-scale co-operation of small-scale groups for a global soccer competition). Of course, these are inter-generational learning processes and only open systems have this learning ability; the professional economic focus on property (+ credit x interest) is short-sighted = also Marx and Engels went into this cognitive trap, owing to their bourgeois background; Heinrich Heine opined that the poor masses need 'soap and education'. Maybe, you will be one of the first to push the social scientific solution of this macro-molecular-problem forward !


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Exercises | Problems

Exercises | Homework problems | Other

homework iconOn the wise protocol of Swedish physical chemist Sture Nordholm's penning of eight homework problems to his 1997 Journal of Chemical Education article “In Defense of Thermodynamics: an Animate Analogy”, the submitting author has provide (6 May 2013) two homework problems and or exercises, shown below, that will be added to the finial version of the submitted article, if published:

● Problem #1:

● Problem #2:

JHT editor Libb Thims, in his university lectures to thermodynamics students, frequently assigns students the task to attempt to solve one of the problems on the Hmolpedia "homework problems" page; Thims also, down the road, may end up writing a Chemical Thermodynamics: with Applications in the Humanities textbook, built on Gilbert Lewis' famous 1923 Thermodynamics and the Free Energy of Chemical Substances; some of these newly-proposed JHT end of article problems/exercises may find their way into the end of chapter exercises and or into the Hmolpedia homework problems page.

References
1. Thims, Libb. (2013). “Econoengineering and Economic Behavior: Particle, Atom, Molecule, or Agent Models?” (abs) (main), University of Pitesti Econophysics and Sociophysics Workshop (UPESW) 2013 / Exploratory Domains of Econophysics News (EDEN V) (organizer: Gheorghe Savoiu). University of Pitesti, Pitesti, Romania, Jun 29.
2. Thompson, Evan. (2011). “Life Emergent. Review of Terrence Deacon, Incomplete Nature: How Mind Emerged from Matter,” Nature, Volume 480:318, Dec 15.
3. Plagiarism Investigation Exonerates Terrence W. Deacon – TerryDeacon.Berkeley.edu.
4. Kelemen, Deborah, Rottman, Joshua, Seston, Rebecca. (2012). “Professional Physical Scientists Display Tenacious Teleological Tendencies: Purpose-Based Reasoning as Cognitive Default” (pdf), Journal of Experimental Psychology, 1-10, Sep 10.
5. Talanquer, Vincete. (2007). “Explanations and Teleology in Chemistry Education” (abs) (pdf), International Journal of Science Education, 00(0):1-18.
6. (a) McLure, Michael. (2002). Pareto, Economics and Society: the Mechanical Analogy (molecules, pg. 124; molecule, 4+ pgs). Routledge.
(b) Michael McLure (faculty) – University of Western Australia.
(c) Kirman, Alan P. (1987). “Pareto as an Economist”, in: The New Palgrave: A Dictionary of Economics, Volume Three (editors: J. Eatwell, M. Milgate, and P. Newman) (pgs. 804-09). MacMillan Press.

Videos
● Deacon, Terrence. (2012). “Incomplete Nature: How Mind Emerged From Matter” (1:44-min), Apr 18.

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