Moriarty-Thims debate

Moriarty analogy argument
A synopsis of the Moriarty-Thims debate. Top: 2009 video stills of Irish physicist Philip Moriarty: “we can think about the students who are milling about here and filling out this state quite well as a high entropy state” (Left); and “then we can think about bringing them into what we term a low entropy state (Right), where we pack them all nicely together, nicely ordered in the center of this lovely green.” Bottom: A 2012 depiction of the supermolecule adenylate kinase (adk) in the open (high-entropy state) and closed (low-entropy state) configurations. [1] The top description, according to Moriarty, is pure analogy, whereas the bottom is reality. Libb Thims argues the pro position, namely that the entropy of ADK exists just as it does for the entropy of a folded aggregate of students in a group, no analogy.
In debates, Moriarty-Thims debate is a Sep 02-19, 2009, 61-page, 15+ person, thread debate-discussion (reprinted below), originating via YouTube thread commentary in April, between Irish physicist Philip Moriarty and American chemical engineer Libb Thims on whether or not an arrangement of students has a thermodynamic entropy.

“Where did Gibbs say that ‘a society is one such material system’? He didn’t – that is Thims particular (incorrect) reading of the application of thermodynamics. When I talk about the 'entropy' of the students, it's **really** important to note that this is just an analogy. Entropy and the second law of thermodynamics are very abused concepts. An arrangement of the students *does not* have an associated thermodynamic entropy. Thims has taken the abuse of the term entropy to an entirely new level, however, by suggesting that it—and, unbelievably, quantum mechanics—can be applied to 'interactions' in romantic human relationships.”
Philip Moriarty (2009), atheist thermal physics professor; his gist view of entropy (against Thims); compare: Gibbs' friend Joseph Klein's 1910 proof, via Planck, Boltzmann, and Clausius, that entropy applies to all "bodies" in the universe, whether gas, liquid, solid, or student body

Overview
Con view: In short, Moriarty believes that it is fine to discuss the ordering of students (packed vs dispersed) in a field in lecture and video as a teaching "analogy", but that in reality one cannot assign a value of entropy to groupings or orderings of humans.

Moriarty's view: “you cannot say that a particular arrangement of students has a thermodynamic entropy.”

Pro view: Thims, conversely, believes that every structure in the universe can be assigned with a value of entropy:

Thims' view: “you can say that a particular arrangement of students has a thermodynamic entropy.”

the methodology of which was laid first by German physicist Rudolf Clausius' in his 1875 chapter Determination of the Energy and Entropy a methodology of which was taken from theory into practice in American chemist Gilbert Lewis' 1923 textbook Thermodynamics and the Free Energy of Chemical Substances.

The central conflict in the debate seems to be that Moriarty is looking at the human situation using a statistical mechanics perspective, whereas Thims is looking at the human picture from a chemical thermodynamics perspective; although, more likely, there seems to be deeper issues and implications involved?

The adjacent open and closed configurations of adenylate kinase, a phosphotransferase enzyme that catalyzes the interconversion of adenine nucleotides, gives an idea of how entropy concepts scale up to the supermolecule or protein molecule level, each of which can be assigned with a thermodynamic entropy. [1]

Quotes
The following are noted debate-related quotes:

“I looked at the Moriarty-Thims debate. My god: what a Babylonian cacophony! And so much innuendo! Is that the level of communication at which we have arrived? I dare say that, instead of Yes/No boxes at the end of the comments, there should be an injunction to sleep at least one night over a response. And good old Muschik—with the talent for obfuscation—predictably is putting his oar in. But yes, of course one may define an entropy for a group of students ‘in the field’ as well as for a battalion of marching soldiers. And for an anchor chain, and a polymer chain. And for a protein molecule and the human genome. The question is, however, what to do with such entropies and what predictions are possible—at this time—by the use of the concepts.”
Ingo Muller (2009), “Email to Libb Thims”, 4:40AM CST Sep 9

Debaters
Commentators in the debate include:


Debater
Thermodynamics background
1.Thims 75Libb Thims (Sadi-Carnot)
(c.1975-)
American chemical engineer, electrical engineer, and thermodynamicist
Founding editor of the Journal of Human Thermodynamics, authored the first textbook chapter on human thermodynamics (Human Chemistry, ch. 16), author of the 1,600+ article Encyclopedia of Human Thermodynamics, world's largest thermodynamics book collection (300+).
2.Philip Moriarty 75Philip Moriarty
(c.1965-)
English thermal physicist and nanoscientist
Professor of thermal physics for six years.
3.Wolfgang Muschik 75Wolfgang Muschik (ThermoSyst)
(c.1936-)
German physicist and thermodynamics professor
Senior editor of the Journal of Non-Equilibrium Thermodynamics.
4.Robert Kenoun 75Robert Kenoun (Wrk003)
(1950-)
Iranian-born American materials scientist and electrical engineer
Author of the 2006 social internal energy minimization theory book A Proposition to Theory of History and Social Evolution.
5.Peter Pogany 75Peter Pogany (Telosx)
(c.1939-)
Hungarian-born American economist
Author of the 2006 book Rethinking the World, which includes a chapter on the thermodynamics of cultural evolution.
6.Person icon 75Bruce Bathurst (Petrologist)
(c.1945-)
American geological thermodynamicist
Completed PhD in geological thermodynamics at Princeton.
7.Lynn Liss 75Lynn Liss (LynnLiss)
(c.1977-)
American consultant and business executive
Noted for her 2005 JHT article on thermodynamics and business efficiency.
8.Ingo Muller 75Ingo Muller (Ingo.Mueller)
(1937-)
German physicist and thermodynamics professor
Author of the 2007 A History of Thermodynamics, the 2005 textbook Entropy and Energy: A Universal Competition, and for his 2002 articles on socio-thermodynamics theory.
9.
John Schmitz 75 newJohn Schmitz (Waldnoces)
(c.1950-)
Danish chemist
Author of the 2007 book The Second Law of Life and noted for his human entropy diagrams.
10.Jing Chen 75Jing Chen (JingChen)
(c.1965-)
Chinese-born Canadian thermodynamic economist
Author of the 2005 book The Physical Foundation of Economics: an Analytical Thermodynamic Theory.
11.Frank Lambert 75Frank Lambert
(1918-)
American organic chemist and humanities thermodynamics professor
Noted for numerous second law themed websites, e.g. SecondLaw.com, 2ndLaw.com, Shakespeare2ndLaw.com, EntropySimple.com, EntropySite.com, etc., for his 1969 thermodynamic theories of evil; for teaching "baby thermo" class to humanities undergraduates for several decades, and for his efforts to reform the standard American textbook chemistry definition of entropy from disorder to dispersion (supposedly getting 25 authors to make the change).
12.Aaron Agassi 75Aaron Agassi (AaronAgassi)
(c.1970-)
American philosopher
A skeptic to the idea of human thermodynamics.
13.Ted Erikson 75Ted Erikson (SdogV)
(c.1928-)
American chemical engineer and physics professor
Competed his MS in “Steady-State Thermodynamics” under American physical chemist Ralph Tykodi, at the at the Illinois Institute of Technology.
14.Morrow 75Andrew Morrow (AWMorrow)
(1961-)
American chemical engineer
Noted for his 2006 philosophy people are “mosaics of atoms with a mind”, whereby, aware of this reality, one should attempt to see reality from the viewpoint of reactions of one’s fellow human beings to oneself, so to see if further insight can be found.

Others commented in on the debate via email and in side threads.

Debate: part one
The following is thread-to-page conversion re-paste of the debate, which took place in the general discussion forum of the eoht wiki from September 02-19, and is broken up into three approximately 20-page sections, the first part of which is shown below:
— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —
Comment #1
Thims 75Sadi-Carnot (Libb Thims)
Sep 2 2009, 10:18 PM EDT
English physicist Philip Moriarty (read above article) seems to take great issue on the application of entropy to assignment of states or configurations of humans. In his April video he said it can be done; in his August video said it can't be done? I will likely make a YouTube correction video to his last video where he stated:

"Concepts of entropy [only] apply to gas molecules; you cannot say that a particular arrangement of students has a thermodynamic entropy.”

Comments would be appreciated.
— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —
Comment #2
Wolfgang Muschik 75ThermoSyst (Wolfgang Muschik)
Sep 3 2009, 12:04 PM EDT
Yes, you can: If you have a certain defined distribution function related to these students, you can define an entropy.

— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —
Comment #3
Thims 75Sadi-Carnot (Libb Thims)
Sep 3 2009, 12:42 PM EDT
"Yes, you can: If you have a certain defined distribution function related to these students, you can define an entropy."
ThermoSystem, thanks for the comment. Sometimes I think that I am the only person on the planet (alive) who thinks like this. P.S. I'll be lecturing on human thermodynamics to a university bioengineering thermodynamics next semester, and will likely mention your views on the matter.
— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —
Comment #4
Aaron Agassi 75AaronAgassi (Aaron AgassiExternal link icon (c))
Sep 3 2009, 3:58 PM EDT
As you have requested of me to offer comment, I fear that I can only reiterate my standing position or suspicion that the cart is well before the horse, and no sense will come of currently half-baked human thermodynamics whatsoever, even as a metaphor quae memetics, let alone an actual science, until if ever, energy can be explicitly defined in the context of human thermodynamics.
— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —
Comment #5
Peter Pogany 75telosx (Peter Pogany)
Sep 3 2009, 4:02 PM EDT
Yes you can, if you consider the group of students a power field; a system of interacting molecules or -- at a deeper level -- an assemblage of subatomic particles. Phil has accidentally extended the vast realm of misusing the concept of entropy (the usual beaten eggs, strewn around library books, etc.) in the wrong way.
— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —
Comment #6
Lynn Liss 75lynnliss (Lynn Liss)
Sep 3 2009, 5:17 PM EDT
After reading the background on this debate, it seems that Moriarty may simply be scared of what humans as molecules driven by entropy would mean to the mind of civilization and his own mental state! It's a common reaction by many people, scientists and layman alike, thus not surprising. There once was a time when humans we're certain our evolutionary history was most definitely NOT tied to a furry animal...and this debate still continues today. At least there are an enlightened few that continue to push our quest for human understanding further along....versus remaining status quo. Bravo Libb Thims.
— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —
Comment #7
Thims 75Sadi-Carnot (Libb Thims)
Sep 4 2009, 11:41 AM EDT
Thanks everyone for the welcome comments. To Aaron, I understand your skepticism. Energy is defined by Clausius clearly in his 1875 mathematical introduction. How to apply this logic of energy determination to human systems is discussed in overview here. Clausius explains how to determine the entropy of systems here. There is still more work needed to be done before this can be clearly extrapolated in the form of tabulated measurements to human systems (e.g. system of students in a field). The formulation of such tables for small molecules was done by Fritz Haber in the 1890s.

Then by Gilbert Lewis and others in the 20th century. It is only a matter of extrapolation to apply this logic to systems of human molecules, which invariably were chemically synthesized, through terrestrial evolution, over the last 4.6 billion years, from the very same base atoms and molecules that Haber first began to tabulate the values of energy and entropy for in the various states in which they are found.
— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —
Comment #8
Philip Moriarty 75Anonymous (Philip Moriarty)
Sep 5 2009, 3:29 AM EDT
Reply from Philip Moriarty: Of course you can define an entropy for a given distribution - I entirely agree. I guess you have in mind a quantity such as (minus) the sum of p_n ln p_n (where p_n is a probability extracted from the distribution function)? However, this quantity need not be the same as the thermodynamic entropy (and in many cases isn't). For example, a significant amount of my research over the past few years has focused on the far-from-equilibrium self-organization of nanoparticles. As discussed in “Nanostructured Cellular Networks” (2002), Phys. Rev. Lett., we used a measure of the entropy of a cellular network to characterize the distribution of nanoparticles. But the value of S discussed in that paper is certainly **not** the thermodynamic entropy of the system and to confuse the two would be entirely wrong.

A very simple question: what physical units would you use to describe the entropy of a distribution of students?! J per K? If so, justify why this is an appropriate choice of units! (We spend a considerable amount of time in the first year of physics degree courses pointing out the importance of considering the correct units and dimensions for physical quantities.) Philip Moriarty.
— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —
Comment #9
Philip Moriarty 75Anonymous (Philip Moriarty)
Sep 5 2009, 3:44 AM EDT
@telosx: See my comment above re. distribution functions. Moreover... A field full of students is not directly equivalent to a chamber filled with molecules at thermodynamic equilibrium - how could it be? As you appear to think otherwise, please address the following questions: *Define* the equilibrium state of the students. How much thermodynamic work is done *by a student* if (s)he is moved from one position to another? (Or if (s)he *decides* to move from one position to another). Can you construct the equivalent of a Maxwell-Boltzmann distribution function for the "speeds" of the students? Are the *velocities* of the students Gaussian distributed? (And the same question I posed to ThermoSyst: What physical units do you use to describe the entropy (or, indeed, enthalpy) of the students?)

And please don't put words in my mouth: At what point did *I* ever suggest that books strewn around a library (or disordered sock drawers etc...) should be interpreted as examples of entropy in action? I am at pains in the response video to point out the difference between analogies of this type and true thermodynamic entropy. Philip Moriarty.
— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —
Comment #10
Philip Moriarty 75Anonymous (Philip Moriarty)
Sep 5 2009, 3:44 AM EDT
Libb - see my response to ThermoSyst's point below. Philip

— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —
Comment #11
Philip Moriarty 75Anonymous (Philip Moriarty)
Sep 5 2009, 3:51 AM EDT
@AaronAgassi: Very good points. Libb's response beggars belief: "It is only a matter of extrapolation to apply this logic to systems of human molecules...". No, it is not a matter of extrapolation, Libb. Just as it is not a matter of extrapolation to take fundamental quantum mechanics and apply it to "human molecules". What physical evidence do you have, Libb, for a "human wavefunction"? Have you somehow carried out the equivalent of the double slit experiment for humans?! Do you understand what is meant by decoherence or complementarity in the context of QM? I shudder to think that students are going to be exposed to this pseudoscientific nonsense next semester. Philip (Moriarty)
— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —
Comment #12
Philip Moriarty 75Anonymous (Philip Moriarty)
Sep 5 2009, 4:06 AM EDT
@Lynnliss: Oh, dear me. Why do both you and Libb seem to think that my arguments are religiously motivated? I am what Richard Dawkins would classify as a level 6 "agnostic" - agnostic in the sense that although I cannot prove that there is or isn't a god, there are an infinite number of possibilities I can't definitively disprove. For example, the entire universe may well have been sneezed out of the nose of the Great Green Arkleseizure (... hat tip to Douglas Adams) or, my favourite, the multiverse was created by a being whose projection into our reality is the children's book character Noddy. (Google "Noddy" if you're interested). I'm a scientist. **Experiment and evidence are everything**. Let's try some controlled experiments: Place a hundred students in a box and measure their positions as a function of time. Will they behave just like molecules in a box? Will their speeds(velocities) be described by a Maxwell-Boltzmann (Gaussian) function? Can we take a piston and force the students into one corner and calculate the thermodynamic work done? What is the energy of interaction of two human beings? How do you write down a free energy function for the students [see: human free energy] when you can't even define what you mean by an energy of interaction? Philip Moriarty.
— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —
Comment #13
Thims 75Sadi-Carnot (Libb Thims)
Sep 5 2009, 1:15 PM EDT
Phil all good points. Concerning entropy units, the units are the same as any other chemical system, J per K per mol. The number of particles in one mole (6E23), however, is more than the current human population (7E9). Russian physical chemist Georgi Gladyshev, author of the 1997 book Thermodynamic Theory of Evolution have been discussing this issue for some years now. The unit for a human mole (h-mol) will thus not be the number of particles in a 12-gram sample of carbon 12, but will be the number of humans in average sample of some typical population or volumetric sample. We have, as of yet, reached definitive conclusions on this unit issue.

One trend that you will find with small systems (1-1000 particle range), according to recent nanothermodynamics computer simulations, is that entropy becomes nonextensive (see, e.g. Mohazzabi and Mansoori’ 2005 article “Nonextensivity and Noninntensivity in Nanosystems: A Moleclar Dynamics Simulation in Journal of Computational and Theoretical Nanoscience), which raises possible issues on the integrating factor of the inexact heat differential. On your second set of comments, you need to move away from the ideal gas system point of view, to the particles on a surface systems point of view, where the interactions become important. Regarding how much thermodynamic work is done when one student moves from one position to another the question is answered using the Gustave Coriolis’ 1829 principle of the transmission of work. This is from where the modern definition of mechanical work as used by Clausius to make the science of thermodynamics.
— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —
Comment #14
Thims 75Sadi-Carnot (Libb Thims)
Sep 5 2009, 1:16 PM EDT
How this is applied to people moving, using a very simplistic model, is outlined here. In this calculation, to note, you get into issues of free will, readiness potential, and induced movement. This issue of “what if a student chooses to move this way” is confusing for many people. Molecules do not *decide* or choose to move, neither do human molecules. Regarding speed distributions and system temperature, this is a huge issue. The issue revolves around the question of how one connect concepts such as sexual temperature (physical beauty) or economic temperature, and so on, with absolute temperature. This issue is still very puzzling. An example is the measured correlation that, determined by psychologists, that physically attractive people (e.g. supermodels) will cause a volume expansion (given more personal space) when moving through a crowd of people, as compared to more homely looking individuals (personal space).
— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —
Comment #15
Thims 75Sadi-Carnot (Libb Thims)
Sep 5 2009, 1:17 PM EDT
As to Gaussian distributions, of course there will be one in mapping the various speeds of people in a crowd. Here is one for heights (averageness). Regarding the Maxwell-Boltzmann distribution function you might like to read Philip Ball’s 2004 book Critical Mass (pgs. 65-70), wherein it is explained how Maxwell and Boltzmann derived their functions after a reading of Henry Buckle’s census statistics from his History of Civilization. When Maxwell obtained a copy he in fact read 160 pages in one night and wrote to Lewis Campbell about his excitement. Regarding QM, you are getting way off the point of the thread (entropy of students). I was the one that wrote the 20-page history of quantum mechanics (and the timeline table) at Wikipedia. As Louis De Broglie showed in 1923, every particle (or molecule) has a wave function associated with it. No one, as of yet, has fired a 6E23-atom human molecule through the double slits, but they have fired a 60-atom molecule Bucky ball through, with success.
— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —
Comment #16
Thims 75Sadi-Carnot (Libb Thims)
Sep 5 2009, 1:17 PM EDT
Regarding experiments: if you place a hundred students in a box, of course they will behave just like molecules in a box, because “they are molecules in a box”. If you think that you are made of something more than atoms (a molecule, by definition, is a structure of two or more atoms), then science is not your subject. Regarding particles in a piston, i.e. pressure volume work. You get into discussions of changes in human personal space (territories, boundaries, etc.). When the people of Germany expanded outward, i.e. pushing on its boundary (boarder), to take over Poland, during WWII, the mechanical work done by the system Germany, is exactly the same as the work done by the air molecules, on the surrounding atmosphere, in pushing the piston upward, in the Carnot engine.
— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —
Comment #17
Thims 75Sadi-Carnot (Libb Thims)
Sep 5 2009, 1:18 PM EDT
Regarding the energy of interaction of two human beings, you get into discussions of exchange forces and (primary and secondary) field particles. This latter point is a huge topic, requiring discussion far beyond what I have mentioned. The basic model of the free energy function for a system of humans is defined the same as for other isothermal isobaric system (with constant particle count):

G = U + PV – TS

Variations in daily entropy change will eventually cause equilibrium to set in when the variation of the free energy dG = 0. In loose talk, this is when a system stops working or producing external work. Most of the questions you have addressed have been covered in my 824-page textbook Human Chemistry. People will still be working on these same questions 300 years from now.
— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —
Comment #18
Thims 75Sadi-Carnot (Libb Thims)
Sep 5 2009, 2:38 PM EDT
A few last points, regarding physical evidence the human wave function, please see ch. 8 (Human Chemistry), where I derive the Schrodinger equation, in the context of human molecular orbital theory. The first crude types of human wave functions (turning tendencies) were drawn by Ernst Mach in 1885. There is a big difference, of course, between a wave function of an electron and a molecule, but both expressions are, however, derived starting with the Lagrangian. Regarding coherence and decoherence, this is a marginal topic in that very little has been said or understood on how this applies to human activity. The few examples of application include the questionable postulates of Rupert Sheldrake (e.g. pg. 273 of Sense of Being Stared At) or David Bohm, etc., e.g. twins who remain aware of each other when a tragic injury occurs. Most of these topics, however, are far removed from human thermodynamics, let alone entropy.
— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —
Comment #19
Aaron Agassi 75AaronAgassi (Aaron AgassiExternal link icon (c))
Sep 5 2009, 5:06 PM EDT
"Yes you can, if you consider the group of students a power field; a system of intercating molecules or -- at a deeper level -- an assemblage of subatomic particles. Phil has accidentaly extended the vast realm of misusing the concept of entropy (the usual beaten eggs, strewn around library books, etc.) in the wrong way. " Human beings mimicking Brownian motion seems not by itself much socially enlightening. AaronAgassi.
— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —
Comment #20
Aaron Agassi 75AaronAgassi (Aaron AgassiExternal link icon (c))
Sep 5 2009, 6:46 PM EDT
In context of Human Thermodynamics, energy means: __________ (fil in the **** blank.)

— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —
Comment #21
Aaron Agassi 75AaronAgassi (Aaron AgassiExternal link icon (c))
Sep 5 2009, 6:58 PM EDT
Re: "I shudder to think that students at Illinois are going to be exposed to this pseudoscientific nonsense next semester. Philip (Moriarty)"
It might have utility as a case study, for discourse upon questions of scientific value. But then, beyond simple acquisition of lab skills and the like, that's how science ought to be taught in the first place of course.
— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —
Comment #22
Philip Moriarty 75Anonymous (Philip Moriarty)
Sep 5 2009, 8:36 PM EDT
Re: "Regarding how much thermodynamic work is done when one student moves from one position to another the question is answered using the Gustave Coriolis’ 1829 principle of the transmission of work. This is from where the modern definition of mechanical work as used by Clausius to make the science of thermodynamics."
Oh, Libb, this is pointless. I ask you to define the **thermodynamic work** done by a "student molecule** (sic) in a closed environoment - to try to point out (in a tongue-in-cheek fashion) the deficiencies in your argument - and you respond by giving me a high school definition of work? (You might like to correct your EoHT definition, by the way, to note that work is the scalar product of two vector quantities).
— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —
Comment #23
Philip Moriarty 75Anonymous (Philip Moriarty)
Sep 5 2009, 8:48 PM EDT
Re: "The issue revolves around the question of how one connect concepts such as sexual temperature (physical beauty) or economic temperature, and so on, with absolute temperature."
Libb, I've read over what you've written above a number of times now and still can't believe just how nonsensical it is. For example, the idea that you can equate a thermodynamic temperature with a so-called "sexual temperature" just...simply...beggars...belief. I am confident that the students will be smart enough to realise that what you're lecturing is nonsense. What I can't understand is why a university has invited you to deliver a course on this baloney. I'm sure that you see yourself as a pioneer battling against the flawed establishment view but you might like to bear in mind the following quote from Robert L. Park: “It is not enough to wear the mantle of Galileo: that you be persecuted by an unkind establishment. You must also be right.”
— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —
Comment #24
Philip Moriarty 75Anonymous (Philip Moriarty)
Sep 5 2009, 9:08 PM EDT
Re: "You get into discussions of changes in human personal space (territories, boundaries, etc.). When the people of Germany expanded outward, i.e. pushing on its boundary (boarder), to take over Poland, during WWII, the mechanical work done by the system Germany, is exactly the same as the work done by the air molecules, on the surrounding atmosphere, in pushing the piston upward, in the Carnot engine:"
Oh, for crying out loud. "The mechanical work done by the system Germany is exactly the same as the work done by the air molecules..." Just read that over a few times to yourself, Libb. The mechanical work done by Germany (!) is "exactly" the same as the work done in a Carnot engine?!
— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —
Comment #25
Philip Moriarty 75Anonymous (Philip Moriarty)
Sep 5 2009, 9:15 PM EDT
Re: "It might have utility as a case study, for discourse upon questions of scientific value. But then, beyond simple acquisition of lab skills and the like, that's how science ought to be taught in the first place of course. "
@AaronAgassi: I agree with you in that I would be happy for Libb's "Human Thermodynamics" to be discussed in the context of a course on the philosophy of science/the scientific method (in terms of getting students to think about what does and does not comprise good science). It would certainly have utility in that question. Where I have immense difficulties, however, is in Human Thermodynamics being presented to students as a viable scientific theory when it is simply pseudoscientific nonsense. That is unfair on the students who choose to take (or who are obliged to take) the course.
— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —
Comment #26
Robert Kenoun 75wrk003 (Robert Kenoun)
Sep 6 2009, 1:44 AM EDT
I am not sure about considering humans as molecules, but I believe that laws of thermodynamic do apply to humans and their societies. In every system hierarchy, new characteristics emege that do not apply to the subsystem levels. However, the high level system carries all the characteristics of its subsystems. Culture, economy and technology are characteristics of society, they are meaningless when applied to humans. But society is a living system and intelligent because its subsystem are living and intelligent. If society is a living system then it must have an evolutionary process of its own, similar to that of human evolutionary process. Knowing society possesses all of the characteristics of its subsystems, down to the lowest system level, then the laws governing the behavior of these subsystems, in all levels, must be part of what influences the behavior of society. Since basic constituents of humans and society are atoms and molecules and these systems are governed by the laws of nature, i.e., laws of thermodynamics, then the behavior of humans and societies are influenced by these laws.

Systems tends to adopt the lowest state of internal energy, which is a state of equilibrium and optimum stability; meaning that their process is goal oriented. However, if environmental conditions change on a system (imposing new conditions on the system), the system may then adopt a new process, sometimes, trying to achieve a new state of finality (equilibrium state) or achieve the same finality through a different process. The equilibrium state in physics and chemistry equates to achieving a state of equality in the process of social evolution. But what is, that living systems struggle to exchange in their interaction to achieve a state of eqaulity? to be continued.
— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —
Comment #27
Robert Kenoun 75wrk003 (Robert Kenoun)
Sep 6 2009, 2:17 AM EDT
That interaction is about equalization in the state of internal energy of the subsystems that puts the metasystem (society, or social organism) in the lowest state of internal energy and optimum stability. What is internal energy in our modern society? It is the accumulation of wealth and power in a small segment of society. Wealth is energy, produced by the work of many and harnessed by few that gives them unlimited access to life support systems that others do not have. Obviouly, when one accumulates so much energy others suffer and the struggle is to release this energy so that others can also benefit from it, Karl Marx's class struggle. The state of equality in class struggle has never been achieved peacefully and without destruction of ordered structures, including human life (release of stored energy in ordered structures and elevation of entropy in universe). Note that society as a whole, and on a global scale, is growing contnuously and becoming more and more ordered, despite self-imposed destructive processes meant for equalization. Therefore, global society's entropy keep decreasing while producing much more disorder in the universe so that the net effect remains positive and in accordance with the laws of thermodynamics. to be continued.
— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —
Comment #28
Robert Kenoun 75wrk003 (Robert Kenoun)
Sep 6 2009, 2:42 AM EDT
let us now go back to the distribution of students in a class room and the state of entropy. I agree that many of the distributions that are random would have the same state of entropy, but certain others may produce a state of entropy that would be higher than others. For example, let us assume that students comprise of girls and boys, black and whites, rich and poor. One day the principle of the school decides to let the rich kids sit in front of the class and poor kids in the back of the class. I am sure this will create a huge problem when parents find out. the same will occur if he let white kids sit in the front and blacks in the back, or boys in the front and girls in the back. These forms of student distributions which are an indication of discriminatory policies (encouraging inequality) will produce stress in the system, (rise of entropy in the community) that may be rersisted by law suites and protests to remove the principle. Therefore, yes, not every distribution would produce the same level of entropy.
More in my book " a proposition to theory of history and social evolution."
— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —
Comment #29
Thims 75Sadi-Carnot (Libb Thims)
Sep 7 2009, 12:45 AM EDT
Phil, it pains me to hear some of the comments coming from your mouth; especially coming from someone who has taught thermal physics for six year? Please answer this question for me: does the second law of thermodynamics apply to a group of students (yes or no)?
— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —
Comment #30
Aaron Agassi 75AaronAgassi (Aaron AgassiExternal link icon (c))
Sep 7 2009, 2:44 AM EDT
When half baked hypotheses shed more heat than light, does peer pressure also rise as a consequence? And are any of the aforesaid indices quantifiable? I read here a great deal of: This is similar to that, and if we perform such mathematics upon these figures, the result is so. -The implications all whereof quite escape me, because quite frankly, I lack both faculty and interest. Traditional social science is openly qualitative. Quantitative Methodology is applied with care, in regard to observations that can be sampled and counted, and where meaning can then be inferred. I understand the wish for anything more like hard science in the humanities, but wishing never makes it so. I suggest instead, a return to statement of purpose, then in order to frame central questions. And if there can be no assertions as to the precise nature and identity of energy in Human Thermodynamics, then indeed, to borrow the Methodology of Physics, what can be said about it? What are the clues that can be listed?
— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —
Comment #31
Aaron Agassi 75AaronAgassi (Aaron AgassiExternal link icon (c))
Sep 7 2009, 2:59 AM EDT
Argument by analogy was the last logical fallacy to be identified. All analogies are only intended for specific illustration, and all break down at some point. The only exception is tautology. Nothing is completely like anything other than itself. So, what analogies are drawn by Human Thermodynamics, to what specific application, and where do they terminate? What then might turn out sufficiently consistent for transfer of quantitative Methodology? Otherwise, what's the point?
— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —
Comment #32
Philip Moriarty 75Anonymous (Philip Moriarty)
Sep 7 2009, 10:01 AM EDT
Re: "Phil, it pains me to hear some of the comments coming from your mouth; especially coming from someone who has taught thermal physics for six year?
Please answer this question for me: does the second law of thermodynamics apply to a group of students (yes or no)?"

Libb, this will be the last time I reply to your questions. I find our discussion akin to arguing the existence of fairies at the bottom of my garden - a pointless waste of time. I have in the past been involved in lengthy online debates, including a discussion which ran to sixty pages on the subject of nanotechnology. In that case, however, it was a debate - not an argument - and I felt that both the person I was debating with and I gained something from the exchange.

*Our* argument, however, is on the basis of a nonsensical pseudoscientific abuse of thermodynamic principles. I may as well be debating with a flat Earth society member. What do I gain from this? Nothing.

So, to answer your question (for the nth time): It doesn't matter how we arrange the students in a field (or in a box) - a change in their positions makes no difference to the ***thermodynamic*** entropy of the arrangement. (By moving the students around *we* will have had to do work, but that it is a very different aspect of the problem). Students do not naturally disperse because they are driven to do so by an increase in entropy.

Moreover, my suggestion that your extrapolation of quantum mechanics to "human molecules" is ludicrous is certainly not off the topic. The question of the fundamental basis of the interaction between the elements of the systems is central to a consideration of the thermodynamics - compare the ideal gas to a real gas (e.g. involving van der Waals interactions). Are you telling me that the nature of the interaction makes no difference to the thermodynamic work done? (Actually, don't bother answering that...). Philip
— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —
Comment #33
Philip Moriarty 75Anonymous (Philip Moriarty)
Sep 7 2009, 10:09 AM EDT
Coda: I thought you might be interested in these comments posted under the Sixty Symbols YouTube video which prompted your most recent missives:
-----------------
YogiToad (1 month ago)

So you used an analogy using the students as an example. Who could not understand [that] the physical differences between people sitting around in a park and gas? If someone could not grasp the analogy then they really don't have what it takes to understand the concept in a more complex fashion either.

lynchmobb2000 (1 month ago)
I still don't see what the problem was with Moriarty's explanation. It sounds like those complaints were from trolls.

velocity73R (1 month ago) [in response to lynchmobb2000]
Exactly, it's a bunch of know it alls that want to make an analogy = Gospel. By doing this they feel smarter since he didn't expressly say it was in fact an analogy, even though anyone with an IQ higher than room temperature should have realized just what he was saying. He's made a video to feed the trolls, he should have just told them to, 'F' OFF!
-----------------

I certainly didn't do what velocity37R suggests in the final line of his/her comment because I thought that, given you are obviously extremely well read in thermodynamics, we could have a worthwhile debate. It's a shame that this proved not to be the case. Goodbye, Philip.
— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —
Comment #34
Thims 75Sadi-Carnot (Libb Thims)
Sep 7 2009, 10:09 AM EDT
To Aaron:
The energy U of a system is the sum of vis viva T and ergal J of the system:

U = T + J

This is the basic definition, whether for humans or for smaller molecules or atoms, no analogy. To Phil: Based on your avoidance of the above very simple question (second law applies to system of students, yes or no?), I will assume you do not know the answer.
— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —
Comment #35
Philip Moriarty 75Anonymous (Philip Moriarty)
Sep 7 2009, 10:44 AM EDT
Re: "To Phil: Based on your avoidance of the above very simple question (second law applies to system of students, yes or no?), I will assume you do not know the answer." Interesting use of the term "avoidance"! Read my reply above. Assume what you like. However, let me word your question more appropriately: "Does the second law of thermodynamics drive a system of students from a close-packed configuration to a "dispersed" configuration?" No. Could I be more specific? Philip.
— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —
Comment #36
Thims 75Sadi-Carnot (Libb Thims)
Sep 7 2009, 12:08 PM EDT
Yes, you are still avoiding the main question. Based on your last response, however, I will assume you believe that: “yes, the second law does apply to systems of students, but not in such a way that it acts to disperse closed packed configurations.” If this is true, then we are both in agreement.

To clarify, I have never said, anywhere, that the second law drives a system of students from a close-paced configuration to a dispersed configuration. This is the simple Boltzmann-type ideal gas model. To understand entropy in human systems, which are of course far more complex than ideal gas models, one must turn to how entropy is understood in chemical thermodynamics.

I understand that chemical thermodynamics is not your main field and thus I reason that this is the source or underlying reason behind your objections or irritations with the course of this discussion. As I have mentioned before, the fact that over 300 people (including 8 Nobel Laureates), come and gone, have attempted to grapple with entropy and the second law applied to human systems, illuminates the view that just exactly how entropy applies to human systems is not answered in a simple manner.
— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —
Comment #37
Aaron Agassi 75AaronAgassi (Aaron AgassiExternal link icon (c))
Sep 7 2009, 1:09 PM EDT
Philip, you have not explicitly answered Libb yes or no, nor have you undertaken to show cause why you should not. Perhaps you made your answer implicit, but I am too lazy and pissed off to work it out for myself. I am a layperson with little patience for riddles. Never burry the lead!
— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —
Comment #38
Aaron Agassi 75AaronAgassi (Aaron AgassiExternal link icon (c))
Sep 7 2009, 1:30 PM EDT

"To Aaron: The energy U of a system is the sum of vis viva T and ergal J of the system: U = T + J. This is the basic definition, whether for humans or for smaller molecules or atoms, no analogy. To Phil: Based on your avoidance of the above very simple question (second law applies to system of students, yes or no?), I will assume you do not know the answer."

That can never make any sense until if ever energy is ever defined in sociological terms for Human Thermodynamics.

Also, you make undue assumption of ready familiarity and facility on my part with jargon.
— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —
Comment #39
Philip Moriarty 75Anonymous (Philip Moriarty)
Sep 7 2009, 2:17 PM EDT
"Philip, you have not explicitly answered Libb yes or no, nor have you undertaken to show cause why you should not. Perhaps you made your answer implicit, but I am too lazy and pissed off to work it out for myself. I am a layperson with little patience for riddles. Never burry the lead!"

@AaronAgassi: The problem with Libb's question, as he no doubt knows well, is that it is worded very vaguely. It is ill-advised to answer this type of question with a yes/no response, without taking into account the context. Applying the 2nd law of thermodynamics to life immediately raises important and complex points related to the question of open vs closed systems and equilibrium/non-equilibrium thermodynamics.

Libb's thesis is as follows: Students are "human molecules". He argues that the same physics that is used to describe the thermodynamics of gas molecules can be applied directly to these "human molecules". Libb ascribes an (ill-defined) "interaction energy" to humans and argues that we can write down a function which describes the free energy of a system of students. He also argues that the 1st and 2nd laws of thermodynamics can be ascribed to the collection/system of students.

The first law is simply the conservation of energy. But, as you have quite correctly highlighted, the concept of energy (internal, free, or otherwise) in Libb's Human Thermodynamics is ill-defined. Why is this? Well, it's because the entire human thermodynamics concept is fundamentally flawed.

One statement of the 2nd law is: "No process is possible whose sole result is the removal of heat from reservoir at one temperature and the absorption of an equal quantity of heat by a reservoir at higher temperature". But to ascribe a quantity of thermodynamic "heat" to an assembly of students **also makes absolutely no sense**.

In this context, my answer is a resounding no.
— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —
Comment #40
Thims 75Sadi-Carnot (Libb Thims)
Sep 7 2009, 10:01 PM EDT
I’m going to (hopefully) end this dismal conversation off with a note that Moriarty gets his understanding of entropy (“as they sort of spread out or move around [from this packed state], we say that they are moving to a high entropy state … and that’s what entropy’s really about ... about this dispersal of energy, about moving from a state where everything is nicely packed and close together to one where everything is spread out”), from someone who flunked out of senior level thermodynamics and was forced to switch majors from physical chemistry to organic chemistry:

http://www.eoht.info/page/Energy+dispersal

A good rule of thumb we can all learn from this extended debate is that if you are going to copy off someone (in a test or YouTube video), make sure it is from the one who gets an A in the class, not from the ones who eventually drop out of the class or have trouble passing.
— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —
Comment #41
Aaron Agassi 75AaronAgassi (Aaron AgassiExternal link icon (c))
Sep 7 2009, 11:46 PM EDT
Indeed, what is student heat? Is it anything like teen spirit? Or is it, or so I gather, a factor of compression and agitation of people in crowds? And is it quantifiable? It just might be. But why would any of that be important or interesting? Perhaps it might even factor into human movement patterns for building designs in Situationist applied unitary urbanism. But any of that doesn't validate or even connect application to Sociology or Politics.

Incidentally, Americans, particularly from the open plains, tend to stand further apart in conversation, than Japanese who live under high population density. So at cocktail parties, an American chatting with a Japanese will constantly back away in order to adjust acceptable distance, while the Japanese adjusts position by closing distance. Thus the most diminutive Japanese might actually be seen chasing the largest most burly strapping American around the room! Does this then mean that Americans are made of exotic negative matter?
— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —
Comment #42
Thims 75Sadi-Carnot (Libb Thims)
Sep 8 2009, 12:02 AM EDT
Aaron, now your getting the idea. The basic theory of heat in connection to the universal expansion of bodies (systems of students or blocks of ice) originated in the 1720 chemistry lectures of Dutch physician Herman Boerhaave, in what was known as Boerhaave’s law:

“Ever body, whether solid or fluid, is augmented in all its dimensions by any increase of its sensible heat.”

This quote formed the basis of French chemist Antoine Lavoisier’s 1787 caloric theory (heat particle view of heat), which in turn led to German physician Rudolf Clausius’ 1865 theory of the entropy function as a formula for heat (a correction to the caloric theory).

P.S. on your comment “Perhaps it might even factor into human movement patterns for building designs”, I coincidently happen to be reading this very minute Italian architect Luis Fernandez-Galiano’s 1982 book Fire and Memory: On Architecture and Energy:

http://www.eoht.info/page/Luis+Fern%C3%A1ndez-Galiano

in which he works out some of this logic in terms of thermodynamics, although I’m only on page six at the moment.

Regarding your question “why would any of that be important or interesting?”, from my point of view (similar to C.G. Darwin), is that of prediction:

http://www.eoht.info/page/Prediction

Someone, 200-300 years from now, will be able to predict whether or not any given human chemical reaction will occur, e.g. divorce or 50-years of happy marriage, based on calculated measures of energy and entropy, just as is done with smaller chemical reactions. In other words, in the near future (not likely in our lifetime), people will be able to choose mates intelligently (20-30% rate of divorce at the 15-year mark), rather than willy-nilly (43% divorce rate at the 15-year mark, the current rate).
— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —
Comment #43
Person icon 75Petrologist (Bruce BathurstExternal link icon (c))
Sep 8 2009, 1:43 AM EDT
The debate I found did not explain any topics of contention. Here, because I was requested to comment, are some suggestions that come to mind for a sociologist or psychologist who is scraping thermodynamics for ideas. I offer these because I don't argue. These are based upon some experience using only the Gibbs-Duhem equation to study geological processes that could be proved equilibrium within their well-defined domains of space and time. Has human thermodynamics a phase rule?

Geology, however, is a natural, objective science. Classical thermodynamics is a physical science that, we believe, imposed restrictions upon geological phenomena that involved heat and work. Because minerals are crystalline phases, without molecules, classical rather than chemical thermodynamics was my natural choice.

The most restrictions are imposed upon equilibrium processes; and it is these that can be traced backward, from final to initial states. Many geological processes can be demonstrated to have been equilibrium (to varying degrees of assuredness), their slowness and high temperatures apparently permitting the changes within a hand specimen to have proceeded so efficiently that we cannot detect any production of 'uncompensated heat'. The application of equilibrium thermodynamics, with its many conservative equations, to a natural classification of geological objects was anticipated to be a very fertile field of study. This should be the same with a valid human thermodynamics.

The above I describe in detail because the development of a theory involving efficiency to economics, societies, or personalities might well borrow ideas from the application of thermodynamics to the natural sciences. The great differences are that one is concerned little with heat & work, and these subjects are sciences in the philosophical use of that term: the objects of interest in Human Thermodynamics would appear to be subjective, not objective.
— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —
Comment #44
Person icon 75Petrologist (Bruce BathurstExternal link icon (c))
Sep 8 2009, 1:47 AM EDT
State variables, cycles, and differential equations whose integrals are conservative are all related. Thus a First Law will exist if cycles & states do, making the concept of the First Law vary with one's point of view (alluded to by Poincaré). The only real restriction on content appears imposed by one's definition of entropy, an extensive quantity.

The entropy, no matter what it measures, is itself conserved during processes sufficiently efficient to be cyclic. Its dual, temperature, must be an intensive quantity; and their product must have the units of energy. There are normally C + 2 such pairs, their sum defining the energy function itself. One avoids the constants of integration by arbitrarily setting the energy of a phase of a substance to zero. (Here only two laws are used.)

Statistical thermodynamics I don't work with. However, students arranged even by the absurd process of bouncing off walls, by rotating, stretching, and flying, won't define an entropy without a consistent energy function first. The energy is required to make entropy a state variable. One typically counts the number of equivalent arrangements; 'equivalent' meaning first sameness of volume, then energy. Their product enumerates states equivalent in both volume & energy. Ultimately, S(U,V) is created and transformed into the Gibbs equation G(T,-p). The simplicity of molecular motion is the simplicity of thermodynamics; so, whether molecules that think can produce a (simple) thermodynamic theory is, I believe, worthy of thought.
— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —
Comment #44
Person icon 75Petrologist (Bruce BathurstExternal link icon (c))
Sep 8 2009, 1:53 AM EDT
It is very useful, when creating one's own theory, to consult original literature. 'Vis viva' may have had some qualities lost when honed into work. However, older quantities were abandoned for a good reason: one needs to know what it this reason was. Older literature by anyone other than the best of scientists is often wrong. However, papers by excellent scientists often offer much simpler but deeper explanations than current texts or treatises provide. Great care needs be taken.

Once one leaves the exactly equilibrium realm, temperature (& entropy) are no longer extant. To force useful chemical relations near equilibrium, one must assume that the Gibbs equation (or any characteristic function of extensive variables) extends smoothly into the non-equilibrium domain. This is an axiom that supplements the laws of thermodynamics, and fails far from equilibrium.

Though I have no clear (or even fuzzy) picture of what human thermodynamics is (no Flash, sorry), classical thermodynamics is a very fundamental, physical theory whose study I can see contributing many ideas to softer 'sciences'. One need always remember, of course, that objective science does not offer theories that can relate natural objects of interest in the softer 'sciences'; for these natural objects are subjective, not objective. To attempt this would, in essence, be an attempt to replace philosophy with science.

Here one replaces Bridgman's scientific definition with Pierce's philosophical one: the concept of a kiss is not a gentle touching of lips: it is, rather, subjective '... effects, that might conceivably have practical bearings ... .' :-) To replace philosophy with objective science is, ultimately, to create a new religion.

These three posts offer personal suggestions that come to mind, not criticisms of what I don't understand. They are not part of a debate, but may add some substance.
— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —
Comment #45
Aaron Agassi 75AaronAgassi (Aaron AgassiExternal link icon (c))
Sep 8 2009, 3:13 AM EDT
I reject Quantum indeterminacy in favor of ordinary measurement uncertainty, indeed a function of Thermodynamics being an aspect of classical physics, under the physics of Fisher information. (I is the Law) Hence I can except superdeterminism at least in principle. Nevertheless, long range projection of interaction between specific particles remains unfeasible, so simply analogizing people to particles and ignoring all the differences, won't predict much either, Sociometrically.
— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —
Comment #46
Philip Moriarty 75Anonymous (Philip Moriarty)
Sep 8 2009, 4:31 AM EDT
"I’m going to (hopefully) end this dismal conversation off with a note that Moriarty gets his understanding of entropy (“as they sort of spread out or move around [from this packed state], we say that they are moving to a high entropy state … and that’s what entropy’s really about ... about this dispersal of energy, about moving from a state where everything is nicely packed and close together to one where everything is spread out”), from someone who flunked out of senior level thermodynamics and was forced to switch majors from physical chemistry to organic chemistry:

http://www.eoht.info/page/Energy+dispersal

A good rule of thumb we can all learn from this extended debate is that if you are going to copy off someone (in a test or YouTube video), make sure it is from the one who gets an A in the class, not from the ones who eventually drop out of the class or have trouble passing."

Sorry, but I couldn't let this go: What a despicable ad hominem attack on Lambert. That you have to resort to this attempt at character assassination underscores why it's time to call an end to this "debate". Lambert has had his work published in a number of high quality peer-reviewed journals and very many text-books have already adopted his approach to explaining entropy. Why do you think this is? (Have you tried submitting your work to any of the journals in which Lambert has published?)
— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —
Comment #47
Philip Moriarty 75Anonymous (Philip Moriarty)
Sep 8 2009, 4:49 AM EDT
"Aaron, now your getting the idea. "
Aaron states "Does this then mean that Americans are made of exotic negative matter?". Your response? "Aaron, now your [sic] getting the idea".

I rest my case.
Philip Moriarty
— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —
Comment #48
Thims 75Sadi-Carnot (Libb Thims)
Sep 8 2009, 11:01 AM EDT
I wish Moriarty would simply admit that he doesn’t know what entropy is.

To review, in his first video he tries to explain what entropy is using the 1890 Poincaré recurrence theorem (a statement from a paper on the three body problem):

http://www.eoht.info/page/Poincar%C3%A9+recurrence+theorem

which is not what entropy is. In his second video, he tries to explain entropy using the 2002 views of ninety-year old, basically unknown, American chemist Frank Lambert, who “never liked thermo”, who throughout his first 80-years of life admitted (to me) that he never understood what entropy was, who has never read the any of the works of Clausius (as he admitted to me), and who couldn’t handle physical chemistry (or his thermodynamics classes), because they were too difficult (thus switching to an easier subject). Phil, there’s no shame in saying that you don’t understand something. Many have:

http://www.eoht.info/page/Entropy+quotes

If you want to understand what entropy is you have to physically open the 1865 (or 1875) textbook The Mechanical Theory of Heat and read it. Reading is fundamental.
— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —
Comment #49
Philip Moriarty 75Anonymous (Philip Moriarty)
Sep 8 2009, 11:14 AM EDT
"....If you want to understand what entropy is you have to physically open the 1865 (or 1875) textbook The Mechanical Theory of Heat and read it. Reading is fundamental."

"I wish Moriarty would simply admit that he doesn’t know what entropy is. Libb Thims"

Libb, my Thermal and Kinetic course notes are at www.nottingham,.ac.uk/~ppzpjm/F1ST1. I'll let interested contributors/visitors to your Wiki judge for themselves my grip on the concept of entropy.

Philip Moriarty
— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —
Comment #50
Philip Moriarty 75Anonymous (Philip Moriarty)
Sep 8 2009, 11:21 AM EDT
"Libb, my Thermal and Kinetic course notes are at www.nottingham,.ac.uk/~ppzpjm/F1ST1. I'll let interested contributors/visitors to your Wiki judge for themselves my grip on the concept of entropy.

Philip Moriarty"
Apologies - that should be www.nottingham.ac.uk/~ppzpjm/F31ST1.

Philip Moriarty
— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —
Comment #51
Peter Pogany 75telosx (Peter Pogany)
Sep 8 2009, 11:24 AM EDT
Taken together, extraction of low entropy from and insertion of high entropy into the environment makes the global economy and, by extension, all human activity on the aggregate a throughput of energy, with a second-law-dictated degradation in tow. (Economic growth, of course, increases the throughput with derivable consequences.)

These are introductory level observations in ecological economics but they provide a “from the top down,” intuition-honing demonstration why interactions even among a small group of people over a very short period of time are within the purview of “human thermodynamics.” Such activities may be regarded as “formal objects” of infinitesimal size in a triple integral where the integrand is a function of time, surface in use, and contribution to entropy in the terrestrial sphere. This last operator certainly has the aura of a fix, but it cannot be ruled out and it may indeed be not more ad hoc than what physicists admit as legitimate subjects of discussion (Einstein’s “cosmological constant” comes to mind).

There are many arguments in favor of Libb’s perspective even if we start “from the bottom up.” They may be numerically only ordinal and very general, yet they are intelligible and rational – built exactly on what physics provided by being cardinal, specific, sensible, and empirical. Interdisciplinary consciousness research and cognitive neuroscience (both of which include philosophy); experimental economics, cogent reasoning in trans-subjective psychology, and scholarly parapsychology help make the contrarian standpoint, which raises nitpicking empiricism to the rank of a criterion of truth, look rather dogmatic and outdated.
— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —
Comment #52
Philip Moriarty 75Anonymous (Philip Moriarty)
Sep 8 2009, 11:24 AM EDT
"If you want to understand what entropy is you have to physically open the 1865 (or 1875) textbook The Mechanical Theory of Heat and read it. Reading is fundamental."
Reading is certainly fundamental. I prefer, however, to keep up to date with the current literature and use this to complement my reading of classic (and classical physics) texts. Try it, Libb - you might find it illuminating.

Philip
— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —
Comment #53
Philip Moriarty 75Anonymous (Philip Moriarty)
Sep 8 2009, 11:34 AM EDT
"Taken together, extraction of low entropy from and insertion of high entropy....

....scholarly parapsychology help make the contrarian standpoint, which raises nitpicking empiricism to the rank of a criterion of truth, look rather dogmatic and outdated. "
This is exactly the type of jargon-ridden and empty language that Alan Sokal so successfully lampooned with his "Transgressing the Boundaries: Towards a Transformative Hermeneutics of Quantum Gravity" spoof paper, published in Social Text in the mid-nineties. It strikes me that Human Thermodynamics would be an ideal subject for a similar treatment.

"Such activities may be regarded as “formal objects” of infinitesimal size in a triple integral where the integrand is a function of time... "

What the heck does that mean?! Please write down this triple integral for me, putting in the appropriate limits. If the integrand is a function of time, please write down the form of that function. Any scientist will attempt to write as clearly as possible. As Sokal cleverly highlighted, obscure language is generally a very good way to hide a lack of substance in the discussion/argument.

Philip Moriarty
— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —
Comment #54
Philip Moriarty 75Anonymous (Philip Moriarty)
Sep 8 2009, 11:38 AM EDT
@telosx: Might I ask what your professional background is? Are you a mathematician, a physicist, a social scientist, a chemist etc...?

Philip Moriarty
— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —
Comment #55
Philip Moriarty 75Anonymous (Philip Moriarty)
Sep 8 2009, 12:03 PM EDT
"I wish Moriarty would simply admit that he doesn’t know what entropy is."
Libb, Further to the post above which includes a link to the lecture notes I prepared for the Thermal and Kinetic Physics course (www.nottingham.ac.uk/~ppzpjm/F31ST1), you might find it informative to download Tutorial Problem Sheet #3. Please feel free to attempt the problems related to entropy - I'd be more than willing to grade your work.

Philip Moriarty
— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —
Comment #56
Thims 75Sadi-Carnot (Libb Thims)
Sep 8 2009, 12:46 PM EDT
Regarding Petrologist’s question: “Has human thermodynamics a phase rule?”, the first attempt at this was done by American historian Henry Adams in his 1909 article “The Rule of Phase Applied to History”, who specifically defined people as “human molecules”. Some of the more recent work on this subject comes from German physicist Ingo Muller (a member of this wiki), author of the 2007 A History of Thermodynamics. I’ll give you a sample quote from his 2005 textbook Energy and Entropy (pg. 208) on socio-thermodynamics:

“Chemists, physicists, and engineers will recognize the construction and interpretation of the strategy diagram from metallurgy or alloys or physico-chemistry of solutions where phase diagrams are constructed … total segregation of the constituents occurs in those fields as the phenomenon of unmixing, like the fat globules float on watery soup. Such analogies emphasize the point of view that physical or sociobiological elements are atoms and molecules or birds and maybe men. And yet the forgoing is not socio-thermodynamics. While it seems plausible that birds strive for maximum gain, a principle like that is begging the question. What we are missing so far are the analogues in sociobiology to the first and second laws of thermodynamics.”

There is also phase rule logic using a human molecule perspective in the 1998 article “Human Societies a Curious Application” (a scan of the article below) by Venezuelan chemical engineer and thermodynamics professor Erich Muller.
— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —
Comment #57
Aaron Agassi 75AaronAgassi (Aaron AgassiExternal link icon (c))
Sep 8 2009, 1:23 PM EDT
"Aaron states "Does this then mean that Americans are made of exotic negative matter?". Your response? "Aaron, now your [sic] getting the idea". I rest my case. Philip Moriarty"

Context much? To be fair, I think that he let my jibe pass him by.

Nor, alas, did he grasp my point again pursuing the falsity or breakdown of argument by analogy because analogies are necessarily limited, by which I mean: how such modestly successful correlations quickly meet limitations. Indeed, he looks to the future for working out the little kinks in the bold new Methodology, thereby realizing the awesome potential of groundbreaking insight. Well, wouldn't that require someone, eventually, actually to grapple with the problems openly? At least the attempt might be more edifying.
— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —
Comment #58
Philip Moriarty 75Anonymous (Philip Moriarty)
Sep 8 2009, 4:34 PM EDT
"Context much? To be fair, I think that he let my jibe pass him by."
Aaron: The very fact that he allowed your jibe to "pass him by", as you say, speaks volumes. Indeed, your jibe is hardly any more ludicrous than the rest of Libb's Human Thermodynamics thesis.

Time and time again I have posed questions regarding the physics which supposedly underpins Human Thermodynamics and have been met with one of the following responses from Libb:

(a) Some elementary high school physics which does not begin to address the question I posed;

(b) evasion and/or obfuscation;

(c) Recourse to authority - citing wikipedia entries and/or textbooks, instead of addressing the question directly;

or (d) abuse directed either at me or others.

(I would also be keen to know the opinions of his tutors/lecturers on his Human Thermodynamics "concept".)

Philip
— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —
Comment #59
Thims 75Sadi-Carnot (Libb Thims)
Sep 8 2009, 4:48 PM EDT
My thesis (that the laws of thermodynamics govern human existence) is ludicrous? Let me explain things to you through the 1928 words of English astronomer Arthur Eddington:

“If someone points out to you that your pet theory of the universe is in disagreement with Maxwell’s equations — then so much the worse for Maxwell's equations. If it is found to be contradicted by observation — well, these experimentalists do bungle things sometimes. But if your theory is found to be against the second law of thermodynamics I can give you no hope; there is nothing for it but to collapse in deepest humiliation.”

In short, if you think the second law doesn’t apply to a system of students, then you are floating on a pet theory, and you (and your students) will eventually collapse in deepest humiliation.
— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —
Comment #60
Philip Moriarty 75Anonymous (Philip Moriarty)
Sep 8 2009, 5:00 PM EDT
"My thesis (that the laws of thermodynamics govern human existence) is ludicrous? Let me explain things to you through the 1928 words of English astronomer Arthur Eddington: “If someone points out to you that your pet theory of the universe is in disagreement with Maxwell’s equations — then so much the worse for Maxwell's equations. If it is found to be contradicted by observation — well, these experimentalists do bungle things sometimes. But if your theory is found to be against the second law of thermodynamics I can give you no hope; there is nothing for it but to collapse in deepest humiliation.” In short, if you think the second law doesn’t apply to a system of students, then you are floating on a pet theory, and you (and your students) will eventually collapse in deepest humiliation."

Libb.

See my comment above about recourse to authority. And when did I ever suggest that I had any difficulty with the 2nd law of thermodynamics?! Don't ascribe statements or opinions to me that I did not put forward - that's deeply unfair. Have you taken a look at my Thermal and Kinetic Physics notes yet? You'll find my stance on the 2nd law clearly outlined there.

Philip Moriarty
— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —
Comment #61
Philip Moriarty 75Anonymous (Philip Moriarty)
Sep 8 2009, 5:24 PM EDT
@Sadi-Carnot:

To suggest that your thesis is that the laws of thermodynamics "govern human existence" is a grossly misleading understatement. Your thesis (such as it is) is that there are quantum mechanical, chemical bonds between humans which can give rise to "human reactions" and that there are enthalpic/entropic contributions to a "human" free energy function (see: human free energy). I was going to walk away from this - and leave you to your delusions - until your deeply unfair attack on Frank Lambert. To attempt to belittle someone in a very public forum as you did is both despicable and unforgivable.

So, let's start with your fundamental nonsensical premise, i.e. that quantum mechanical bonds exist between humans. Where do I start? Well, off the top of my head:

(i) If humans can be described by wave mechanics then why do we not diffract when we go through obstacles (such as doorways)? Why do two humans not interfere constructively/destructively when they interact with each other? Why can we not see interference patterns for humans (just as we do for electrons of photons in the double slit experiment)?

(ii) Where is your evidence for these quantum mechanical wavefunctions? Can you plot out a probability density function for a human?

(iii) Do you understand the most fundamental quantum mechanical relations? What is the relationship between wavelength, momentum, and Planck's constant? Why do we not see quantum mechanical effects at the macroscopic level?

This is all basic 1st year undergraduate physics. Oh, and please don't tell me I'm off topic. (See my earlier comments) I'd also appreciate it if you answered in your own words rather than citing a textbook or Wikipedia.

Philip Moriarty
— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —
Comment #62
Philip Moriarty 75Anonymous (Philip Moriarty)
Sep 8 2009, 5:26 PM EDT
To clarify question (iii) in my previous post (#65) - by "macroscopic" in this context, I mean on the length scale of humans.

Philip
— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —
Comment #63
Thims 75Sadi-Carnot (Libb Thims)
Sep 8 2009, 5:37 PM EDT
To clarify your derogation that I gave you a “high school” definition of work, the definition I gave you (the measure of a force moving an object through a distance) is the definition of work upon which all of science is built. All modern definitions of work come from French physicist Gustave Coriolis’ 1829 textbook Calculation of the Effect of Machines. The next method is the integration of the volume changes of the surface of the system under study. This was first done graphically by French physicist Emile Clapeyron in 1834, over 38 years after the invention of the indicator (device used to get the data) by James Watt and John Southern. In the study of work done by volumes of human systems, we do not yet have an indicator, thus calculations of volumetric work still in the theoretical stages. It may be another 38 to 138 years before we can do this.

Without these instruments, attempt to express human work in joules are going to be very crude. An example is the 1930s efforts by American engineer Howard Scott (and his Technocrat group) to replace currency by energy certificates and to thus measure an hour of a day’s work in foot-pounds. His failure highlights many of the issues involved in calculating human work, thermodynamically. I’ll answer more of your questions later.
— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —
Comment #64
Philip Moriarty 75Anonymous (Philip Moriarty)
Sep 8 2009, 5:43 PM EDT
"To clarify your derogation that I gave you a “high school” definition of work, the definition I gave you (the measure of a force moving an object through a distance) is the definition of work upon which all of science is built. All modern definitions of work come from French physicist Gustave Coriolis’ 1829 textbook Calculation of the Effect of Machines. "

Oh, dear me. If you're enrolled for an MS degree in Physics you must surely know that work is the scalar (dot) product of two vector quantities. If I hold an object a metre from the ground and walk 10 metres in a northerly direction while holding the object precisely 1 metre from the ground, how much work have I done on that object?

Philip Moriarty
— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —
Comment #65
Philip Moriarty 75Anonymous (Philip Moriarty)
Sep 8 2009, 5:47 PM EDT
Quoting Sadi-Carnot from Comment #66 above: "It may be another 38 to 138 years before we can do this..."

Ermmm? Why "38 to 138" years? Why not 100 years or 10 years? Why did you choose a rather precise "38 to 138" for what is effectively only a completely groundless prediction on your part?

Philip Moriarty
— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —
Comment #66
Philip Moriarty 75Anonymous (Philip Moriarty)
Sep 8 2009, 6:00 PM EDT
@Sadi-Carnot.

You continually give me links to Wiki pages which describe basic thermodynamic processes/measurements/physics. I am very well aware of these thermodynamic principles. My argument with you is not that basic thermodynamics is flawed! What's flawed is your remarkable assertion that these principles can be applied to "human molecules".

Your laughable central premise is as follows: "Well, a human is made of lots of atoms. Therefore a human is just a big molecule. Big molecules will behave just like small molecules. Therefore I can apply all thermodynamic principles to human "molecules" ".

So, please stop citing basic physical principles which I fully understand and give me answers to the questions I've asked you in Comment #64 (and elsewhere). In your own words. Without citing your WIki pages (or Wikipedia). Any 1st year Physics undergraduate could address my questions in a few sentences. Please try to do this.

Philip Moriarty
— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —
Comment #67
Philip Moriarty 75Anonymous (Philip Moriarty)
Sep 8 2009, 7:17 PM EDT
@Lynnliss: This 'anonymous' user is Philip Moriarty. Try reading the preceding comments in the debate between myself and Libb Thims (Sadi-Carnot). On a matter of principle, I refuse to "sign up" for this Wiki, based, as it is, on nonsensical pseudoscience.

Philip Moriarty
— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —
Comment #68
Person icon 75Petrologist (Bruce BathurstExternal link icon (c))
Sep 8 2009, 7:22 PM EDT
Speaking of students bouncing off walls, I thought work was substituted with 'vis viva'. In any case, a serious typo in my second post (mathematical requirements), I just corrected to show why energy (not entropy, clearly) is needed before defining entropy. (Yet another requirement to be met.)

My three tedious posts indirectly asked many questions, questions that I can't answer: (1) Is the study of equilibrium states more fertile than far-from equilibrium states? (2) Are your variables analogous to intensities, densities, extensities, and energies? (3) Are the objects represented by these variables objective or subjective?

Anything that responds, including humans, will likely obey LeChatelier's Principle. One might even find restricted circumstances under which a quantitative relationship can be useful in relating well-defined, objective statistics. This could be a very valuable theorem in sociology; but it is not an application of thermodynamics. Thermodynamics, however, may have provided some ideas for its conception.
— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —
Comment #69
Aaron Agassi 75AaronAgassi (Aaron AgassiExternal link icon (c))
Sep 8 2009, 10:48 PM EDT

So, crowds compressed into closed spaces and agitated, behave at all like unto clouds of particles, even so much that behavior thereof may howsoever be described by thermodynamics equations. All fine and good. To then jump to the optimistic conclusion that any broader sociological application of thermodynamics only waits in the wings, is like concluding that because cranberries are red and edible, therefore red fire engines must be tasty too! That is the falsehood of argument by analogy.

Indeed, the application for traffic flow for architecture is probably the best that will ever come, because that is enough of a closed system and simplified besides and because individual human qualities have such little impact in this limited application.

Sadi-Carnot gathers ever more sociological observations that can be correlated by whatever strained metaphors to thermodynamics, but has yet to make predictions, testable hypotheses with standards of refutation.

Anyone tired of this tripe is invited to my own website and forums, htto://www.FoolQuest.com to decide if at least my madness has any better method.
— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —
Comment #70
Thims 75Sadi-Carnot (Libb Thims)
Sep 9 2009, 2:07 AM EDT
This discussion has been dragging on and we don’t yet seem to have resolution on the question posed.

To recap, Moriarty (a physicist) adamantly seems to believe, as professed in his second YouTube video on entropy, that “you cannot say that a particular arrangement of students has a thermodynamic entropy”. This certainly is one opinion.

To cite a differing opinion, the second person to comment in on this thread, Wolfgang Muschik (a physicist), professor of thermodynamics and statistical physics at the Technical University of Berlin, states that: “yes, you can: If you have a certain defined distribution function related to these students, you can define an entropy.”

So who is correct Muschik or Moriarty? Can we or can we not define an entropy for a system of people?

My inference from comment #63 is that Moriarty believes that the laws of thermodynamics govern human existence? If this is truly his view, then I am guessing that he believes the second law governs human systems (or arrangements), but that the measure of this effect, the entropy, cannot be quantified, measured, or even verbally said to exist? Muschik, conversely, says it can be defined.

In this context, I would much like Moriarty to clearly explain why he is correct and Muschik is wrong?
— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —
Comment #71
Philip Moriarty 75Anonymous (Philip Moriarty)
Sep 9 2009, 4:44 AM EDT
"This discussion has been dragging on and we don’t yet seem to have resolution on the question posed. To recap, Moriarty (a physicist) adamantly seems to believe, as professed in his second YouTube video on entropy, that “you cannot say that a particular arrangement of students has a thermodynamic entropy”. This certainly is one opinion. To cite a differing opinion, the second person to comment in on this thread, Wolfgang Muschik (a physicist), professor of thermodynamics and statistical physics at the Technical University of Berlin, states that: “yes, you can: If you have a certain defined distribution function related to these students, you can define an entropy.” So who is correct Muschik or Moriarty? "

I addressed this question in some detail way back in Comment #7. At that point, however, I believed you when you said that you were studying for an MS in Physics. You've now refused to answer a very simply question related to your claim - i.,e. where are you doing your degree? - at least five times. I am led to the conclusion that you are not enrolled on an MS in Physics course and that you are, let's say, "stretching the truth".

From now on, I'll therefore take it that you are not studying for an MS in Physics (which of course brings into doubt your claims about the other degrees you are supposedly pursuing and, moreover, any of the claims in your biog). This explains your inability to answer any of my simple 1st year physics questions in the comments above.

Your simple-minded "So who is correct, Muschik or Moriarty?" question betrays just how little you understand. We're both correct! It's frustrating to have to explain this to you yet again - given your arrogance with regard to the work of Lambert, for example - but I'll do so in the next comment.
— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —
Comment #72
Philip Moriarty 75Anonymous (Philip Moriarty)
Sep 9 2009, 5:06 AM EDT
"So who is correct Muschik or Moriarty? Can we or can we not define an entropy for a system of people?"
Right, let's try to clear this up once and for all. We can of course define an entropy for a distribution function. This is of the general form S = - (Sum of) [(p_n) ln (p_n)] where p_n are probabilities extracted from the distribution function, "ln" means natural log, and (Sum of) is my attempt to write a capital sigma without the benefit of mathematical typesetting.

This of course is rather similar in form to the formula for entropy we can write down from statistical mechanics BUT **it is not the same as a thermodynamic entropy (S)**. To define S, we need to have thermodynamically **accessible** microstates (Boltzmann). This is perhaps best described using the "playing cards" analogy: we can set up very many different microscopic configurations (microstates) for the cards (and thus think about a value of entropy in a statistical sense) **but the cards don't shuffle themselves**. The microstates aren't thermodynamically accessible.

Similarly, we can *in principle* write down a **statistical measure** of entropy for a distribution of people but this is not the same as the thermodynamic entropy. The people do not move from one state to another - i.e. you don't change the occupation of microstates - by changing the thermodynamic temperature. You can make whatever childish analogy you want between "sexual" and "thermodynamic" temperature but that's all it is - an analogy (and an extremely poor one).

You're not the only one to get confused. See: von Neumann entropy (link). I'd very much like to hear Prof. Muschik's thoughts on the above and this paper: (link).
— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —
Comment #73
Philip Moriarty 75Anonymous (Philip Moriarty)
Sep 9 2009, 5:10 AM EDT
Re. Comment #77 above:

My apologies - the hyperlinks that I inserted (i.e. <a href=....>) didn't work. Please simply copy and paste the URLs into the address bar of your browser.

Thanks. Philip Moriarty
— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —
Comment #74
Philip Moriarty 75Anonymous (Philip Moriarty)
Sep 9 2009, 5:43 AM EDT
"In this context, I would much like Moriarty to clearly explain why he is correct and Muschik is wrong...."
In the spirit of open debate, I thought it best to include here a copy of an e-mail I sent Prof. Muschik a few minutes ago:

Dear Prof. Muschik,

Thank you for contributing to the debate that I have been having with “Libb Thims” (I suspect that this is a pseudonym!) at his Human Thermodynamics Wiki. I have posted a couple of responses to your (and Libb’s) comments – see Comments #7, #76, and #77. I’d be very interested in reading your response to these comments.

Ordinarily, I would not pursue an online debate of this type with such “vigor” but I have been disappointed and shocked by Thims’ willingness to indulge in quite abusive ad hominem attacks. Note his attempt to slur the academic credentials/qualifications of Prof. Frank Lambert in Comment #39. Thims has a habit of doing this – he has an entire page dedicated to Lambert which includes more abuse along these lines.

What is particularly irritating is that it is clear that Thims has been lying about his pursuit of a masters degree in physics. It is clear from his inability to answer the simplest questions in physics that he has no understanding at all of fundamental physical principles. He is certainly very well read in thermodynamics but has absorbed very little physical intuition from what he’s read – he knows the history (better than me) but not the physics.

As I state in Comment #69:

Your [Thims’] laughable central premise is as follows: "Well, a human is made of lots of atoms. Therefore a human is just a big molecule [see: Eadon poll]. Big molecules will behave just like small molecules. Therefore I can apply all thermodynamic principles to human "molecules" [see: human molecule]".

..contd in next comment.
— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —
Comment #75
Philip Moriarty 75Anonymous (Philip Moriarty)
Sep 9 2009, 5:44 AM EDT
...contd. from Comment #74:

It’s not surprising that this type of pseudoscientific nonsense is being put forward on the web. What is very surprising, however, is that Thims has (apparently) been invited by a university to present a lecture [Note: to bioengineering thermodynamics students, at University of Illinois; see: Thims lectures] on his human thermodynamics rubbish. To equate – literally (!!) – a “sexual temperature” with a “thermodynamic temperature” is so wrong-headed as to beggar belief. In addition, his arguments about human “wavefunctions” [see: human wave function] (or orbitals) [see: human molecular orbital] and “human bonds” [see: human chemical bond] are what I would expect from someone with absolutely no understanding of science.

I would very much welcome hearing your thoughts on the above (or at Thims’ Wiki).
— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —
Comment #76
Philip Moriarty 75Anonymous (Philip Moriarty)
Sep 9 2009, 5:52 AM EDT
"To cite a differing opinion, the second person to comment in on this thread, Wolfgang Muschik (a physicist), professor of thermodynamics and statistical physics at the Technical University of Berlin, states that: “yes, you can: If you have a certain defined distribution function related to these students, you can define an entropy. So who is correct Muschik or Moriarty? Can we or can we not define an entropy for a system of people?"

And yet again, Libb, your only response is to quote an authority figure. This has been your tactic throughout and betrays your very weak understanding of physics and physical chemistry. Anybody can quote authority figures - it takes somewhat more effort to develop your own counter-arguments. You have consistently shown that you are unable to do this.
— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —
Comment #77
Philip Moriarty 75Anonymous (Philip Moriarty)
Sep 9 2009, 6:57 AM EDT
Aaron, you are entirely correct to dismiss the concept of human thermodynamics, as put forward by Sadi-Carnot/Libb Thims, as tripe. Sadi-Carnot has studied the history of thermodynamics in quite some detail - and is certainly better versed in the minutiae of the historical development of certain concepts than I - but he has little or no grasp of the underlying physics.

"Thims gathers ever more sociological observations that can be correlated by whatever strained metaphors to thermodynamics, but has yet to make predictions, testable hypotheses with standards of refutation".

Indeed. Moreover, instead of debating the scientific issues using reasoned counter-arguments, he continually simply quotes from experts (often entirely missing the point of the question) and arrogantly attacks those who do not share his outlandish views via nasty ad hominem attacks.

Richard Feynman once put forward an interesting single sentence definition of science: "Science is the belief in the ignorance of experts". Once an argument is *solely* based on, as I put it above, "recourse to authority" - Thims's preferred approach - then one appreciates the point that Feynman was trying to make. It's a question of critical thinking.
— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —
Comment #78
Aaron Agassi 75AaronAgassi (Aaron AgassiExternal link icon (c))
Sep 9 2009, 11:13 AM EDT
One reason for disagreement is indeed misunderstanding from ignorance, but that isn't the only possible motivation. Perhaps it is Thims who needs to pose question in order to understand his opponent, before then attempting more pertinent rebuttal.

To wit: I would also like to press home, again, my point regarding the limits of argument by analogy.

It is remarkable that both sound and light could actually be waves. If truly so, even then, waves are waves. But the heat in human thermodynamics is cleanly heat in an equivocal sense, much the way the hand of a statue is a hand. After all, human beings also engage in decidedly non particle-like behaviors. The heat in human thermodynamics is supposed to have formal similarities to actual physical heat, enough so that thermodynamics equations might at all describe events, much less predict outcomes. It is an analogy or metaphor. And the question then remains open, how far the metaphor extends before breaking down into ignominiously cretinous failed reductionism. I submit, not necessarily anywhere near as far as Thims' boundless optimism. It will be novelty enough if the limited architectural application is fruitful, never mind efficient. The rest might be poetic, but only given competent poetry. That, at least, might be fruitful for poetry, and ever truly to glean human insight.
Henry Carey (dated)“The essential submission is the assertion that development is due, not to human effort, but to the automatic effect of certain external circumstances or events. It comes about in the manner in which a flame is produced when a match is struck against the side of the box. Surely, there are few who would accept this theory of culture-growth as realistic. But then the whole idea of ‘social heat’ is no more than a downright absurdity.”
— Werner Stark (1962), on Henry Carey’s 1858 “extreme” sociology (see: Stark classification)
A comparison of Moriarty (C#79) to Werner Stark (1962) in mindset against the 1850s social heat theories of Henry Carey.
— — — — — —
— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —
Comment #79
Philip Moriarty 75Anonymous (Philip Moriarty)
Sep 9 2009, 5:33 PM EDT
"One reason for disagreement is indeed misunderstanding from ignorance, but that isn't the only possible motivation. Perhaps it is Thims who needs to pose question in order to understand his opponent, before then attempting more pertinent rebuttal....That, at least, might be fruitful for poetry, and ever truly to glean human insight."

I would be more than happy to address any question that Thims wishes to put to me. I've dealt with his most recent question in comments #76 and #77 and have yet to receive a response. I have been as clear as I can possibly be in answering his question. The difficulty is Thims struggles with the fundamental physics/maths underpinning entropy. This makes communication with him rather tricky.

Treating sound and light as waves is much, much more than just analogy/metaphor. If you're interested, some videos at the University of Nottingham's Sixty Symbols YouTube channel deal with the physics of waves - see:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PLey7TTGXTw&feature=channel_page
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fytJ0ZsbIoQ&feature=channel_page
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vKS3-npxgls&feature=channel_page

In contrast, not only is the concept of heat [see: social heat] in Thims' Human Thermodynamics (HT) "equivocal" as you suggest, it is simply nonsense. You might as well state that interactions between human beings are mediated by strands of invisible spaghetti, tendrils of invisible cheese, or teams of invisible pixies. There is absolutely no evidence for what Thims is proposing. If he were putting forward HT simply as an analogy/metaphor for classical thermodynamics, that would be bad enough. However, his thesis is that it's not simply a metaphor - he argues that HT is a viable description of reality.

Philip (Moriarty)
social Coriolis effect
A 2015 synopsis of a “right” and “wrong” social Coriolis effect (C#80) based example, from slides #57-58 (Ѻ) of lecture #12 (Ѻ), from Thims’ “Zerotheism for Kids”. [N1]
— — — — — —
— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —
Comment #80
Philip Moriarty 75Anonymous (Philip Moriarty)
Sep 9 2009, 9:41 PM EDT
I made mention of light and sound both actually BEING waves. Again, waves are waves. Yes, that's more than analogy, indeed it is tautology.

Thims strays into nonsense by pressing argument from analogy way too far. The observation of people in crowds under confined space moving at all like particles [see: human particle], is all fine and good. It could be a true observation, that most would make as a joke, because it doesn't really necessarily indicate much more. The most viable application is still to architectural traffic flow, but even then not exclusively, due to distinctly non thermodynamic human conduct. For example, The way to avoid crows at Disneyworld, is always to turn left, because crowds tend to turn right. Will Thims now chalk that up to some sort of social coriolis effect? [N1] In situationism, even aesthetics factors of as experienced inside an environment are observed to repel or to attract human movement through the streets. But such qualitative factors are difficult to quantify in order to apply equations. So any possible application of thermodynamics remains poetical, useful in forcing unusual inventive associations, which is more valuable than Thims' obscurantist pseudoscience.
— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —
Comment #81
Person icon 75Petrologist (Bruce BathurstExternal link icon (c))
Sep 10 2009, 4:34 AM EDT
This is a very fine site, with wonderful photos. I don't mean to strike anyone on the mat. However, this 'debate' might benefit from a broader perspective.

This evening I (quite independently) offered the Wikipedia my requirements to be called a 'creationist':

1. Traditional religions & traditional science must be in conflict.

2. Objective (shared) and subjective (personal) observations are treated the same.

3. The scientific use of the word 'true', which scientists strive to replace with 'false', is treated the same as the 'true' used by philosophers.

4. Hypotheses are judged by examining their explanations, not their predictions.

Here I add this:

5. Religion and art are not viewed as important irrational activities of the mind: faith is treated as logical and thus blurred with scientific belief. Irrational thought is viewed as inferior to rational thought.

My thread 'Why I am not a molecule' (Ѻ) created a hostile insistence that science & religion must be in conflict, IMO; it is clear that a 'thermodynamics of everything' muddies the clear stream between science & religion; I failed to find 'truth' defined here, though 'science' is philosophical; & 'science' here explains, it doesn't predict. One may wish to search this site for 'prediction' or 'truth'.

To be continued ...
— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —
Comment #82
Person icon 75Petrologist (Bruce BathurstExternal link icon (c))
Sep 10 2009, 4:45 AM EDT
... continued from Part I

Even in Whewell's 1858 'Novum Organon Renovatum', we can find:

'The prediction of results, even of the same kind as those which have been observed, in new cases, is a proof of real success in our inductive processes.'

Here, 'Religious Thermodynamics' contains a solution to the 'creationism' problem, if (ironically) one is prepared to abandon the very core principles of physical & natural science:

' ... The popularization of this statement and others like it have led to the wide-spread belief, for many, that the laws of thermodynamics are in conflict with evolution. This, however, is not the case.

'The difficulty in clarifying the contradiction, to the appeasement of all naysayers, is, in particular, that the science of “human chemical thermodynamics” is a future branch of knowledge. The conception that a human being is, in reality, a “molecule”, specifically, a human molecule, is a little understood or used concept in science.'

I'm sure it's only coincidence, but if 'creationism' is America's new Messiah, 'Human Thermodynamics' would appear to be its 'John, the Baptist' (if I may make an analogy, Aaron :-).

This in no way lessens Thims' arguments, so long as they use operational definitions and make many testable predictions.
— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —
Comment #83
Aaron Agassi 75AaronAgassi (Aaron AgassiExternal link icon (c))
Sep 10 2009, 5:06 AM EDT
What testable predictions?

— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —
Comment #84
Aaron Agassi 75AaronAgassi (Aaron AgassiExternal link icon (c))
Sep 10 2009, 7:33 AM EDT
"3. The scientific use of the word 'true', which scientists strive to replace with 'false', is treated the same as the 'true' used by philosophers."
Truth is correspondence to reality in assertions. Assertions are Ontological statements such as employ the verb: to be.
— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —
Comment #85
Aaron Agassi 75AaronAgassi (Aaron AgassiExternal link icon (c))
Sep 10 2009, 7:37 AM EDT
"4. Hypotheses are judged by examining their explanations, not their predictions."
Both explanatory power and testability are always crucial.
— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —
Comment #86
Aaron Agassi 75AaronAgassi (Aaron AgassiExternal link icon (c))
Sep 10 2009, 7:40 AM EDT
"5. Religion and art are not viewed as important irrational activities of the mind: faith is treated as logical and thus blurred with scientific belief. Irrational thought is viewed as inferior to rational thought."

Notes
N1. Re: "social Coriolis effect" (#80) this was first touched in by Ernst Mach, in his "turning tendencies" and expanded on by Thims in Human Chemistry (2007) and used in Thims' "Zerotheism for Kids" lecture, in the Crocodile Dundee morality example.

References
1. The Wolf-Watz NMR-lab – Chemistry.umu.se.

Continued
Moriarty-Thims debate (part two)
Moriarty-Thims debate (part three)

See also
Rossini debate

TDics icon ns