Re: virus: Metasystem Transition
Fri, 14 Feb 1997 14:00:53 -0600 (CST)

On Sun, 9 Feb 1997, Dave Pape wrote:

> At 11:06 07/02/97 -0600, Ken wrote:
> >On Tue, 4 Feb 1997, Dave Pape wrote:
> >> >I have reservations about "previously non-existent order": I'd prefer
> >> >"previously unobserved order" [Never mind that this isn't Quantum
> >> >Politically Correct].
> >>
> >> Well, sorry. But you can't have it.
> [KLIP]
> >I *can* have it! You enable an "entropy pump" [mythically DNA, above]
> >like that, apply it for 1 billion years, and "of course" there will be
> >"more order" in the system: the "disorder"/entropy that vanished got
> >converted into heat and radiated into vacuum.
> What was the entropy pump before DNA? Because if we call the time when DNA
> first appeared T(1), and the time of the Big Bang T(0), I'd argue that,
> starting at T(0) with an expanding mass of subatomic bits and bobs, and
> ending at T(1) with discreet-ish planetary bodies hosting self-reproducing
> chemicals, there's an increase in orderedness, because typically I've been
> told that clouds of gas are less ordered than chunks of rock with
> self-reproducing chemicals on them.

Unless the 2nd Law is bypassed/defied [easiest bypass: the Universe is an
open system, thermodynamically. Most useful bypass: the yet-to-be
discovered 4th Law, that Sante Fe desperately looks for.]

"The universe" is more disorganized now [more entropy] than at the Big
Bang [or whenever Time Starts: modern cosmology is in flux.]

Locally [on Earth], a loosely specified set of circumstances set up
systems of [at least] self-reproducing chemicals. These systems are
phenomenally deficient in entropy. Their continued existence requires
some method to exhaust entropy at least as fast as it accumulates. When
this method fails [whether by hostile environment {cow eats grass} or
accumulated time {115-year-old woman}], classically "death" occurs.

The usual method works by dumping the entropy as heat and CO_2; the CO_2
is handled by plants, and the heat ends up [eventually] radiated into vacuum.

None of these prevent the net increase in disorder/entropy in the Universe.


> I think that evolutionary processes (interaction of
> self-reproducing-with-variation units producing ecologically related groups
> of descendant units) are a subset of the ecogenetic processes, which are:
> All processes of interacting units which give rise to structured,
> interdependent metasystems of groups of those units.

Interesting. I wonder how severely constrained these are, mathematically.
[When I get my Masters, I'm going to swim in hordes of papers on this.]


/ Towards the conversion of data into information....
/ Kenneth Boyd