Why life does not really exist

Casual discussion amongst spiritual friends.

Re: Why life does not really exist

Postby Mkoll » Sat Dec 07, 2013 12:54 am

chownah wrote:
Mkoll wrote:
chownah wrote:In physics it is said that the overall condition of existence is that there is a continual decrease in the orderedness of the stuff the universe is made of..........life seems to be a process which violates that decrease......life seems to be continually taking materials with little orderliness and imposing order.
chownah

Correct me if I'm wrong.

When more order is created somewhere, there is more disorder created elsewhere. So life doesn't violate the law of entropy. The energy of the universe is constant but its entropy is increasing.

I don't know if you are wrong......entropy is something I've not studied much........do you know of a good link that talks about life vis a vis entropy?
chownah

I'm afraid not. I'm only repeating what my chemistry teacher taught :tongue:

I did a quick search for "entropy and life" and wikipedia was the first hit. I skimmed the article and it seems that what we're talking about is "negative entropy" proposed by Schrodinger.

Later, building on this premise, in the famous 1944 book What is Life?, Nobel-laureate physicist Erwin Schrödinger theorizes that life, contrary to the general tendency dictated by the Second law of thermodynamics, decreases or maintains its entropy by feeding on negative entropy. In his note to Chapter 6 of What is Life?, however, Schrödinger remarks on his usage of the term negative entropy:

"Let me say first, that if I had been catering for them [physicists] alone I should have let the discussion turn on free energy instead. It is the more familiar notion in this context. But this highly technical term seemed linguistically too near to energy for making the average reader alive to the contrast between the two things."

This is what is argued to differentiate life from other forms of matter organization. In this direction, although life's dynamics may be argued to go against the tendency of second law, which states that the entropy of an isolated system tends to increase, it does not in any way conflict or invalidate this law, because the principle that entropy can only increase or remain constant applies only to a closed system which is adiabatically isolated, meaning no heat can enter or leave. Whenever a system can exchange either heat or matter with its environment, an entropy decrease of that system is entirely compatible with the second law. The problem of organization in living systems increasing despite the second law is known as the Schrödinger paradox.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Entropy_and_life

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Negative_entropy

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Re: Why life does not really exist

Postby Jason » Sat Dec 07, 2013 5:21 pm

Reminds me of an interesting idea about what life is from Thomas Mann's The Magic Mountain found in an exchange between Hans Castorp and Director Behrens in a discourse on physiology, which is that life is "primarily the oxidation of cell protein," i.e., that life is dying in the sense that both life and decomposition/corruption are forms of oxidation, a kind of 'burning off' (262). As valid as any other, I guess.
"Sabbe dhamma nalam abhinivesaya" (AN 7.58).

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Re: Why life does not really exist

Postby Mkoll » Sat Dec 07, 2013 6:35 pm

One way or another everything in the universe is being bombarded by destructive cosmic rays and electromagnetic radiation from space objects and stars. Naturally, stars are required for life as we know it to exist. So even as they preserve and provide the energy for life to exist they are destroying life.

Natural irony.

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Re: Why life does not really exist

Postby Buckwheat » Sun Dec 08, 2013 7:54 am

chownah wrote:In physics it is said that the overall condition of existence is that there is a continual decrease in the orderedness of the stuff the universe is made of..........life seems to be a process which violates that decrease......life seems to be continually taking materials with little orderliness and imposing order.
chownah

Life does not violate entropy because we are not closed systems. Plants generate a lot of entopy when absorbing energy from the sun to create order (photosynthesis), and it goes on up the food chain. Another way of saying that is that plants diffuse a lot of energy just to absorb a little bit.
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Re: Why life does not really exist

Postby Spiny Norman » Sun Dec 08, 2013 10:54 am

Buckwheat wrote:Life does not violate entropy because we are not closed systems.


Does entropy actually apply to life - I' not sure?
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Re: Why life does not really exist

Postby chownah » Sun Dec 08, 2013 2:37 pm

Entropy extends to life to the extent that life is made up of material substance.......that is to say that the concept of entropy is applied to all physical matter whether living or not.

While it is true that a living thing is not a closed system, if we consider the universe as a closed system the question becomes whether living things can actually avoid the entropic trend toward disorder. Based on the Wikipedia article referenced above it seems that there are different opinions on this.
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Re: Why life does not really exist

Postby Kare » Sun Dec 08, 2013 4:16 pm

Spiny Norman wrote:
Buckwheat wrote:Life does not violate entropy because we are not closed systems.


Does entropy actually apply to life - I' not sure?


Entropy is central to life. See the first four chapters of Alex Rosenberg, The Atheist's Guide to Reality for a lucid explanation/description.
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Re: Why life does not really exist

Postby SarathW » Mon Dec 09, 2013 12:44 am

robertk wrote:
SarathW wrote:It says:
There is a certain kind of Råpa-Jãvitindriya in plant
life.

yes, as I said, it is wrong.


Hi Robert
I respect your opinion.
I spoke to the monk from my local temple and he share the same understanding as you do.
However we have to keep our mind open in this subject.
Do you think that plant has life (Jiva)?
Do you think that Venerable Narda can make such a grave mistake?
:)
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Re: Why life does not really exist

Postby cooran » Mon Dec 09, 2013 2:09 am

Hello SarathW,

Did you read this post by Ven. Dhammanando?
viewtopic.php?f=12&t=19304#p270332

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---The trouble is that you think you have time---
---Worry is the Interest, paid in advance, on a debt you may never owe---
---It's not what happens to you in life that is important ~ it's what you do with it ---
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Re: Why life does not really exist

Postby SarathW » Mon Dec 09, 2013 2:17 am

Hi Cooran
Thanks, I have read that as well.
:)
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Re: Why life does not really exist

Postby robertk » Mon Dec 09, 2013 4:34 am

SarathW wrote:
robertk wrote:
SarathW wrote:It says:
There is a certain kind of Råpa-Jãvitindriya in plant
life.

yes, as I said, it is wrong.


Hi Robert
I respect your opinion.
I spoke to the monk from my local temple and he share the same understanding as you do.
However we have to keep our mind open in this subject.
Do you think that plant has life (Jiva)?
Do you think that Venerable Narda can make such a grave mistake?
:)

Dear Sarath
I grew up, so to speak, studying Narada's translation, about 30 years since I first read it, and value it highly.
I never noticed that error until you pointed to it. I think what he has done is read into the sutta (that ven. Dhammanando gave), the idea that the Buddha gave plants some special single life faculty.

Fortunately Ven. Dhammanando explained for us. Certainly the Abhidhamma is clear that plants have no life faculty, they are merely rupa conditioned by tejo. What the difference between "dead" plants and "live" plants is not explained in the Abhidhamma I think.

BTW the gravest error in Naradas translation is a section where he attribute free will/choice to votthapanna citta. He doesn't seem to grasp - or ignored- the fact that in a split second literally billions of different votthapanna cittas , none the same, have arisen and passed away>which ones were free? (If you want to discuss that we can move to a different thread).

.
NARADA: Next comes the investigating
faculty (Santãraõa)19 or a momentary examination
of the object so received. After this comes that stage of
representative cognition termed the determining consciousness
(Votthapana). Discrimination is exercised at
this stage. Freewill plays its part here. Immediately after
there arises the psychologically most important stage—
Impulsion or Javana.
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Re: Why life does not really exist

Postby kirk5a » Mon Dec 09, 2013 12:45 pm

robertk wrote:BTW the gravest error in Naradas translation is a section where he attribute free will/choice to votthapanna citta. He doesn't seem to grasp - or ignored- the fact that in a split second literally billions of different votthapanna cittas , none the same, have arisen and passed away>which ones were free? (If you want to discuss that we can move to a different thread).

Robert, have you ever observed, say, just 10 of those supposed billions of votthapanna cittas which arise in that split second for yourself? "He doesn't seem to grasp" you say. Well, do you actually grasp it? You keep repeating this billions idea, I'm curious whether you personally have actually observed anything which would even point in the general direction of exhibiting the possibility of demonstrating the validity of that notion. I'd like to know, so I can get a little glimpse too of this supposed important truth. I don't see anything remotely like that going on. Maybe someone can clue me in here.
"When one thing is practiced & pursued, ignorance is abandoned, clear knowing arises, the conceit 'I am' is abandoned, latent tendencies are uprooted, fetters are abandoned. Which one thing? Mindfulness immersed in the body." -AN 1.230
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Re: Why life does not really exist

Postby robertk » Mon Dec 09, 2013 1:16 pm

see this thread about the rate of rise and fall viewtopic.php?f=16&t=19334
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Re: Why life does not really exist

Postby m0rl0ck » Mon Dec 09, 2013 3:21 pm

So according to the authors conjecture, everything is alive or nothing is?
Choose life :D
"When you meditate, don't send your mind outside. Don't fasten onto any knowledge at all. Whatever knowledge you've gained from books or teachers, don't bring it in to complicate things. Cut away all preoccupations, and then as you meditate let all your knowledge come from what's going on in the mind. When the mind is quiet, you'll know it for yourself. But you have to keep meditating a lot. When the time comes for things to develop, they'll develop on their own. Whatever you know, have it come from your own mind.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/thai ... eleft.html
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Re: Why life does not really exist

Postby Buckwheat » Mon Dec 09, 2013 4:43 pm

Spiny Norman wrote:
Buckwheat wrote:Life does not violate entropy because we are not closed systems.


Does entropy actually apply to life - I' not sure?


If you are asking about the great mystery of consciousness... I haven't the foggiest idea. If you are asking about our bodies and brains... yes.
Sotthī hontu nirantaraṃ - May you forever be well.
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Re: Why life does not really exist

Postby SarathW » Tue Dec 10, 2013 3:40 am

This is my understanding of entropy in relation to cosmos:

The universe is moving from higher order (entropy) to lower order.
Eg: Say you build a house (higher entropy) then the house will be destroy due to time (lower entropy)
The same way universe is moving towards lower entropy so the space and time become zero. Then there will be a big bang and the things start all over again.
Entropy also operate in macro (time and space) and micro ( house) level.
I think above can be applied to life as well.
Why I like entropy is that it confirms Buddha’s teaching impermance. (Anicca)
:shrug: :juggling:
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Re: Why life does not really exist

Postby mikenz66 » Tue Dec 10, 2013 4:05 am

Just a technical point. The more disordered the state is, the higher the entropy.

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Re: Why life does not really exist

Postby Buckwheat » Tue Dec 10, 2013 6:03 am

SarathW wrote:This is my understanding of entropy in relation to cosmos:

The universe is moving from higher order (entropy) to lower order.
Eg: Say you build a house (higher entropy) then the house will be destroy due to time (lower entropy)
The same way universe is moving towards lower entropy so the space and time become zero. Then there will be a big bang and the things start all over again.
Entropy also operate in macro (time and space) and micro ( house) level.
I think above can be applied to life as well.
Why I like entropy is that it confirms Buddha’s teaching impermance. (Anicca)
:shrug: :juggling:

The final equilibrium is not "space and time become zero" (whatever that means). It would mean that the universe would be a flat constant heat density throughout. When we look at the microwave cosmic background radiation, it is 2.7 degrees above absolute zero. I assume the universe is approaching a similar value, but would have to confirm that with somebody more knowledgeable.

I've always hated the word "chaos" to describe entropy because it sounds way more mysterious than it needs to sound. I prefer "equilibrium". If you have an airtight box filled with cool nitrogen and it contains a small balloon of hot nitrogen, that system has low entropy because it is not near equilibrium. The "heat" in the box is focused into a small area, the balloon. If you pop the balloon, the heat will dissipate and the entire box will be one even temperature. That box has high entropy, meaning it is near equilibrium. This is important is because mechanical processes involving heat are based on transferring heat from a hot object to a cool object. If all your objects are luke warm, you can't do any work!! They system "dies" in a way. So in a way, you could say the entire universe is alive, but slowly dying.

Also, from my understanding, all the theories such as the big crunch and a repeat of the big bang are quite speculative (maybe even obsolete). It is now known that the rate of expansion of the universe is actually accelerating. It may expand forever. Who knows?

Entropy neither supports nor denies impermanence. A state of equilibrium could theoretically last forever. If an asteroid is out beyond the reach of the rest of the universe, making it a closed system, that asteroid could fly through the void for eternity.
Sotthī hontu nirantaraṃ - May you forever be well.
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Re: Why life does not really exist

Postby Spiny Norman » Tue Dec 10, 2013 3:13 pm

Buckwheat wrote:I've always hated the word "chaos" to describe entropy because it sounds way more mysterious than it needs to sound. I prefer "equilibrium".


Yes, chaos theory is about how small changes in input to a system can lead to large variations in output.
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Re: Why life does not really exist

Postby Mkoll » Wed Dec 11, 2013 7:24 am

For those who don't know about equilibrium, here is an explanation from a chemistry perspective.

In a chemical reaction, chemical equilibrium is the state in which both reactants and products are present at concentrations which have no further tendency to change with time.[1] Usually, this state results when the forward reaction proceeds at the same rate as the reverse reaction. The reaction rates of the forward and backward reactions are generally not zero, but equal. Thus, there are no net changes in the concentrations of the reactant(s) and product(s). Such a state is known as dynamic equilibrium.[2][3]


The point I am trying to make is that nothing is static. A state of balance or equilibrium is actually quite dynamic.

This natural dynamism that is always present in all conditioned things may be what is referred to by "impermanence"...
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