RE: Second law of Thermodynamics

Vandergraaf, Chuck (
Wed, 19 Nov 1997 10:37:07 -0500


I did not mean to imply that TD is a game; au contraire! My comment was
>prompted by Jan de Koning's statement that "not everyone agrees with this
>law. I am not a physicist but as far as I know it [second law of TD] only
holds for closed sytems." To claim that a law is incorrect because one
applies it to the wrong system is to me a bit of playing a game. I
agree with you that, once you get away from physics, things tend to get


Chuck Vandergraaf (an applied chemist)

>From: Moorad Alexanian[SMTP:alexanian@UNCWIL.EDU]
>Sent: November 19, 1997 8:04 AM
>To: Vandergraaf, Chuck
>Cc: ''
>Subject: RE: Second law of Thermodynamics
>At 04:49 PM 11/18/97 -0500, Vandergraaf, Chuck wrote:
>>This strikes me as a bit of a game. The second law of TD applied to
>>closed systems (obviously) and one can always think of an open system
>>where TD's second law does not apply. However, one must eventually come
>>up with the universe as a closed system by definition (if it's open,
>>it's not the universe)
>>Chuck Vandergraaf (who does not have immediate access to the book you
>If this is a game, then it is the best that the human mind can play.
>Remember all statements in science are of the form: "If A, then B." Of
>course, that is actually true in very kind of knowledge but in physics the
>game is much more manageable to play than in any other field---other than
>mathematics which is a purely human invention.
>>>From: Jan de Koning[]
>>>Sent: November 18, 1997 2:11 PM
>>>Subject: Second law of Thermodynamics
>>>>Moorad wrote:
>>>Moorad wrote:
>>>>The second
>>>>law of thermodynamics came about in order to unify all the irreversible
>>>>phenomena observed in nature. But the question of why there is a law like
>>>>that or how did the universe start is quite a different issue.
>>>Not everyone agrees with this law. I am not a physicist but as far as I
>>>know it only holds for closd sytems. It has not been show to be true for
>>>open systems. See for example Price in Time's Arrow (Oxford, 1996). Page
>>>7 in the Introduction: "Why was entropy low in the past? The chapter (2)
>>>concludes with adiscussionas to what it is that really needs to be
>>>explained about the assymetry of thermodynamics." See page 262 as well,
>>>where chapter two is condensed.
>>>Jan de Koning
>>>Willowdale, Ont.