Philosophy Based on a Myth

I will start with a quote from Spyridon Kountroufinis, Teleodynamics: A Neo-Naturalistic Conception of Organismic Teleology, In Beyond Mechanism: Putting Life Back Into Biology

p. 322 “This essential property of dissipative dynamic systems is also known as the principle of maximum entropy production, which can be easily explained. According to the second law of thermodynamics, all real (and not ideal) physical processes produce entropy. Production of entropy means dissipation or degradation of energy. Of course, energy cannot be created or destroyed in a system (as this is forbidden by the first law of thermodynamics or the law of conservation of energy), and the system cannot upgrade already degraded energy in order to degrade it again (since this is forbidden by the second law of thermodynamics). Thus the system can also produce entropy if it degrades the energy with which it is supplied from outside – namely, by means of the externally applied gradients. And the system can only be efficient in degrading gradients that distance it greatly from the state of thermodynamic equilibrium, if it maximizes the production of entropy in its own processes. The entropy inside the system decreases in order to enable it to produce entropy more quickly.”

Now taking into account the conclusion in

John Ross, Alexandru D. Corlan, and Stefan C. Müller, Proposed Principles of Maximum Local Entropy Production, J. Phys. Chem. B, 2012, 116 (27), pp 7858–7865 (see Bye-bye MEPP)

Thus, predictions based on MEPP-like principles should not be considered scientifically founded.’

I conclude that the philosophy in Kountroufinis’ paper is based just on a myth that unfortunately is widely spread among biologists. Unfortunately biologists like talking about the entropy but they are not ready to learn thermodynamics properly (see also Muddle Puddle with Entropy in Biology).

It is a pity, as the beginning of Kountroufinis’ paper was quite good and promising.


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