Thermodynamics and Human Origins

When looking into the heart of physics the
blood that keeps this whole branch of science alive is the three laws of
thermodynamics. The three laws state as follows that: 1. Energy can neither be
created nor destroyed, but it can change form. 2. Systems are always moving
towards entropy or a state of disorder as time moves forward. 3. The entropy of
a system will approach a constant value as the temperature moves towards
absolute zero. These laws give us the means to understand heat and entropy in
manner that help explain the basic structure and function of many if not most
systems that exist within our universe. For man that is what explorations into
the universe are always about, finding ways to define and understand how
everything works in manner that we can understand in human terms. In this
context it is easy to see how the laws of thermodynamics smell of their human

           When we have laws we have order,
humans throughout all of history have strove for order in some form attempting
to avoid falling into the world of anarchy where there is no structure of
control. Whether political or scientific laws, laws none the less create
guidelines for how things work as well as a movable path humanity is allowed to
move in within the context of these laws. While political laws can be changed
and altered over time, scientific laws such as those of thermodynamics are not
so easy to overturn. This is often due to an inability to fully prove how these
laws and systems work in the first place. Without fully knowing why the things
are the way the are we do not have the means to discuss why can’t they be
something else or why does this need to exist at all? Often when met with these
intangible physical or intellectual barriers certain people have strove for
creative ways to think outside of the box. These methods have sometimes even delved
into the realm of the supernatural where once inside an ordinary individual can
speculate on the natural in exotic and theoretical manor which can seem
completely unnatural. One example of this type of thought can be seen in the
conceptualization of James Clerk Maxwell’s demon in the late 1800s. This demon
was used as a catalyst to view the origin and structure of the second law of thermodynamics.
Noted as a sorting demon this creature had a box realm where it had complete
control over hot and cool molecules keeping the cool inward and only letting
heat out making heat move upward in a manner that goes opposite to how heat
flows as suggested by the second law. By causing unnatural things to happen we
can look at the possibility of if you can really make the impossible possible
and if not why not? These can also be seen in astronomer Johannes Kepler’s book
The Astronomer and the Witch where in
this tale a young astronomer who is raised by a witch mother who has the help
of a demon. The astronomer meets the demon and is allowed to view and discuss
the structure of the universe from the perspective of someone who is living on
the moon. In this tale as well as within Maxwell’s the author is looking for
perspective on subjects where the answer had no way of being known at these people’s
time periods due to lack of information and technology. In pursuit of order and
understanding we see people jump into the world of disorder and improbability to
make sense of these human conceptions of the laws of the universe. In these
cases we can see through a curiosity to understand the universe how the laws of
thermodynamics as well as physics as a whole smell of human origin. 

Picture of a conceptualization of Maxwell’s demon

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