The most secure law of the universe

The second law of thermodynamics is, hands down, the most secure of all the natural laws. Even black holes must obey The 2nd Law, eventually dying out from excess entropy.

The same indifferent 2nd Law that will bring an end to our universe,  provided the fuel (Gibbs energy) for the biological engines that constructed you via a placenta. No 2nd Law, no you.


The law that entropy always increases holds, I think, the supreme position among the laws of Nature. If someone points out to you that your pet theory of the universe is in disagreement with Maxwell’s equations – then so much the worse for Maxwell’s equations. If it is found to be contradicted by observation – well, these experimentalists do bungle things sometimes. But if your theory is found to be against the second law of thermodynamics I can give you no hope; there is nothing for it but to collapse in deepest humiliation. — Sir Arthur Stanley Eddington

Since the 2nd Law is both omnipresent and omnipotent, it becomes a constraining factor in all system dynamics. As an equal opportunity engine of disorder, what it does to mess up system operations it does to us. The law allows reducing entropy locally only at the expense of amplifying it in another part of the universe. The output of an engine is always less energy than its consumption.

The engine of evolution in the biosphere is therefore a necessarily irreversible process defining a direction in time; a direction which is the same as that enjoined by the law of increasing entropy, that is to say, the second law of thermodynamics. This is far more than a mere comparison: the second law is founded upon considerations identical to those which establish the irreversibility of evolution. Indeed, it is legitimate to view the irreversibility of evolution as an expression of the second law in the biosphere.  Jacques Monod

It is always appropriate for every dynamic system to investigate how its entropy increase is managed. If the system designer doesn’t know or hasn’t provided for the 2nd Law, start your CYA files.  Turnover is an excellent measure of social system entropy.  The trend line of productivity (not production) is another reliable measure of system entropy.  High social system entropy is a hotbed for corruption, which is just another form of deception.

When it comes to entropy extraction, another ensemble of considerations comes into play. The only way allowed by Nature to reduce local entropy is by having an appropriate structure and doing work. Structure means the rack to hang the data on and work means force X distance, the classical engineering definition. The FLLP itself is an entropy extraction machine, industrial strength, worked by the interventionist.

It turns out in implementation that once you have provided for the 2nd Law, a good deal of the work to get to Plan B is behind you. When the terms of the 2nd Law are in common use in communication, you’re in Plan B.

It’s the Second Law of Thermodynamics: Sooner or later everything turns to shit. Woody Allen





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