X-Message-Number: 28621
Date: Fri, 3 Nov 2006 10:19:54 EST
Subject: Re: CryoNet #28616 - #28620

Chris Manning wrote in part:
>I suppose what this [declining likelihood of death in a given time  frame]  
means in practice >is that you would have to be  
>continually making your life safer and eliminating anything that might  
>threaten it, by getting better at predicting earthquakes, deflecting  
>bolides, maybe growing your own food, etc.

Mainly it means other things, including

>>Also, we could eventually be individually distributed  over
>> large volumes. 
>>Also, the Second Law does not guarantee  eventual oblivion,  
>> for reasons I won't detail here unless requested.

>I  hereby request you to detail them! 
OK, the Second Law refers to probabilities. In classical physics, in a  

closed system, entropy (roughly disorder) TENDS toward a maximum, which is often
interpreted to mean eventual "heat death." BUT 
(1) we don't know if the universe or cosmos is closed, and many  cosmologists 
currently think not. 
(2)  Order and disorder do not always have agreed definitions, and  many 
natural processes tend toward what most would call order. For example,  the 

formation of galaxies and stars and planets and life, and the formation of  
deposits in the earth, and many other processes, would from our point of  view 
represent increasing order. 
(3) When in some closed system maximum entropy is achieved, the only  

possible change after that is a decrease of entropy or an increase in order, and

subsequently there will be fluctuations with entropy increasing for a while and
then decreasing for a while, with rare random spurts of very low entropy. 
(4) Consider a person deliberately creating order, say by organizing a  room. 
Is there any countervailing chsnge that would imply overall decrease in  

order? Not that I can see. Metabolic processes in the person might result in his
increase in entropy, but that does not seem related to the particular activity 
 he is engaged in. 
(5) If we look at quantum physics and related ideas in cosmology, then the  

notion of heat death seems completely out the window, since (maybe) there is no
 conservation of energy and whole "universes" spontaneously erupt out of the  
quantum foam. 

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