The Heavens Declare His Handiwork

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Entropy
Thomas Lee Abshier, ND

Last Edit 3/8/2008


The phenomenon of order disalignment is at the heart of the observed principle of Entropy.  Entropy is an energetic concept reflecting the disorder of a system.  All ordered systems will go toward a state of greater disorder with the removal of the force barriers that prevent their decay from order to the energetic ground state of disorder.  Thus, ordered systems are only kept in place by energy barriers, and any sufficiently large and directed force will break the restraining energy barrier.  Having been freed of its restraint, the ordered system will dissipate and disperse its stored energy/ordered state into the larger environment.


Within any system, there may be cells of greater and lesser order and energy content.  Energy/ordered cells can migrate, and in general, energy/order is released from one place of captured, contained, and restrained energetic stability, and then forms a new cell or mingles with the energy of the larger system thus increasing its temperature.  The energetic barrier restrains energy creating an energy well, or cell of order that is isolated from the environment outside that cell.  


Consider nitroglycerin for example: upon ignition by pressure shock, the molecule breaks into smaller molecules and repel each other with great electrostatic vigor.  The energy released from the cell of order (the high energy bonds within  the molecules of nitroglycerin/trinitrotoluene/TNT) breaks into parts, and the potential energy of the bond is converted into the high kinetic energy of an explosion.  


In the case of ATP dissolving in water into ADP and a Phosphate group, the reaction is so slow that there is no explosion, only the release of energy as the potential energy of the Phosphate bond is converted into kinetic energy as the two molecular parts repel.  The kinetic energy of the two molecules is then converted into heat as the molecules collide with the water medium and the generalized collisions produce a general random movement of the bulk medium, thus increasing its temperature.  


Molecules are examples of energy wells where the bonding between atoms produces a low energy state, with constituent atoms held in place by an energy barrier that can only be broken by the addition of an activation energy.  The energy well is stable only as long as the energy barrier is not breeched by a sufficiently high energetic collision.  In effect, high energy collisions hit hard enough to break the bond, separate the bonded atoms, and push them into a region of repulsion.


The classic example of using a molecule as a source of energy for the use in molecular assembly is ATP.  It is the currency of energy used by biochemical metabolism, having 3 Phosphate (PO3) groups bound within each molecule of ATP.  ATP participates in many types of reactions, and the human body may consume its weight in ATP throughout the course of a day.  


ATP transfers its bonding energy to the production of other biochemicals necessary for metabolism, structure, and function.  One type of reaction involves the bonding of ATP with an enzyme, whereupon the ATP dissociates to ADP and Phosphate.  This dissociation transfers the energy of the ATP bond to the deformation of the enzyme.  The enzyme is able to provide that energy to two molecules which need to be bonded.  This bonding may occur by being held in close proximity by the electrostatic shape of the enzyme.  At that point the energy of the activated enzyme may then be transferred to the creating the new bond by the enzyme compressing the two moieties together to make a new molecule.


The point of the illustration being that the amount of energy in the system does not change, but the system becomes more random (or at best randomness stays the same) after the reaction.  When a bond is made or broken, it will require an activation energy to initiate the reaction, but the making or breaking of a bond may result in a net absorption of energy (endothermic reaction), or a net release of energy (exothermic reaction).  But, in neither case is the entropy/randomness of the system reduced, the overall system always gets more random even though the reaction may produce isolated cells/wells, or islands of increased order and decreased randomness.  


All this to say that the driving force of a reaction is going to a place of greater randomness, a more diffuse state.  This is not to say that randomness is somehow a force.  It is not.  Rather, the possibility of a state of greater disorder (increased entropy) is reflective of the fact that forces are operating which can be focused to produce a combustive effect.  Likewise, the lower energy environment allows for the continued existence of the bonded molecule without the frequent occurrence of high energy collisions that push the molecule over the activation energy and break its chemical bonds.


The transfer of energy from breaking a chemical bond can only occur if it there is some place to go with the energy.  Thus, the randomness of the general medium is a sink, an exhaust port.  The differential between the bonded state and the energy of the medium is separated by the activation energy, and the bond remains stable in the energy well on the other side of the activation energy.  The ultimate energy sink is the perfect undisturbed Dipole Sea, and there every molecule, atom, electron, and DP is moving in that direction since the forces inside the ordered state would go from attractive to repulsive if the energy barrier were breeched by a sufficiently energetic collision.  Thus, disorder, ground state, entropic dissipation is always pushing on the ordered states to dissolve their order.  Disorder and low energy states do not of themselves have the means to break order and expand disorder.  Rather, when the walls are broken, the presence of the ground state allows for the release of the order.  


In the case of the electromagnetic wave, the restoring force of the ground state is so great that light travels at 300,000,000 meters per second.  This reflects how little retention undisturbed space has for order when there are no energy barriers to inhibit the release of electromagnetic order.  The EM wave is essentially an ordering of space by a previous state of order that was released from a more solid manifestation.  In effect, the EM wave is analogous to the high energy moieties released after the breaking of a molecular bond.  Transmission of the wave through space is reflects the fact that space has forces within it that are strongly pushing its constituent parts to return to the ground state of maximal disorganization, that is, dissolution of pockets of organization.  The ground state does not have the energy to break the organization of organized pockets, but if the organization barrier is broken, the ground state has active forces within it that will complete the dissipation and uniform spreading of the energy content.  The ground state is always ready to dissipate the energy held in local cells if given the opportunity, and to thus move the entire system a step closer to total energetic entropic homogeneity.