Quanta Magazine has been friendly towards my posts on its digital magazine blog. I recently posted a comment on Quanta Magazine's article "A New Physics Theory of Life" a story based on a paper from Jeremy England of MIT...which was a follow-up and a continuation of a 'thread' that I'd began earlier in another comment on the same post (which I've discussed here).
This is what I wrote:
"The rearrangement, I’m afraid, is not really so much the one described in England’s paper, where atoms spontaneously find new, stable states with each other to dissipate energy, it is the rearrangement of old theories in a preexisting matrix, intent on assailing an insurmountable wall. They purport to find a new order or form, and yet they still suffer the same problem of attempting to show how matter can break physical laws by a process akin to “unscrambling eggs”, which we know is physically impossible. And perhaps more importantly, how will it be possible to find a ‘new’ theory, or to think about the problem in a new way, when the only permissible opinions on the subject are filtered through the same kinds of traditional, academic sources? For example, I cannot publish in a pre-publication archive such as arxiv.org unless I am sponsored by another arxiv.org author. So that practice keeps, potentially, many contrary findings and/or results out of this debate.
There is a concept, that given great amounts of time, and plenty of iterations (countless), it is possible for matter to self organize and become animate. To me that is the same kind of thinking that could be used to justify perpetual energy. “It will work, if only given enough time.” There is a not so subtle assumption, that the same might be achievable for the 2nd law as the first. The question “is this violating the 2nd law” is not really answered here, but the concept (based on the equations) is that it may be possible given “enough time and iterations.” And yet, just like the 1st law, we realize it isn’t possible to make more energy than we consume, nor is it possible for inanimate matter to violate a diffusion gradient or the passive flow of heat. These laws can’t be broken with more iterations or more time. A new perspective is needed on this intractable problem.”
I wasn't sure if they would post it, as it completely disappeared. However, after I sent an inquiry (below)..it reappeared on the page.
Dear Quanta Magazine Editor,
Would you please kindly return the comment (to my email provided) I made that was apparently deleted from this feed approximately an hour ago? I would like to know, specifically which parts were not acceptable for posting.
We can't in principal, make devices which will violate the known thermodynamic laws. So why would we expect differently of our equations? Should it be possible to express a formula that will demonstrate, theoretically, how a process might work against these laws? England's paper, but also many others which are working with nonlinear thermodynamics and the dissipative states originally proposed by Prigogine, are attempting to show how real, physical processes, i.e. those possibly similar to the ones that might have originated early life, might have worked. They might even be equations that can in theory be tested in the lab." But usually a device" must follow or operate according to what the theory states. So the analogy to the perpetual energy machine or to an energy making device, is still relevant. It doesn't matter if you have an equation that states it is possible to make energy with enough iterations or time, it still isn't possible. So there are still many unanswered questions.