The earth has been described as a “heat engine”, which is said to operate similarly to Carnot’s heat engine cycle. Carnot’s heat engine as he envisioned it, is a man made device, capable of doing useful work, and so the comparison of its parts or components to natural systems is or should be, done with some caution. Newton wrote this about time “absolute true and mathematical time, of itself and from its own nature flows equally without relation to anything..” and about space, “absolute space in its own nature, without relation to anything external remains always similar and immovable” (Principia). Such definitions were important frameworks, as Newton was arguing for then, imaginary concepts as “mass” or “force” and gravity we recall, was considered by C Huygens one of force of “gravity’s” most ardent critics, as having no substance. Newton did not define so much a force itself, as its consequences, and proportionality, i.e. to velocity and to a concept he invented, called “mass”.
It’s doubtful that Carnot, like other luminaries of thermodynamics would have envisioned heat engines which were entirely virtual, which operated for all intents and purposes, in imaginary space, causing no change in the world around them and obeying the free flowing time envisioned by Newton. We can see nothing extraneous in a natural system doing anything against itself, all energy simply flows along, neither starting nor stopping at any barrier or fixed point. There are no “reservoirs” that can be observed, nor a reference point, in which to establish “Work” done by such a system. So where are these engines? We are to imagine that according to a vast body of peer reviewed research done by the intellectual elite, (merely search “Earth Heat Engine” for these) earth has many natural “conveyor belts” which do a number of things “for us” such as driving fresh water from the oceans, and storms. But is the stream not the imaginary consequence of a virtual body of heat, i.e. in the ocean operating against colder regions, yet another imagined Carnot engine part somewhere in the troposphere?
The earth is an engine” hypothesis no doubt, appears obvious to a majority. But I believe there are new arguments to question that hypothesis. And they are relevant to causality and the issues we have raised before in other sections (see my paper “The Crisis Equation”). These issues are relevant to causality between systems, and as we have defined systems in this paper, and have not assumed them to be arbitrary nor floating in “continuous time…” and space, I believe it is fair question of the “earth is an engine” hypothesis.
Yes sunlight incident on the earth results in convection, so does the heating of a glass of water over a stove, but is this convection if it can be envisioned globally, really doing work against itself? Can we find a region in it, a VCS, for example, that is said to be a “system” operating against the rest? If we can’t then there is a very big problem for this “earth is an engine” theory, and it is more than semantical.
For assistance, we recall that in the second law of motion, the force experienced by a mass is inversely proportional to its change in velocity. The sun is a source of photons, photons have momentum. When they collide this energy is absorbed by the object, in this case the molecule that absorbs them. Photons cause molecules to accelerate in velocity. But is the collision of an object with another object causing work? The collision of one mass at a velocity v with another results in transferred momentum, mv, to the other object. This discussion therefore differentiates what is an action or change in velocity compared with another process, i.e. how much work is done, and it is a fair question to then ask at what point is a natural event, say a rain of photons, or of dust particles, or a meteor, the collision itself, or the sum of multiple individual changes, and when is this a process doing work on a system? There really isn’t any case in all of physics where a process is not going from a higher potential to a lower one, as any process, any collision etc is from a higher energy or (uphill) state colliding with a lower energy particle and the resultant is an increase in entropy of the system. If changes themselves, can be said to be natural work, then essentially that would be work that is 100% efficient, as any process including that transfer of some energy to heat in the collision, could be said to be part of what is “desired” to occur.
Work is defined as a change in height , h, times a force, in this case “h” X mg, the force of gravity. But in principal Work capital W” is defined as a displacement in position times a force F. We also note that Work is defined in terms of heat as the difference between thermal heat in each reservoir, this heat in real heat engines is defined as Q and so Qh and Qc would be the systems it operates between.
So W= Qh- Qc.
The problem with extrapolating the earth, or any natural system, as an engine is that it no longer delineates for us, what the difference is between these definitions of F, force, and of W, work in systems. Since in principal, if work is said to be done whenever there is a cause and effect, a change, heating, collisions etc, between a higher and lower potential, i.e the sun and space, then we no longer can define efficiency. In principal in any process, there is always a drop in energy driving it somewhere, and this is in line with our expectations of the second law of thermodynamics. Thus the sun might be said to not only drive the flowing stream, by conservation of momenta (the potential energy is directly sourced from the sun’s energy) but it is also responsible for heating the ocean, and causing dissipation of lower energy photons off the atmosphere. All of these processes could in theory, be beneath the “earth is an engine” hypothesis, and I can see no reason whatsoever, to exclude any of them from “doing work” as any of these are the direct resultant of downhill energy conversions from a hot sink to a cooler one, as dictated by the drive towards increased entropy. The heating of the moon, collisions of astreroids in space, among others, would have to be similar engines”. And this is an aberration of the definition of what Carnot had in mind for heat engines.
But these are not the only problems for this type of physical interpretation.
I question the “earth is a heat engine” paradigm based on several of the principals I have discussed previously in The Crisis Equation, VCS theory, but also in Indifferent Time”. These are principals by which I test my own theory, so I believe it is a fair question. We made the proposition earlier, that “a system cannot do useful work against itself”. Which means that we cannot find statistically relevant change made by the system against itself. How does this proposition apply to the “earth as heat engine”? We are looking at the problem of “engines” from a theoretical standpoint,
If the earth is indeed a heat engine, operating between hot and cold reservoirs, two systems which lose heat from one to another, the question(s) I raise according to VCS theory, should be the following: How are these systems delineated in nature from one another? In other words, where are their borders that allow us to delineate a hot reservoir from a cold “reservoir”? The term reservoir by its nature, implies that a distinction can be made here. And yet we realize that if the reservoir is “warm ocean water” all of the oceans are connected to one another.
The second key question is: How does such an engine generate work AGAINST its own system? But I realize that the definitional problem needs to be resolved before one can assess if there is the potential for detecting any work done by such an engine. The assertion that this is an engine requires definition of two system, possibly more, as the work” it alleges to make would be inside the same system.
The proponents of the earth engine model are making an assumption that they can detect various components or systems, such as the hot or cold reservoir, cycles of expansion and contraction, and even the heat that is flowing between them and allegedly the mechanical work produced by these apparent reservoirs, which they observe in nature where no one else can.
In the Carnot engine case, this is defined since an engine is a man made system for doing actual mechanical work. Its components are definable.
“In thermodynamics, a heat engine is a system that converts heat or thermal energy to mechanical energy, which can then be used to do mechanical work. “(WIKI https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heat_engine
If we review the actual Carnot heat engine diagram we see the standard two reservoirs but also a key requirement of the operation of the engine itself, it does work on its surroundings. For the earth to operate as a “heat engine” it must, according to the Carnot heat engine cycle, do Mechanical Work, and to do so, it must cause a change in its surroundings.
However, according to the VCS theory, for such a heat engine to do any work it must cause a force or make a force, which is applied to the system. We also know this from the definition of what “WORK” is.
This means that for the earth to be a heat engine, it must be generating a force that is operating against its surroundings. Otherwise, if this force is parallel, vectorially, or non-opposed to its surroundings, 1) how is it detected? 2) how is this evidence or demonstration of mechanical work of the Engine? We see that it cannot merely be a change, moving from higher to lower potentials, generating a force, lest its various components be of virtual space and time.
So we look at the problem differently, but I believe fairly. I view the claim that there are “earth based engines” as a causal based claim that there are phenomenon, natural ones doing work on systems around them. So in theory, our main criteria is the detection of these phenomena themselves, and is independent of HOW that might be accomplished. The criticism that the earth-based engine model does not, or cannot identify or delineate its various systems from one another is a theoreitical criticism, but it has real implications for explaining its weaknesses.
How do these findings relate to “The Crisis Equation?”Surprisingly, the extrapolation to Carnot’s heat engine, made ubiquitously in the literature to the “nature as a heat engine”, means that we cannot delineate other processes, essentially any change could be said to be an engine” of some kind, which is caused by the “operation” of it between higher and lower energy “baths”, and consequently, the resultant output of increased entropy. We know that in any process, any collision, there is a production of entropy due to the second law driving it forward. If the earth is truly definable as an “engine” operating between the sun and space, any process is an engine, (the collision of asteroids in the belts “drives” theirmotion too) the concepts of force F and work W, no longer have meaning under these circumstances.