Should evolution be taught in high sc...

Should evolution be taught in high school?

There are 180369 comments on the www.scientificblogging.com story from Feb 24, 2008, titled Should evolution be taught in high school?. In it, www.scientificblogging.com reports that:

Microbiologist Carl Woese is well known as an iconoclast. At 79 years of age, Woese is still shaking things up. Most recently, he stated in an interview with Wired that...

"My feeling is that evolution shouldn't be taught at the lower grades. You don't teach quantum mechanics in the grade schools. One has to be quite educated to work with these concepts; what they pass on as evolution in high schools is nothing but repetitious tripe that teachers don't understand."

Join the discussion below, or Read more at www.scientificblogging.com.

The Dude

Macclesfield, UK

#158452 Nov 19, 2013
Dogen wrote:
<quoted text>
This is now to the quotemine level.
You are now officially a troll.
"Now"?

“May you be at peace.”

Since: Nov 07

Location hidden

#158453 Nov 19, 2013
The Dude wrote:
<quoted text>
"Now"?

Yesterday, today and, I am certain, tomorrow

Level 6

Since: Mar 12

Location hidden

#158455 Nov 19, 2013
Urban Cowboy wrote:
<quoted text>
You consider Feynman's Lectures on Physics a creatard site? LOL!
:~D
You did not get your quote from Feynman's lectures. You got a quote second hand from Panspermia. Then you even got Morowitz' point wrong, when he made it clear that the entropy of physical systems was objective (because statistical thermodynamics is based on a non-arbitrary packet size i.e. the available microstates of the molecules) but the other kind of order Feynman was talking about was arbitrary.

Level 6

Since: Mar 12

Location hidden

#158456 Nov 19, 2013
Urban Cowboy wrote:
<quoted text>
“The logarithm of that number of ways is the entropy.”
-Richard Feynman
“Notice that Feynman does not use Boltzmann's constant. He assigns no physical units to this kind of entropy, just a number (a logarithm.)”
-Harold Morowitz
You could not apply entropy to a simple extension of the Berkeley gas example.

You could not apply entropy to even the brick example I gave you.

You have not applied Creager's hypothesis to ANY physical system.

You culd not even absorb the lessons of Khan in Reconciling Statistical and Thermodynamic Entropy or Entropy Intuition. I doubt you even watched the whole things.

You have copy and pasted Creager's coin toss example but could not deal with the lotto example I provide (from my own thoughts and words) which illustrated an important point about microstates, macrostates, and real versus arbitrary definitions of order.

In other words, the "secret weapon" real lovers of science have is that we want to see how an idea actually works, apply it to new things, consider alternatives, see how it fits within a broader framework, etc.

You are not interested in the slightest. All you care about is looking for ways to hide in your fantasy world and learn just enough to sound credible to...people who don't know better. People who DO know better and do LEARN better laugh at you and your wilful dark-age ignorance.

Level 6

Since: Mar 12

Location hidden

#158457 Nov 20, 2013
Urban Cowboy wrote:
<quoted text>
“The logarithm of that number of ways is the entropy.”
-Richard Feynman
“Notice that Feynman does not use Boltzmann's constant. He assigns no physical units to this kind of entropy, just a number (a logarithm.)”
-Harold Morowitz
Yes Morowitz contrasts the arbirary measure of entropy Feynman described with his black and white example, with the objective measure of entropy found in statistical thermodynamics.

BTW you are probably too red faced to apologise for claiming "statistical thermodynamics" was a term I made up. I understand, true humility is never a strong point with your type, especially after you made such an effort to be dismissive and condescending. But more to the point, your own error in this case might have taught you that the statistical approach to thermodynamics is STILL thermodynamics and you have made a very fundamental error of understanding on this point.

In any case, you cannot even show how the application of energy to a system can reduce the number of available microstates so this whole argument of yours is a red herring. Either way, you are wrong.

Level 6

Since: Mar 12

Location hidden

#158458 Nov 20, 2013
polymath257 wrote:
<quoted text>
Urb seems to think the Feynman lectures are the end of physics instead of the beginning of physics. Look at Feynman's book on statistical mechanics and see what he really thinks about entropy.
It would be a fine thing if he did think that but alas the truth is even more pitiful. He lifted the quote from Panspermia and then missed Morowitz' point.

His foolish criticism of the term "statistical thermodynamics" is further proof that he still thinks Boltzman's version is not thermodynamics and he seems unaware that Entropy and statistical entropy as terms referred exclusively to thermodynamics for decades until the 1940's when an analogy with information theory gave the concept broader application.

And now he confuses the rules and parameters of statistical thermodynamics with information theory. I mentioned this a month ago and was met with the usual hysterical screams that I was lying and trying to be confusing deliberately.

Level 6

Since: Mar 12

Location hidden

#158459 Nov 20, 2013
polymath257 wrote:
<quoted text>
Urb seems to think the Feynman lectures are the end of physics instead of the beginning of physics. Look at Feynman's book on statistical mechanics and see what he really thinks about entropy.
Now for what its worth, I was recently trying to move towards a real analysis of the order in an orderly brick pile vs the TD aspect. There is order there and we can agree that tidy brick arrangements are rarer than messy ones. But not being concerned with the TD layer of order, the molecular order, but just looking at the brick level order, we clearly do have a situation that should be examined in informational rather than TD terms.

The question I was getting to, though Urb was too busy dodging to engage, was how do we even discuss arranging those bricks without TD having to come back into the picture? And what is the comparative magnitude of this order considering the number of packets-bricks- is vastly lower than the molecular numbers? And do we see similar aggregations of order emerging spontaneously when no "ordered application of energy" has occurred?(Yes we do) These are interesting questions and go to the heartof things.

After all, a dead pile of organs may have the same thermodynamic entropy as a living beast but we all know that there is an order present in the mooing cow thats no longer there in the mince meat. Some information approach ti the question makes sense and while Creager went off on the wrong track with Boltzman he did ask good questions.

“Think&Care”

Since: Oct 07

Location hidden

#158460 Nov 20, 2013
Chimney1 wrote:
BTW you are probably too red faced to apologise for claiming "statistical thermodynamics" was a term I made up. I understand, true humility is never a strong point with your type, especially after you made such an effort to be dismissive and condescending. But more to the point, your own error in this case might have taught you that the statistical approach to thermodynamics is STILL thermodynamics and you have made a very fundamental error of understanding on this point.
One thing I have noticed about Urb: He cannot admit it when he is wrong. Ever.

He claimed that we were wanting to take the logarithm of a dimensional quantity. When challenged about this claim, he ignores the challenge and continues to make the same claim. In doing so, he completely misses the point we were attempting to make, which is that entropy is a dimensional quantity.

I suspect that he will continue to ignore his mistake about statistical thermodynamic in a similar way. He laughed at the 'misuse' of the terminology and belittled you for using the term. And now, he will not admit his mistake, let alone make an apology for his rudeness.

“Think&Care”

Since: Oct 07

Location hidden

#158461 Nov 20, 2013
Chimney1 wrote:
<quoted text>
It would be a fine thing if he did think that but alas the truth is even more pitiful. He lifted the quote from Panspermia and then missed Morowitz' point.
I will admit that I find it mind-boggling that someone wants to enter a discussion like this without first trying to read texts on the subject matter instead of quotes taken from websites.

I think that this is part of the problem: he gets his information in such small pieces and in such a distorted medium that it is simply impossible for him to see the real subject. Then, when we attempt to set him straight, he sees the disagreement with his sources as dishonesty (which he expects from someone who disagrees with his conclusions). Even pointing out a series of texts and other material will not shake his idea that thermodynamics and statistical mechanics have nothing to do with each other.

“Think&Care”

Since: Oct 07

Location hidden

#158462 Nov 20, 2013
Chimney1 wrote:
<quoted text>
Now for what its worth, I was recently trying to move towards a real analysis of the order in an orderly brick pile vs the TD aspect. There is order there and we can agree that tidy brick arrangements are rarer than messy ones. But not being concerned with the TD layer of order, the molecular order, but just looking at the brick level order, we clearly do have a situation that should be examined in informational rather than TD terms.
The question I was getting to, though Urb was too busy dodging to engage, was how do we even discuss arranging those bricks without TD having to come back into the picture? And what is the comparative magnitude of this order considering the number of packets-bricks- is vastly lower than the molecular numbers? And do we see similar aggregations of order emerging spontaneously when no "ordered application of energy" has occurred?(Yes we do) These are interesting questions and go to the heartof things.
After all, a dead pile of organs may have the same thermodynamic entropy as a living beast but we all know that there is an order present in the mooing cow thats no longer there in the mince meat. Some information approach ti the question makes sense and while Creager went off on the wrong track with Boltzman he did ask good questions.
I am not completely convinced we have to move outside of TD to analyze this. The problem is that the 'configurational entropy' will end up being minuscule. The point is that entropy, as an extensive property, is proportional to the number of particles in the system. For a brick, the number of molecules is on the order of Avagadro's number. For a pile of bricks, the 'entropy' associated with the arrangements of the bricks would correspond to a few thousand bricks, as opposed to a few sextillion molecules.

This would show that the TD entropy would completely overwhelm the 'configurational' entropy, even if it could be reasonably defined.

Another issue that Urb doesn't address: standard TD entropy counts micro-states in phase space, which has both position and momentum as coordinate axes. The reason is linked to Hamilton's formulation of classical mechanics: it turns out that phase space volume is preserved under the motion of the particles. So, in classical TD, the number of micro-states is determined by this integral over phase space. There are two problems that arise: first, that of scale (this is related to what Morowitz was discussing): in classical physics, there is no 'natural' scale for phase space, so the number of micro-states is only determined up to some constant multiple.

This problem is fixed in quantum mechanics because the uncertainty principle provides a natural scale in phase space. It turns out that this scale makes many of the classical calculations accurate. The statistical mechanics book Urb linked to actually covers this stuff fairly well.

The second problem (for our discussion) is that if everything is at rest (a pile of bricks), the momentum is zero, so the integral over the momentum coordinates is zero. This makes the whole treatment collapse. Nothing like a Hamiltonian formulation or quantum mechanics is around to 'fix' this issue.

Now, the obvious way to describe the configuration of a bunch of bricks is to locate the centers of all the bricks and their orientation. So, each brick gets 6 coordinates: three for position and three for orientation (Euler angles, perhaps). Integration over these variables could potentially be used to count 'micro-states', although we have the old classical issue that the variables are continuous and not discrete, so we have to deal with the lack of a natural scale. Also, there is no reason that this integral is picked out because no dynamics preserves this 'volume'. There are no Markov processes involved or anything else that would point to a natural way of treating this stuff.

Anyway, those are a few of my thoughts on this.
The Dude

Birkenhead, UK

#158463 Nov 20, 2013
And Cowboy hasn't changed in four years. The ends justify the means.

That's why it gets stale dealing with the Cowboys, KABs and Markies of the universe. Eventually ya just gotta leave the Black Knight crawling there threatening to bite your legs off.

“May you be at peace.”

Since: Nov 07

Location hidden

#158464 Nov 20, 2013
polymath257 wrote:
<quoted text>
I am not completely convinced we have to move outside of TD to analyze this. The problem is that the 'configurational entropy' will end up being minuscule. The point is that entropy, as an extensive property, is proportional to the number of particles in the system. For a brick, the number of molecules is on the order of Avagadro's number. For a pile of bricks, the 'entropy' associated with the arrangements of the bricks would correspond to a few thousand bricks, as opposed to a few sextillion molecules.
This would show that the TD entropy would completely overwhelm the 'configurational' entropy, even if it could be reasonably defined.
Another issue that Urb doesn't address: standard TD entropy counts micro-states in phase space, which has both position and momentum as coordinate axes. The reason is linked to Hamilton's formulation of classical mechanics: it turns out that phase space volume is preserved under the motion of the particles. So, in classical TD, the number of micro-states is determined by this integral over phase space. There are two problems that arise: first, that of scale (this is related to what Morowitz was discussing): in classical physics, there is no 'natural' scale for phase space, so the number of micro-states is only determined up to some constant multiple.
This problem is fixed in quantum mechanics because the uncertainty principle provides a natural scale in phase space. It turns out that this scale makes many of the classical calculations accurate. The statistical mechanics book Urb linked to actually covers this stuff fairly well.
The second problem (for our discussion) is that if everything is at rest (a pile of bricks), the momentum is zero, so the integral over the momentum coordinates is zero. This makes the whole treatment collapse. Nothing like a Hamiltonian formulation or quantum mechanics is around to 'fix' this issue.
Now, the obvious way to describe the configuration of a bunch of bricks is to locate the centers of all the bricks and their orientation. So, each brick gets 6 coordinates: three for position and three for orientation (Euler angles, perhaps). Integration over these variables could potentially be used to count 'micro-states', although we have the old classical issue that the variables are continuous and not discrete, so we have to deal with the lack of a natural scale. Also, there is no reason that this integral is picked out because no dynamics preserves this 'volume'. There are no Markov processes involved or anything else that would point to a natural way of treating this stuff.
Anyway, those are a few of my thoughts on this.

So any way we go at it we are only using an approximation of the number of microstates? If we used different methods would the answer come out reasonably close to the same? Or is it just unrealistic to try to address this sort of problem and expect 'a answer'?
Level 6

Since: Aug 07

Arlington, VA

#158465 Nov 20, 2013
Chimney1 wrote:
You have copy and pasted Creager's coin toss example...
That is not true. You are lying. The coin toss example came from a text book which I had to carefully re-format. It gives a clear-cut example of statistical entropy.

“Think&Care”

Since: Oct 07

Location hidden

#158466 Nov 20, 2013
Dogen wrote:
<quoted text>
So any way we go at it we are only using an approximation of the number of microstates? If we used different methods would the answer come out reasonably close to the same? Or is it just unrealistic to try to address this sort of problem and expect 'a answer'?
The problem is deeper. We have to define exactly what we mean by a micro-state. This was not actually done in classical TD. It is done in quantum TD, though. The reason classical TD worked is that it typically only looked at the change of entropy instead of the entropy itself. It turns out that the constant of proportionality cancels out when looking at entropy changes.

Now, in practice, even quantum TD uses approximations to determine the number of quantum states. A typical use is Sterling's formula approximating the log of a factorial ln(n!) is approximately nln(n). For n on the order of Avagadro's number, this approximation is quite good. For n on the order of 5, it isn't so good.
Level 6

Since: Aug 07

Arlington, VA

#158467 Nov 20, 2013
Chimney1 wrote:
You did not get your quote from Feynman's lectures. You got a quote second hand from Panspermia.
That is not true. You are lying. Makowitz quoted Feynman accurately and I quoted Feynman accurately from Feynman's Physics Lectures which I linked.

Level 6

Since: Mar 12

Location hidden

#158468 Nov 20, 2013
polymath257 wrote:
<quoted text>
I am not completely convinced we have to move outside of TD to analyze this. The problem is that the 'configurational entropy' will end up being minuscule. The point is that entropy, as an extensive property, is proportional to the number of particles in the system. For a brick, the number of molecules is on the order of Avevenro's number. For a pile of bricks, the 'entropy' associated with the arrangements of the bricks would correspond to a few thousand bricks, as opposed to a few sextillion molecules.
This would show that the TD entropy would completely overwhelm the 'configurational' entropy, even if it could be reasonably defined.
Another issue that Urb doesn't address: standard TD entropy counts micro-states in phase space, which has both position and momentum as coordinate axes. The reason is linked to Hamilton's formulation of classical mechanics: it turns out that phase space volume is preserved under the motion of the particles. So, in classical TD, the number of micro-states is determined by this integral over phase space. There are two problems that arise: first, that of scale (this is related to what Morowitz was discussing): in classical physics, there is no 'natural' scale for phase space, so the number of micro-states is only determined up to some constant multiple.
This problem is fixed in quantum mechanics because the uncertainty principle provides a natural scale in phase space. It turns out that this scale makes many of the classical calculations accurate. The statistical mechanics book Urb linked to actually covers this stuff fairly well.
The second problem (for our discussion) is that if everything is at rest (a pile of bricks), the momentum is zero, so the integral over the momentum coordinates is zero. This makes the whole treatment collapse. Nothing like a Hamiltonian formulation or quantum mechanics is around to 'fix' this issue.
Now, the obvious way to describe the configuration of a bunch of bricks is to locate the centers of all the bricks and their orientation. So, each brick gets 6 coordinates: three for position and three for orientation (Euler angles, perhaps). Integration over these variables could potentially be used to count 'micro-states', although we have the old classical issue that the variables are continuous and not discrete, so we have to deal with the lack of a natural scale. Also, there is no reason that this integral is picked out because no dynamics preserves this 'volume'. There are no Markov processes involved or anything else that would point to a natural way of treating this stuff.
Anyway, those are a few of my thoughts on this.
Lots to digest there.

I have considered the fact that the magnitude of the order represented is tiny in comparison to the molecular scale because the packet number is small. However scale is not necessarily an issue because if we assume the same TD entropy in the two cases then in a way its irrelevant. There is still more order in the well arranged bricks even if TD order is the same and vastly greater.

We can even deal with the continuous v discrete problem if we assume that any angular change lower than the natural vibrational perturbation of the molecules of the brick = zero. We just made it discrete!

Now Creager obviously misapplied boltzmann in his laughable paper but nevertheless problems we might have in dealing with macroscopic order are real. Living systems are one example where there is order present not fully accounted for by a TD approach. That is why I am curious to know if there is any treatment of order or entropy that can deal with this.

And even if we accept the reality of this order, there is still no evidence that the "ordered application of energy" is the only way to achieve it. Great Red Spot.

Level 6

Since: Mar 12

Location hidden

#158469 Nov 20, 2013
Urban Cowboy wrote:
<quoted text>
That is not true. You are lying. The coin toss example came from a text book which I had to carefully re-format. It gives a clear-cut example of statistical entropy.
I saw on youtube that Creager had that example. Still ok I accept you got it from another source and had to "reformat it". You made my point perfectly, thanks.

The question is, are you able to go beyond say the berkeley gas example and ask a sensible question extending the experiment? After all, you are defending a paper that claims only the ordered application of energy reduces entropy. So lets apply some ordered energy and recompress the gas. Answer this - can that process reduce the entropy of the gas? And if so, how? What else has to happen to get the entropy back to where it was before we opened the valve? something I have been telling you since day one. Can you figure it out?

Level 6

Since: Mar 12

Location hidden

#158470 Nov 20, 2013
Urban Cowboy wrote:
<quoted text>
That is not true. You are lying. Makowitz quoted Feynman accurately and I quoted Feynman accurately from Feynman's Physics Lectures which I linked.
Now it is you who is lying. You got the quote from Panspermia and then later linked it to Feynman's lectures direct which was easy since Panspermia named the source.

Two reasons that is obvious:

1 you made claims just like Morowitz except wrong before you attributed them to him in later posts. Just as you did with Creager incidently.

2 you NEVER would have claimed that Feynman disregards the dimensions of entropy if you had really gone through the full body of his lectures on entropy before seeing that one paragraph.

Its clear to anyone that the same Urban Cowboy who will glibly claim that acalcified hat is indistinguishable from a fossil is not interested in getting to the core of any real science, merely in propping your fantasies upbwith something just plausible enough to convince those who dont know better and dont want to.

Prove me wrong. Go through a real example with a simple physical system to show you understand what is happening to the energy, the microstates, etc.
Level 6

Since: Aug 07

Arlington, VA

#158471 Nov 20, 2013
Chimney1 wrote:
<quoted text>
Now it is you who is lying. You got the quote from Panspermia and then later linked it to Feynman's lectures direct which was easy since Panspermia named the source.
Two reasons that is obvious:
1 you made claims just like Morowitz except wrong before you attributed them to him in later posts. Just as you did with Creager incidently.
2 you NEVER would have claimed that Feynman disregards the dimensions of entropy if you had really gone through the full body of his lectures on entropy before seeing that one paragraph.
Its clear to anyone that the same Urban Cowboy who will glibly claim that acalcified hat is indistinguishable from a fossil is not interested in getting to the core of any real science, merely in propping your fantasies upbwith something just plausible enough to convince those who dont know better and dont want to.
Prove me wrong. Go through a real example with a simple physical system to show you understand what is happening to the energy, the microstates, etc.
Lies on top of more lies...
Level 6

Since: Aug 07

Arlington, VA

#158472 Nov 20, 2013
Chimney1 wrote:
<quoted text>
I saw on youtube that Creager had that example. Still ok I accept you got it from another source and had to "reformat it". You made my point perfectly, thanks.
The question is, are you able to go beyond say the berkeley gas example and ask a sensible question extending the experiment? After all, you are defending a paper that claims only the ordered application of energy reduces entropy. So lets apply some ordered energy and recompress the gas. Answer this - can that process reduce the entropy of the gas? And if so, how? What else has to happen to get the entropy back to where it was before we opened the valve? something I have been telling you since day one. Can you figure it out?
LIAR! You just lie as easily as you breath.

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