Primer on Entropy - Part III C LO20077

AM de Lange (
Thu, 3 Dec 1998 16:13:42 +0200

Replying to LO20049 --

Dear Organlearners,

With Part III C I have completed the Primer on Entropy. It consists of
Part I, Part II A and II B, Part III A, III B and III C.

The purpose of this primer is to help you to be able to participate in any
dialog in which the concepts "entropy" and "entropy production" occur.
The purpose is also to help as much as possible other people also. I am
especially thinking of students in countries all over the world who
encounter these concepts more and more in their studies all over the
academical spectrum, but for whom the present confusion in literature is
worse than a nightmare.

I have tried my best to present the primer in such a manner that it will
serve the above purpose. But I am fully aware that this is impossible
unless I have feedback where it has not been helpful. So, please help me
with your inputs to imbetter it. You can do it in many ways:

1) Please ask me to explain anything which appears to be confusing or
incomprehensible. I will try to do it. The mere question will already give
me a hint how to improve on the text. However, let us do it on the LO list
for the benefit of all of us.

2) Please help me to make this document an effective primer by suggesting
simplifications wherever you can. I am so involved with complexity that I
may easily complicate something which is inherently complex. This I want
to avoid at all costs. But bear in mind that this primer must function as
a spring board ("umlomo") to connect all of us to the forefrontiers of
human thinking.

3) Please point out any errors which I have made. I know that this is very
difficult to do since the primer has not only a technical dimension to it,
but also one intended to change perceptions. It is relatively easy to
correct technical errors, but very diffcult to correct perceptional
errors. In fact, it took a century to correct the perception that
"entropy" is a "measure of chaos". (This is one of the themes in the
primer.) What I may consider as a correct perception, you may consider as
an incorrect perception and vice versa. Let us discuss all perceptional
issues on the LOlist so that we try to avoid anything developing in that
category to which "entropy is a measure of chaos" also belong.

4) I know that many of you will want more information on how "entropy
production" causes changes in organisation. This cannot be part of the
primer. But your desire will certain influence the effectiveness of the
primer. I am very sensitive to the fact that all of you represent a great
academical diversity whereas the concepts "entropy" and "entropy
production" have a massive baggage of technical meanings unknown to your
world of understanding. This is a tension which I want to reduce as far as
possible by reducing the technical baggage and explaining the rest in as
universal manner as possible.

5)English is not my mother tongue. I often spend up to 5 minutes to
formulate a sentence in Englsih which would have taken me a little more
than 5 seconds in my own mother tongue. What is even worse, I often have
to bend the English so that I can articulate the tacit thought correctly.
This bending is not a good thing because it causes me to drift away from
the little bit of standard English which I do know. (In my own mother
tongue it is different. I helps me to discover hidden powers in it which
give me the goose flesh, admiring the beauty of our common possesion.) So
I ask you to please help me in correcting the English.

6) I myself will often refer to this primer. I have done so today in my
reply to John Gunkler on the subject: "Changing Another Person LO20040" by
making use of spontaneity as Gibbs have articulated it in terms of work
and free energy. (Remember that free energy is particular combination of
energy and entropy to reflect the Law of Entropy Production in terms of
energy rather than entropy.) If the primer does not reflect these
referances clearly, please tell me so.

Please, let us make this primer an example of Team Learning. All inputs
are valuable and none is too insignificant. And remember, there is no
rush. Let us take it slowly. I suspect that Leo Minningh may want to make
use of the primer in May next year. But inputs even beyond May will still
be valuable.

Thank you very much for your cooperation

Best wishes


At de Lange <> Snailmail: A M de Lange Gold Fields Computer Centre Faculty of Science - University of Pretoria Pretoria 0001 - Rep of South Africa

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