12
   

An Embarassment to Science

 
 
Reply Thu 18 Feb, 2016 08:27 am
After reading a synopsis of a paper by Adrian Bejan, the J.A. Jones Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Duke, I have rarely been so embarrassed for the field of science. Bejan claims to have made a breakthrough discovery linking physics, biology and evolution. I'm embarrassed for two reasons. One, his 'breakthroughs' in physics seem rather obvious and Two, his comparisons with biology are thunderingly wrong.

He says that "The finding demonstrates that evolution doesn't apply only to biological things, but any physical system in motion". It is an extension of a physical law Bejan 'developed' ten years ago called the constructal law, which states that any flowing system allowed to change freely over time will trend toward an easier flowing architecture. In another jaw dropping revelation Bejan points out that bigger stones tend to roll further than small ones and rolling stones evolve to have less friction so that they can travel further. That is, they become rounder over time. "I'm showing that evolution is actually based in physics and that it is simply design change over time" he says.

His 'Aha!' observations are just restatements of the basic laws of physics, entropy, systems changing in the direction of lower energy states, etc. but his claimed breakthrough is how neatly it ties how physics works to how biology and evolution work.

What struck me is that exactly the opposite of what he is saying is true. As farmerman once pointed out, Biological systems are the only exception in the universe to the laws of physics in that they reverse entropy. While alive, they move from disorder to order, from low energy states to higher ones, they concentrate energy rather than disperse it. This is the exact opposite of all non-biological systems.

Here's a link to the article at physics.org:
http://phys.org/news/2016-02-stones-turbulence-evolution-physics.html
 
Amoh5
 
  1  
Reply Thu 18 Feb, 2016 05:23 pm
@Leadfoot,
Yes, I think it is a little odd that a qualified Profeesor of engineering would make a fuss about the rolling of stones and call it a spectacular breakthrough. But I understand the evolution concept applying to everything else in our universe because everything is obviously subjected to change. It's just the rolling stones part that makes me frown??
0 Replies
 
Fil Albuquerque
 
  1  
Reply Thu 18 Feb, 2016 05:31 pm
@Leadfoot,
Natural Selection started out with matter vs anti matter so what's the fuss ?
Leadfoot
 
  1  
Reply Thu 18 Feb, 2016 07:33 pm
What's the fuss indeed. It reminded me of another well funded study I read last week. That one made the startling discovery that almost all male mammal bladders take about 20 seconds to empty, smaller capacity being offset by thinner gage plumbing you know. Mice were an exception to the rule being among the fastest guns around.

And they say science research should be better funded...
farmerman
 
  2  
Reply Thu 18 Feb, 2016 09:14 pm
@Fil Albuquerque,
Quote:

Natural Selection started out with matter vs anti matter so what's the fuss
I try to keep up with this arena of information and I gotta say, youre the first to make it a Star Trek episode.

farmerman
 
  3  
Reply Thu 18 Feb, 2016 09:18 pm
@Leadfoot,
who's the guy with the stopwatch and the graduated cylinder? Hows this look on his CV?

Hed have to come up with some sexy title

"Head Pressure and Laminar flow in male mammalian bladders"

naah , that still sounds like some kids 5th grade science fair project.
cicerone imposter
 
  1  
Reply Thu 18 Feb, 2016 09:22 pm
@farmerman,
I love your quote
Quote:
....make it a Star Trek episode.
LOL
0 Replies
 
farmerman
 
  2  
Reply Thu 18 Feb, 2016 09:28 pm
@farmerman,
I was always kind of smirking at how weve always given LEonardo great big pats for coming up with his "Rubio Goldabergini" inventions . He "invented" flying machine built of what looked like structural lumber.

But in trying to get on board with a couple of "Atsa Boys' for him, qhen you think about it. Lwonrdo is almost the Fther of wngineering plans. Think about all his dimension drawings, a kind of tool qe take for granted today and have made an art form by doing complx plans in the computer and developing millions of graphic sections in multi dimensional scale drawings including time( racing sail designs).
SO, I am now a Leonardo fan because if it werent for his craft of technical illustration and scaling, wed still be designing stuff by chipping it on stones while we were building the things. While I still think his Leicester Codex is humor rather than it is a work of science, I gotta admire his use of graphic design to make his points .
0 Replies
 
Leadfoot
 
  1  
Reply Fri 19 Feb, 2016 05:04 am
@farmerman,
Quote:
who's the guy with the stopwatch and the graduated cylinder? Hows this look on his CV?
Ha! As Orvil Wright said, 'sacrifices must be made'.

Got to agree on Leonardo's aero engineering skills. No gut feel for it at all.
0 Replies
 
Fil Albuquerque
 
  1  
Reply Fri 19 Feb, 2016 08:21 am
@farmerman,
The coinage is not my merit I think it was either krauss or Bryan Green....yes given how simple were the initial conditions when the Universe formed calling it Natural selection may seem a strech...
Yes I am an havid Treckie thank you. I bet you are to. If not bad boy...
Amoh5
 
  1  
Reply Sat 20 Feb, 2016 04:06 am
@Fil Albuquerque,
Star Trek? Yeah I'm a 1960s baby. I grew up on the William Shatner version. Gene Roddenberry, an amazing sci- fi writer with some excellent dialogue and excellent actors as well. But there was also Dr. Who, Lost in Space, Land of the Giants, Planet of the Apes and Star Wars etc etc. I also like Science non- fiction viewing like David Attenborough, National Geographic, Jacques Cousteau etc etc. But I used to like watching an Australian science tech tv programme in the 1990s called "Beyond 2000" brillant programme, especially the introduction, where it has a C3P0-like robot pushing a young girl on a swing where they are situated in a futuristic city with spaceship graphics as well. I also liked the Journey of Man by Dr. Spencer Wells on human evolution and migration, but I didn't like his comment saying that humans came from apes. Nevermind all this come from stuff, I mean, either we are apes or we are not? I've'just looked it up on google and the Australian musuem website said humans are part of the Great Ape family? Interesting. But whether we accept the word "ape" or not, we can't deny the word "primate"...
Leadfoot
 
  1  
Reply Sat 20 Feb, 2016 04:24 am
@Amoh5,
Quote:
But whether we accept the word "ape" or not, we can't deny the word "primate"...
It all depends on what you think separates man from animal. If you think it's a certain percentage of DNA you may be using the wrong criteria.

Of course many would say that to propose any other criteria is 'an Embarassment to science'. But maybe we're not there yet. I haven't heard any talk yet about a 'consciousness' gene.
Amoh5
 
  1  
Reply Sat 20 Feb, 2016 04:35 am
@Leadfoot,
I'm not phased by the words "ape" or "primate" Its just when they are used indirectly, assuming we are and we are not. I mean people don't want to be associated with gorillas and chimpanzees because they think they look silly and dumb. Maybe its a form of primatial discrimination perhaps?
0 Replies
 
Amoh5
 
  1  
Reply Sat 20 Feb, 2016 08:05 pm
@Leadfoot,
I'll get back to the topic of your discussion which I thought what would be deemed an embarassment to science? I thought it probably would be an idea or revealaton that is useless and insignificant? Like sarcastically saying "wow! so what?" or, "I can't rule the world with an idea like that, go and think of something else." Can't blame a man for trying I guess...
Leadfoot
 
  1  
Reply Sat 20 Feb, 2016 08:30 pm
@Amoh5,
Quote:
I mean people don't want to be associated with gorillas and chimpanzees because they think they look silly and dumb. Maybe its a form of primatial discrimination perhaps?
You had already lost me back on this previous post. I'll assume you are serious so I have to ask you:

Are you saying that I'm discriminating against animal primates by suggesting that it is more than genetics that separate us from them?
Amoh5
 
  1  
Reply Sat 20 Feb, 2016 08:49 pm
@Leadfoot,
No, I was just generalising the idea why people frown when they are associated with gorillas or chimpazees, maybe I was referring to myself. The consciousness gene is an interesting idea...
Fil Albuquerque
 
  2  
Reply Sun 21 Feb, 2016 06:46 am
@Amoh5,
I got there in the late 70's in Portugal when I was 5 or 6...barely could keep up with the subtitles...11 o'clock Friday night...couldn't miss it for the world and immediately was captivated by Spock as a role model for me. From there on I saw everything the 80's brought up. Galactica, Buck Rogers, Space 1999, Automen, etc...
Now I am quite entertained with The Expanse. I recommended it to any Science Fiction aficionado.
Amoh5
 
  1  
Reply Sun 21 Feb, 2016 08:46 am
@Fil Albuquerque,
Yes I love the character Spock too, especially Leonard Nimoy doing it he's a genius and a great entertainer. Sci-fi s are my favourite type of movies. Sci-fi creators come up with amazing futuristic tech ideas and dialogue, but only if they work with the high budget studio companies though. Have you seen "Masters Of The Universe?" a little childish, but it had some clever tech ideas and some great acting, very entertaining. I think I prefer sci-fis (big budget action ones that is) because they dream up more sophisticated homes and technologies that can make life more secure and easier for us. No one really likes struggling I suppose. But its awesome watching a good sci-fi, a bit of time-out from the unsophisticated stresses of the real world I would say...
Leadfoot
 
  1  
Reply Sun 21 Feb, 2016 09:12 am
@Amoh5,
Quote:
The consciousness gene is an interesting idea...
Without even Googling it I'm sure there must be researchers filling out Grant requests to try and find it. I'm all for meaningful scientific research but they do get kind of manic about research aimed at proving there is nothing out of the ordinary about human life. That's fine too, but I draw the line when they conclude that a rolling stone proves evolution :-)
Leadfoot
 
  1  
Reply Sun 21 Feb, 2016 09:27 am
@Fil Albuquerque,
I was more into SiFi reading. Heinlein, Silverburg & Asimov were favorites. A rare exception was a short novel by a woman in the 20s called 'Vintage Season'.
Movie wise, I think they've mostly gone downhill since 'Forbiden Planet'. MIB & Total Recall was fun though.
 

Related Topics

New Propulsion, the "EM Drive" - Question by TomTomBinks
The Science Thread - Discussion by Wilso
Why do people deny evolution? - Question by JimmyJ
Are we alone in the universe? - Discussion by Jpsy
Fake Science Journals - Discussion by rosborne979
Controvertial "Proof" of Multiverse! - Discussion by littlek
 
  1. Forums
  2. » An Embarassment to Science
Copyright © 2017 MadLab, LLC :: Terms of Service :: Privacy Policy :: Page generated in 0.03 seconds on 02/23/2017 at 12:27:18