Dissipative structures

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The Wikipedia site doesn't tell the whole story except there are hints from the books cited were published in 1972, 1982 and 2000, and that the last book has no customer reviews. Most physicists are polite, but for a candid assessment from a physicist who is an expert on self-organization, see Cosma Shalizi's two reviews on these subjects:

What's wrong with Varela, Prigogine, "Dissipative Structures", Poesis

Dissipative structures

Recent reviews

Melanie Mitchell. 2009. Complexity: A guided tour. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Reviews the goals of Ilya Prigogine, Gregoire Nicolis, and the views of Hernann Haken (p298) but concludes "Work continues along these lines, but to date these efforts have not yet produced the coherent and general vocabulary of complexity envisioned by Prigogine, much less a general theory that unifies these disparate concepts [nonequilibrium, stability, bifurcation, symmetry-breaking, and long-range order] in a way that explains complexity in nature."

Refutation of Darwinism?

Here are quotes from the crackpot website Darwinism refuted 1/17/2009 about Prigogine's Dissipative Structures theory.

The well-known physicist Joel Keizer writes: "His supposed criteria for predicting the stability of far-from-equilibrium dissipative structures fails-except for states very near equilibrium." 372
The theoretical physicist Cosma Shalizi has this to say on the subject: "Second, he tried to push forward a rigorous and well-grounded study of pattern formation and self-organization almost before anyone else. He failed, but the attempt was inspiring." 373
F. Eugene Yates, editor of Self-Organizing Systems: The Emergence of Order, sums up the criticisms directed at Prigogine by Daniel L. Stein and the Nobel Prize-winning scientist Phillip W. Anderson, in an essay in that same journal:
The authors [Anderson and Stein] compare symmetry-breaking in thermodynamic equilibrium systems (leading to phase change) and in systems far from equilibrium (leading to dissipative structures). Thus, the authors do not believe that speculation about dissipative structures and their broken symmetries can, at present, be relevant to questions of the origin and persistence of life. 374
In short, Prigogine's theoretical studies are of no value in explaining the origin of life. The same authors make this comment about his theories:
Contrary to statements in a number of books and articles in this field, we believe that there is no such theory, and it even may be that there are no such structures as they are implied to exist by Prigogine, Haken, and their collaborators. 375
In essence, experts in the subject state that none of the theses Prigogine put forward possess any truth or validity, and that structures of the kind he discusses (dissipative structures) may not even really exist

Summing up this crackpot argument, since Prigogine was wrong, Darwin was wrong, a totally wrongheaded argument.

The opening paragraph of the website provides this rationale: "Quite aware that the second law of thermodynamics renders evolution impossible, some evolutionist scientists have made speculative attempts to square the circle between the two, in order to be able to claim that evolution is possible."

Numbers refer to the following citations on the web page.

Citations

  • 370 "From Complexity to Perplexity," Scientific American, May 1995.
  • 371 Cosma Shalizi, "Ilya Prigogine," October 10, 2001, www.santafe.edu/~shalizi/notebooks/prigogine.html. (emphasis added)
  • 372 Joel Keizer, "Statistical Thermodynamics of Nonequilibrium Processes," Springer-Verlag, Berlin, 1987, p. 360-1. (emphasis added)
  • 373 Cosma Shalizi, "Ilya Prigogine," October 10, 2001, www.santafe.edu/~shalizi/notebooks/prigogine.html. (emphasis added)
  • 374 F. Eugene Yates, Self-Organizing Systems: The Emergence of Order, "Broken Symmetry, Emergent Properties, Dissipative Structures, Life: Are They Related," Plenum Press, New York, 1987, pp. 445-457. (emphasis added)
  • 375 F. Eugene Yates, Self-Organizing Systems: The Emergence of Order, "Broken Symmetry, Emergent Properties, Dissipative Structures, Life: Are They Related" (NY: Plenum Press, 1987), p. 447.
  • 376 Ilya Prigogine, Isabelle Stengers, Order Out of Chaos, Bantam Books, New York, 1984, p. 175.
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