Life As A Manifestation Of The Second Law Of Thermodynamics
We examine the thermodynamic evolution of various evolving systems, from primitive physical systems to complex living systems, and conclude that they involve similar processes which are phenomenological manifestations of the second law of thermodynamics. We take the reformulated second law of thermodynamics of Hatsopoulos and Keenan and Kestin and extend it to nonequilibrium regions, where nonequilibrium is described in terms of gradients maintaining systems at some distance away from equilibrium. The reformulated second law suggests that as systems are moved away from equilibrium they will take advantage of all available means to resist externally applied gradients. When highly ordered complex systems emerge, they develop and grow at the expense of increasing the disorder at higher levels in the system's hierarchy. We note that this behaviour appears universally in physical and chemical systems. We present a paradigm which provides for a thermodynamically consistent explana...