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Problems with entropy in biology

Authors
Journal
Biosystems
0303-2647
Publisher
Elsevier
Publication Date
Volume
7
Issue
2
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1016/0303-2647(75)90033-7
Disciplines
  • Biology
  • Physics

Abstract

Abstract Entropy has been widely referred to as a measure of biological order. The validity of this notion is discussed in conjunction with it's relation to the spontaneous creation of order. Information theory offers a quantitative method for characterization of order, however, it is not fundamentally connected to formalisms of irreversible thermodynamics, and it is severely limited because the meaning and value of the information is neglected. A completely general notation is proposed for including measures of order of a biological system in the entropy balance equation of irreversible thermodynamics. Problems of assigning energetic equivalents to measures of order are indicated, with a final focus on the problem of meaning and value.

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