-1
$\begingroup$

At first this question might get the following response, "What are you talking about?". But really all I am kind of asking is:

What is the probability of us humans being disorderly? Or in other words, I am kind of talking about the Second Law of Thermodynamics. But just to be clear, in how many ways can we humans be "ordered" or "arranged" to still be human and living.

This is a different question than what you usually see on Chemistry SE, but I just want to know what is the probability of being human?

Thanks

$\endgroup$
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Have you read about the related concept of Boltzmann brains? Maybe some research into the term will turn up some probability, though I would not be surprised if it were on the order of $1/10^{10^{10}}$ for a human configuration to assemble randomly from a mixture of the atoms contained in an average person. $\endgroup$ – Nicolau Saker Neto Apr 10 '15 at 1:40
3
$\begingroup$

I'm not certain that this question is appropriate for this site. However, there is an awfully large range of configurations that are human. You can have physical defects, genetic anomalies, mutations, and you are still human. That's not even mentioning all the more typical human variations like height. But strictly mathematically, there are probably many more non-viable configurations of your cells than viable, so you might say that the probability is low.

BUT! Your invocation of the Second Law seems wrong to me. This only applies in a closed system, and that does not apply to the creation of a new human. Lots of energy is expended in that creation, which is not at all in defiance of the Second Law because we are not in a closed system (e.g. we ingest food and convert to energy).

$\endgroup$
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Additionally, we humans are well-ordered entropy engines operating far from equilibrium and kept there by kinetic feedback loops. The traditional understanding of entropy as a measure of "disorder" breakdown far from equilibrium as an overabundance of "order" begins to look chaotic. $\endgroup$ – Ben Norris Apr 10 '15 at 1:24

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.