Richard E. Morel
George Fleck

Includes bibliographical references (p. 21-23)||To comment on the working paper go to||Created in 2010 in conjunction with the Kahn Liberal Arts Institute project: Liquid worlds.


Thermodynamics is often viewed as a narrow, introspective discipline, trapped by its origins in the 18th and 19th centuries. By dramatic contrast, we show that the Fourth Law of Thermodynamics provides explanations and interpretations of all natural events, extending across artificial boundaries of traditional academic disciplines. The Fourth Law of Thermodynamics states that far-from-equilibrium systems increase entropy at the maximum rate available to them. This broadly inclusive paradigm applies to systems from molecules, to organisms, to the biosphere. The Fourth Law is the Law of Evolution. All systems that communicate with their environment exhibit self-organization and self-optimization, enabling the emergence and the evolution of life as a sustained optimization of entropy increase.