von Neumann's word could be taken as joke, but the sad reality is it
is serious science. It clearly shows that then as today that entropy is just a mathematical contrivance that lacks clarity/meaning.
Sure we use such contrivances all the time but to have it as a fundamental cornerstone of a science is walking a rather
dangerous path. Yet we have stood on this precarious path for over a century. Not to mention: Have you ever tried arguing
against an illogical concept that behold no real meaning? I liken it to fishing on a moonless night and not knowing where
the lake is. Sure your casts may be great, but so what when the lake is not where you thought, and your lure is left hung up in tree.
To belittle entropy is demeaning to anyone who does research wherein the term is involved. I once exchanged emails with someone studying entropy production in chemical reactions. It all sounds great until a 5 yr old asks what does entropy mean? Sure the researcher can deduce a convoluted answer that will leave any 5 yr old completely baffled, but what is the researcher really saying. When I once told the researcher that for the most part entropy is a complication of the simple, and that generally its production can be associated with the work lost by expanding systems displacing our atmosphere's mass, well that certainly ended our emails. Perhaps the indignity of the idea that his research was belittled hurts too much. Perhaps his computer failed and he is back to the pen and paper world. I really do not know what the real answer is.
Sure the powers at hand will argue that what they say is backed by indisputable empirical data. Onto you, I state that such results/data is not in dispute. However there are rules concerning experimental results.
Rule 1: Experimental results can only disprove a given theory. Least we forget that numerous theories can readily explain a given indisputable result. Accordingly, when two or more theories equally explain a result then one must apply Occam's razor rather than adhere to some pet theory, irrelevant of whether or not that a theory is indoctrinated into our souls. To do otherwise is not to behold a clear unbiased scientific mind.
Rule 2: Experimental results can be misconstrued due to the way
the experiment is set up. Consider the vast majority of experiments on dilute gases. Herein, closed systems are used to contain the
dilute gases. What scientists have forgotten to ask is this. How does this affect our results? It turns out that the fact that dilute
gas molecules do interact with the walls more often than with each other is part of the reason that certain experimental results occur
and that traditional thermodynamics is written the way it is.
Interestingly, if we remove the walls then closed systems become open ones. At which point the ideal gas law, Avogadro’s hypothesis, kinetic theory, Maxwell’s velocities etc etc all somewhat lose their validity. (see my blogs on “walls” and “kinetic theory”). In part this explains why traditional thermodynamics does not apply to cosmology. I.e. results from experiments on gases in closed systems may be limited to closed systems. This is not to say that once we open a closed system of gas, that everything changes at that instant. Rather over time, once the walls are removed then gas molecules will collide with other gas molecules exchanging both their energies and momentums. And as this process occurs, the dynamics of the gases will slowly be altered.
The above is really an elaboration of experiments on high density gases wherein the gases will interact with each other more often than with the closed system’s walls. Herein the ideal gas law, Avogadro’s hypothesis, kinetic theory, Maxwell’s velocities etc also all no longer apply.
Rule 3: When seeking an empirical result, or trying to explain an empirical result, do not allow your pet theories to interfere with your logic. Doing so may blind you of reality. Or even cause you to adhere to circular logic, something our 19th and early 20th century greats certainly did concerning entropy, the second law and lost work. And yes current thermodynamic theory is riddled with circular results based upon circular self-serving thought processes.
This website is now dedicated to elaborating upon why traditional thermodynamics is a complication of the simple, and how to then begin the discussion of how we can improve upon it. Plus the hope of selling a copy or two of my book. A new revised edition should hopefully be out in 2017.
The quote that will always egg me on, and hopefully will be egg in the face to Eddington’s reputation: "The law that entropy always increases, holds, I think, the supreme position among the laws of Nature. If someone points out to you that your pet theory of the universe is in disagreement with Maxwell's equations — then so much the worse for Maxwell's equations. If it is found to be contradicted by observation — well, these experimentalists do bungle things sometimes. But if your theory is found to be against the second law of thermodynamics I can give you no hope; there is nothing for it but to collapse in deepest humiliation