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Richard Carrier Addendae

Bad Science, Worse Philosophy: the Quackery and Logic-Chopping of David Foster’s The Philosophical Scientists (2000)


Addendum E: Zero Entropy

Richard Carrier


Although there is no such thing as zero entropy in reality, it does exist as a mathematical ideal. In Thermodynamics: Foundations and Applications by Elias P. Gyftopoulos and Gian Paolo Bereth (MacMillan, NY, 1991), it is noted that “Entropy has absolute values greater than or equal to zero” but that “zero-entropy…describes all the states that are defined in mechanics…without concern about the implications of the laws of thermodynamics” (p. 188). In other words, zero entropy cannot be the property of any real system. It is the property only of ideal mechanical systems, a mathematical fiction which allows the laws of mechanics to be defined independently of the laws of thermodynamics. Since there is no mechanical system in the real world to which the laws of thermodynamics do not apply, it follows that there can be no system with zero entropy in the real world.

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