The Army has enough trouble

Trump has selected Mark Green to be Secretary of the Army. What do you think? Do you think he’s an idiot?

He’s an idiot. He spoke at a church event in Cincinnati two years ago, and hoo boy, he’s a grade A ignoramus.

The evolutionists have their bad argument, too, Green said. They say, ‘Well, I can’t explain how it went from this to incredibly complex, so it must have been billions of years.’ That’s kind of where they put their faith. The truth of the matter is — is the second law of thermo-fluid dynamics says that the world progresses from order to disorder not disorder to order.

If you put a lawn mower out in your yard and a hundred years come back, it’s rusted and falling apart. You can’t put parts out there and a hundred years later it’s gonna come back together. That is a violation of a law of thermodynamics. A physical law that exists in the universe.

It’s bad enough he dredges up that often debunked argument from misunderstanding thermodynamics, but thermo-fluid dynamics? I don’t know what that is. I think he saw an opportunity to throw in two more syllables to make it somehow sound more sciencey, but all he accomplished was to show that he understands neither thermodynamics nor fluid dynamics.

He has also said, If you poll the psychiatrists, they’re going to tell you that transgender is a disease. Sure, why not. In for a penny, in for a pound. If you’re going to lie and make shit up in the Trump administration, go big.

You might also want to read this article from Robert Bateman, who has become one of my regular reads for a rational military perspective. He points out how bad personnel decisions have long-lasting consequences on military readiness and competence.

This counts as a very bad decision.


  1. wcorvi says

    I just gave a lecture on that (though I too didn’t know it was thermo-fluid dynamics).

    You can’t apply Second Law to a biological system, only a CLOSED thermodynamic one. And to do that, you MUST include the sun! The sun is increasing its entropy enormously fast, so a slight decrease on earth isn’t a problem.

    Shut the sun off for three days, and see how long life can survive on earth.

  2. pontavedra says

    It’s almost as if an extremist right-wing fundamentalist vice president chose who to put in a lot of these higher positions instead of the president choosing them himself. Hmm, let’s see if we can create a basic guide: religious idiot, Pence probably chose them; general idiot, Trump probably knew them.

  3. says

    wcorvi @1: “You can’t apply Second Law to a biological system, only a CLOSED thermodynamic one.”
    Sure you can apply 2nd Law to a biological system! You can apply 2nd Law to any system whatsoever. The layman’s entropy-can’t-decrease version of 2nd Law is a summary of the results you get when you apply 2nd Law to closed systems, not a generally-applicable statement of 2nd Law. Which is a good thing, because if it actually was impossible for entropy to ever decrease, under any circumstances, water couldn’t freeze…

  4. Snoof says

    If you leave your lawnmower in the yard and come back a hundred years later, it’ll probably be invisible under a giant mass of vegetation and greenery. So much for “things fall apart”. It seems more like everything gets bigger and more complex unless you take active steps to stop it.

  5. Zeppelin says

    @Marcus Ranum: I can’t from personal experience speak for the US military, but as far as the German army is concerned I have to agree with Terry Pratchett qua Sergeant Jackrum: “Bein’ a soldier is not hard. If it was, soldiers would not be able to do it.”
    Taking people right out of school and putting them straight in another highly regulated environment where virtue means doing and saying as you’re told is a pretty reliable method of retarding intellectual and moral development.

  6. Rob Grigjanis says

    wcorvi @1:

    The sun is increasing its entropy enormously fast

    The sun’s entropy is decreasing. You can get a rough estimate from ΔS = ΔQ/T, where T is the surface temperature and ΔQ is the heat transfer, which for the sun is, of course, negative.

  7. alkisvonidas says

    If creationists think the 2nd law is a problem for evolution, I’d like to see how they cope with development.

    Unless they think the complexity of an adult is lower than that of a fetus.


  8. Scott Simmons says

    Rob Grigjanis #6: You’re neglecting the entropy increase resulting from the nuclear reactions in the Sun’s core. If the Sun was just a big, hot ball of gas, slowly cooling down and shrinking as it radiated its stored heat energy into space, this calculation would be correct and complete.

    (Historical note: this is basically why Lord Kelvin calculated the age of the Sun could be no more than 20 million years. In his defense, nuclear decay had not yet been discovered at that time.)

  9. Rob Grigjanis says

    wcorvi @1:

    You can’t apply Second Law to a biological system, only a CLOSED thermodynamic one.

    You can certainly talk about the entropy of open systems. I like to use the analogy of building a wall from stones in a field. When you’re done, the entropy of the “stone” system has decreased, but the entropy of “stone” plus immediate environment (including builder) has increased. That’s because muscles have a mechanical efficiency of about 20%. So about four times as much energy is lost to the environment than was required for construction. Similar arguments apply to biological systems. They increase overall entropy far more than the local decreases associated with their “building”.

  10. dhabecker says

    Laws, smaws, so what? Does he love him some Trump? Sign here, right next to Andrew Jackson.
    How do you spell doomed?

  11. Rob Grigjanis says

    Scott Simmons @8:

    You’re neglecting the entropy increase resulting from the nuclear reactions in the Sun’s core.

    The energy released from fusion ends up being radiated away. That’s a net decrease in entropy for the sun.

    Kelvin made a horribly wrong assumption about the sun’s energy source; that it was purely gravitational. That has little or nothing to do with short-term entropy changes.

  12. slithey tove (twas brillig (stevem)) says

    Trump has selected Mark Green to be Secretary of the Army. What do you think? Do you think he’s an idiot?

    First word there is sufficient endorsement for an unqualified ABSOTIVELY. 45 only selects idiots for each vacancy he needs to fill
    reading the remainder is icing on the cake of dung 45 always provides.

  13. emergence says

    What always bothers me about the second law claim is that it makes no sense from the standpoint of molecular biology. There’s no reason to think that a nonfunctional nucleotide sequence is energetically favorable to a functional sequence. Besides, if the second law argument was right, it would also prevent growth, development, and homeostasis.

  14. Rob Grigjanis says

    I think the best answer to the creationists’ misuse of the second law is this;

    The dominant thermodynamic effect of the sun’s activity over some period of time is the transfer of energy E from a body with surface temperature T₁=6000K to a medium (space) at temperature T₂=3K. The overall change in entropy is roughly*

    ΔS = (-E/T₁) + (E/T₂)

    where the first term is the sun’s change, and the second term space’s change. The second term is about 2000 times larger in magnitude than the first, so a net increase.

    What about Earth? The energy it gets from the sun in this period is (r²/4R²)E, where r is the Earth’s radius, and R its distance to the sun. The term in brackets is about 4e-10. So pretty much anything that gets done with this energy is piddling compared to the gross entropy increase.

    *Modeled as a black body, the entropy change of the sun would be (-4E/3T) rather than (-E/T), but 1.333… is close enough to 1 for our purposes.