Explain the Relationship Between Homeostasis and Entropy
The term dynamic equilibrium is also used synonymously with steady state, but the use of that term can be confusing. A dynamic equilibrium is not the same as a chemical equilibrium. A 1981 edition of Webster's dictionary provides a rather narrow definition of the term homeostasis, refering specifically to animals. Homeostasis was defined as the maintenance in an animal of a "constant internal milieu," that is, a relatively constant internal environment, despite changes to the external environment. More generally, homeostasis can refer to the maintenance of relatively constant conditions within any system. In fact the term is now used in reference to cells, animals, plants, and local or global ecosystems. The term could probably apply to a self-sufficient machine, for that matter. A key concept is that mechanisms must be in place to maintain constancy within a system, and that the system is itself dynamic. The latter quality is essential to the definition. The living tissue in a tree maintains homeostasis, but not so a block of wood after it is cut from the tree.
However, in accordance with the theory of Goldstein et al. , it is not only the “wear and tear” of the tissue themselves that predicts system failure, but rather the “wear and tear” of the regulatory feedbacks involved. In principle, the dynamic aspects of our theory (entropy production associated with regulatory feedbacks) is based on two presumptions: 1) that the KS entropy can be defined for all the regulatory feedbacks at all their hierarchical levels (as these feedbacks could defined by a system of differential equations and thus can be considered dynamical systems) and 2) Latora et al’s  suggestion that KS entropy is connected to physical entropy in the mass (i.e. in this case tissue/organs). Using this as a departure point, we propose that entropy of the regulatory feedback loop is inevitably bound with physical entropy of the tissues involved (which does not exclude the possibility of the loop failure with intact tissues with low cumulative entropy, as observed in the clinical practice in extreme stressors) (Aoki I., 1991).
Since all energy transfers result in the loss of some usable energy, the second law of thermodynamics states that every energy transfer or transformation increases the entropy of the universe. Even though living things are highly ordered and maintain a state of low entropy, the entropy of the universe in total is constantly increasing due to the loss of usable energy with each energy transfer that occurs. Essentially, living things are in a continuous uphill battle against this constant increase in universal entropy.
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