There are 4 votes to close this question. It's a basic question about entropy and molecule size. Because macromolecules play a big role in biochemical pathways I would have thought the question well within the ambit of biology even if it shares space with chemistry.

If it were a more advanced question this wouldn't be an issue. The OP muddied the waters a bit by cross-posting [correction: posting question identical to one ] at the Chemistry site. Also the question itself is badly articulated. Nonetheless it appears to be another garden-variety SAT type question which could be asked/answered in any basic science forum.

If the question is closed I will vote to re-open but am asking once again if someone could venture an opinion. Perhaps a moderator could look at it and make a call?

When it comes to the creationist questions I am all for a low threshold but does it make sense to close basic science questions that come up in any 1st year bio course?

  • $\begingroup$ Because of the dubious quality of the question as relayed by the poster, on second thought maybe I won't vote to re-open but would still be interested in thoughts on whether this type of question is on-topic. $\endgroup$
    – daniel
    Commented Jul 20, 2014 at 3:02
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ I think it is on-topic here, but more on-topic at chemistry SE. If cross-posting is not allowed, I think it would be better suited over there. $\endgroup$
    – canadianer
    Commented Jul 20, 2014 at 20:41
  • $\begingroup$ I think cross-posting is allowed with notice to the new forum and the old. Also if there is already an answer an indication of the reason for c-p is common courtesy. "A better fit at ..." seems to be a popular reason for closing but if a question is basic biology that is also basic physics or chemistry I see no objection and both camps might benefit. The one objection I don't agree with is, "you'll get a better answer at..." because if it's a basic question it should get a good answer in either venue. $\endgroup$
    – daniel
    Commented Jul 21, 2014 at 20:58

1 Answer 1


Many principles of physical, organic and inorganic chemistry are applicable to biology. A cell is just a complex compartment of chemicals which obey the basic principles. Same is with principles of mathematics and physics.

It is perfectly alright to ask about biochemical aspects of thermodynamics; for e.g. protein folding, biophysics etc but I would consider it off topic to ask general question about entropy. As you can see, the linked question is not specific to biology. This question is more suitable in a chemistry forum. Also, think this way- most of us here are biologists with some knowledge of other subjects. In a chemistry forum more chemists would be there and can perhaps provide a better answer to this question (not this question in particular but questions such as these). This is quite a simple question but entropy as a concept is not that simple (principles such as entropic penalty etc). More so this is a homework question.

I'll give you another example- microscopy and spectroscopy are frequently used for studying cellular biochemistry. They are relevant to biology. But if someone asks about properties of EM-radiation or the principle of $\pi$-$\pi^*$ interactions or Cotton effect, then I consider it to be considered off topic.

Similarly principles of computer science such as algorithms/coding should not be asked as bioinformatics questions.

This is just my opinion.

  • $\begingroup$ This is well expressed. I agree with much of it and it's partly a matter of where the line is drawn. Quantitative aspects of biology are becoming increasingly important as they are better understood. If the subject is to survive as an independent discipline I think it has to become 3.2% more quantitative even at basic levels. So when a student asks a basic entropy question we don't send her to the chemist (perhaps fostering a belief that biology doesn't deal with these things). Biology now does deal with these things, to some extent. $\endgroup$
    – daniel
    Commented Jul 29, 2014 at 9:36

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