What is Life?

Evolution, neurology, psychology, RE's, paleontology etc.

Re: What is Life?

Postby romansh » Wed Jan 21, 2015 10:27 pm

Bill wrote:It is possible to define "life" by describing how it occurs on our planet, or by making a list of what "living" things do.

The following semantic fireworks by mixing up the two are entertaining, or wearying, depending upon how you wish to use your life. But they have little relevance in determining whether organic material is intrinsically different from inorganic matter.


We can define things no problem ... no one said we could not.

But dividing life into purely organic is a nonsense. Life needs both inorganic and organic.
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Re: What is Life?

Postby Bill » Thu Jan 22, 2015 12:50 pm

romansh wrote:We can define things no problem ... no one said we could not.


This is probably the single-most issue that causes so much heated debate around here: the notion we can define anything we want any way we want and then show that what we have defined is not kosher to our belief system.

To take it to its extreme, I could define "elephant" to be "a small species of cat that terrorizes Londoners by killing those citizens with death rays" and then go on to show that elephants do not exist on this planet.

Extreme?

Yes. But if I can keep you locked into my definition, you are going to have a very difficult time showing that elephants do exist on this planet.

By allowing the OP to define the terms, we have had things like "self conscious" be defined in terms to show that it cannot exist. The same can be said of self control, our ability to think, free will, extra sensory perception, human emotions, life, and so on.

Yes we are free to define things. But not then demand that others accept our definition as The One True meaning by which all further discussion will be controlled...
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Re: What is Life?

Postby romansh » Thu Jan 22, 2015 9:59 pm

Bill wrote:Yes we are free to define things. But not then demand that others accept our definition as The One True meaning by which all further discussion will be controlled...

You are free to claim that people have claimed one definition as true ... but you will find that this is a falsehood at least on this website.

If you actually read and understand what has been said, it is that there are problems with definitions of life we do favour.
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Re: What is Life?

Postby Ayn Marx » Mon Jan 26, 2015 4:16 am

Simple, life belongs only to those entities capable of dying.
Now lets fight about what death means.
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Re: What is Life?

Postby Carol » Mon Jan 26, 2015 7:54 am

Ayn Marx wrote:Simple, life belongs only to those entities capable of dying.
Now lets fight about what death means.



Ha! Once again, well said!

Since we know nothing ever really "dies" but energy and DNA lives on....is there really such a thing as death?

Well, of course there is.
"These people believe there is no truth to seek in nature, but only in the comparison of texts." Galileo
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Re: What is Life?

Postby whateverist » Mon Jan 26, 2015 12:14 pm

But what about living things which reproduce solely by cloning. Though many die, many survive. Couldn't it be that among the survivors is one that has be floating around for eons - may do so for eons more? Death is inevitable by way of the sun's collapse but death isn't built into such creatures the way it is to us and so many others.
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Re: What is Life?

Postby AB517 » Mon Jan 26, 2015 5:38 pm

gilnv wrote:Lately, I've been wondering if a 'life force' could be another force. Just as Strong force, Electromagnetic force, Weak force, and Gravity are considered the 4 main interaction forces, I wonder if a life force could be a part of some matter or simply another invisible force, and tend to bind with other identical life force.
It wouldn't be a direct correlation like Gravity has to mass and density but it might have more of a tendency to grow or bind with other stuff.
I suspect the study of such an idea would be difficult, considering our present knowledge of the 4 main interaction forces seems to be limited to measuring results of these invisible forces.

P.S. What came first- the Gravity or the Mass and Density? (Sounds like a Chicken and Egg question).
If my thoughts are getting stranger, let me blame it on this season's Fall colors, there are so many different reds and yellows and oranges that it appears drawn by a Walt Disney cartoonist or an Alice in Wonderland illustrator.


Haven't see one real valid stance against treating the biosphere as life yet. In fact the more I try to prove its not life the more it is alive. :?
at some point I will be forced to say it.

ps
the big bang ... you were here the moment it went "poof". :yes:
gilv, I don't agree with your politics, but your strangeness is due to understanding. its the sleepers that think they got it exactly right. :cry:
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Re: What is Life?

Postby gilnv » Tue Jan 27, 2015 5:13 pm

AB517 wrote:
Haven't see one real valid stance against treating the biosphere as life yet. In fact the more I try to prove its not life the more it is alive. :?
at some point I will be forced to say it.

ps
the big bang ... you were here the moment it went "poof". :yes:
gilv, I don't agree with your politics, but your strangeness is due to understanding. its the sleepers that think they got it exactly right. :cry:

My politics change often. I just am always blaming the Democrats and Republicans because they have been in office for my entire life and each pretends as though the other is responsible for the problems.
I voted a socialist party last presidental election but now my politics have changed again. In fact, I would like to move to Arcata, California because thats the only place where the 'Green Party' is a majority. I've never been around that many 'open minded' people.

In regards to the biosphere being alive,
I suspect its true too although, last year, when I visited the biosphere project in Arizona I shyed away from asking if they consider it a living thing (entity type of thing). So, I guess, I hesitate to call these things alive too.

I qualify everything I think about such subjects with scientific type explanations but that only hinders our understanding of the big picture. And I probably hide some of my true thoughts behind those scientific reasons. For example, walking barefoot on Earth (called Grounding) has many small health benefits that I always explain scientifically with references to 'double blind' studies, but I suspect there is more to it than simple electronics.
The same thing with live raw food. I always quote some health theory or study that shows raw vegans with 3 times less heart, cancer and diabetes risk. But my real thoughts are more karma and spirits based.
The same thing with sunlight.

Well, I rambled on enough, it felt good because I've been dealing with the VA administration lately, and that is one bureaucracy that can drive me exasperatingly crazy with all its 'catch 22's.
the divine isn't a living entity, it is the living force within all of us.
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Re: What is Life?

Postby romansh » Tue Jan 27, 2015 10:27 pm

Carol wrote:Since we know nothing ever really "dies" but energy [and DNA] lives on....is there really such a thing as death?


While as far we can tell energy in a particular system never goes away (dies) ... It's quality can change ... and when it reaches an "equilibrium" then it is extract more work (or life) out of it.

When Gil talks of life force ... I can't help thinking this life force is simply a high quality energy source.

And when we come to thinking of definitions and things ... our human body is at least 70 % inorganic ... and our brains nearer 90 %.
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Re: What is Life?

Postby Ayn Marx » Tue Jan 27, 2015 11:45 pm

Bill wrote:
romansh wrote:We can define things no problem ... no one said we could not.


This is probably the single-most issue that causes so much heated debate around here: the notion we can define anything we want any way we want and then show that what we have defined is not kosher to our belief system.

To take it to its extreme, I could define "elephant" to be "a small species of cat that terrorizes Londoners by killing those citizens with death rays" and then go on to show that elephants do not exist on this planet.

Extreme?

Yes. But if I can keep you locked into my definition, you are going to have a very difficult time showing that elephants do exist on this planet.

By allowing the OP to define the terms, we have had things like "self conscious" be defined in terms to show that it cannot exist. The same can be said of self control, our ability to think, free will, extra sensory perception, human emotions, life, and so on.

Yes we are free to define things. But not then demand that others accept our definition as The One True meaning by which all further discussion will be controlled...

Ayn Rand tells us the only way to conduct a meaningful discusison is to first define your terms, come to an agreement on their meaning and then proceed. Simple really but how often do we conduct any discussion this way?
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