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#12675 - 08/31/05 08:24 AM Life - A question?
Anonymous
Unregistered


Do we really understand what does the term Life stands for? and if not then do we understand what is meant something by without Life?

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#12676 - 08/31/05 08:55 AM Re: Life - A question?
Anonymous
Unregistered


1. Compare a tadpole to a piece of granite.
2. Compare a live tadpole to a dead tadpole.

In that exercise lie the answers you seek.

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#12677 - 08/31/05 09:16 AM Re: Life - A question?
Anonymous
Unregistered


:-))
Let me try.
1. Compare a tadpole to a piece of granite.
A tadpole is a child of an Amphibian computing machine and granite computes what I dont know.
====================================
2. Compare a live tadpole to a dead tadpole.
REP:Live Tadpole knows a Universe.Dead Tadpole denies any Universe.
===============================
In that exercise lie the answers you seek.

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#12678 - 08/31/05 11:50 AM Re: Life - A question?
finchbeak Offline
Member

Registered: 07/29/05
Posts: 50
Loc: m=ρd
Biologists - those who study Life and know it best - do not agree on a definition of Life. There are a few characteristics upon which people generally agree:
Homeostasis
Response to environment
Reproduction
Energy utilization
Growth and Development
Some biologists also include in their definition such features as Cells and Metabolism.

That being said, there are plenty of examples of things that are very difficult to define as being alive or not. Viruses and Prions are clear examples; they are non-cellular and they have no metabolism and it's questionable whether they grow and develop, yet it also makes some sense to consider them alive because of their stunning abilities to reproduce and respond to their environments. Epidemiologically, it absolutely makes sense to treat viruses as living entities that can be "killed". Some biologists choose to think of viruses as being alive, others don't.
Or take the example of a chicken egg. Let's say it was laid by a hen that has a rooster around, and that she is feeling broody and she's setting on it. Is it alive? Yes, it's probably easy to say that it's alive, as it will likely develop into a chick. But what if there's no rooster around? An unfertilized egg is a single cell that has a metabolism. If the hen is feeling broody, she will continue to set on it and keep it warm. But is it alive? Or what if the hen is not feeling broody and she simply lays the egg and leaves it in the box. I think it's pretty difficult to call it alive then - but it certainly was once a living cell in the hen's body. When did it cross the line into non-living status? Can it be called "dead"? Despite the apparent silliness of a chicken egg, I think it's actually pretty difficult to come up with a clear answer. In the end, we have to say "it depends". It depends both upon the circumstances and upon how we choose to define Life.
Life turns out to be too varied and complex a phenomenon to admit a simple definition.
Biology is like that - full of subtle distinctions and maddening exceptions and messy circumstances.

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#12679 - 08/31/05 01:28 PM Re: Life - A question?
TheFallibleFiend Offline
Megastar

Registered: 06/08/05
Posts: 1940
Loc: http://thefalliblefiend.blogsp...
I had only considered two of that list to be absolutely essential, Metabolism (energy utilization) and Reproduction, but I see the point on the others. I also see how even these two may not be absolutely essential.

Could it be we just don't know enough yet to give a clear definition? Or is it more that the situation is so inherently fuzzy that such a definition will always elude us.

I would have thought the first was the case. OTOH, sort of continuum would seem to be a 'natural' side-effect of evolution.

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#12680 - 08/31/05 02:54 PM Re: Life - A question?
DA Morgan Offline
Megastar

Registered: 10/17/04
Posts: 4136
Loc: Seattle, WA
Finchbeak: By your definition viruses and prions are not alive. Yet they can be killed.

There have been attempts at defining life and death. But none wholly satisfactory. Religions solve the problem be not even trying.
_________________________
DA Morgan

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#12681 - 08/31/05 03:43 PM Re: Life - A question?
Uncle Al Offline
Superstar

Registered: 10/17/04
Posts: 540
Loc: Southern California
Life is an ordered system - in vivo, in vitro, or in silico - that contains information and structure for its function, replication, and evolution in response to its environment. That's all you need.

If it can feel sad, it is intelligent life.

Viruses are packaged information that harnesses more complex systems - a disease of management. That is as primitive as life can be and it still requires better stuff to function. Prions are a thermodynamic disease. They are no more alive than crystallizing salt.
_________________________
Uncle Al
http://www.mazepath.com/uncleal/
(Toxic URL! Unsafe for children and most mammals)
http://www.mazepath.com/uncleal/qz3.pdf

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#12682 - 09/01/05 01:45 AM Re: Life - A question?
Dogrock Offline
Member

Registered: 10/20/04
Posts: 92
Loc: Ireland
I'd suggest it's a subjective call. There are definitions that suit situations but no absolute definiton. We could view everything in the universe as evolving, changing... we don't say adapting because it suggests a thinking change, but everything is changing none the less, thinking or non thinking. We draw a loose line where we want (between what's alive and not) for practicality that's all. It's when we draw absolute or definite lines that we end up struggling with the issue. "From a distance there's such harmony" as the song goes, so the recipe is don't look too close or if you have to, know how to step back.
"The mind has chasms, cliffs of fall, sheer steep no man fathomed" from a poem by a priest 100 or more years ago. "they hold them cheap nay who hung there".

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#12683 - 09/01/05 04:22 AM Re: Life - A question?
Anonymous
Unregistered


It was a very honest discussion.
Wonderful Biology is contained within its definition of Life.
It is obvious that Life is beyond today's Biology and tomorrow the Biology may itself become a subset of a different Unified field.
But as we are discussing Science we know that there is something which defines Life.
May be it is just a thought.Response is just a successful execution of thought.
Who thinks and who doesnt is a different question.
And whether thought needs Physics is again a very good question to ask.
We do not need God as defined by the fanatics.
Cheers.

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#12684 - 09/02/05 09:38 AM Re: Life - A question?
Anonymous
Unregistered


I am sure no one has run out of ideas.
At least I have not.
Life is a Thought can be a serious proposition.
1.Thought is the field of action germination.(Which is responsible for the perceived Action or response)
2.Thought has a distribution channel(it is not chaotic.It grows and feeds itself.It moves through the channels of laws learnt by comeing into existence.)
3.Thought reproduces itself.

All the above criterias are sufficient to be consitent with observed constituion of Life therefore THOUGHT is LIFE.
I hope you will take it seriously.(I want to convince myself)


Cheers

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#12685 - 09/02/05 12:52 PM Re: Life - A question?
DA Morgan Offline
Megastar

Registered: 10/17/04
Posts: 4136
Loc: Seattle, WA
dvk ... I'm not sure how deep your thinking is about thought ... as I can't think of any empirical evidence that supports any of your statements.

Probably the only statement I can think of, about thinking, that would be widely accepted would be that self-awareness is a recursive process.
_________________________
DA Morgan

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#12686 - 09/03/05 06:45 AM Re: Life - A question?
Anonymous
Unregistered


dvk ... I'm not sure how deep your thinking is about thought ... as I can't think of any empirical evidence that supports any of your statements.
REP: These are logical conclusions and as I said the discussion may not belong to the known Physics.Imagine a No-Thought world.We will all be left with reflexes only.There will nothing to be observed or can be observed(Physics is all about observation or at least some concept.. concept is also a thought).The known reflexes can account for the existence of Universe without the thought and can also predict the evolution of Physical Laws..What is a Law today was once not a law at all.It was learnt over a period of time. This supports the followers of Science as it makes the Universe ordinary. There were no laws and all laws came into existence only after Universe went through the various cirumstances in its evolution.There was always a learning thought(concious) and a known Law(reflexive without any awareness).
I think Physics should also discover this fact as they move back in time or go deep into the matter where things actually take birth.
===========================================
Self Awareness - is a recursive process??
What do you understand by Self Awareness?

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#12687 - 09/03/05 06:54 AM Re: Life - A question?
Anonymous
Unregistered


If thought is life, perhaps you could enlighten me as to what part of a bacterium is doing its thinking? Does a snail, with very few neurons to rub together, think about life as it munches along? Thinking implies problem-solving abilities, a product of higher order brains. Anyone whose horse has figured out how to open the pasture gate by itself would not doubt that horses think. I doubt that you could teach an E.coli to run a maze in search of food or to avoid antibiotics. Leave off with thinking as a criterion for life, or you will be amazed at what you see, or miss.

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#12688 - 09/03/05 07:17 AM Re: Life - A question?
Anonymous
Unregistered


If thought is life, perhaps you could enlighten me as to what part of a bacterium is doing its thinking?
REP: Only the Bacterium Knows.remember photon.
======================
Does a snail, with very few neurons to rub together, think about life as it munches along?
REP:They think about the reality as understood by them( which is different... remember the discussion on awareness evolution..)
===============================
Thinking implies problem-solving abilities, a product of higher order brains.
REP: Probelm solving is related to the understood reality... what they know and what we know is different.Relatively I can say that we have complex reality and therefore complex problems to solve.Dont be surprised if a Monkey hardly cares for the Newtons Law.
==========================
Anyone whose horse has figured out how to open the pasture gate by itself would not doubt that horses think. I doubt that you could teach an E.coli to run a maze in search of food or to avoid antibiotics.
REP: Why will I present my kind of problems to them ... they dont deal with it.
Just as you can deal with the problems of Life inside a Volcano.
=================================
Leave off with thinking as a criterion for life, or you will be amazed at what you see, or miss.
REP: Without thought there is no life.And again what thinks what is a different question.
Who thinks who doesnt is also open to dicussion.

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#12689 - 09/03/05 08:15 AM Re: Life - A question?
Anonymous
Unregistered


Without life, without higher forms of life, there is no thought. The world of a snail consists of the leaf it is eating and the problem of how to get to the next leaf. If that is your criteria of thinking, you should consider why that idea is considered to be rather out of line with other scientists. When one's ideas slide past the limits of normal we tend to be regarded as strange or schizophrenic, depending on how far and fast we slide. I'd guess you're proobably in line with your cultural norms, seeing as how you speak of bringing the rain god home and such things as that. Science does no homage to gods, no matter how many there are believed to be. Science studies physical phenomena and predicts rain based on scientific principles. All your prayers and entreaties cannot change what will happen, nor change what has happened. The moving finger writes, and having writ, moves on. Have the wit to read what it says and act accordingly.

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#12690 - 09/03/05 08:42 AM Re: Life - A question?
Anonymous
Unregistered


Without life, without higher forms of life, there is no thought.
REP: It is a pure assumption.You are sure of it because we can communicate among ourselves and we have reached a common understanding over the idea of thought, we fail to understand the Animals.What I am saying is Animals think like Animals.They may think less but they do.They think before getting into the unknown territory.How deep is the water requires thinking...And why do you expect Nature to give this adavntage only to one species.
Thought has depth and it is related to the understood reality.
Do not confuse its relative distribution to its non existence in some cases.
How deep is our thought when compared to an amoeba which has a totally different world to work in ?
I do not expect biased answers.They have there own set of problems to solve.
======================================
The world of a snail consists of the leaf it is eating and the problem of how to get to the next leaf.
REP: The problem is oversimplified.They have hell lot of decisions to take(when compared to normal digital decision making machine)
=====================================
If that is your criteria of thinking, you should consider why that idea is considered to be rather out of line with other scientists.
REP: What is Science and who is this Sceintist?
=======================================
When one's ideas slide past the limits of normal we tend to be regarded as strange or schizophrenic, depending on how far and fast we slide.
REP: Psycology is known to me.There is a trade off internally... Sometimes it takes little bit of Madness to be genius.
================================
I'd guess you're proobably in line with your cultural norms, seeing as how you speak of bringing the rain god home and such things as that. Science does no homage to gods, no matter how many there are believed to be.
REP: No God I ever discussed here intentionally.In past it was used to discuss the unpredictability of rain and its serious implications for the Indian Economy.
========================================
Science studies physical phenomena and predicts rain based on scientific principles.
REP: Science studies Physical Phenomenoa.??Thats not true.Maths is also a Science.
=========================
All your prayers and entreaties cannot change
what will happen, nor change what has happened.
REP:You sound religious.There are people in my country who will use it say that this is the reason why God and only God exists .We work for him.Dont hesitate to confess.
============================
The moving finger writes, and having writ, moves
on. Have the wit to read what it says and act accordingly.
REP: Things can be overwritten.If not it will be forcibly over written. This is how nature works.
Nothing today can carry on forever.This is called Death.Death of my Thought is the death of my Universe and its events.

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#12691 - 09/04/05 04:06 AM Re: Life - A question?
Anonymous
Unregistered


You said:
"Nothing today can carry on forever.This is called Death.Death of my Thought is the death of my Universe and its events."

What an egocentric idea. In my universe, the universe is eternal. When I die, a single point of light goes out; the rest of the universe will go on without me just as it had before my existence. My universe runs on physical laws, not the whimsy of some insignificant litle puny human being. Now that I see where you are coming from, I take exception to your beliefs. They are not Science. They belong somewhere else.

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#12692 - 09/04/05 07:16 PM Re: Life - A question?
DA Morgan Offline
Megastar

Registered: 10/17/04
Posts: 4136
Loc: Seattle, WA
dvk:

You have an ego at least a light-year across. How do you fit it into something as small as a SAGG post? Truly a miracle.

You are irrelevant to the entire universe with the sole exception of those pathetic souls such as us with whom you interact. No one gave a damn about you 100 years ago and no one will give a damn about you 100 years from now.

Every element of your being, with the exception of hydrogen was forged in a star. And in the forseeable future you will again become part of a star. This insignificant period of time during which your quarks and electrons are part of a sentient being is less significant than an inclusion is to a diamond.
_________________________
DA Morgan

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#12693 - 09/05/05 05:09 AM Re: Life - A question?
Anonymous
Unregistered


You said:
"Nothing today can carry on forever.This is called Death.Death of my Thought is the death of my Universe and its events."
What an egocentric idea. In my universe, the universe is eternal. When I die, a single point of light goes out; the rest of the universe will go on without me just as it had before my existence.
REP: For physical purposes your Universe dies when you die.The Universe exists beyond our reach.. and what is beyond our reach is just beyond our reach.. it has no physical meaning.
We know that Universe exists in different shape than we know it today. What we know is limited by the speed of light.Here again the actual defintion of my Universe is limited by a Physical Law. What could be possible is inifinte.. and what is happening is the reality for all practical or physical purposes.
Do not confuse what can happen with what is happening. Universe carries on after your death but it doenst help or change your reality in anyway.
==================================
My universe runs on physical laws, not the whimsy of some insignificant litle puny human being.
REP: My Universe runs of Thoughts.Thoughts are my tentacles to grab the reality of Universe.
Reality is not what appears to be ... Reality is what is known and understood to be.
=======================================
Now that I see where you are coming from, I take exception to your beliefs. They are not Science. They belong somewhere else.
REP:I have already said that you may not like to put this concept into your defintion of Mathematized Sceince.If Sceince wants to grab the reality probably it will have to change its defintion... It must learn when to keep quite...
It must know when the Knowledge and the Knower become ONE.

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#12694 - 09/07/05 07:57 PM Re: Life - A question?
jjw Offline
Superstar

Registered: 09/07/05
Posts: 636
Loc: USA
Life, a question?

I find myself being strange when considering your various questions. My view:

Life is motion and no motion equates to death.
The Universe we know is constant motion- living.
The Solar System and all known parts in motion.
Humanity and all lesser organic forms in motion.
Plants with growth paterns in motion.

By my simplistic view life is action.
Inaction is the opposite of life called death.

The prospect that thought equates in some way to life is objectionable to me because it wants to exclude non-reasoned life which we know to be a viable part of our existence. Possibly we over rate our alleged thought processes. There is nothing that we have discovered that was not already functionimg in nature. We have learned to copy nature from acids to plumbing, and more recently to sensors timing.

Question: Why does the Earth with an equatorial diameter of about 7,926.6 miles when devided into a sun of about 2,714,342.4 miles result in 342.43 with a square root of 18.5 when 18,5 miles per second is the mean orbital velocity of the Earth around the sun?

Was this a part of the Solar System design by intellegence or was it a design of numering to provide that strange result?

I would say "That's life"

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