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Author Topic:   Life - an Unequivicol Definition
AlphaOmegakid
Member (Idle past 370 days)
Posts: 564
From: The city of God
Joined: 06-25-2008


Message 361 of 374 (775918)
01-06-2016 4:06 PM
Reply to: Message 360 by RAZD
01-06-2016 2:34 PM


Re: Definition evaluation ... for simple cases & multicellular issues
RAZD writes:

System
noun
1. an assemblage or combination of things or parts forming a complex or unitary whole: a mountain system; a railroad system.

or

System
noun
1. a group or combination of interrelated, interdependent, or interacting elements forming a collective entity;

Good. Thanks for citing the definitions. Now please, in the "common language" anywhere on the web, show me how a "goldfish in water in a baggy with a twist tie thingy" is considered a "complex or unitary whole" or a "collective entity".

Then of course after you successfully do this, then in the "common language" anywhere on the web, show me how a "Set of Russian Dolls with a bacteria inside thingy" is considered a "complex or unitary whole" or a "collective entity".

And then after that show me how a "man in an apartment" is considered a "complex or unitary whole" or a "collective entity".

And then after that show me how a "man in a train" is considered "complex or unitary whole" or a "collective entity".

In fact, everything including the air in my office is in a self contained room, and everything in it is contiguous including all the papers and dust particles, me and bacteria. But it is not a system. My computer is a system though and it has contiguous parts, and it is self contained. But the computer system does not include the bacteria inside, because it is not part of the "complex or unitary whole" or a "collective entity". Think about it for a minute. It may just fry your brain.

Yet, my hair and fingernails and my undigested food (dead things) are part of my "complex or unitary whole" and me as a "collective entity". And it is all self-contained and contiguous. And, I am a system.

Edited by AlphaOmegakid, : No reason given.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 360 by RAZD, posted 01-06-2016 2:34 PM RAZD has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 363 by RAZD, posted 01-07-2016 3:46 PM AlphaOmegakid has responded

  
AlphaOmegakid
Member (Idle past 370 days)
Posts: 564
From: The city of God
Joined: 06-25-2008


Message 362 of 374 (775990)
01-07-2016 1:42 PM
Reply to: Message 360 by RAZD
01-06-2016 2:34 PM


Your two examples fail the test!
The fish interacts with the water, the water interacts with the baggie and any air in the baggie. They form a system of interacting parts.

Nope. The problem is once again, you are using a "highly literal application of the dictionary definition" for system without understanding the words "common usage".

The wiki article is very enlightening on this subject matter:

quote:
A system is a set of interacting or interdependent component parts forming a complex/intricate whole.[1] Every system is delineated by its spatial and temporal boundaries, surrounded and influenced by its environment, described by its structure and purpose and expressed in its functioning.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/System

If you read beyond this:

quote:

Natural and human-made systems
There are natural and human-made (designed) systems. Natural systems may not have an apparent objective but their outputs can be interpreted as purposes. Human-made systems are made with purposes that are achieved by the delivery of outputs. Their parts must be related; they must be “designed to work as a coherent entity” – else they would be two or more distinct systems.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/System#System_concepts

You see the person who assembled the bag and water and fish did not design them to "work as a coherent entity". And being that the fish is natural and the other items are designed in the "common language" these are viewed a "two or more distinct systems".

That's why no one goes to the pet store to buy a "fish in a baggy with water and a twist tie thingy", but they do go to buy a fish. And they may transport it in a baggy with water etc. Two distinct systems. The same applies to you Russian Dolls analogy.

So, once again, the definition as given does not fail to your examples. In fact it highlights the distinction in why the fish is alive, but these conglomerates are not.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 360 by RAZD, posted 01-06-2016 2:34 PM RAZD has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 365 by RAZD, posted 01-07-2016 4:45 PM AlphaOmegakid has responded

  
RAZD
Member
Posts: 18855
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004
Member Rating: 3.5


Message 363 of 374 (776019)
01-07-2016 3:46 PM
Reply to: Message 361 by AlphaOmegakid
01-06-2016 4:06 PM


Re: Definition evaluation ... for simple cases & multicellular issues
Sadly you still fail. I already showed that they were systems. It is rather obvious from the definitions that "system" is a pretty open category, as the use of "or" should tell you -- many different ways to comply, any one of which is sufficient to qualify.

Good. Thanks for citing the definitions. Now please, in the "common language" anywhere on the web, show me how a "goldfish in water in a baggy with a twist tie thingy" is considered a "complex or unitary whole" or a "collective entity".

A. It is complex, certainly much more complex than a rock as it changes from minute to minute. One could say it is "Irreducibly Complex" if one were so inclined.

B. It is a unitary whole, defined by being enclosed in the baggie.

C. It is a collective entity, being made up of several parts.

Similar for the other examples, but you should be able to see that for yourself -- if you were objective and not equivocating.

Enjoy


we are limited in our ability to understand
by our ability to understand
RebelAmerican☆Zen☯Deist
... to learn ... to think ... to live ... to laugh ...
to share.


• • • Join the effort to solve medical problems, AIDS/HIV, Cancer and more with Team EvC! (click) • • •

This message is a reply to:
 Message 361 by AlphaOmegakid, posted 01-06-2016 4:06 PM AlphaOmegakid has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 364 by AlphaOmegakid, posted 01-07-2016 4:33 PM RAZD has acknowledged this reply

  
AlphaOmegakid
Member (Idle past 370 days)
Posts: 564
From: The city of God
Joined: 06-25-2008


Message 364 of 374 (776023)
01-07-2016 4:33 PM
Reply to: Message 363 by RAZD
01-07-2016 3:46 PM


Re: Definition evaluation ... for simple cases & multicellular issues
C. It is a collective entity, being made up of several parts.

Yes, you continue to claim this. Now just support it with evidence. Show me anywhere that such a thing is referred to as a system, or as a single entity rather that two or more distinct entities. That's all. Sounds pretty simple doesn't it. You have the whole web at your access.

But you won't, because you can't! Your examples are nothing more that assemblies of multiple entities which happen to be touching. You must show that they are one entity. Just show me the evidence. This forum is about evidence isn't it?


This message is a reply to:
 Message 363 by RAZD, posted 01-07-2016 3:46 PM RAZD has acknowledged this reply

  
RAZD
Member
Posts: 18855
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004
Member Rating: 3.5


Message 365 of 374 (776024)
01-07-2016 4:45 PM
Reply to: Message 362 by AlphaOmegakid
01-07-2016 1:42 PM


a priori assumptions are not a test but a bias
Nope. The problem is once again, you are using a "highly literal application of the dictionary definition" for system without understanding the words "common usage".

You are still equivocating, and now you want to change definitions to focus on a different use of specific words -- repeating the problem you have been warned against pursuing.

It - doesn't - matter - what - you - think, ...

... or what definition you pull out to tweak and twist: the simple definitions given classify it as a system. That should be the end of your argument.

It is time for you to admit this.

The wiki article is very enlightening on this subject matter:

quote:
A system is a set of interacting or interdependent component parts forming a complex/intricate whole.[1] Every system is delineated by its spatial and temporal boundaries, surrounded and influenced by its environment, described by its structure and purpose and expressed in its functioning.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/System

Curiously I don't see how that eliminates the baggie with the goldfish.

If you read beyond this:
quote:

Natural and human-made systems
There are natural and human-made (designed) systems. Natural systems may not have an apparent objective but their outputs can be interpreted as purposes. Human-made systems are made with purposes that are achieved by the delivery of outputs. Their parts must be related; they must be “designed to work as a coherent entity” – else they would be two or more distinct systems.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/System#System_concepts

You see the person who assembled the bag and water and fish did not design them to "work as a coherent entity". And being that the fish is natural and the other items are designed in the "common language" these are viewed a "two or more distinct systems".

On the contrary the baggie with the water and fish inside is most definitely a system designed to work as a coherent entity. That it has several parts is why it is a system.

But there is much a bigger problem for you with this argument: how do you know what is "natural" and what is "man made" -- using your definition of "life" -- you can't presuppose one is natural, and another is not, without biasing your interpretation. That would be begging the question. This has been your problem all along, that you presuppose results instead of determining them.

Thus you also need to look at: "Natural systems may not have an apparent objective but their outputs can be interpreted as purposes" and ask if it is a natural system. We don't even have to know the output or purpose of a natural system for it to be determined to be a system. That has been done. It is. Now is it a natural system? Well according to your definition it is a life entity, so it must be natural.

Again this kind of hair splitting and insistence on your version\interpretation trumping all others that you are once again engaged in is what you have been warned against.

The purpose of a definition is to be able to distinguish life from non-life, and that means you can make no a priori assumptions outside the definition when you apply it, but make your evaluation solely on the merits of the entities being studied and what the definition says.

Enjoy


we are limited in our ability to understand
by our ability to understand
RebelAmerican☆Zen☯Deist
... to learn ... to think ... to live ... to laugh ...
to share.


• • • Join the effort to solve medical problems, AIDS/HIV, Cancer and more with Team EvC! (click) • • •

This message is a reply to:
 Message 362 by AlphaOmegakid, posted 01-07-2016 1:42 PM AlphaOmegakid has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 366 by AlphaOmegakid, posted 01-07-2016 5:56 PM RAZD has responded

  
AlphaOmegakid
Member (Idle past 370 days)
Posts: 564
From: The city of God
Joined: 06-25-2008


Message 366 of 374 (776026)
01-07-2016 5:56 PM
Reply to: Message 365 by RAZD
01-07-2016 4:45 PM


Just one piece of evidence is all we need RAZD!
Please note RAZD, I am not arguing the words in these definitions. You are. I am not showing you how your interpretation doesn't meet any grouping of words. I am only asking for evidence. Not claims. Meaning a citation of some sort, that supports your position that a "fish in a baggie with water and a twist tie" is viewed by anyone else as a "system" and not multiple systems or entities. That's all. If you don't have evidence then I ask that you withdraw your claims. If you have evidence, then bring it forth.

You are doing exactly what I was admonished for, and I am avoiding arguing about these words. Just give me the evidence. That's all. Bring it forth!

In Message 353, I did not argue the definition of self-contained at all. But I provided you many examples in the "common language" that can be found all over the web that refute your individual "highly literal" interpretation about "self-contained". Apparently you have now dropped that argument, because it has become overwhelmingly obvious that you were wrong by the evidence. That's all I am asking you to do. Stop arguing the words and give me examples from all over the web where anyone refers to a "fish in a baggy with water and a twist tie thingy" is considered a single "entity" or a single "system" of entities. I have already conceded that indeed they are contiguous. Now show me your evidence

Otherwise I will assume that you have your own private unique "highly literal" interpretation of these words also that can't be substantiated by evidence like I did in Message 353


This message is a reply to:
 Message 365 by RAZD, posted 01-07-2016 4:45 PM RAZD has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 367 by Blue Jay, posted 01-07-2016 11:16 PM AlphaOmegakid has responded
 Message 371 by RAZD, posted 01-08-2016 3:49 PM AlphaOmegakid has not yet responded

  
Blue Jay
Member (Idle past 192 days)
Posts: 2843
From: You couldn't pronounce it with your mouthparts
Joined: 02-04-2008


Message 367 of 374 (776043)
01-07-2016 11:16 PM
Reply to: Message 366 by AlphaOmegakid
01-07-2016 5:56 PM


Perhaps I'll try some constructive criticism now
Hi, AlphaOmegakid.

Instead of yammering on about the shortcomings of your definition, how about I make a couple constructive suggestions to improve on it?

Based on your proposed definition, you seem to have focused in 3 major characteristics of life, which I'll call "containment," "metabolism" and "information."

You have explicitly constrained "metabolism" and "information" in terms of specific types of molecules, but have left "containment" more vague. Perhaps if you also constrained "containment" in a similar fashion, your definition would be more appealingly self-consistent.

Also, I don't think it's a good idea to try to define "life" and "a living organism" with the same definition. "Organism" is a term about how you define separate "units" of life, and I don't think it's necessary to open that can of worms in the basic definition.

So, try this modification:

quote:
Life is a self-contained entity comprised of chemical reactions including a metabolism (based on ATP synthesized by enzymes) and a genetic process (requiring the transfer of information from DNA to RNA), and a set of enclosing membranes consisting of lipid bilayers.

That is a perfectly valid and reasonable definition of "life." As I've said before, I think it's too restrictive on a number of fronts (viruses, hypothetical aliens, etc.). But, there is one implication of your definition that I find interesting: it tells us exactly what we have to do in order to make artificial 'life' in the laboratory.


-Blue Jay, Ph.D.*

*Yeah, it's real

Darwin loves you.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 366 by AlphaOmegakid, posted 01-07-2016 5:56 PM AlphaOmegakid has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 368 by AlphaOmegakid, posted 01-08-2016 9:40 AM Blue Jay has responded
 Message 374 by RAZD, posted 01-08-2016 4:06 PM Blue Jay has acknowledged this reply

  
AlphaOmegakid
Member (Idle past 370 days)
Posts: 564
From: The city of God
Joined: 06-25-2008


(1)
Message 368 of 374 (776068)
01-08-2016 9:40 AM
Reply to: Message 367 by Blue Jay
01-07-2016 11:16 PM


Perhaps your constructive criticism is welcomed!now
Hello Blue Jay,

Welcome back to the conversation, and thank you for being constructive. Your approach is welcomed. I will dissect you comments a little to help you understand my reasoning, as well as listen to yours.

But, there is one implication of your definition that I find interesting: it tells us exactly what we have to do in order to make artificial 'life' in the laboratory.

One of the main reasons I started this thread was to reveal what you just said. I just completed the task of being a committee member for my states selection of Biology books for the next 5-6 years. You, and others may be happy to know, that all but one passed the state standards. And I am a die hard Creo as you know. However, I was very disappointed with all of these books in the OOL sections. OOL publications act as if the emergence of the living from rocks is a fact, and only the details need to be worked out. This is why I spent so much time earlier on the "fuzzy grey" discussions. Percy has ruled in this discussion that life is "fuzzy" and a "continuum from non life to life" exists. That's fine and I will abide by this. However, I hope to start a new thread on just this topic alone to discuss if the emergence of life has been established scientifically or not. Who knows, it may get passed the New Topic stage? But I won't discuss it here, this is just advertising! (Trump would be proud of my marketing)

Also, I don't think it's a good idea to try to define "life" and "a living organism" with the same definition. "Organism" is a term about how you define separate "units" of life, and I don't think it's necessary to open that can of worms in the basic definition.

I understand what you mean. The reason for this is I think in Biology we should get away from defining "life" per se and really focus on defining what is a "living organism". Life is an abstract term that brings with it a lot of philosophical baggage. Spirits and gods and angels etc. can be living, but they have nothing to do with Biology. Biology is not the study of "life" per se, it is really the study of living organisms. So, I would be OK with dropping the term "life" and keeping the term "living organism", but I think the opposite is what really causes most of the problems, because of the baggage.

You have explicitly constrained "metabolism" and "information" in terms of specific types of molecules, but have left "containment" more vague. Perhaps if you also constrained "containment" in a similar fashion, your definition would be more appealingly self-consistent.

I see your point, but here is my reasoning. A truly living thing must self metabolize. This requires certain metabolic molecules of which ATP is ubiquitous in our examination of living organisms. But ATP synthesis requires protein/enzymes or the chemical reactions would be way to slow for life. Therefore, those enzymes must be self-made. That's the only reason for the narrowness of the definition, because it kills two birds with one stone by including the genetic process to create these specific enzymes.

As far as the containment is concerned, I just wanted to include a variety of "containers" that we see in multicellular organisms which aren't lipid based (shells, fur, chitin etc.)

quote:
Life is a self-contained entity comprised of chemical reactions including a metabolism (based on ATP synthesized by enzymes) and a genetic process (requiring the transfer of information from DNA to RNA), and a set of enclosing membranes consisting of lipid bilayers.

I don't see much problem with your modifications except for the area regarding the "containment". However, as you said, the real definition needs to be oriented around OOL, and if we say "the first minimal life" or "the first minimal organism" then I think the modifications works pretty well. I'll have to mull it over for a while.

s I've said before, I think it's too restrictive on a number of fronts (viruses...

I curious about why you are so concerned about viruses. The reason I ask is that the mantra in the books is that "viruses are on the edge of life" (paraphrase). But are they really? I think most in this thread agree pretty much with the 6 or 7 characteristics of "life" , but when we apply those to a virus, they do not metabolize even inside a host. There is no homeostasis, and they don't grow. They also do not respond to stimuli as far as I can see. Note: I define a virus as the assembled entity within the host cell.

So it doesn't appear to me to be near the "edge at all.

Edited by AlphaOmegakid, : No reason given.

Edited by AlphaOmegakid, : No reason given.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 367 by Blue Jay, posted 01-07-2016 11:16 PM Blue Jay has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 369 by Blue Jay, posted 01-08-2016 1:31 PM AlphaOmegakid has responded

  
Blue Jay
Member (Idle past 192 days)
Posts: 2843
From: You couldn't pronounce it with your mouthparts
Joined: 02-04-2008


Message 369 of 374 (776088)
01-08-2016 1:31 PM
Reply to: Message 368 by AlphaOmegakid
01-08-2016 9:40 AM


Re: Perhaps your constructive criticism is welcomed!now
Hi, AlphaOmegakid.

AlphaOmegakid writes:

The reason for this is I think in Biology we should get away from defining "life" per se and really focus on defining what is a "living organism"

I'm not a big fan of this approach. I mean, I agree that it's a valid and meaningful perspective, and that it's by no means irrational of you to pursue that angle; but I also think it opens some new baggage, such as the stuff that RAZD has been going on about.

Here's how I see it. I think of the definition of 'life' as delineating the minimum limits of 'life,' and the definition of 'living organism' as delineating a sort of maximum limit (i.e., the point at which you distinguish between 1 unit of 'life' and 2). If you want to define 'living organism' without separately defining 'life,' you'll have to account for both 'limits' in one definition, and I'm worried that it will (and, in this thread, has) become a bigger and more convoluted mess.

AlphaOmegakid writes:

As far as the containment is concerned, I just wanted to include a variety of "containers" that we see in multicellular organisms which aren't lipid based (shells, fur, chitin etc.)

I figured this was the reason. But, in leaving it vague, you sort of made it into a vulnerability. Earlier in the thread, I attacked your definition for the highly restrictive specificity of the other two criteria; and here, RAZD attacked this criterion for its highly ambiguous lack of specificity. I think consistency among the criteria will go a long way toward reducing its vulnerabilities.

Consider: is there anything that has a shell, fur or chitin, but doesn't have lipid bilayer membranes? If not, why try to account for them all when a smaller, more specific 'container' is available and more universal?

Off-Topic Side Note: One if my hobbies is speculative biology, in which total nerds like to try to invent plausible life-forms that inhabit other worlds. In fictional situations like these, where you may have many different biospheres, it becomes possible to adequately test hypotheses about what criteria are required for 'life' and 'life'-like phenomena, and you can justify being specific. However, in real life, where we don't have such a broad perspective, I don't think the specificity is justifiable.

AlphaOmegakid writes:

I curious about why you are so concerned about viruses. The reason I ask is that the mantra in the books is that "viruses are on the edge of life" (paraphrase). But are they really? I think most in this thread agree pretty much with the 6 or 7 characteristics of "life" , but when we apply those to a virus, they do not metabolize even inside a host. There is no homeostasis, and they don't grow. They also do not respond to stimuli as far as I can see. Note: I define a virus as the assembled entity within the host cell.

So it doesn't appear to me to be near the "edge at all.

Remember that we didn't set the criteria for 'life,' then go out looking for things that fit the criteria: that wouldn't be very scientific of us. Rather, we let our observations dictate to use what criteria we should use. So, the criteria are living hypotheses, and we're still testing them to decide whether they are all appropriate.

Go back to RAZD's table, where he attached a percentage value to each entity based on the number if 'yes' answers. Rocks, and sulphuric acid and dust clouds don't meet any of the criteria (except, maybe 'organization'). But, viruses meet 3 or 4 of the 7 traditional criteria for 'life'*.

Viruses stand out a little bit from the crowd of 'non-living' things. They certainly seem to behave a lot like 'life' in at least some ways, even though they don't exactly fit our expectations for what 'life' is. They possibly even 'evolved' from things that originally met all 7 criteria. This causes us to question whether all of our criteria/hypotheses are valid or necessary.

*I disagree with your assessment that they do not respond to stimuli: I believe the chemical cascades initiated during the processes of penetrating a host-cell membrane and inserting the viral genome into the host genome should be considered a response to a stimulus, but it's admittedly marginal.


-Blue Jay, Ph.D.*

*Yeah, it's real

Darwin loves you.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 368 by AlphaOmegakid, posted 01-08-2016 9:40 AM AlphaOmegakid has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 370 by AlphaOmegakid, posted 01-08-2016 2:09 PM Blue Jay has responded

  
AlphaOmegakid
Member (Idle past 370 days)
Posts: 564
From: The city of God
Joined: 06-25-2008


Message 370 of 374 (776092)
01-08-2016 2:09 PM
Reply to: Message 369 by Blue Jay
01-08-2016 1:31 PM


Re: Perhaps your constructive criticism is welcomed
But, viruses meet 3 or 4 of the 7 traditional criteria for 'life'*.

Viruses stand out a little bit from the crowd of 'non-living' things. They certainly seem to behave a lot like 'life' in at least some ways, even though they don't exactly fit our expectations for what 'life' is. They possibly even 'evolved' from things that originally met all 7 criteria. This causes us to question whether all of our criteria/hypotheses are valid or necessary.

Yes I agree. They meet 3or 4 of the criteria. No argument. Now assuming Percy's continuum, the logic would say that they are "middle gray" which means they are pretty far from the "edge of life". Yes, They aren't black or very dark gray, but they are definitely not "off white".

In other words, the mantra that viruses are on the "edge of life" is no more than a mantra from a scientific paper that doesn't even discuss this subject! Therefore, this mantra should not be widely used in the scientific community or the text books. It is nothing more than a headline title that has no factual scientific support.

PS: I'm OK if one argues that they respond to stimuli...


This message is a reply to:
 Message 369 by Blue Jay, posted 01-08-2016 1:31 PM Blue Jay has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 372 by RAZD, posted 01-08-2016 3:53 PM AlphaOmegakid has not yet responded
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RAZD
Member
Posts: 18855
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004
Member Rating: 3.5


(1)
Message 371 of 374 (776095)
01-08-2016 3:49 PM
Reply to: Message 366 by AlphaOmegakid
01-07-2016 5:56 PM


A system is a system is a system
In Message 353, I did not argue the definition of self-contained at all. But I provided you many examples in the "common language" that can be found all over the web that refute your individual "highly literal" interpretation about "self-contained". Apparently you have now dropped that argument, because it has become overwhelmingly obvious that you were wrong by the evidence. ...

Curiously that is not how I remember that argument line ending: I have not pursued it because my point was made, and you changed your position to reflect that. In other words you equivocated on what you meant originally. Note that I used your words in the table the way you meant them originally, and if you disagree with my evaluation you need to address that table and show how they do not meet your criteria and how that would change the results.

The problem you now face is that -- in addition to the examples in my table (still not addressed by you) -- all those examples you provided in Message 353 just became life by your definition as you have now clarified, ... as I said in my reply, Message 354 (bold added):

You will note that I used a caveat for "self-contained" in the table that specifically addressed the issue of the degree of self-enclosure during evaluation. I need not point out nor address whether or not this degree of self-enclosure is a grey scale issue to show that your definition fails miserably to exclude entities not normally considered "life" ... now including trains, apartments and machines.

You then dropped that argument line, which I take as agreement that "self-contained" is a poor choice of words (a better one would be "enclosed by a semi-permeable envelope" as this would include skin, shells, fur, chitin etc).

That was shortly after you added this "contiguous system" band-aid -- which has also been shown to be problematic.

Please note RAZD, I am not arguing the words in these definitions. You are. I am not showing you how your interpretation doesn't meet any grouping of words. I am only asking for evidence. Not claims. Meaning a citation of some sort, that supports your position that a "fish in a baggie with water and a twist tie" is viewed by anyone else as a "system" and not multiple systems or entities. ...

Out of curiosity I went back you your example, as I have done before, to see how you qualify things as life, in specific I looked at:

Message 361: Yet, my hair and fingernails and my undigested food (dead things) are part of my "complex or unitary whole" and me as a "collective entity". And it is all self-contained and contiguous. And, I am a system.

And I notice that you separate "contiguous" and "system" just as I have done (and you complained about). Then I looked for citations of "human system" and the best I could find was this:

quote:
Systems of the Human Body:

Human body is made of ten different systems. All the systems require support and coordination of other systems to form a living and healthy human body. If any one of these systems is damaged, human body will become unstable and this lack of stability will ultimately lead to death. The instability caused by damage of one system cannot be stabilized by other systems because functions of one system cannot be performed by other systems. Knowledge of human body systems is very important for a medical professional because it is the base of all medical sciences and clinical practices. Although, generally, the structural aspects of human body systems are studied in anatomy and the functional aspects are studied in physiology but it is very important to have a coordination between the two subjects because knowledge of structure is incomplete without the knowledge of function and the knowledge of function is incomplete without the knowledge of structure.


Now they don't strictly call the entire human body a system, and I could find no site that did: perhaps you can do better.

I do agree that the whole can be regarded as a system, but I could not find the kind of confirmation you want on the baggie+water+fish system.

What I did find fairly quickly to support my argument was:

quote:
Baggie Digestive System

Discover the squishy secrets of the stomach and create your very own digestive system with this Ziplocฎ baggie experiment that puts your tummy on display. Learn all about digestion with this fun and incredibly simple activity.


They clearly consider the baggie plus the contents to be one system, just as the digestive system is a system in an a living entity. And I don't think I need to look further as I would expect more similar results to follow. This suffices to show that

baggie+water+bread = *A* system

... and not two or more systems as you claim. I should not need to point out that "baggie+water+bread" is virtually the same as "baggie+water+fish", so I do think this suffices.

Message 364: Yes, you continue to claim this. Now just support it with evidence. Show me anywhere that such a thing is referred to as a system, or as a single entity rather that two or more distinct entities. That's all. Sounds pretty simple doesn't it. You have the whole web at your access.

Now done, thank you, but I would like to point out that I am not relying on a single definition and precise interpretation of specific words in as you claim (you only quoted one), rather that *ALL* the definitions, including the one you posted from wikipedia, can objectively classify the "baggie+water+fish" as a system ... *ALL* of them. As such I think you need to give up this line of argument and go back to the table in Message 320 and deal with the issues.

Now if you want to pursue this we can talk about how your apartment is a system of contiguous elements that include processes that aid in metabolism and evacuation of waste. Same for workplace.

As I've said before, life is part of an ecology (your apartment is a mini-ecological system for instance) -- it is a major mistake imho to try to define life without recognizing this fact.

Enjoy

Edited by RAZD, : .


we are limited in our ability to understand
by our ability to understand
RebelAmerican☆Zen☯Deist
... to learn ... to think ... to live ... to laugh ...
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This message is a reply to:
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RAZD
Member
Posts: 18855
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004
Member Rating: 3.5


Message 372 of 374 (776097)
01-08-2016 3:53 PM
Reply to: Message 370 by AlphaOmegakid
01-08-2016 2:09 PM


Re: Perhaps your constructive criticism is welcomed
PS: I'm OK if one argues that they respond to stimuli...

Which is good seeing as they (virii) evolve resistance to drugs, a definite response to stimulii inmho.

In other words, the mantra that viruses are on the "edge of life" is no more than a mantra from a scientific paper that doesn't even discuss this subject! Therefore, this mantra should not be widely used in the scientific community or the text books. It is nothing more than a headline title that has no factual scientific support.

That is your opinion, which you are welcome to, but it doesn't trump what actual scientists say in any way.

Enjoy


we are limited in our ability to understand
by our ability to understand
RebelAmerican☆Zen☯Deist
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Blue Jay
Member (Idle past 192 days)
Posts: 2843
From: You couldn't pronounce it with your mouthparts
Joined: 02-04-2008


(2)
Message 373 of 374 (776098)
01-08-2016 4:02 PM
Reply to: Message 370 by AlphaOmegakid
01-08-2016 2:09 PM


Re: Perhaps your constructive criticism is welcomed
Hi, AlphaOmegakid.

AlphaOmegakid writes:

Yes I agree. They meet 3 or 4 of the criteria. No argument. Now assuming Percy's continuum, the logic would say that they are "middle gray" which means they are pretty far from the "edge of life". Yes, They aren't black or very dark gray, but they are definitely not "off white".

That's fair enough, I suppose. But, remember that the criteria are still untested hypotheses, so the idea that 7 criteria = life is a tentative conclusion. There are cases, such as mules, where it seems that 6 (or 6.5) criteria is enough, so there is some uncertainty about where 'white' actually is.

And, viruses may have marginal claims to meet some of other criteria. For example, the process of building a capsid coating could be considered a rudimentary form of 'growth.' So, that might justify calling it 4.5 criteria met.

But, all that is immaterial, really. I don't know where the phrase 'edge of life' came from, but I think you're getting too hung up on the semantics. But, 'almost alive,' 'edge of life,' 'life-like,' 'quasi-alive,' 'sort of alive'... they're just ways to express that viruses are like 'life,' but don't meet all the traditional criteria.


-Blue Jay, Ph.D.*

*Yeah, it's real

Darwin loves you.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 370 by AlphaOmegakid, posted 01-08-2016 2:09 PM AlphaOmegakid has not yet responded

  
RAZD
Member
Posts: 18855
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004
Member Rating: 3.5


Message 374 of 374 (776099)
01-08-2016 4:06 PM
Reply to: Message 367 by Blue Jay
01-07-2016 11:16 PM


more than one definition needed?
Also, I don't think it's a good idea to try to define "life" and "a living organism" with the same definition. "Organism" is a term about how you define separate "units" of life, and I don't think it's necessary to open that can of worms in the basic definition.

That was pretty much the conclusion reached in the Definition of Life thread.

My definition is pretty good at defining "life" imho, but not so good at defining "units" (or entities) of life.

AOK's definition is a fair stab at defining single cellular life, but runs into problems with multicellular life and life in general terms (such as finding ET life, due to emphasis on known terrestrial molecules and processes).

One of my problems with AOK is that he apparently has an agenda to exclude virii, and chose his criteria to effect that, not for scientific reasons, while I feel a good definition of life should err on the inclusive side.

I'm thinking an ecological definition would be instructive. Life is something that interacts with its environment in ways that promote it's continuance ... but: oceans. Needs work.

Enjoy

Edited by RAZD, : .


we are limited in our ability to understand
by our ability to understand
RebelAmerican☆Zen☯Deist
... to learn ... to think ... to live ... to laugh ...
to share.


• • • Join the effort to solve medical problems, AIDS/HIV, Cancer and more with Team EvC! (click) • • •

This message is a reply to:
 Message 367 by Blue Jay, posted 01-07-2016 11:16 PM Blue Jay has acknowledged this reply

  
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