Understanding through Discussion


Welcome! You are not logged in. [ Login ]
EvC Forum active members: 107 (8805 total)
Current session began: 
Page Loaded: 12-14-2017 7:36 PM
337 online now:
jar, JonF, Percy (Admin), xongsmith (4 members, 333 visitors)
Chatting now:  Chat room empty
Newest Member: jaufre
Post Volume:
Total: 824,166 Year: 28,772/21,208 Month: 838/1,847 Week: 213/475 Day: 60/46 Hour: 6/10

Announcements: Reporting debate problems OR discussing moderation actions/inactions


Thread  Details

Email This Thread
Newer Topic | Older Topic
  
Prev12
3
456Next
Author Topic:   Definition of Life
lfen
Member (Idle past 2291 days)
Posts: 2189
From: Oregon
Joined: 06-24-2004


Message 31 of 77 (334807)
07-24-2006 10:53 AM
Reply to: Message 30 by nwr
07-24-2006 8:24 AM


Re: Not what, but WHY
Yes, process is a more accurate concept than object.

I could be approaching this from the wrong perspective or asking the wrong question but what I'm wondering is something like this:

When I examine the processes of another organism I see matter/energy in space/time as say neurons processes resulting in sensory/motor behaviour. And I know that my observation uses that same sort of processing that I am observing but I experience something else. So, I'm wondering if what I'm experiencing is in some sense a hitherto unidentified "inside" of the process.

I'm doing this to avoid dualism. So if electrons say have some properties like mass, charge, spin that weren't all discovered at the same time perhaps they have have some other property that is the basis of this interior awareness, same goes for other particles, atoms, molecules, and forces like electromagnetism.

This is brain storming speculation. Consciousness is such a fundamental function and yet so slippery. Without it you and I wouldn't be writing this, so it is in one sense essential and yet it could be a local phenomena of life.

My bias is that everything in the universe arise from the same basics so somehow in someway consciousness has to arise from those basics or be in some sense basic itself. At this point Descartes' dualism sense to have been pushed hard until it broke and I haven't discovered anyway to fix it.

Life may have unique combinations of atoms but there is nothing unique about the atoms or forces it uses, so life is an inherent potential of the universe however unlikely it may be. I am speculating along the same lines with consciousness.

lfen


This message is a reply to:
 Message 30 by nwr, posted 07-24-2006 8:24 AM nwr has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 32 by nwr, posted 07-24-2006 12:24 PM lfen has responded

  
nwr
Member
Posts: 5544
From: Geneva, Illinois
Joined: 08-08-2005
Member Rating: 2.6


Message 32 of 77 (334826)
07-24-2006 12:24 PM
Reply to: Message 31 by lfen
07-24-2006 10:53 AM


Re: Not what, but WHY
I could be approaching this from the wrong perspective or asking the wrong question ...

The received view is that we require an explanation of how the subjective arises from the objective. But that's backwards. The whole principle of empiricism is that knowledge arises from experience. Thus our objective knowledge arises out of the subjective. How this works has never been adequately explained, although George Berkeley made an attempt (admittedly a misguided one).

Eventually, science should close the circle. That is, we should have an account of how the objective arises from the subjective, but we should also have some understanding of how the subjective arises from what we view of the physical world. If we cannot close the circle, then we should suspect something is amiss in our understanding.

Still, the starting point has to be in how the objective arises from the subjective.

So if electrons say have some properties like mass, charge, spin that weren't all discovered at the same time perhaps they have have some other property that is the basis of this interior awareness, same goes for other particles, atoms, molecules, and forces like electromagnetism.

I don't see the need for special properties of objects (property dualism).

I see an organism as a gatherer of information about the world. The AI paradigm tends to assume a computation system that is a passive receiver of information, and the AI folk want to explain everything in terms of how that information is processed. But that seems mistaken to me. I see an organism as actively involved in collecting information, and even involved in deciding what to consider as information (defining information).

Electrons and the like are mere carriers of information. Information, itself, is an abstraction, and thus has no mass and no energy. Representing that information requires carriers, and we would expect the carriers to have mass and energy. But it is the information itself that is all important, not the carriers.

According to the received view, the processing system receives the information. But that information has no effect whatsoever. The processing is assumed to not even deal with the information. Rather, it is assumed that the processing deals with the carriers of the information as a proxy for handling the information.

My alternative non-traditional view is that the information we gather is the essence of our experience. The qualia simply are the information - not the representation, but the information itself. Our visual experience is of a 3-dimensional world, simply because the information is of a 3-dimensional world.

I am not intending to evade the problem in the above. As I indicated, science does need to close the circle. I make the empiricist assumption that a new person entering the world has no innate knowledge of the world. I expect that an infant has little or no knowledge that it lives in a 3-D world, and therefore is not initially collecting 3D information. The infant has to learn what kind of world it is in, and what kind of information is available, before it can start collecting that information. That program of learning about the world is where I believe investigation needs to be directed.

By the way, we are drifting off topic. You might want to start a separate thread if you want to pursue this further. (I might be amenable to an appropriate GD thread).


This message is a reply to:
 Message 31 by lfen, posted 07-24-2006 10:53 AM lfen has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 33 by 2ice_baked_taters, posted 07-24-2006 2:08 PM nwr has acknowledged this reply
 Message 34 by lfen, posted 07-24-2006 2:38 PM nwr has acknowledged this reply

  
2ice_baked_taters
Member (Idle past 3465 days)
Posts: 566
From: Boulder Junction WI.
Joined: 02-16-2006


Message 33 of 77 (334889)
07-24-2006 2:08 PM
Reply to: Message 32 by nwr
07-24-2006 12:24 PM


Re: Not what, but WHY
I see an organism as a gatherer of information about the world. The AI paradigm tends to assume a computation system that is a passive receiver of information, and the AI folk want to explain everything in terms of how that information is processed. But that seems mistaken to me. I see an organism as actively involved in collecting information, and even involved in deciding what to consider as information (defining information).

You might think about adding 'purpose' to your informatioin gathering info point of view. Purpose may be a property of every living thing.

My alternative non-traditional view is that the information we gather is the essence of our experience. The qualia simply are the information - not the representation, but the information itself. Our visual experience is of a 3-dimensional world, simply because the information is of a 3-dimensional world.

Our perception of thought does not fall into our concept of three dimensions. Vission is but one way we percieve things.We percieve things within our own thoughts. What "sense" is this? It is the act of perception that is elusive. Still I am not the act of perception. I can also choose to alter my perception. This "phenomenon may be true of all things living in one way or other. The idea that we are unique has no real basis.

Edited by 2ice_baked_taters, : No reason given.

Edited by 2ice_baked_taters, : typo...typo


This message is a reply to:
 Message 32 by nwr, posted 07-24-2006 12:24 PM nwr has acknowledged this reply

  
lfen
Member (Idle past 2291 days)
Posts: 2189
From: Oregon
Joined: 06-24-2004


Message 34 of 77 (334901)
07-24-2006 2:38 PM
Reply to: Message 32 by nwr
07-24-2006 12:24 PM


Re: Not what, but WHY
Well, I'm not really debating this. I'm just musing on the problem. I gave up proposing topics a long time ago. My topics came out slow and promptly died.

I like your notion of approaching the objective from the subjective. It's how Ramana frames his teaching. That is something I want to explore for sure.

In line with Ben's earlier comment about life is how you see it. I think I'll end this off topic drift with a radical redefinition and say that the universe is life. Organisms on earth being just one developed refinement of that life.

lfen


This message is a reply to:
 Message 32 by nwr, posted 07-24-2006 12:24 PM nwr has acknowledged this reply

  
Jon
Inactive Member


Message 35 of 77 (335091)
07-25-2006 5:41 AM
Reply to: Message 25 by RAZD
07-22-2006 11:28 PM


And another problem with this definition is that life (as we know it) has {elements\sections} that synthesis all the parts of the cell, not just replicate their own molecules.

I might be misunderstanding this, but are you saying that the cell is the smallest unit of life (as we know it)? If this is the case, then we need only find the objective properties of a cell and decide if those are necessary for life. Or so it would seem, but there is something telling me it isn't quite that easy.

Jon


This message is a reply to:
 Message 25 by RAZD, posted 07-22-2006 11:28 PM RAZD has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 36 by PurpleYouko, posted 07-25-2006 10:04 AM Jon has responded
 Message 39 by RAZD, posted 07-25-2006 9:23 PM Jon has not yet responded

  
PurpleYouko
Member (Idle past 233 days)
Posts: 713
From: Columbia Missouri
Joined: 11-11-2004


Message 36 of 77 (335130)
07-25-2006 10:04 AM
Reply to: Message 35 by Jon
07-25-2006 5:41 AM


Seems a little narrow as definitions go
but there is something telling me it isn't quite that easy.

I have to agree. That seems way to restrictive as a way to define life.

What about the possibility of non-carbon based life forms. how about the possibility of electrical lifeforms such as certain computer programs. Some are now getting very close to life. They reproduce, mutate and are largely subject to the same rules as other life forms.
Check out darwinbots.com for an example of an A-life program. There are plenty more.
Are they alive? Maybe not now but who knows in the future as they become more and more sophisticated.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 35 by Jon, posted 07-25-2006 5:41 AM Jon has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 37 by Jon, posted 07-25-2006 3:31 PM PurpleYouko has responded

  
Jon
Inactive Member


Message 37 of 77 (335215)
07-25-2006 3:31 PM
Reply to: Message 36 by PurpleYouko
07-25-2006 10:04 AM


Re: Seems a little narrow as definitions go
What about the possibility of non-carbon based life forms. how about the possibility of electrical lifeforms such as certain computer programs. Some are now getting very close to life. They reproduce, mutate and are largely subject to the same rules as other life forms.

But carbon-based doesn't necessarily have to be one of those parts of a cell that are necessary for life. These computer programs could be considered perhaps as an entire single cell, with each part of the program representing a certain required function of life.

I do find it difficult though to consider the computer program alive without a 'housing' for it. In that case, the entire computer might be considered alive, as it does have similar parts as a cell: takes in energy, converts it, stores it, uses it. The program has similar functions to DNA: copies itself, has occasional breakdowns/errors (crashes). Not only that, but it can also be similar to human thought at times.

But you see, the computer is not a large item made of many smaller ones. It is, as the cell, non-working when missing any of its parts (as apposed to multi-cellular organisms which can easily survive if one cell dies off). For this reason, I think a computer might be considered as one large cell, having all the parts determined necesary for life, thus being a live.

Jon


This message is a reply to:
 Message 36 by PurpleYouko, posted 07-25-2006 10:04 AM PurpleYouko has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 38 by PurpleYouko, posted 07-25-2006 3:52 PM Jon has not yet responded

  
PurpleYouko
Member (Idle past 233 days)
Posts: 713
From: Columbia Missouri
Joined: 11-11-2004


Message 38 of 77 (335222)
07-25-2006 3:52 PM
Reply to: Message 37 by Jon
07-25-2006 3:31 PM


Re: Seems a little narrow as definitions go
I do find it difficult though to consider the computer program alive without a 'housing' for it.

try looking at it in a slightly different way.
The computer is the "Universe", the environment if you like, in which the programs live. It contains the food source and everything that is necessary for the programs to interact with each other.
Did you check out the link I gave you?
DarwinBots each consist of a chunk of "DNA" code that is capable of making decisions based on inputs from the environment in which it lives. There can be thousands of them all interacting, fighting, forming comunities, even joining togather to make larger multi-cellular animals (albut very simple ones).

But you see, the computer is not a large item made of many smaller ones.

Not really the right analogy as the computer is the environment and not the life form.
What about computer worms and viruses? they exist on the internet and infect computers then reproduce (often with mutations), sending their progeny back into the world wide web.
This seems to meet many of the criteria for life but I'm not sure if i would go quite so far as to say they are alive.

Where do we draw the line?


This message is a reply to:
 Message 37 by Jon, posted 07-25-2006 3:31 PM Jon has not yet responded

  
RAZD
Member
Posts: 19301
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004
Member Rating: 2.2


Message 39 of 77 (335321)
07-25-2006 9:23 PM
Reply to: Message 35 by Jon
07-25-2006 5:41 AM


... re membrane your cell
... but are you saying that the cell is the smallest unit of life (as we know it)?

It is the smallest unit we consistently recognize as being alive at the present ... but that does not make it a limit for life per se

What the argument was concerned with is the issue of replication -- if we define life as an {X that replicates itself}, we have a problem inside the cell, as the replication is handled by part of the cell and other parts have nothing to do with replication -- they need to be made by the "active agent" to make another cell -- but they are part of the environment for the "active agent" necessary (today) for it to replicate itself. Kind of a chicken and egg situation.

... we need only find the objective properties of a cell and decide if those are necessary for life. Or so it would seem, but there is something telling me it isn't quite that easy.

No, it isn't quite that easy. That is after all the whole reason why abiogenesis is in the current state of knowledge that it is eh?

Consider Obcells as proto-organisms: membrane heredity, lithophosphorylation, and the origins of the genetic code, the first cells, and photosynthesis. (click)

The protein synthesis machinery is too complex to have evolved before membranes. Therefore a symbiosis of membranes, replicators, and catalysts probably mediated the origin of the code and the transition from a nucleic acid world of independent molecular replicators to a nucleic acid/protein/lipid world of reproducing organisms. Membranes initially functioned as supramolecular structures to which different replicators attached and were selected as a higher-level reproductive unit: the proto-organism.

I propose a new theory for the origin of the first cell: fusion of two cup-shaped obcells, or hemicells, to make a protocell with double envelope, internal genome and ribosomes, protocytosol, and periplasm. Only then did water-soluble enzymes, amino acid biosynthesis, and intermediary metabolism evolve in a concentrated autocatalytic internal cytosolic soup, causing 12 new amino acid assignments, termination, and rapid freezing of the 22-acid code.

Before then we had replication and a bunch of stuff going on that is similar to what we think of a cellular life ... is it {life}? Or a stage of "activated chemicals" that responded to certain environmental conditions to catalyse their replication?

We also have no idea how many different kind of replication systems were involved, it could have just taken the right combination in the right place of two or three systems.

Perhaps a system of membranes formed of D-amino acids and that left L-amino acids in concentrated soups ...

As yet we don't know.


Join the effort to unravel {AIDSHIV} with Team EvC! (click)

we are limited in our ability to understand
by our ability to understand

RebelAAmericanOZen[Deist
... to learn ... to think ... to live ... to laugh ...
to share.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 35 by Jon, posted 07-25-2006 5:41 AM Jon has not yet responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 40 by inkorrekt, posted 07-31-2006 10:44 PM RAZD has responded

  
inkorrekt
Member (Idle past 3695 days)
Posts: 382
From: Westminster,CO, USA
Joined: 02-04-2006


Message 40 of 77 (337092)
07-31-2006 10:44 PM
Reply to: Message 39 by RAZD
07-25-2006 9:23 PM


Re: ... re membrane your cell
Perhaps a system of membranes formed of D-amino acids and that left L-amino acids in concentrated soups ... As yet we don't know

I like the last part of your post that "we do not know". The soup of D-and L-forms of amino acids will be biologically useless as the D-forms act as biological poisons.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 39 by RAZD, posted 07-25-2006 9:23 PM RAZD has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 41 by Wounded King, posted 08-01-2006 6:31 AM inkorrekt has responded
 Message 48 by RAZD, posted 08-02-2006 7:31 PM inkorrekt has not yet responded

  
Wounded King
Member (Idle past 1709 days)
Posts: 4149
From: Edinburgh, Scotland
Joined: 04-09-2003


Message 41 of 77 (337150)
08-01-2006 6:31 AM
Reply to: Message 40 by inkorrekt
07-31-2006 10:44 PM


Optical isomer issues
I like the last part of your post that "we do not know". The soup of D-and L-forms of amino acids will be biologically useless as the D-forms act as biological poisons.

Could you be more specific? How do D-forms act as biological poisons? How do you know that that mode of action would be relevant in a pre or proto biological environment? If a mechanism such as RAZD posits could locally skew the proportions of the enantiomers could this overcome whatever inhibitory effects the D-amino acids might have?

I'm not saying that D-amino acids can't act as posions on living things, I just don't think that the extent to which they do so supports your contention that this is a significant problem for abiogenesis.

TTFN,

WK


This message is a reply to:
 Message 40 by inkorrekt, posted 07-31-2006 10:44 PM inkorrekt has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 42 by inkorrekt, posted 08-01-2006 11:23 PM Wounded King has responded

    
inkorrekt
Member (Idle past 3695 days)
Posts: 382
From: Westminster,CO, USA
Joined: 02-04-2006


Message 42 of 77 (337324)
08-01-2006 11:23 PM
Reply to: Message 41 by Wounded King
08-01-2006 6:31 AM


Re: Optical isomer issues
Could you be more specific? How do D-forms act as biological poisons?

All biological reactions are carried out through enzymes. Enzyme must have a substrate(Substrate is a substance which is acted upon by the enzyme to give the product) L-forms are natural substrates. But, D-forms act as enzyme inhibitors.D-forms compete with the substrate for the active site on the enzyme. The primordial soup had the enzyme inhibitors so that nothing could proceed further.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 41 by Wounded King, posted 08-01-2006 6:31 AM Wounded King has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 43 by Wounded King, posted 08-02-2006 3:05 AM inkorrekt has responded

  
Wounded King
Member (Idle past 1709 days)
Posts: 4149
From: Edinburgh, Scotland
Joined: 04-09-2003


Message 43 of 77 (337341)
08-02-2006 3:05 AM
Reply to: Message 42 by inkorrekt
08-01-2006 11:23 PM


Re: Optical isomer issues
Enzyme must have a substrate(Substrate is a substance which is acted upon by the enzyme to give the product) L-forms are natural substrates.

Surely L-forms are only natural substrates for enzymes whose reactions act on amino acids and possibly on L-form amino acids specifically, it really depends on the specific enzyme. The substrate of an enzyme can be any one of a huge number of molecules indeed there are enzymes that convert L-amino acids into D-amino acids.

As an explanation this has pretty much no value. Do you have any evidence to support your contention that D-amino acids are general inhibitors of enzyme activity?

TTFN,

WK


This message is a reply to:
 Message 42 by inkorrekt, posted 08-01-2006 11:23 PM inkorrekt has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 44 by RAZD, posted 08-02-2006 7:27 AM Wounded King has responded
 Message 49 by inkorrekt, posted 08-02-2006 9:36 PM Wounded King has not yet responded
 Message 50 by inkorrekt, posted 08-02-2006 9:39 PM Wounded King has responded

    
RAZD
Member
Posts: 19301
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004
Member Rating: 2.2


Message 44 of 77 (337351)
08-02-2006 7:27 AM
Reply to: Message 43 by Wounded King
08-02-2006 3:05 AM


Re: Optical isomer issues
The substrate of an enzyme can be any one of a huge number of molecules indeed there are enzymes that convert L-amino acids into D-amino acids.

Any that go the other way? It would seem (chemically) likely that there would be both. Perhaps this is what can concentrate type aminos within a membrane proto-cell?


Join the effort to unravel {AIDSHIV} with Team EvC! (click)

we are limited in our ability to understand
by our ability to understand

RebelAAmericanOZen[Deist
... to learn ... to think ... to live ... to laugh ...
to share.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 43 by Wounded King, posted 08-02-2006 3:05 AM Wounded King has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 45 by Wounded King, posted 08-02-2006 8:52 AM RAZD has responded

  
Wounded King
Member (Idle past 1709 days)
Posts: 4149
From: Edinburgh, Scotland
Joined: 04-09-2003


Message 45 of 77 (337360)
08-02-2006 8:52 AM
Reply to: Message 44 by RAZD
08-02-2006 7:27 AM


Re: Optical isomer issues
There are enzymes which convert some D to L amino acids, though not neccessarily in a one step process. There doesn't seem to be as extensive a literature on this as on the L to D converting enzymes. I'm not sure that these would be neccessary for your concentration to occur, I'd have thought some material with a chirally selective adsorption would be more likely.

TTFN,

WK


This message is a reply to:
 Message 44 by RAZD, posted 08-02-2006 7:27 AM RAZD has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 46 by RAZD, posted 08-02-2006 5:44 PM Wounded King has not yet responded

    
Prev12
3
456Next
Newer Topic | Older Topic
Jump to:


Copyright 2001-2015 by EvC Forum, All Rights Reserved

™ Version 4.0 Beta
Innovative software from Qwixotic © 2017