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Author Topic:   Is there a border dividing life from non-life?
sidelined 
Inactive Suspended Member


Message 46 of 132 (130727)
08-05-2004 2:34 PM
Reply to: Message 40 by jar
08-03-2004 12:01 PM


Re: Do non-living systems
jar

When snow flakes form they can take on an infinite variety of shapes

Sorry old boy but this is not the case.Snowflakes form their six-sided shape as aresult of molecular forces within the water.Check out the basics at this Caltech site. http://www.its.caltech.edu/~atomic/snowcrystals/primer/primer.htm


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jar
Member
Posts: 29441
From: Texas!!
Joined: 04-20-2004
Member Rating: 2.3


Message 47 of 132 (130731)
08-05-2004 2:41 PM
Reply to: Message 46 by sidelined
08-05-2004 2:34 PM


Re: Do non-living systems
Sorry but I don't understand your point. I'm pretty much aware of how snowflakes form and why they produce the shapes. But that is my point. They will follow set rules. They will always behave according to the molecular structure even though the final product will be unique.

Living things though can do the unexpected. They mutate. They establish new sets of rules and combinations.


Aslan is not a Tame Lion
This message is a reply to:
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Replies to this message:
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Lammy
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Posts: 3577
From: Florida
Joined: 03-29-2004


Message 48 of 132 (130736)
08-05-2004 3:07 PM
Reply to: Message 47 by jar
08-05-2004 2:41 PM


Re: Do non-living systems
Yes, but all living things are made up of either eukaryotic or prokaryotic cells.


The Laminator

For goodness's sake, please vote Democrat this November!


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sidelined 
Inactive Suspended Member


Message 49 of 132 (130737)
08-05-2004 3:07 PM
Reply to: Message 47 by jar
08-05-2004 2:41 PM


Re: Do non-living systems
jar

They establish new sets of rules and combinations.

Yes but these rules all reduce down ultimately to the same rules that govern the formation of snowflakes so this cannot be something that is a seperate condition.
Even though,say, a leaf can do vastly more things than a rock{as far as "leaf" things go it is horribly inadequate when it comes to dealing with what rocks must endure} this is not because new rules have come into being but that the rules that exist at the atomic level are now involved in a greater level of interplay among a greater number of compounds and solutions that are governed by those atomic forces.

This message has been edited by sidelined, 08-05-2004 02:21 PM


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jar
Member
Posts: 29441
From: Texas!!
Joined: 04-20-2004
Member Rating: 2.3


Message 50 of 132 (130738)
08-05-2004 3:16 PM
Reply to: Message 48 by Lammy
08-05-2004 3:07 PM


Re: Do non-living systems
I don't think that is significant.

What we don't see in nature is chemicals coming together to produce something new in non-living matter. The building blocks are all the same.

But in living things wer see evolution, new things happening. Through mutation it's possible to evolve a whole new critter that is different and unique.

A good example is the petrie dish experiments. When combining non-living things you get the same results every time. But with living cultures, we find that the cultures themselves change in response to outside influences. And the behaviour is not always the same.

I don't know if that can be the border, but it is the only realy difference I can imagine so far, that living things can be serendipitous, can change. Non-living things don't seem to show that.


Aslan is not a Tame Lion
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Loudmouth
Inactive Member


Message 51 of 132 (130749)
08-05-2004 3:40 PM
Reply to: Message 50 by jar
08-05-2004 3:16 PM


Re: Do non-living systems
quote:
What we don't see in nature is chemicals coming together to produce something new in non-living matter. The building blocks are all the same.

But we do. We see all sorts of different ores and chemicals being formed in the earth through combination of simpler molecules. As far as building blocks being the same, you are completely right. The building blocks for non-life and life are the same, they are atoms.

quote:
A good example is the petrie dish experiments. When combining non-living things you get the same results every time. But with living cultures, we find that the cultures themselves change in response to outside influences. And the behaviour is not always the same.

Actually, you can see the same thing with non-organic chemistry and a petri dish. Add a spot of percholoric acid to one spot. Nothing happens. Add the outside influence of potassium carbonate and you get a new thing, a precipitate, something new that wasn't there before. However, I will grant you that the results do not differ with non-organic material. At the same time, the results do not differ with life either, being that the some of those bacteria will survive and overtake the rest of the population.


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jar
Member
Posts: 29441
From: Texas!!
Joined: 04-20-2004
Member Rating: 2.3


Message 52 of 132 (130769)
08-05-2004 5:17 PM
Reply to: Message 51 by Loudmouth
08-05-2004 3:40 PM


Re: Do non-living systems
Not quite.

Actually, you can see the same thing with non-organic chemistry and a petri dish. Add a spot of percholoric acid to one spot. Nothing happens. Add the outside influence of potassium carbonate and you get a new thing, a precipitate, something new that wasn't there before.

But that's the point. In non-living matter you always see the same results. With mutations we are seeing new things. In your experiment you will always get the same precipitate.


Aslan is not a Tame Lion
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sidelined 
Inactive Suspended Member


Message 53 of 132 (130830)
08-05-2004 7:38 PM
Reply to: Message 52 by jar
08-05-2004 5:17 PM


Re: Do non-living systems
jar

In non-living matter you always see the same results. With mutations we are seeing new things

Yes but mutations are the result of either physical or biochemical alterations upon chromosomes or genes which means that we still have not determined the life/non-life border but merely subdivided the levels of structure that make up the ways in which mutations occur. Is a gene alive only if it mutates? What is it when not mutating if not a collection of biochemicals that is again just different from its simpler chemical constituents in its level of complexity? Are the physical or biochemical mutagens alive? It still seems that there is no actual way to seperate the result we call life from the mechanisms that constitute it.


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jar
Member
Posts: 29441
From: Texas!!
Joined: 04-20-2004
Member Rating: 2.3


Message 54 of 132 (130836)
08-05-2004 7:44 PM
Reply to: Message 53 by sidelined
08-05-2004 7:38 PM


Re: Do non-living systems
I think it is more in the capability. Non-living systems do not have the ability to mutate. It just does not happen. We can describe what will happen in a non-living system under most any circumstances. But that is not true of living things.


Aslan is not a Tame Lion
This message is a reply to:
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sidelined 
Inactive Suspended Member


Message 55 of 132 (130842)
08-05-2004 8:06 PM
Reply to: Message 54 by jar
08-05-2004 7:44 PM


Re: Do non-living systems
jar

I think it is more in the capability. Non-living systems do not have the ability to mutate.

Well I do not know if that is the case. If we expose iron to an oxygen enviroment then we have the formation of iron oxide. Would this not be an instance of mutation in a "non -living " element? If not why not? Would a reaction of zinc with hydrochloric acid constitute a similar change? Is the release of free energy through hydrolysis in the nucleotide ATP which powers our muscles?

That we cannot tell what will happen in living things is just a matter of the complexity of the biology present.Until we had the means to investigate we did not know why iron formed an oxide.


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jar
Member
Posts: 29441
From: Texas!!
Joined: 04-20-2004
Member Rating: 2.3


Message 56 of 132 (130844)
08-05-2004 8:09 PM
Reply to: Message 55 by sidelined
08-05-2004 8:06 PM


Re: Do non-living systems
Nope. Because that is what always happens. In living creatures mutations lead to new and unique results. It is entirely predictable while the random mutations that happen in living things are unpredictable.


Aslan is not a Tame Lion
This message is a reply to:
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sidelined 
Inactive Suspended Member


Message 57 of 132 (130853)
08-05-2004 8:41 PM
Reply to: Message 56 by jar
08-05-2004 8:09 PM


Re: Do non-living systems
jar

It is entirely predictable while the random mutations that happen in living things are unpredictable

No can you predict where the rust will first form on two identical pieces of iron? Probaly no more so than we can predict where a mutation will occur.

Mutations lead to new results but not necessarily unique ones.Eyes have evolved several times throughout evolutionary history so this is not necessarily so.Enzymes are subject to mutation {http://www.che.utexas.edu/georgiou/Research/Enzyme_Evolution.htm} are they alive?


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 Message 56 by jar, posted 08-05-2004 8:09 PM jar has responded

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jar
Member
Posts: 29441
From: Texas!!
Joined: 04-20-2004
Member Rating: 2.3


Message 58 of 132 (130855)
08-05-2004 8:44 PM
Reply to: Message 57 by sidelined
08-05-2004 8:41 PM


Re: Do non-living systems
It's not an issue of predicting where the mutation will occur. But you can predict the end, rust.

With mutations you have no idea of what the end product will be.


Aslan is not a Tame Lion
This message is a reply to:
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sidelined 
Inactive Suspended Member


Message 59 of 132 (130861)
08-05-2004 9:38 PM
Reply to: Message 58 by jar
08-05-2004 8:44 PM


Re: Do non-living systems
jar

I do not think that is the case since it is my understanding that some mutations have had there locations delineated and mutations at these sites are evidently repeatable and therefore would seem to be predictible.

There are databases available to track these mutations and I have a website located here http://www.genomic.unimelb.edu.au/mdi/dblist/glsdb.html#A

It would appear that they are making headway in specifying the locations of the mutations in relation to their effects on humans and I am sure further work will substantiate some of this.We must wait and see I suppose.

This message has been edited by sidelined, 08-05-2004 08:39 PM


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jar
Member
Posts: 29441
From: Texas!!
Joined: 04-20-2004
Member Rating: 2.3


Message 60 of 132 (130862)
08-05-2004 9:39 PM
Reply to: Message 59 by sidelined
08-05-2004 9:38 PM


Re: Do non-living systems
The issue is not that old mutations can be predicted, but new ones keep occuring.


Aslan is not a Tame Lion
This message is a reply to:
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