I was following a post on the origins of life and began thinking about that age-old question, what is life? Koshland gave us the "P(rogram), I(mprovisation), C(ompartmentalization), E(nergy), R(egeneration), A(daptability), S(eclusion)" definition. Has anyone developed a simpler one? Discussions on the topic would be easier if we had an accurate, simpler definition.
He called them the seven pillars of life. Here is basically what they are; 1. Program - Life has some kind of organized plan to operate through such as the nucleic acid and amino acid system. 2. Improvization - A living thing can change its plan in response to its environment. 3. Compartmentalization - A living thing must have separated spaces for necessary reactions to prevent other ingredients from messing up the reactions. 4. Energy - Living things require energy. 5. Regeneration - Living things must have a system to repair or restore damaged or lost components or processes. 6. Adaptability - A living thing responses to changes, dangers, and needs. 7. Seclusion - Chemical pathways must be separated.
Yes, I think Origin of Life would be an appropriate category.
I was following a post on abiogenisis and thinking about what it took to create the first living cell. I realized how difficult it is to actually talk about life because the definition is so complicated. My aim was not to try and define life but to see if someone has come up with a simpler definition in recent years so it would be easier to talk about.
We need definitions to discuss and make decisions. When is a fetus considered alive? This would help us make decisions about the abortion issue. What was the first living cell? This would help us decide on a viable model.
Re: Definition of "Life" -- thresholds and subjective interpretations
There are several definitions of life, all of them with problems, because it is like defining "green" on a spectrum:
You are giving the doctors, lawyers, and insurance agents in the crowd anxiety attacks. If the definintion of life is a spectrum, then we create a problem with the definition of death. If someone is dead, we can sign the certificate, close the estate, and settle the claims. If they are partially alive..... Have you been watching The Princess Bride? (lol) If someone is dead, (s)he cannot be brought back to life. If you kill a simple (I know bacteria are not simple but you know what I mean) bacterium, it cannot be brought back, even if all the parts remain intact and undamaged. During mitosis the cell or cells are still considered living. They may not be considered individuals but they are living.