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Author Topic:   What is Life?
New Cat's Eye
Inactive Member


Message 111 of 268 (593898)
11-30-2010 10:25 AM
Reply to: Message 107 by AlphaOmegakid
11-30-2010 8:41 AM


the actual problem
My argument, so you understand clearly is that science does and has defined life. It is in every biology text book. It is in the article I provided. The problem is not defining life, the problem is that the definition prevents origin of life scientist from equivocating. So they want to pretend, like the evos in this forum that life cannot be nailed down with a definition.

Not everything has to do with the debate against creationism...

The problem with defining life is not because of, the reletively few, origin of life scientists. That really has little to do with it and just seems paranoid.

The problem is this:

The difference between the non-living and the living is like the difference between yellow and blue. Sure, I know yellow or blue when I see them, but when you get down to the gnat's ass, you find the green stuff in between that cannot be easily said to be on the yellow or blue side.

Now, we can certainly define yellow to be having a wavelength between 590 - 560 nm, or life to be that with X qualities, but then we just find that the boundaries are fuzzier than our definition allows for. We find that we're not totally accurate. That's the problem with nailing down a definition for life.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 107 by AlphaOmegakid, posted 11-30-2010 8:41 AM AlphaOmegakid has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 139 by AlphaOmegakid, posted 12-02-2010 6:35 PM New Cat's Eye has responded

  
New Cat's Eye
Inactive Member


Message 137 of 268 (594217)
12-02-2010 4:56 PM
Reply to: Message 136 by AlphaOmegakid
12-02-2010 4:55 PM


I totally double clicked the Submit button...

Edited by Catholic Scientist, : No reason given.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 136 by AlphaOmegakid, posted 12-02-2010 4:55 PM AlphaOmegakid has not yet responded

  
New Cat's Eye
Inactive Member


Message 138 of 268 (594218)
12-02-2010 4:56 PM
Reply to: Message 136 by AlphaOmegakid
12-02-2010 4:55 PM


Well, there's still Message 111.
This message is a reply to:
 Message 136 by AlphaOmegakid, posted 12-02-2010 4:55 PM AlphaOmegakid has not yet responded

  
New Cat's Eye
Inactive Member


(1)
Message 155 of 268 (594389)
12-03-2010 10:24 AM
Reply to: Message 139 by AlphaOmegakid
12-02-2010 6:35 PM


Re: the actual problem
The problem with your analogy is already identified by you. Colors may be fuzzy to the eye, and hard to dicern, indeed. But with instrumentation that can measure wavelengths, it is easy to dircern and define.

No, you didn't quite hit the point.

Colors are not that hard to identify with the eye. I know yellow when I see it and I know blue when I see it. The problem is when we "zoom in" on the boundaries and then realize that they are fuzzy, there is a whole range of green in between them. The instrumentation helps expose that fuzziness.

For example, yellow is wavelengths of 590 - 560 nm and blue is 490 - 450 nm, in between we have green from 560 - 490 nm.

If we have light that has a wavelenth of 525 nm, should we put it on the yellow side or the blue side? Could we all agree that 525.1 nm is definately yellow and 524.9 nm is definately blue? Is light that is exactly 560 nm yellow or green?

When we zoom in that closely, we find that our compartmentalization of color, which seems to work just fine for the everyday "zoomed out" uses, fails to accurately describe the continuum of color that actually exists in nature.

Similiarly, words like "life" and "non-life" work just fine for distinguishing between a cow and a boulder, but when we zoom in we find that fuzzy edge with things that seem to be somewhere in between life and non-life.

So I have provided the seven pillars. what is fuzzy about them?

Its not the pillars that are fuzzy, just like the wavelength definition of yellow is quite clear. Its that life is fuzzy and not as easily distinguished from non-life as the definition suggests.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 139 by AlphaOmegakid, posted 12-02-2010 6:35 PM AlphaOmegakid has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 162 by AlphaOmegakid, posted 12-03-2010 12:32 PM New Cat's Eye has responded

  
New Cat's Eye
Inactive Member


Message 161 of 268 (594410)
12-03-2010 11:40 AM
Reply to: Message 149 by AlphaOmegakid
12-03-2010 8:42 AM


Reproduction
In order for an organism to be alive, it is not necessary for it to reproduce.

However, in order for an organism to be alive, it is necessary for it to participate in the process of reproduction.

Actually, this is not correct. From the essay you linked to:

quote:
This is not the only way the living system regenerates. The constant resynthesis of its proteins and body constituents is not quite perfect, so the small loss for each regeneration in the short run becomes a larger loss overall for all the processes in the long run, adding up to what we call aging. So living systems, at least the ones we know, use a clever trick to perfect the regeneration processthat is, they start over. Starting over can be a cell dividing, in the case of Escherichia coli, or the birth of an infant for Homo sapiens. By beginning a new generation, the infant starts from scratch, and all the chemical ingredients, programs, and other constituents go back to the beginning to correct the inevitable decline of a continuously functioning metabolizing system.

Per this essay, the system would have to reproduce to be considered living. Since a mule cannot reproduce, it would not be a living system according to this definition.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 149 by AlphaOmegakid, posted 12-03-2010 8:42 AM AlphaOmegakid has not yet responded

  
New Cat's Eye
Inactive Member


(2)
Message 163 of 268 (594471)
12-03-2010 2:24 PM
Reply to: Message 162 by AlphaOmegakid
12-03-2010 12:32 PM


Re: the actual problem only exists in your mind
That's because your "point" is fuzzy.

Others seem to think otherwise. From the post of the month thread:

quote:
A really clear and illustrated way to explain a concept that's actually quite difficult for people to get a handle on - the notion that most of physical existence is on a continuum but our categories invariably assume discreet states.

quote:
Seconded, that post is pretty cool and agree, it takes a concept that for some is difficult to understand and makes it very clear.

Then you are applying a definition of those colors relative to your vision.

Of course. Colors were described before the wavelengths were asigned to them.

So yellow is clear? Blue is clear? And green is fuzzy? Can't you also just as easily recognize green? It is defined as well.

Yes, but that is not what the analogy is explaining. Yellow = life, and blue = non-life... the green is the yet to be defined stuff in between.

See, what you are missing is that the reason you recognize any color at all is because it is defined.

Not because of the wavelength definition though. And that's a part of the point that helps expose the problem. Nailing down exact wavelengths of light to be certain colors doesn't remove the problem of some colors not being easily defined as one of them.

An exact and/or specific definition of "life" has the same problem.

Sure, I agree with you that there is a continuum of light and colors. But isn't a ruler a continuum also? But can't we define 1mm, 1cm, 1m? Once we define it it is recognizeable.

But deinifions of things like color and life are qualitative ones. To be analogous, we'd need to be defining somethign like "short" as, say, 1 mm. The problem is then whether something that is 2 mm is short or not. Compared to the difference betwee 1 and 1.01 mm, it isn't, but compared to 1 m it is.

Is there a visible difference in .999m and 1.0m. It's fuzzy at arms length, but is is clear close up, because of the definition.

Sure, but "life" isn't quantitative. Like I said above, we'd need to be deciding: if 1.0 m is "long", then is .999m?

For example, yellow is wavelengths of 590 - 560 nm and blue is 490 - 450 nm, in between we have green from 560 - 490 nm.

If we have light that has a wavelenth of 525 nm, should we put it on the yellow side or the blue side?

It is green, because it is defined that way.

Missing the point. It has to be either yellow or blue but its not clear which one it should be included with. In this analogy, green is the things between "life" and "non-life" that we can't easily decide is either one.

Could we all agree that 525.1 nm is definately yellow and 524.9 nm is definately blue?

We could argue all we want. But if it is defined, it is defined.

But the definition isn't helping us decide what it looks more like.

Is light that is exactly 560 nm yellow or green?

Again, that depends on the definition.

The definition has been provided. If we define yellow as this and blue as that, the green in between doesn't easily fit with either one.

Again, I agree that light is a continuum. But a continuum can be defined in science. However, You are claiming that "Life" is a continuum. So I ask you to establish that claim. Life is nothing like light.

There's two seperate ways I could go with this...

First, things like viruses and prions sit between "life" and "non-life".

Also there's stuff like this going on:

quote:
Abstract
We propose the Thermal Protein First Paradigm (protocell theory) that affirms that first life was cellular. The first cells emerged from molecular (chemical) evolution as protocells (heated amino acids self-order in copolymerization reactions to form thermal proteins which self-organize when in contact with water to form protocells). Metaprotocells are specialized protocells capable of synthesizing ATP (light energy conversion to chemical energy), polypeptides, and polynucleotides. Aggregations of protocells in thermal protein matrices form distinctive morphologies (protocellular networks). Prokaryotic cells emerged from metaprotocells. We classify protocells and metaprotocells as members of the Domain Protolife. We revised the cell theory to include protolife. source

Second, think about the calcium in a cow's bone and the calcium in a boulder. There's nothing different between them at the atomic scale, but one is in a living system and one is not. That the one piece of calcium is "alive" doesn't distinguish it from the other one.

What you have here is a bold claim that needs supporting evidence. As I understand you, you are saying "life' is just a contiuum of chemical reactions. Ok, you need to establish that continuum.

See above, but also:

There's links to sources in the wiki definition of life where you'll find this:

quote:
It is still a challenge for scientists and philosophers to define life in unequivocal terms. Defining life is difficultin partbecause life is a process, not a pure substance.

This one looks alright:

http://www.nbi.dk/~emmeche/cePubl/97e.defLife.v3f.html

There's also some decent stuff here:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC516796/?tool=...

I'm not aware of one source that I can point to that says that life is a continuum. Its just something I've come to understand over the years.

Do you think that it isn't? Why?


This message is a reply to:
 Message 162 by AlphaOmegakid, posted 12-03-2010 12:32 PM AlphaOmegakid has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 168 by AlphaOmegakid, posted 12-06-2010 10:20 AM New Cat's Eye has responded

  
New Cat's Eye
Inactive Member


Message 173 of 268 (595038)
12-06-2010 11:19 AM
Reply to: Message 168 by AlphaOmegakid
12-06-2010 10:20 AM


Re: the actual problem only exists in your mind
I have aready said that I think the evidence is clear that life is digital. We clarify living things as dead or alive.

What is this clear evidence that life is digital?

Simply because our language has compartmentalized it like that!? That would be absurd.

Do you have any scientific sources suggesting that life is digital?

There's nothing about the atoms in living organisms that distinguish them from ones in non-living things. And, living things are made of the same atoms as non-living things. There is no "spark of life" that distinguishes one atom as living and one as not.

That's because life is a process that many atoms are going through together. Its not some wacky "thing" that the atoms possess. If it was digital then we should be able to find that stuff that makes a living thing different. But we can't, so its not.

it {the continuum of life} is an assumption of philosophical naturalism. If Life exists, then it must have self organized in some progressive way. It is my contention that this must be established rather than assumed.

I just deduced that life isn't digital above without relying on those assumption.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 168 by AlphaOmegakid, posted 12-06-2010 10:20 AM AlphaOmegakid has not yet responded

  
New Cat's Eye
Inactive Member


Message 181 of 268 (598212)
12-29-2010 4:52 PM
Reply to: Message 180 by Philip Johnson
12-29-2010 4:30 PM


Re: What is the simplest life form?
What is the simplest life form?

When?

Today, it'd be either a virus (assuming they're included) or, if not, a prokaryote.

You can read all about them here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prokaryote

If you're talkin' "of all time", then its less clear, but I'd guess either a nanobacterium or a protobiont.

You can read about those heres:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nanobacteria

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Protobiont

Happy learning!


This message is a reply to:
 Message 180 by Philip Johnson, posted 12-29-2010 4:30 PM Philip Johnson has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 182 by Philip Johnson, posted 12-29-2010 5:06 PM New Cat's Eye has responded

  
New Cat's Eye
Inactive Member


Message 207 of 268 (598323)
12-30-2010 10:34 AM
Reply to: Message 182 by Philip Johnson
12-29-2010 5:06 PM


Re: What is the simplest life form?
Since the common idea is that all life evolved from one common ancestor, why are there still some life forms that "have not evolved very far?"

There's no reason there shouldn't be. This is a common misunderstanding when it comes to evolution.

You need to realize that mutations can be selected against and that some mutations actually remove a part of the genome.

We don't expect the genome to just keep getting bigger and bigger over time. Also, just because a genome is larger, doesn't mean that it has to have a lot of morphological affects.

Interestingly, the Amoeba is something that you would think "has not evolved very far" but it has a genome that is, like, 200 times the size as a humans! Sizing up Genomes

FYI, Berkely has a great Evolution 101 site:

http://evolution.berkeley.edu/evosite/evo101/index.shtml

From Message 192:

Natural selection is the process by which genetic mutations that enhance reproduction become, and remain, more common in successive generations of a population.

That's not all it is... NS also weeds out things that don't work.

We should have expected that simple organisms alive today should have experienced some mutations to change and not remained the same for so long.

It depends on what kind of selective pressure there is. Stasis in evolution is not neglected.

If a species happens to fit really well within its niche, and the niche hasn't changed, then we'd expect them to maintain those things that make it fit and avoid those things that don't.

Take the crocodile as an example. Its almost perfect for laying in the river and chomping on passing buffalo, there's no selective pressure driving the change and it is actually working against it.

Same goes for bacteria.

From Message 202:

However, I suspect that we all believe that there is in fact directionality.

No, not like you're using it. Sure, we can look back through history and see the trend that things have become more complex, but the Theory of Evolution doesn't have parts in it about that. A complexity trend is all about the environment and the selective pressure it offers.

Evolutionists believe that things become more complex faster than they become less complex, therefore you have a gradual increase in complexity.

Not true. It all depends on the environment and the selective pressure it offers. If its conducive to less complexity than that is what will happen. You know, we do see birds that have lost the ability to fly.

Edited by Catholic Scientist, : No reason given.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 182 by Philip Johnson, posted 12-29-2010 5:06 PM Philip Johnson has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 229 by Philip Johnson, posted 01-01-2011 6:55 PM New Cat's Eye has responded

  
New Cat's Eye
Inactive Member


Message 237 of 268 (598859)
01-03-2011 11:24 AM
Reply to: Message 229 by Philip Johnson
01-01-2011 6:55 PM


Re: What is the simplest life form?
IF the probability that a mutation adds to the genome is exactly the same as the probability that a mutation removes part of the genome, then there will be no directionality.

Unless the environment is conducive to one direction or another...

When life first emerged, there were all kinds of niches for it to evolve into that allowed for the complexity to increase. If the environment becomes hostile and a whole lot of species go extinct, then there will be a decrease in the amount of complexity.

Its all about the environment in determining which direction will happen. It doesn't have anything to do with the probaility of a mutation adding to the genome.

However, evolutionists believe that it is more likely that a mutation will add to the genome which gradually results in more information in the genome.

No, they don't.

Natural Selection drives the amount of information.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 229 by Philip Johnson, posted 01-01-2011 6:55 PM Philip Johnson has not yet responded

  
New Cat's Eye
Inactive Member


Message 239 of 268 (598880)
01-03-2011 1:30 PM
Reply to: Message 238 by ICdesign
01-03-2011 1:25 PM


Re: The Mutation Problem
The Mutation Problem: http://www.cs.unc.edu/~plaisted/ce/problem.html

http://www.wedonotdebatewithlinks.com


This message is a reply to:
 Message 238 by ICdesign, posted 01-03-2011 1:25 PM ICdesign has not yet responded

  
New Cat's Eye
Inactive Member


Message 244 of 268 (598946)
01-04-2011 11:19 AM
Reply to: Message 243 by ICdesign
01-04-2011 10:29 AM


Re: The Mutation Problem
We don't debate by links. Arguments are to presented in your own words with links to sites that support them. Rule #5.

But anyways, what does this have to do with the topic: What is Life?


This message is a reply to:
 Message 243 by ICdesign, posted 01-04-2011 10:29 AM ICdesign has not yet responded

  
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