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Author Topic:   What is Life?
Larni
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Posts: 3984
From: Liverpool
Joined: 09-16-2005


Message 28 of 268 (587190)
10-17-2010 2:57 PM
Reply to: Message 3 by barbara
09-13-2010 9:57 AM


Idiocy
The definition of life was a massive extinction event and was not able to recover to evolve a new answer.

You really are clueless, aren't you?

How is that in any way a working definition of life?


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Larni
Member
Posts: 3984
From: Liverpool
Joined: 09-16-2005


(1)
Message 30 of 268 (587197)
10-17-2010 3:47 PM
Reply to: Message 29 by mosassam
10-17-2010 3:16 PM


Clumsy label
I think the problem is that chemical processes that take place are often described as part of being 'alive' or' not alive'.

But this is arbitrarily designating every thing into 2 distinct categories and then claiming that because we have arbitrarily decided to do this that 'alive' and 'not alive' are two distinct entities.

A human being has many chemical and electro-chemical processes taking place in her body but these are the same processes that take place in a virus: is a virus life?

English uses the word 'life' to categorise what we informally recognise as fitting in that category of 'life'.

It's like asking when a person is middle class or upper class: just two convenient labels used for categorisation that are not particularly rigorous or informative.

In short 'life' is a clumsy label.

Edited by Larni, : Clarity


This message is a reply to:
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 Message 32 by mosassam, posted 10-17-2010 4:21 PM Larni has responded
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Larni
Member
Posts: 3984
From: Liverpool
Joined: 09-16-2005


Message 34 of 268 (587207)
10-17-2010 4:51 PM
Reply to: Message 32 by mosassam
10-17-2010 4:21 PM


Re: Clumsy label
If so, would you agree that this implies that Life is a by-product of this complexity?

I would say that when you get enough connected physical reactions going on in one place it gets labelled as life.

I don't agree that 'life'is an entity as such rather than a construct: another way to think of it is to think of it is like how you would think of the word 'big': it's a vague category.

When does 'big' become 'small'? Same thing with 'life' and 'non-life': 'big' and 'non-big'.

Is 'big'a by-product or just a convenient label? Same thing with the word 'life'.

Does happiness exist? Yes
Is it scientifically proven to exist? NO

Just a small but important point. Science cannot and does not ordinarily 'prove' things. Evidence is used to support a hypothesis.

Edited by Larni, : Second point


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Larni
Member
Posts: 3984
From: Liverpool
Joined: 09-16-2005


Message 57 of 268 (592961)
11-23-2010 8:40 AM
Reply to: Message 47 by AlphaOmegakid
11-22-2010 9:21 PM


Re: Sad Sad Sad
It's a good a definition as many.

But the point is it is an arbitary definition that is to say it is a construct such as apathy and incredulity. Tehy don't exist as anything other than arbitrary definitions.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 47 by AlphaOmegakid, posted 11-22-2010 9:21 PM AlphaOmegakid has responded

Replies to this message:
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Larni
Member
Posts: 3984
From: Liverpool
Joined: 09-16-2005


Message 74 of 268 (592985)
11-23-2010 12:28 PM
Reply to: Message 59 by AlphaOmegakid
11-23-2010 8:57 AM


Arbitray definitions
OK writes:

Then support your claim. The definition is not arbitrary at all. It is quite specific.

All definitions of life are arbitrary.

For example:

John decides that he defines life as x, y and z.

Bob decides to define life as x, y and q.

Both are specific definitions of what Bob and John think life is. They agree on somethings and not others.

As there are no letters of fire in the sky that say life is x, y and z or x, y, and q we have no reason to believe either definition has a mandate from heaven for being correct.

Similar example:

John defines tall as 6'2'' or higher.

Bob defines tall as 6'4'' or higher.

The definition of both tall and life are arbitrary because there is no absolute point where tall can be pin pointed in the same way there is no absolute point at which life can be pin pointed.

Both tall and life are categorical constructs that vary with the definer i.e. the one defining the category.

There I've done it; I supported my claim with reasoned arguement.


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Larni
Member
Posts: 3984
From: Liverpool
Joined: 09-16-2005


Message 188 of 268 (598228)
12-29-2010 5:53 PM
Reply to: Message 187 by Philip Johnson
12-29-2010 5:39 PM


Re: What is the simplest life form?
True. If evolution is survival of the fitest (which requires you to reproduce more than others) then we should expect all life forms to evolve to smaller life forms that reproduce quicker. The evolution tree would be upside down. We should all end up bacteria (which currently makes up 80% of all living things).

Quite wrong. Humans have a long life expectancy as a result of being very good at investing resources in their offspring. Multiple cooperating generations are very good at looking after babies.

What you are saying (whether or not you understand it or not is difficult to discern) is that the fitness of a specie is purely a function of an r strategy (as opposed to a K strategy).

This is not true.

Now, I learnt that interesting fact doing my A levels so I can only conclude that your knowledge of biology stops at GCSE level.

I look forwards to you further contribution in this science thread, with baited breath.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 187 by Philip Johnson, posted 12-29-2010 5:39 PM Philip Johnson has responded

Replies to this message:
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Larni
Member
Posts: 3984
From: Liverpool
Joined: 09-16-2005


Message 190 of 268 (598233)
12-29-2010 6:13 PM
Reply to: Message 189 by Philip Johnson
12-29-2010 6:04 PM


Re: What is the simplest life form?
And I predict that the percentage of bacteria will increase whereas the percentage of humans will decrease. Do you predict the opposite?

Evolution is not something you need to be good at.

Look at sharks: they got to a point where they cope with selection pressures remarkably well and became very bad at evolving.

Things evolve when there is a selection pressure: no selection pressure and evolution slows to a crawl.

What you seem to be saying is that numbers of organism equals being better at evolution: as I hope you can see now, this is not the case.

Do you predict the opposite?

Who can say? But if your point is that for some reasons humans will die off in the next couple of years I see no evidence to support that assertion.

What evidence can you bring to the table?

I smell a game of 'gotcha' here.


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Larni
Member
Posts: 3984
From: Liverpool
Joined: 09-16-2005


Message 196 of 268 (598253)
12-29-2010 6:35 PM
Reply to: Message 194 by Philip Johnson
12-29-2010 6:30 PM


Re: What is the simplest life form?
we should have expected that simple organisms alive today should have experienced some mutations to change and not remained the same for so long. 80% of all living things are still single cell organisms.

Can you explain (with supporting evidence) why you think this is so? As it stands you are making an unsupported assertion.

You say 'we should expect x,y and z' without giving us any reason to believe you.

If you can put into words why all the bacteria should have evolved to different things I would be very grateful.


This message is a reply to:
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