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Author Topic:   What is Life?
mosassam
Junior Member (Idle past 4148 days)
Posts: 15
Joined: 02-26-2009


Message 1 of 268 (578865)
09-02-2010 10:00 PM


The dominant issue of the EvC debate concerns Life but there seems to be no consensus on what Life actually is. It would seem helpful to define what Life is - what is it?

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mosassam
Junior Member (Idle past 4148 days)
Posts: 15
Joined: 02-26-2009


Message 11 of 268 (587168)
10-17-2010 12:31 PM


I posted this thread and left it to stew for a while to see what would emerge. Firstly I must state that I am not, in any way shape or form, a creationist/IDist but I am of the opinion that the reductionist method may not be as all encompassing as it appears to be.
Part of science is to provide a description of reality and, in my opinion, Life is a fundamental feature of reality, particularly when discussing something like evolution. To suggest that trying to define Life is outside the arena of science seems preposterous to me and I find it truly shocking that there seems to be no scientific consensus on what Life is but it is understandable.
Reductionism cannot touch something like Life which is why the question must be treated as non-scientific, brushed aside or sniggered at. The only alternative is to imagine that Life is an emergent property of physical/chemical interactions. An optical illusion created by complexity.
I would like to put this thought forward:
What if Life is an independently existing, NON-PHYSICAL phenomenom? How could reductionism describe something like this?
As Frank Yurco stated "Life should be taken as a given, like energy or matter."

Replies to this message:
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mosassam
Junior Member (Idle past 4148 days)
Posts: 15
Joined: 02-26-2009


Message 13 of 268 (587170)
10-17-2010 12:52 PM
Reply to: Message 10 by Dr Adequate
09-13-2010 1:28 PM


You are living. It is one of the most fundamental aspects of your existence. Rather than talk generally about Life let's get specific - the Life in YOU. Could we say you are Matter, Energy and Life? Matter and Energy are scientific but Life is not? Matter exists, Energy exists but Life does not? If Life does exist surely it MUST be described specifically by science.

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mosassam
Junior Member (Idle past 4148 days)
Posts: 15
Joined: 02-26-2009


Message 15 of 268 (587172)
10-17-2010 12:54 PM
Reply to: Message 12 by jar
10-17-2010 12:41 PM


So you are saying that Life is as 'real' as Energy and Matter?

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mosassam
Junior Member (Idle past 4148 days)
Posts: 15
Joined: 02-26-2009


Message 17 of 268 (587174)
10-17-2010 12:56 PM
Reply to: Message 14 by Panda
10-17-2010 12:53 PM


That is exactly the point I am making - if it cannot be weighed or measured then it cannot possibly exist according to the reductionist view but I am completely unwilling to say that Life doesn't exist

Edited by mosassam, : No reason given.


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mosassam
Junior Member (Idle past 4148 days)
Posts: 15
Joined: 02-26-2009


Message 18 of 268 (587175)
10-17-2010 1:00 PM
Reply to: Message 16 by ringo
10-17-2010 12:54 PM


Part of the description of reality must include, imo, Life. But what is the definition of Life.

Edited by mosassam, : No reason given.


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mosassam
Junior Member (Idle past 4148 days)
Posts: 15
Joined: 02-26-2009


Message 21 of 268 (587178)
10-17-2010 1:11 PM
Reply to: Message 20 by jar
10-17-2010 1:05 PM


Let's keep it to the things that we can say "yup, that's alive". Would you agree that 'alive' can mean to 'possess Life'. If so is this Life as scientifically comprehensible as Energy or Matter?

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mosassam
Junior Member (Idle past 4148 days)
Posts: 15
Joined: 02-26-2009


Message 22 of 268 (587179)
10-17-2010 1:14 PM
Reply to: Message 19 by ringo
10-17-2010 1:04 PM


I have not asked for a description of Life, I have asked for a definition - what thoughts do you have regarding this. Don't you think it should be possible?

Edited by mosassam, : No reason given.


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mosassam
Junior Member (Idle past 4148 days)
Posts: 15
Joined: 02-26-2009


Message 25 of 268 (587184)
10-17-2010 1:30 PM
Reply to: Message 23 by jar
10-17-2010 1:20 PM


When YOU say "yup, that's alive" what do you mean by 'alive'?

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mosassam
Junior Member (Idle past 4148 days)
Posts: 15
Joined: 02-26-2009


Message 29 of 268 (587192)
10-17-2010 3:16 PM
Reply to: Message 27 by Panda
10-17-2010 2:40 PM


I am unwilling to say that Life doesn't exist in the same way I am unwilling to say that Matter doesn't exist or Energy doesn't exist. Is there anything you have to say about the subject of the thread itself?
I feel this thread is getting bogged down in semantics and solipsism. Let me help you out.
A good working definition of Matter is "that which has mass and occupies physical space". I wondered if there was a similar kind of definition for Life but, judging by the responses I've received to this thread it appears there isn't. This leads me to suspect that Life, like Mind, cannot be scientifically proven to exist. In a forum dealing with evolution I find this unusual to say the least.

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Replies to this message:
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mosassam
Junior Member (Idle past 4148 days)
Posts: 15
Joined: 02-26-2009


Message 32 of 268 (587202)
10-17-2010 4:21 PM
Reply to: Message 30 by Larni
10-17-2010 3:47 PM


Re: Clumsy label
'Life' is indeed a clumsy label but I am trying to reach some kind of mutual understanding about this label as it seems very nebulous at the moment. If we were to take as an example a rock and a tree we could say with some kind of certainty that one is living and one is not. One has Life one does not.
Would you say that the Life in the tree is an emergent property of incredibly complex electro-chemical processes? If so, would you agree that this implies that Life is a by-product of this complexity?

PS thanks for writing something constructive as I am genuinely trying explore the intuitive feeling I have that, far from being a by-product, Life is, in some as yet unspecified way, the 'driving force' behind this complexity and not the other way round.


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mosassam
Junior Member (Idle past 4148 days)
Posts: 15
Joined: 02-26-2009


Message 33 of 268 (587205)
10-17-2010 4:37 PM
Reply to: Message 31 by Panda
10-17-2010 4:16 PM


In response to PANDA.
This is precisely the kind of semantic nonsense I will be refusing to engage with in the future. I see you have chosen to omit the phrase 'scientifically proven'.
Does happiness exist? Yes
Is it scientifically proven to exist? NO
Now think about this for a second - it exists but it is not scientifically proven to exist.
Have the manners not to wade in with some facile comment, actually think about it because there is a paradox here that is at the heart of what I'm trying to understand.

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