Understanding through Discussion


Welcome! You are not logged in. [ Login ]
EvC Forum active members: 65 (9057 total)
426 online now:
dwise1, jar, PaulK, Percy (Admin), vimesey (5 members, 421 visitors)
Newest Member: drlove
Post Volume: Total: 889,889 Year: 1,001/6,534 Month: 1,001/682 Week: 54/182 Day: 28/26 Hour: 0/2


Thread  Details

Email This Thread
Newer Topic | Older Topic
  
Author Topic:   Life - an Unequivicol Definition
New Cat's Eye
Inactive Member


(1)
Message 41 of 374 (772700)
11-17-2015 7:16 PM
Reply to: Message 38 by AlphaOmegakid
11-17-2015 6:05 PM


Why though?
Well specific, yes. That's the point. What we have now is definitions that are not specific and equivocate regarding life. Needlessly specific? I disagree.

Where is the need for your level of specificity?

What does it do for Biology?

How is it utilized? How does it help? How does it work?

quote:
Life, or a living organism is a self contained entity which uses ATP (adenosine triphosphate) for metabolism and synthesizes ATP with enzymes which are synthesized from a genetic process requiring the transfer of information from DNA to RNA.

I don't really have a problem with your definition. It's good enough.

What I don't understand is your insistence on it?

Why are you amazed that Biologists are comfortable with definitions of life that are what you're calling equivocated?

First of all, life is blurry. So that's just something we're gonna hafta deal with.

And it seems like you are trying desperately to draw a line between biology and chemistry.

Biology is like a derivative of chemistry. There may not be a fine line between them.

quote:
This definition covers all known life.

Sort of, but not really.

You've already responded to the question of viruses:

quote:
It is not alive by my definition, and this is consistent with the consensus understanding of whether a virus is alive.

Whoa, slow down. Why just lop it off like that? How does that help the situation?

What good is it to bound our definitions by what we already know? Won't that hinder expansion?

Too, your definition would be better for biologists if it leaned more towards inclusion rather than exclusion... at least from a financial perspective >.>

What do you want them to do? Kick all the virologists out of the microbiology department because they're really not studying life, by definition?

If so, can they get a new Unbiology department? Or do they have to go to the mix with the Chemists?

then my definition would be falsified. Correct? So it would be modified or totally defeated. That's the process of the scientific method.

Biologists need definitions they can use. Ones that work.

I concur that your definition seeks to be too specific.

It's not that big of a deal. Biologists don't care about doing what you are referring to as equivocating.

In fact, it behooves them not to.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 38 by AlphaOmegakid, posted 11-17-2015 6:05 PM AlphaOmegakid has not yet responded

  
New Cat's Eye
Inactive Member


Message 43 of 374 (772702)
11-17-2015 7:24 PM
Reply to: Message 25 by RAZD
11-13-2015 9:15 AM


you are (like a colony of ants) a (colony) population of cells, and so yes, you are living by my definition.

But, a breeding population?


This message is a reply to:
 Message 25 by RAZD, posted 11-13-2015 9:15 AM RAZD has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 57 by RAZD, posted 11-18-2015 5:15 PM New Cat's Eye has responded

  
New Cat's Eye
Inactive Member


Message 55 of 374 (772784)
11-18-2015 4:00 PM
Reply to: Message 53 by AlphaOmegakid
11-18-2015 2:31 PM


Great, I'll be happy to ignore your comments in the future.

Cool, now you can stop ignoring mine:

Message 41


This message is a reply to:
 Message 53 by AlphaOmegakid, posted 11-18-2015 2:31 PM AlphaOmegakid has not yet responded

  
New Cat's Eye
Inactive Member


Message 59 of 374 (772793)
11-18-2015 5:32 PM
Reply to: Message 57 by RAZD
11-18-2015 5:15 PM


you are (like a colony of ants) a (colony) population of cells, and so yes, you are living by my definition.

But, a breeding population?

Like bacteria, cells breed by asexual reproduction -- cell division. All the cells in your body are replaced by new cells several times in the course of your life, so you better hope they keep breeding.

I know what you're talking about, but that's just not what "breeding" means.

Maybe change it to reproducing populations?


This message is a reply to:
 Message 57 by RAZD, posted 11-18-2015 5:15 PM RAZD has acknowledged this reply

  
New Cat's Eye
Inactive Member


Message 101 of 374 (773070)
11-24-2015 10:34 AM
Reply to: Message 99 by AlphaOmegakid
11-24-2015 9:48 AM


Re: Question to RAZD
I know you so desperately want this to be true, but"reality says" your statement is false. Here again is Cell Theory.

Theories are not reality.

Viruses are in the grey area between alive and not-alive.

So are prions.

So are ridiculously complex chemistries.

"All" is used in 4 out of the seven statements. That's pretty black and white.

Except that the only one that talks about living things qualifies it with all known living things.

So even Cell Theory doesn't say it is black and white.

You are exchanging your faith in OOL science and naturalism for the reality of all the evidence of living things.

You're just projecting. You are the one who's butchering the science because of your faith. You're desperate to keep a nice dark line between alive and not-alive because a working OOL theory would destroy your religious beliefs.

OOL needs "reality" to be fuzzy.

No, forget OOL. Life is fuzzy, period.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 99 by AlphaOmegakid, posted 11-24-2015 9:48 AM AlphaOmegakid has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 103 by AlphaOmegakid, posted 11-24-2015 2:03 PM New Cat's Eye has responded

  
New Cat's Eye
Inactive Member


(5)
Message 105 of 374 (773097)
11-24-2015 3:01 PM
Reply to: Message 103 by AlphaOmegakid
11-24-2015 2:03 PM


Re: Question to RAZD
OK.....but they are supposed to explain reality! Just what do you think a theory is?

The map is not the territory.

And your attempts to restrict the territory with the map will always fail.

You cannot constrain reality with a theory.

You just admitted and identified in your own words and logic that viruses and prions are less that life.

Look at this image:

I can point to the middle of it and say that it is not black.

But nobody can say where white stops and black starts.

You're insisting that only the far right edge be called black, and everything else besides that be called white.

Denying the existence of all that grey space is a disservice to everyone.

Why do you insist on it?

Now is life black or is it white?

It is grey.

Life is blurry.

Its just the silly equivocating along that pathway that I have a problem.

And the problem is yours, alone.

You never did respond to my questions:

quote:
Where is the need for your level of specificity?

What does it do for Biology?

How is it utilized? How does it help? How does it work?

...

I don't really have a problem with your definition. It's good enough.

What I don't understand is your insistence on it?

Why are you amazed that Biologists are comfortable with definitions of life that are what you're calling equivocated?

...

quote:
It is not alive by my definition, and this is consistent with the consensus understanding of whether a virus is alive.

Whoa, slow down. Why just lop it off like that? How does that help the situation?

What good is it to bound our definitions by what we already know? Won't that hinder expansion?


.

So what good does calling it "alive" do except mislead?

It provides an avenue for further research.

There is no misleading, that is your fantasy.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 103 by AlphaOmegakid, posted 11-24-2015 2:03 PM AlphaOmegakid has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 135 by AlphaOmegakid, posted 11-30-2015 11:25 AM New Cat's Eye has responded

  
New Cat's Eye
Inactive Member


(2)
Message 111 of 374 (773123)
11-24-2015 10:17 PM
Reply to: Message 110 by Blue Jay
11-24-2015 6:57 PM


I still think you're wrong about this. Ask any biologist for a definition of life, and they will probably either say, "it's complicated," or will give a definition that either excludes viruses or mules or some such, then will backpedal when said virus or mule us brought up in response.

Depends on the context of the situation though, doesn't it?

If you walked up to a paid biologist in the middle of a project and asked them how they define life, then don't you think they'd spout off a particular definition? And also disregard the questionables that didn't matter?

I contend that the way that "biologists" define the word life is in the utility of the meaning, itself and to them.

And the fact that different ones use different definitions in different situations is not a case of equivocation, by definition.

Now, if you pulled that hypothetical biologist aside and asked: "But really, how do you define life?"

Then yeah, they'd prolly equivocate all day. Come on, that shit is fuzzy.

OP is amazed that "Biology is so comfortable with so many definitions which are equivocal."

That's counting a bunch of different definitions as defining one thing.

That's not anyone equivocating. That's just a bunch of disagreement being smushed together.

Is there a word for that? 'Cause I don't think it's "equivocation".

Well, unless OP means "to use ambiguous language so as to avoid committing oneself", then yeah, well duh.

I refer you to my Original Post to this thread. As OP said:

quote:
Well specific, yes. That's the point. What we have now is definitions that are not specific and equivocate regarding life. Needlessly specific? I disagree.

I question the utility of the specificity. OP has been unable to answer. It's clear to me why, I think. But I gotta ask:

What's so great about having a definition of life that is unequivocal? Why OP, Why should Biology commit itself?


This message is a reply to:
 Message 110 by Blue Jay, posted 11-24-2015 6:57 PM Blue Jay has not yet responded

  
New Cat's Eye
Inactive Member


(2)
Message 139 of 374 (773379)
11-30-2015 4:07 PM
Reply to: Message 135 by AlphaOmegakid
11-30-2015 11:25 AM


Re: Black White or Grey?
Well not to make a big deal about this, but it is done all the time. There is black paint, and there is white paint. Grey is a mixture of the two.

No, making grey paint is not identifying the point where the gradient changes from black to white.

Cat Sci writes:

You're insisting that only the far right edge be called black, and everything else besides that be called white.

Denying the existence of all that grey space is a disservice to everyone.

Why do you insist on it?

Well No! Either you drastically misunderstand or this is a severe strawman

Hang on. You offered your rigid definition. Someone provided an item in the grey area; viruses. You responded that since they don't meet your definition then they are not alive.

How is that not denying that there is a grey area to life?

You are literally creating a dichotomy...

Let's say since black symbolically represents death, that black is dead stuff.

Let's not. Being dead implies being formally alive.

Instead, let's talk about the difference between chemistry and biology, or chemicals and organisms.

If you drill down into an organism, you find that it gradually changes into chemicals. If you expand up from the chemistry of an organism (which is not alive, itself), you find that it gradually changes into biology.

There is no sharp line where chemistry stops and biology starts. It is like that image of a gradient that I showed.

Trying to build a rigid definition of life is a fruitless endeavor because you are trying to find the point in that gradient where black becomes white... and that is impossible.

Since white is the combo of all colors,

Ahem, if you're talking about paint then that is backwards. White is the combo of all colors when you are describing light, not pigment (where black is the combo of all colors).

My definition is on the grey side of white. It is not 100% white, but very close, and within the 10% gradient line as an analogy.

But the things that are life-like, but don't meet your definition, are rejected as not being alive.

That's denying the grey area and insisting that life is only the things that are white.

Now let's look at some examples with the current 7 characteristics of Life that are in most Biology textbooks:

You do realize that is a grade school level of science and is for describing cellular life, don't you?

The only reason "life is fuzzy" is because of the equivocal terms used to define it.

No, and I suspect this is the root of your problem. You've got it completely backwards.

Equivocal terms are necessary for defining life because it is a fuzzy reality.

My definition does not remove the grey, but it limits what can be identified as white.

That's what I'm talking about; You are removing the grey area from what you are defining as life.

You say that you are doing this to eliminate equivocation.

You still haven't answered my question: WHY DO THIS?

Why should anyone care for an unequivocal definition of life? Especially considering the fact that it is fuzzy and an unequivocal definition is doomed before you even get started. Plus, an unequivocal definition of life is of no use to biologists. So why?


This message is a reply to:
 Message 135 by AlphaOmegakid, posted 11-30-2015 11:25 AM AlphaOmegakid has not yet responded

  
New Cat's Eye
Inactive Member


(1)
Message 153 of 374 (773445)
12-01-2015 11:01 PM
Reply to: Message 150 by AlphaOmegakid
12-01-2015 6:22 PM


Re: Black White or Grey?
I clearly identified entities in the grey area. You are just unhappy, because I don't call them alive.

You're misunderstanding us.

It's not that you're discounting grey areas of non-life.

It's that you're not counting grey areas of life.

Yes, much of life is chemical, and all of life is physical, but life is more than just chemical processes.

Not really.

I mentioned this before, that biology is like a derivative of chemistry.

Behind that, chemistry is like a derivative of physics.

There is no chemistry that is not just ridiculously complex phyisics.

And there is no biology that is not just ridiculously complex chemistry.

You cannot draw a line between that which is chemistry and that which is biology.

It's like how you can't draw a line between that which is chemistry and that which is physics.

Those lines are fuzzy.

That's the reality that we have to deal with.

Your attempts at nailing down an non-equivocal definition of life for the field of biology has been doomed from the get-go.

It's totally unnecessary, unproductive, nonessential, and actually would be worse for the field of biology.

My OP asked a sarcastic question of what to do with the professional virologists that work for the biology departments, given your definition of what life is.

It was kinda tongue-in-cheek, but what I've repeatedly asked is: Why? What is the point?


This message is a reply to:
 Message 150 by AlphaOmegakid, posted 12-01-2015 6:22 PM AlphaOmegakid has not yet responded

  
New Cat's Eye
Inactive Member


Message 169 of 374 (773482)
12-02-2015 3:07 PM
Reply to: Message 168 by AlphaOmegakid
12-02-2015 3:05 PM


Re: Black White or Grey?
But that leaves us in just as bad a position scientifically, because we have sacrificed biological science to equivocating terms.

Why should that be considered a sacrifice?

Which logically is not good either.

Why is it not good?


This message is a reply to:
 Message 168 by AlphaOmegakid, posted 12-02-2015 3:05 PM AlphaOmegakid has not yet responded

  
New Cat's Eye
Inactive Member


Message 193 of 374 (773531)
12-03-2015 2:06 PM
Reply to: Message 186 by AlphaOmegakid
12-03-2015 10:46 AM


Re: Black White or Grey?
Please Identify how my definition meets any part of the definition of being arbitrary.

quote:
3
a : based on or determined by individual preference or convenience rather than by necessity or the intrinsic nature of something
http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/arbitrary

Your definition is totally unnecessary and stems from your personal preference.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 186 by AlphaOmegakid, posted 12-03-2015 10:46 AM AlphaOmegakid has not yet responded

  
New Cat's Eye
Inactive Member


Message 194 of 374 (773532)
12-03-2015 2:11 PM
Reply to: Message 187 by AlphaOmegakid
12-03-2015 12:01 PM


Re: First life
Percy writes:

Where did the first life come from?

Scientifically, no one knows.

Scientifically, if it was the first life then it could not have come from pre-existing life.

In my personal opinion, God created it. Again, this is philosophical, but God is living, but not biotic.

Then it wasn't the first life, because God was already a life.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 187 by AlphaOmegakid, posted 12-03-2015 12:01 PM AlphaOmegakid has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 198 by AlphaOmegakid, posted 12-03-2015 2:51 PM New Cat's Eye has not yet responded

  
New Cat's Eye
Inactive Member


Message 195 of 374 (773533)
12-03-2015 2:15 PM
Reply to: Message 191 by AlphaOmegakid
12-03-2015 12:55 PM


Re: Black White or Grey?
Percy writes:

With something as complex as life you're not going to find clear lines of demarcation.

You can say this over and over again, but you haven't established this evidentially.

A virus is not clearly living nor clearly non-living.

It's in the grey area in between.

In fact, your own words refute this by saying certain things are "obviously alive" and certain things are "obviously non-living". By doing that you have drawn an "obvious" line somewhere within your mind. You haven't said where that line exists, but it obviously is "obvious" to you.

Wrong. Just like the with the gradient I posted, you can clearly see that one edge is white and the other edge is black, but it is impossible to determine where white stops and black starts.

Why can't a definition have the same?

Because life is fuzzy.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 191 by AlphaOmegakid, posted 12-03-2015 12:55 PM AlphaOmegakid has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 199 by AlphaOmegakid, posted 12-03-2015 3:06 PM New Cat's Eye has responded

  
New Cat's Eye
Inactive Member


Message 200 of 374 (773540)
12-03-2015 3:24 PM
Reply to: Message 199 by AlphaOmegakid
12-03-2015 3:06 PM


Re: Black White or Grey?
You just said that we can "clearly see that one edge is white and the other edge is black". Cat Sci I agree 100%. That edge is the line of demarcation. It starts and/or ends there. The in-between is some shade of grey. I also agree 100%. Therefore, if the black and white edge are clear, then the start of grey on both side is equally as clear.

Wrong. There is no clear line where the white edge turns into grey.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 199 by AlphaOmegakid, posted 12-03-2015 3:06 PM AlphaOmegakid has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 202 by AlphaOmegakid, posted 12-03-2015 4:17 PM New Cat's Eye has responded

  
New Cat's Eye
Inactive Member


Message 204 of 374 (773546)
12-03-2015 4:47 PM
Reply to: Message 202 by AlphaOmegakid
12-03-2015 4:17 PM


Re: Black White or Grey?
then the edge of white and grey will still be there.

There is no edge of white and grey.

You cannot tell where white stops and grey starts.

That is the entire point of a gradient.

Why can't you understand this?


This message is a reply to:
 Message 202 by AlphaOmegakid, posted 12-03-2015 4:17 PM AlphaOmegakid has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 207 by AlphaOmegakid, posted 12-03-2015 6:02 PM New Cat's Eye has responded

  
Newer Topic | Older Topic
Jump to:


Copyright 2001-2018 by EvC Forum, All Rights Reserved

™ Version 4.0 Beta
Innovative software from Qwixotic © 2022