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Author Topic:   Life - an Unequivicol Definition
Dr Adequate
Member (Idle past 159 days)
Posts: 16112
Joined: 07-20-2006


(1)
Message 6 of 374 (772325)
11-12-2015 1:11 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by AlphaOmegakid
11-12-2015 10:32 AM


Part 1

Well, I can see some problems with your definition.

Hypothetically, suppose we met a bunch of intelligent space aliens that could discuss poetry with us and play chess with us, but had a different basis for their biology, no DNA, no ATP. According to your definition, they're not alive. They're not as alive as a bacterium. They're as alive as a rock, i.e. not alive. They don't use ATP.

But surely a definition of life should include them?

By analogy, imagine an island where a bunch of white people live, and where all the animals are black. Now, these islanders might come up with a definition of human that says: "Humans are white, anything that's black is a mere animal". But their definition is parochial, it only works for their particular island in the particular time that they're inhabiting it.

A definition of life has to include everything that we'd acknowledge as being alive if we saw it.

---

Part 2

You say that scientists equivocate over the definition of life. No they don't. A true statement would be: different scientists offer different definitions of life. None of these definitions are equivocal, they're just different. Now you've offered one more different definition. According to your idea of what makes scientist equivocal, you would just have made scientists more equivocal, if only you were a scientist.

Let's try to think of an analogy ... let's say a Japanese person has a strong opinion on whether or not gay marriage should be legal in America. He proposes that gay marriage should be legal in America if and only if the people involved are over the age of forty. Here (he says) he has a clear and unequivocal rule, whereas Americans are so equivocal. Why do they equivocate so much?

But no particular American is equivocating. Some of them say YES, some of them say NO, some say that they haven't made up their minds yet, but none of them equivocate. The Japanese guy gets to say that Americans have "equivocal" ideas because different Americans have different ideas, whereas this one Japanese guy has just one very clear idea. He's not equivocal, unlike all those equivocal Americans. And he condemns Americans for equivocating about gay marriage, whereas he has one simple unequivocal idea about gay marriage, which makes him less equivocal and more honest than all those dishonest equivocating Americans, who are collectively equivocating.

But he would actually be adding to the American "equivocation" about gay marriage if he was American. In the same way, you would be adding to the "equivocation" of scientists about the definition of life if only you were a scientist.

Well, it's easy to be "unequivocal" if you're just one person. Any group of people is going to be more equivocal. 'Cos of them being more than one person.

You see why this Japanese guy would be stupid?


This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by AlphaOmegakid, posted 11-12-2015 10:32 AM AlphaOmegakid has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 7 by Blue Jay, posted 11-12-2015 1:39 PM Dr Adequate has responded
 Message 137 by AlphaOmegakid, posted 11-30-2015 11:48 AM Dr Adequate has not yet responded

  
Dr Adequate
Member (Idle past 159 days)
Posts: 16112
Joined: 07-20-2006


Message 19 of 374 (772373)
11-12-2015 10:15 PM
Reply to: Message 7 by Blue Jay
11-12-2015 1:39 PM


I think you might be wrong about this. If we were to poll biologists with the question --- "What is the definition of 'life'?" --- I suspect that an "any of the above" or "it depends" option would be a very popular one.

And yet those who said that would not be equivocating. As I said: "Some of them say YES, some of them say NO, some say that they haven't made up their minds yet, but none of them equivocate."


This message is a reply to:
 Message 7 by Blue Jay, posted 11-12-2015 1:39 PM Blue Jay has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 29 by NoNukes, posted 11-13-2015 4:16 PM Dr Adequate has not yet responded
 Message 40 by AlphaOmegakid, posted 11-17-2015 6:23 PM Dr Adequate has responded
 Message 46 by AlphaOmegakid, posted 11-18-2015 8:47 AM Dr Adequate has responded
 Message 110 by Blue Jay, posted 11-24-2015 6:57 PM Dr Adequate has not yet responded

  
Dr Adequate
Member (Idle past 159 days)
Posts: 16112
Joined: 07-20-2006


Message 24 of 374 (772388)
11-13-2015 9:01 AM
Reply to: Message 23 by RAZD
11-13-2015 8:32 AM


I think his point is that in that case mules aren't alive.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 23 by RAZD, posted 11-13-2015 8:32 AM RAZD has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 30 by RAZD, posted 11-14-2015 12:49 PM Dr Adequate has not yet responded

  
Dr Adequate
Member (Idle past 159 days)
Posts: 16112
Joined: 07-20-2006


Message 39 of 374 (772695)
11-17-2015 6:12 PM
Reply to: Message 38 by AlphaOmegakid
11-17-2015 6:05 PM


Well specific, yes. That's the point. What we have now is definitions that are not specific and equivocate regarding life.

Again I would point out that not one single one of those definitions equivocates. Each is perfectly unequivocal and specific.


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

  
Dr Adequate
Member (Idle past 159 days)
Posts: 16112
Joined: 07-20-2006


(3)
Message 42 of 374 (772701)
11-17-2015 7:21 PM
Reply to: Message 40 by AlphaOmegakid
11-17-2015 6:23 PM


Re: Equivocation
Maybe you are not understanding the term "equivocate" correctly. What the term means is

I understand it perfectly.

That's what caused some scientists to say yes, and some to say no.

But they are different scientists.

Sheesh. "Some women oppose the fur trade. Other women wear fur. Therefore, women are hypocrites."

They're different women.

Edited by Dr Adequate, : No reason given.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 40 by AlphaOmegakid, posted 11-17-2015 6:23 PM AlphaOmegakid has not yet responded

  
Dr Adequate
Member (Idle past 159 days)
Posts: 16112
Joined: 07-20-2006


Message 54 of 374 (772769)
11-18-2015 2:35 PM
Reply to: Message 46 by AlphaOmegakid
11-18-2015 8:47 AM


Group B must have valid, reason to oppose Group A's definition. Usually, as in this forum, they try to give counter examples where the definition doesn't work. You are seeing this process in this forum. If those counter examples are valid, then that means that there must be an equivocation of defining terms in Group A's definition for it to continue.

No it doesn't.

Some theists say that I should be a Christian. Some theists say that I should be a Muslim. I do not conclude that all or any one of them must be equivocating. I conclude that at least one of them must be wrong. But I don't go around saying "Well in that case they are all of them equivocating".

Edited by Dr Adequate, : No reason given.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 46 by AlphaOmegakid, posted 11-18-2015 8:47 AM AlphaOmegakid has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 58 by AlphaOmegakid, posted 11-18-2015 5:19 PM Dr Adequate has responded

  
Dr Adequate
Member (Idle past 159 days)
Posts: 16112
Joined: 07-20-2006


(1)
Message 68 of 374 (772854)
11-19-2015 1:18 PM
Reply to: Message 58 by AlphaOmegakid
11-18-2015 5:19 PM


When defining life, people do it with different words like "growth", "reproduction", and "evolution". All of these words carry ambiguous definitions themselves, and hence the current definitions of life are ambiguous and equivocal.

But do any of the people putting forward such definitions also propose that those words should be equivocal? If you personally can equivocate about the meaning of the word "reproduction", does it follow that someone who puts the word "reproduction" into his definition of life is himself equivocating?


This message is a reply to:
 Message 58 by AlphaOmegakid, posted 11-18-2015 5:19 PM AlphaOmegakid has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 69 by AlphaOmegakid, posted 11-19-2015 2:30 PM Dr Adequate has not yet responded

  
Dr Adequate
Member (Idle past 159 days)
Posts: 16112
Joined: 07-20-2006


Message 109 of 374 (773110)
11-24-2015 6:26 PM


So, AOk, did you respond to my first post on this thread?

Can you even begin to think of an answer?


  
Dr Adequate
Member (Idle past 159 days)
Posts: 16112
Joined: 07-20-2006


Message 342 of 374 (774709)
12-21-2015 11:25 AM


So, I've not really been following this, did AlphaOmegakid ever do anything about the massive flaws in his definition?

  
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