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What is the opposite of life?
Posted: 11 July 2008 11:35 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 16 ]
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George - 11 July 2008 11:27 AM
traveler - 11 July 2008 11:14 AM

A living thing is made of cells

No. Not only viruses, but other forms of life like viroids, satellites, transposons, plasmids, phagemids, cosmids, fosmids, prions, are non-cellular.

But those things are all considered living only when they are part of a cell.

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Posted: 11 July 2008 11:36 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 17 ]
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the PC apeman - 11 July 2008 11:26 AM

“Life” is terribly hard to define.  Mules don’t reproduce by we consider them alive.  And even if reproduction is a necessary property of life, it doesn’t seem to be a sufficient one.  Otherwise computer code could be considered alive.

PC

I guess that’s true. Even clay, for example, when it dries and is blown miles away carries its structure code with itself — in other words, it has the potential to replicate.

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Posted: 11 July 2008 11:37 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 18 ]
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George - 11 July 2008 11:29 AM
traveler - 11 July 2008 11:19 AM

Matter is conserved.

So is the matter that you now call “you.”

Absolutely, that’s why death is defined as cessation of biological function.

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Posted: 11 July 2008 11:39 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 19 ]
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traveler - 11 July 2008 11:35 AM
George - 11 July 2008 11:27 AM
traveler - 11 July 2008 11:14 AM

A living thing is made of cells

No. Not only viruses, but other forms of life like viroids, satellites, transposons, plasmids, phagemids, cosmids, fosmids, prions, are non-cellular.

But those things are all considered living only when they are part of a cell.

And you are considered living only because you are a part of some minerals (you have about seven pounds of minerals in your body).

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Posted: 11 July 2008 11:45 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 20 ]
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George - 11 July 2008 11:39 AM
traveler - 11 July 2008 11:35 AM
George - 11 July 2008 11:27 AM
traveler - 11 July 2008 11:14 AM

A living thing is made of cells

No. Not only viruses, but other forms of life like viroids, satellites, transposons, plasmids, phagemids, cosmids, fosmids, prions, are non-cellular.

But those things are all considered living only when they are part of a cell.

And you are considered living only because you are a part of some minerals (you have about seven pounds of minerals in your body).

Living things contain cells. Things like viruses are not alive outside a cell. Minerals are necessary but not sufficient for life.

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Posted: 11 July 2008 11:50 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 21 ]
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the PC apeman - 11 July 2008 11:26 AM

“Life” is terribly hard to define.  Mules don’t reproduce by we consider them alive.  And even if reproduction is a necessary property of life, it doesn’t seem to be a sufficient one.  Otherwise computer code could be considered alive.

PC

It’s not difficult (at least on earth). Mules contain cells! BTW, mules can reproduce via cloning.

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Posted: 11 July 2008 11:56 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 22 ]
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traveler - 11 July 2008 11:50 AM

It’s not difficult (at least on earth). Mules contain cells! BTW, mules can reproduce via cloning.

Well, mule cells reproduce but mules don’t.  I suppose humans are doubly alive then.  Our cells reproduce and so do we.  And, hey, so do societies when they colonize.  Societies are alive.  No, I just don’t see a very good formal definition for conveying what we mean by “life” in natural language.

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Posted: 11 July 2008 12:05 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 23 ]
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the PC apeman - 11 July 2008 11:56 AM
traveler - 11 July 2008 11:50 AM

It’s not difficult (at least on earth). Mules contain cells! BTW, mules can reproduce via cloning.

Well, mule cells reproduce but mules don’t.  I suppose humans are doubly alive then.  Our cells reproduce and so do we.  And, hey, so do societies when they colonize.  Societies are alive.  No, I just don’t see a very good formal definition for conveying what we mean by “life” in natural language.

PC

Using natural language, life is easily defined in biological terms (THE CELL). Your comment about societies being alive is NOT silly. A society is a larger organism that begins with, you guessed it, the cell.

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Posted: 11 July 2008 12:09 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 24 ]
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the PC apeman - 11 July 2008 11:56 AM
traveler - 11 July 2008 11:50 AM

It’s not difficult (at least on earth). Mules contain cells! BTW, mules can reproduce via cloning.

Well, mule cells reproduce but mules don’t.  I suppose humans are doubly alive then.  Our cells reproduce and so do we.  And, hey, so do societies when they colonize.  Societies are alive.  No, I just don’t see a very good formal definition for conveying what we mean by “life” in natural language.

PC

By your logic, people don’t reproduce either, their sperm and egg reproduce. The fact that cloning is required for mule reproduction does not make it significantly different from “normal” reproduction.

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Posted: 11 July 2008 12:14 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 25 ]
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Hmm.  I doubt we will come to agreement whether natural language commonly describes a society as a life form.

How about life is any descendant of the last universal ancestor?  This might work until we discover life on other planets (or maybe even a second abiogenesis here.)

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Posted: 11 July 2008 12:15 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 26 ]
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traveler - 11 July 2008 12:09 PM

By your logic, people don’t reproduce either, their sperm and egg reproduce. The fact that cloning is required for mule reproduction does not make it significantly different from “normal” reproduction.

The analogy is cells produce cells and people produce people but mules don’t produce mules.

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Posted: 11 July 2008 12:22 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 27 ]
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the PC apeman - 11 July 2008 12:14 PM

Hmm.  I doubt we will come to agreement whether natural language commonly describes a society as a life form.

How about life is any descendant of the last universal ancestor?  This might work until we discover life on other planets (or maybe even a second abiogenesis here.)

PC

That’s great, because if you follow through that link (i.e.,  organism), you will find it is based on the cell.

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Posted: 11 July 2008 12:23 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 28 ]
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the PC apeman - 11 July 2008 12:15 PM
traveler - 11 July 2008 12:09 PM

By your logic, people don’t reproduce either, their sperm and egg reproduce. The fact that cloning is required for mule reproduction does not make it significantly different from “normal” reproduction.

The analogy is cells produce cells and people produce people but mules don’t produce mules.
PC

Ok, if a mule is cloned, then what produced the clone if not the mule? The mule’s cell? Well then that’s the same as for people because people do not produce people, people’s cells produce people. I defy you to try to create a person without a cell.

[ Edited: 11 July 2008 12:26 PM by traveler ]
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Posted: 11 July 2008 12:28 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 29 ]
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traveler - 11 July 2008 12:23 PM

Ok, if a mule is cloned, then what produced the clone if not the mule?

What produces the virus? The virus or the cell?

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Posted: 11 July 2008 12:33 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 30 ]
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George - 11 July 2008 12:28 PM
traveler - 11 July 2008 12:23 PM

Ok, if a mule is cloned, then what produced the clone if not the mule?

What produces the virus? The virus or the cell?

The cell.

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