Are viruses life?


by SpaceGuy50
Tags: life, viruses
SpaceGuy50
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#1
Jun6-09, 09:34 PM
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Are viruses life?
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Ygggdrasil
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#2
Jun6-09, 09:43 PM
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It depends on how you define life (which surprisingly is not very well defined).
DaveC426913
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#3
Jun6-09, 10:10 PM
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What are your thoughts on the matter?

symbolipoint
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#4
Jun6-09, 11:43 PM
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Are viruses life?


Do they perform metabolism, even if using a hosts organisms cells to do so?
Are virii irritable?
Can they reproduce?

If yes to all of those, then virus seems to be life.
DaveC426913
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#5
Jun7-09, 09:30 AM
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Quote Quote by symbolipoint View Post
Are virii irritable?
As a discrete unit, no.

Quote Quote by scymbolipoint View Post
Can they reproduce?
As a discrete unit, no.

Virii corrupt living cells. Arguably, it is the living cells that is doing the irritation and reproduction.
Moridin
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#6
Jun7-09, 10:36 AM
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One of the main issues with discussions whether viruses are living or not, is that we are trying to establish a discontinuous, essentialist barrier on what is most probably a continuous transition. None of the proteins, carbohydrates or lipids in your body are alive, however, in certain configurations together with other building blocks, something we call life emerge on a higher level of analysis (but of course completely explicable from these basic building blocks; no particular elan vital or life force).
mgb_phys
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#7
Jun7-09, 12:21 PM
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Quote Quote by DaveC426913 View Post
As a discrete unit, no.
Virii corrupt living cells. Arguably, it is the living cells that is doing the irritation and reproduction.
Virii have inheritable traits that they pass on to their offspring so they are alive.
They can't reproduce without a host cell but lots of species can't reproduce without a host body, from tape worms to cuckoos.
DaveC426913
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#8
Jun7-09, 07:13 PM
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Quote Quote by mgb_phys View Post
Virii have inheritable traits that they pass on to their offspring so they are alive.
Logical phallacy: hasty conclusion. That is not the only criteria for life.
[/QUOTE]
granpa
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#9
Jun7-09, 10:47 PM
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all living systems depend on some external factors beyond their control for survival. we depend on the sun for energy. are we therefore not really alive?

reproduction and the ability to evolve are the 2 most basic necessities for life. but like all categories, inclusion within the category 'living' is not all or nothing. see the wikipedia article on 'fuzzy logic' for more on that idea.
CRGreathouse
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#10
Jun7-09, 11:41 PM
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I'd like to see some examples of creatures that can't reproduce on their own -- I'm sure there are some corner cases. That might be an illuminating comparison.

Grammar nazi alert:
1 virus, 2 viruses; 1 criterion, 2 criteria.
cesiumfrog
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#11
Jun8-09, 04:14 AM
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Quote Quote by DaveC426913 View Post
Logical phallacy
Whatever you say, Freud.
Moridin
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#12
Jun8-09, 06:32 AM
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Quote Quote by granpa View Post
all living systems depend on some external factors beyond their control for survival. we depend on the sun for energy. are we therefore not really alive?

reproduction and the ability to evolve are the 2 most basic necessities for life. but like all categories, inclusion within the category 'living' is not all or nothing. see the wikipedia article on 'fuzzy logic' for more on that idea.
Hard to evolve if you cannot reproduce.
DaveC426913
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Jun8-09, 07:45 AM
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Quote Quote by cesiumfrog View Post
Whatever you say, Freud.
DaveC426913
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#14
Jun8-09, 07:46 AM
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Quote Quote by CRGreathouse View Post
I'd like to see some examples of creatures that can't reproduce on their own -- I'm sure there are some corner cases. That might be an illuminating comparison.

Grammar nazi alert:
1 virus, 2 viruses; 1 criterion, 2 criteria.
Then you don't believe in:
1 forum, 2 fora
1 vox, 2 voxen
Andy Resnick
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#15
Jun8-09, 12:32 PM
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1 mongoose, 2 mongooses
1 axis, 2 axes

This is fun!
philnow
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#16
Jun8-09, 04:22 PM
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Every living this is dependent on something, as has been said. I don't think that virii require host cellular machinery is sufficient to rule out virii are "alive".

Really, this could all be straightened out if we had a better definition of life.
DaveC426913
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#17
Jun8-09, 05:02 PM
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Quote Quote by philnow View Post
Every living this is dependent on something, as has been said. I don't think that virii require host cellular machinery is sufficient to rule out virii are "alive".
But it's more than merely a dependency. Sorry, I can't back that up with facts...

Quote Quote by philnow View Post
Really, this could all be straightened out if we had a better definition of life.
(Sorry phil, but I gotta: ) This is kind of stating the exceedingly obvious. No discussion of "is a virus alive" in the history of the universe has gone more than 3 nanoseconds before resulting in the question "what is the definition of life"? And it's never been satisafactorily answered.
granpa
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#18
Jun8-09, 05:19 PM
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Quote Quote by Moridin View Post
Hard to evolve if you cannot reproduce.
what is your point exactly?


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