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Minerals vs. cells?

  1. Nov 20, 2005 #1
    what is the difference between a mineral and a cell? is a mineral made out of cells? what is the chemical composition of a mineral as opposed to a cell (preferably the simplest cell, a unicellar organism)??
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 21, 2005 #2
    Cells are alive, minerals aren't.

    Minerals are not made of cells, nor are cells made out of minerals.

    Chemically cells are very complex, minerals... less so.
  4. Nov 21, 2005 #3
    By definition they are different. We invented that fact that they are different.
  5. Nov 21, 2005 #4
    well technically speaking minerals are made of atoms and so are cells so basically one could argue that they are made out of each other at the molecular level.

    as well who is to say that cells are alive and minerals aren't. The definition of what it means to be alive is quite ambiguous. yes we did define it such as something alive has to perform a bunch functions such as respuration, digestion, growth, etc but that doesn't mean thats what it means to be alive. thats just how society defines it. I could easily make an argument that all things are alive if i defined it deferently and still be completely consistent with the laws of the universe.

    but anyway thats not the point but thanx for your opinions. i want like a specific example of a particular mineral (preferbly the most simplest) and a specific example of the simplest cell so i can compare them.

    Overall what i am doing is comparing a rock with a human for a thesis i am working on. But i am having trouble finding a concrete definition of a mineral that specifically shows how it is different from a cell.
  6. Nov 21, 2005 #5


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    A few pointers of what to look for:
    -What are cells and minerals made of? Are cells and minerals both uniform all the way through?
    -How are they formed: where, and by what processes?
    -How do they differ structurally?
    -On what timescales do they exist?
    -What do cells do that minerals don't? (This will be a big list.)
  7. Nov 21, 2005 #6
    Not to be rude, god_entity, but what is your education level? I think perhaps you need to spend some more time covering the essentials of chemistry and biology before you begin challenging the definition of life or claiming you posess a unique definition that others are not aware of.
  8. Nov 21, 2005 #7
    Of course, you can say anything you want if you define all your words to mean whatever you like...
  9. Nov 21, 2005 #8

    and bluenotes its ok i don't take it rude but if you really feel i need to study more why don't u tell me all the answers to the Q's that matthyaouw proposed. It would help me alot :).
  10. Nov 21, 2005 #9


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    Have you actually looked up information about what a mineral is and what a cell is? Any introductory chemistry textbook will explain to you what the definition is of a mineral. One of the key aspects of it is that the molecules making it up repeat in a regular, crystallized lattice...all the same molecule throughout, and the molecules remain fixed in position...it's a very stable structure (at least at the molecular level).

    Now, look up in any introductory biology textbook what a cell is, and you'll see that it is a very complex structure containing many different types of molecules that are not in a crystal lattice. The cell is made up of smaller components called organelles, and each type of organelle has a different structure and function. All of the different parts of the cell function together as a complex unit, somewhat like an assemby line (it's as good as analogies get) to result in the overall function of the cell. A cell is a very dynamic structure at the molecular level.
  11. Nov 22, 2005 #10
    thanx that helps a whole lot. now all i want is a reason as to why the way we define living is proof of what it means to actually be living. i want to justify that a rock is living, that it performs all the tasks that cell does. can it grow, the answer is yes, can it breath, well it oxygen does go through it considering at the molecular level its not completely solid, can it take in food, well that depends on the definition of food, and if things actually have to have food to live which may not be true,
  12. Nov 22, 2005 #11


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    You're simply twisting all the definitions beyond recognition. But, if you're looking for proofs in this one, you're in the wrong forum. A definition is not proof. There are cases where clearly determining if something is living or non-living is difficult, such as with viruses. They fit a lot of the definitions, but not all of them. It's not something clear-cut. On the other hand, a rock does not meet any of the criteria. Rocks do not grow, they do not breathe, they do not reproduce, they do not move on their own, etc.

    Biology deals with living organisms, as we have defined life. The study of everything else other than living organisms is covered by the other sciences. Nobody here is going to help you justify that a rock is living.
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