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The Paradox of Life

  1. Apr 26, 2003 #1
    I started a thread "The Definition of Alive" on PFs v2.0 and now I have another question pertaining to the definition.
    Heredity was said to be the definition of life. Therefore, everything with heredity must be alive. Now, in the thread "Is the Universe Conscious?" the universe does not have heredity, or does it?
    Another paradox is:

    But, I have done the honor of actually searching for a more complete definition. And of course, there is the frame work for the definition:
    To add to heredity, "Virtually all authors who have considered life from the point of view of molecular biology have regarded the property of self-reproduction as the most fundamental aspect of a living organism. —John D. Barrow and Frank J. Tipler, The Anthropic Cosmological Principle"

    So, how do we create a definition of life using this given data?
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 29, 2003 #2
    I think it's a continuum - something is more alive than others. While other things are definitely NOT alive. Animals, plants etc. are definitely alive, and more alive than a virus, which in turn is more alive than a growing crystal, which in turn is more alive than a dead horse (not talking about the bacteria etc on the horse).

    Anything that reproduces aspects of itself is alive to some extent - crystals, computer viruses, genes, even 'memes'. Everything that produces copies of itself are eventually subjected to selective pressure (only so much environmental 'material' to grow on) because of competition.
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