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What Is Life





Dennise
As we continue to send robots to other worlds in search of 'life forms', one needs to consider just what life is. Without a sound definition, we may falsely conclude many worlds have been and are lifeless. This begs an important question: What is life .... really?

There have been many attempts to define life ... many anthro-centric ones, e.g.

    hydro-carbon based cell structures
    metabolism
    evolution
    cellular division
    environmental adaptation
    DNA
    reproduction
    evidence of some kind of advancing(or declining) organization at some level

What might be a sound and agreed basis of what we should be looking for in our search for extraterrestrial 'life' forms so that we may avoid false negatives .... or even false positives for that matter?

Any ideas?
loremar
Life is something that you can distinguish from death and extinction.

So from your list, I have to choose:

Metabolism - to survive from death.

Reproduction - to survive from extinction.
Ankhanu
None of what you listed are definitions of life, by extension, loremar's are also off Wink In fact, there is no single definition of life, rather, life is defined by the presence of a suite of characters. If any of the elements is missing, then something is deemed non-life. These traits include things such as: metabolism (need for "food" and production of waste products), reproduction, response to stimuli, maintenance of a relatively homeostatic internal environment, capacity for growth and the like.
The definitive qualities of life are not static, that is to say, as we learn more, they can and will be changed. There is some debate, for example, over the classification of viruses and whether or not they should be considered life forms (last I'd read, they are still non-life). Viruses, for example, do not reproduce on their own (they hijack living cells to build replicates of themselves).

The possibility of finding life unlike our own out there is present, and, I don't think our current definitions of life are likely to hinder our ability to, eventually, recognize something unlike ourselves as life. Faced with new forms of life, science will do as it always does: adapt to the new information.

I also wouldn't say that the current life traits are anthropocentric, either. Yes, it covers us as a being alive, but, it also covers every other species that has lived on the planet. The definition is limited by our experience, but, it would be fallacious to base a definition upon something for which there is absolutely no data.
loremar
Ankhanu wrote:
These traits include things such as: metabolism (need for "food" and production of waste products), reproduction, response to stimuli, maintenance of a relatively homeostatic internal environment, capacity for growth and the like.

I can think of one living being which lacks all of these traits. Guess what?

Hint: The answer is beyond the context of science. Razz
Bikerman
If is beyond the 'context' of science then it doesn't really belong here......
Ankhanu
Bikerman wrote:
If is beyond the 'context' of science then it doesn't really belong here......

It's also not life if it's not a phenomenon (no phenomena are beyond science).
Bikerman
Indeed.
I took it to mean that it might be a fictional entity....
Peterssidan
Can machines be considered life? Some of them have many similarities to real life. Instead of food they use batteries or fuel. Reproduction is a bit special because it is made with other kinds of machines and with help of humans. If they are unsuccessful they can adapt (evolution) or they eventually die out (extinction).
Bikerman
I see no principled reason why not....
loremar
Bikerman wrote:
Indeed.
I took it to mean that it might be a fictional entity....

Oh you atheists know what I'm talking about. A living being which doesn't need traits akin to that of life: metabolism, response to stimuli, homeostasis, growth, except maybe reproduction, or maybe not since he and his offspring is the same.

Peterssidan wrote:
Can machines be considered life? Some of them have many similarities to real life. Instead of food they use batteries or fuel. Reproduction is a bit special because it is made with other kinds of machines and with help of humans. If they are unsuccessful they can adapt (evolution) or they eventually die out (extinction).

Organic Mecha? or non-organic? If organic material isn't required in the definition of life then, yeah.
Bikerman
As I said...a fictional character...
Ankhanu
loremar wrote:
Peterssidan wrote:
Can machines be considered life? Some of them have many similarities to real life. Instead of food they use batteries or fuel. Reproduction is a bit special because it is made with other kinds of machines and with help of humans. If they are unsuccessful they can adapt (evolution) or they eventually die out (extinction).

Organic Mecha? or non-organic? If organic material isn't required in the definition of life then, yeah.


Organic molecules are not a requirement of life, it's just that, to date, all life we've classified is carbon based (with common ancestry).

Machines COULD be considered living, but, as of yet, none meet the criteria. That could change in future, and is a topic of some debate within ethics circles.
Of course, mechanized life wouldn't really fit under the realm of biology anymore either, as biological principles wouldn't necessarily apply; they'd be a special case with their own realm of study, I'm sure... an offshoot of robotics and artificial intelligence.
ocalhoun
Peterssidan wrote:
Can machines be considered life?

To fall under the definition of 'life' that Ankhanu referenced, machines only need to be given the ability to reproduce and the capacity for growth... All the other criteria are already met by many types of machines.
...And I see no reason in principle why a machine couldn't be built that could build copies of itself (reproduction) and/or make additions to itself (growth).
...Though we might want to be careful about doing so... such mechanical life forms, if carelessly designed and let loose, might out-compete existing life forms.



A more interesting question... Are stars alive by this definition?
They do 'ingest' 'food' and grow during their forming phases... and they do produce waste products... response to stimuli is questionable, since we don't often see stimuli significant enough to affect a star (going into different life phases based on the amount of waste products inside them, that might count. A star becoming a red giant might be viewed as a response to stimuli)... they do maintain a relatively homeostatic internal environment... and they do reproduce when they die...
Bikerman
The same argument applies to fire in general and it is an oldie.
The argument I would try is - one of the fundamental properties of life is the ability to act against the 2nd law of thermodynamics. Indeed life can be argued to be a local decrease in entropy.
The sun does not decrease entropy and, by this new definition, is therefore unalive.
ocalhoun
Bikerman wrote:

The sun does not decrease entropy and, by this new definition, is therefore unalive.

It takes a diffuse cloud of gasses, condenses them, and turns them into a surprisingly complex (and possibly self-regulating) system of layers and convective currents.

I'd say that goes against the second law in the same fashion (though not to the same degree) as biological life does.
Dennise
Bikerman wrote:
The same argument applies to fire in general and it is an oldie.
The argument I would try is - one of the fundamental properties of life is the ability to act against the 2nd law of thermodynamics. Indeed life can be argued to be a local decrease in entropy.
The sun does not decrease entropy and, by this new definition, is therefore unalive.


Using the entropy idea is interesting as a requisite for 'life'.. But if I understand entropy (a measure of 'disorder') wouldn't it be relative to something ...... is that why you said local entropy?

So were a probe to find some sort of decreased entropy relative to local surroundings .... would that indicate some existence of life? When a diamond is found amongst haphazard piles of rubble, the diamond is not alive. Sounds somewhat too general.

Could you expand on that a little?
Bikerman
Yes, I meant 'local' as in having the ability to decrease entropy within the local environment. The Sun does the opposite - it increases the entropy of anything that comes into contact with it (by heating it up).
Finding order within natural systms is not the same as seeing a decrease in entropy. Decreasing entropy means (the log of) the number of possible ways of arranging things to arrive at the observed configuration. Snowflakes, diamonds and other emergent complex patterns do not represent a decrease in entropy because their form is 'forced' by the physics and does not represent a decrease in entropy.
Dennise
Ignoring potential religious claims, aren't Earth based animal and plant life forms also forced by "the physics" .... of course much more complex physics? I.e. don't diamonds and commonly known Earth life forms all represent a decrease in entropy?

What am I missing?
Bikerman
Diamond atoms can be arranged in a certain number of ways. They tend, under extreme pressure and temperature, to form the diamond crystal. That is not a decrease in entropy.
Life may be 'forced' (if one believes in absolute determinism) but I think not. Human (and other animal) behaviour is not predictable and therefore non-deterministic. This may be simply down to our current limits and it may be that we eventually 'explain' ourselves in a manner which is deterministic.
(This is, btw, not the same as the 'free will' question) but I think not.
We represent a low entropy state, since our arrangement is highly ordered and extremely unlikely to occur in the non-living universe. We can also choose to reduce entropy around us, by arranging things in ways which are extremely unlikely to occur otherwise. Certainly overall entropy continues to increase and we cannot do anything about that - but we do represent little 'islands' of low entropy.
Dennise
OK, when you bring determinism and free will into the discussion, the diamond - life comparison becomes moot. This of course assumes - at least for today - that free will is not driven by classical physics. Quantum physics, on the other hand however, may some day prove otherwise.
Bikerman
No, I was pointing out that free will is not really relevant to this. The only question is whether the organic life is deterministic. Obviously if it is then the argument becomes more difficult. If it isn't then that would be a pretty important criterion right there. That doesn't mean that free-will exists since one can easily imagine creatures which have no free will but yet are not 'predictable'.
ocalhoun
Bikerman wrote:
Snowflakes, diamonds and other emergent complex patterns do not represent a decrease in entropy because their form is 'forced' by the physics and does not represent a decrease in entropy.


Bikerman wrote:
Human (and other animal) behaviour is not predictable and therefore non-deterministic. This may be simply down to our current limits and it may be that we eventually 'explain' ourselves in a manner which is deterministic.

Come now, given sufficient understanding of the physics involved, sufficient knowledge of the original state, and sufficient processing power, there's no reason a human or animal couldn't be modeled accurately right down to the subatomic level, and no reason why that model then shouldn't be able to give accurate predictions about future behavior.


Suppose we couldn't predict the way in which water would crystallize with our current understanding...
(And really, can we predict the shape of a snowflake, given all the relevant information? Really, I'm not sure, but I'm guessing, no.)
If we couldn't predict it, would that make it unpredictable, therefore non-deterministic?


And now... Suppose after intensive study, we do manage to completely model a simple bacteria cell, complete in every detail. Would this ability to predict each and every action of such a bacteria mean that they are predictable, therefore deterministic, therefore 'forced' to behave as they do, therefore not going against entropy, and therefore not alive?

Or, for a different example, suppose we do build an 'alive' machine, one that satisfies all the usual definitions of life, including reproduction and growth.
Having designed the machine, of course we understand it and can predict its behavior quite accurately... Does this mean that we've caused ourselves to fail in the goal of making something 'alive', because we failed to make it unpredictable? If all the designers died, their notes were lost, and nobody was left who could understand the machines or predict them... would they then become alive?


I'm sorry, but I have to come to a few conclusions here:
Either
A) A local decrease in entropy is not a requirement for life.
or
B) Fully deterministic and predictable 'forced' systems can still count as a local decrease in entropy. (And subsequently, be eligible to count as 'life'.)
or
C) Given quantum uncertainty (however small), no system can be predicted with perfect certainty, and therefore, no system is perfectly deterministic, therefore no system is 'forced', so, theoretically, any system that locally decreases entropy satisfies this condition, no matter how well understood the process is.

*edit: need to add a 'C' option*
Bikerman
ocalhoun wrote:
Come now, given sufficient understanding of the physics involved, sufficient knowledge of the original state, and sufficient processing power, there's no reason a human or animal couldn't be modeled accurately right down to the subatomic level, and no reason why that model then shouldn't be able to give accurate predictions about future behavior.
There is every reason. If our thought processes are entirely macroscopic then yes, determinism would seem to be indicated. If, however, quantum events are involved then it could NOT be deterministic. This is actually the subject of work by Roger Penrose and others. Penrose, for example, posits some 'microtubule' structures which would be small enough to give quantum events importance in the output - therefore behaving probabilistically and not deterministically.
Quote:
Suppose we couldn't predict the way in which water would crystallize with our current understanding...
(And really, can we predict the shape of a snowflake, given all the relevant information? Really, I'm not sure, but I'm guessing, no.)
If we couldn't predict it, would that make it unpredictable, therefore non-deterministic?
No - there is a middle path on which, I believe, the snowflake possibly lies - chaotic determinism. Chaotic systems are inherently deterministic - in fact many are completely described in some very simple algebra. The problem is that they are extremely sensitive to one or more parameters - so sensitive that we cannot measure those parameters accurately enough to model the system.
Now, OK, you could just say that we simply need better measuring systems, but not necessarily. Even if we assume a perfect measuring device, accurate to +/ 0%, the very act of measuring could influence the parameter being measured sufficiently to 'tip' the system.[/quote]
Quote:
I'm sorry, but I have to come to a few conclusions here:
Either
A) A local decrease in entropy is not a requirement for life.
or
B) Fully deterministic and predictable 'forced' systems can still count as a local decrease in entropy. (And subsequently, be eligible to count as 'life'.)
or
C) Given quantum uncertainty (however small), no system can be predicted with perfect certainty, and therefore, no system is perfectly deterministic, therefore no system is 'forced', so, theoretically, any system that locally decreases entropy satisfies this condition, no matter how well understood the process is.

*edit: need to add a 'C' option*

Well, I didn't actually say (A) - I said it was a good indicator of life - different thing.
And B is similar - I proposed using decrease in entropy as a disqualifier, not a qualifier. ie I was using it as a test to say something could not be life - I wasn't saying that it is a sole qualifier to BE life.
To C - quantum uncertainty resolves, with a high degree of certainty, in the macro world, such that we can make pretty accurate 'predictions' well out along the timeline.
Peterssidan
Bikerman wrote:
There is every reason. If our thought processes are entirely macroscopic then yes, determinism would seem to be indicated. If, however, quantum events are involved then it could NOT be deterministic. This is actually the subject of work by Roger Penrose and others. Penrose, for example, posits some 'microtubule' structures which would be small enough to give quantum events importance in the output - therefore behaving probabilistically and not deterministically.

I though quantum events was probabilistic just because we can't measure exactly so we need approximations to handle it.
ocalhoun
Bikerman wrote:

To C - quantum uncertainty resolves, with a high degree of certainty, in the macro world, such that we can make pretty accurate 'predictions' well out along the timeline.

High degree of certainty =/= deterministic, therefore, you can't disqualify things based on being deterministic and 'forced', since (however unlikely) they may act in ways other than they way they're 'forced' to act.
Dennise
Well clearly, the often assumed simplistic definition of life is not so simple. Wikipedia underscores the definition's complexity here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Life

This lengthily one still appears somewhat anthro-centric to me.
Bikerman
ocalhoun wrote:
Bikerman wrote:

To C - quantum uncertainty resolves, with a high degree of certainty, in the macro world, such that we can make pretty accurate 'predictions' well out along the timeline.

High degree of certainty =/= deterministic, therefore, you can't disqualify things based on being deterministic and 'forced', since (however unlikely) they may act in ways other than they way they're 'forced' to act.
But a measurement of probability tells you just how likely that is and also probably tells you the span of possible divergence. Of course you can disqualify things.
Look at an example:
an Asteroid enters the inner-solar system. Its path is deterministic. Now, yes, there are some solutions to classic n-body gravity problems that introduce massive complications (essentially turning it into a deterministic but chaotic system in some circumstances) but we can, even so, rule out an almost infinite number of possible interactions for the asteroid, and do it to a level of certainty so high that insisting on the theoretical probability seems a lot like nit-picking - especially when those probabilities are less than one chance in a universe lifetime....
kelseymh
Peterssidan wrote:
I though quantum events was probabilistic just because we can't measure exactly so we need approximations to handle it.


No, quantum mechanics is intrinsically probabilistic. The wave function evolves deterministically, to be sure, but it expresses the varying probabilities for different outcomes. There is no magic behind the scenes (so-called "hidden variables") which determine which outcome happens in any given instance. That is intrinsically random.

[MOD - Quote tag fixed
Bikerman]
ocalhoun
Bikerman wrote:
and do it to a level of certainty so high that insisting on the theoretical probability seems a lot like nit-picking - especially when those probabilities are less than one chance in a universe lifetime....


Okay, so take your asteroid, and turn it into a single bacterial cell... A (relatively) simple one.
After a few hundred years of studying this type of cell, we can predict its behavior from the macroscopic all the way down to the atomic level with a very high degree of certainty.

Does that mean that the bacterial cell is not alive?
(Since it would then be a deterministic, 'forced' system?)
Bikerman
I don't understand why non-deterministic should not be alive?

My point was that life increases entropy locally. It doesn't matter whether it is random or deterministic..
ocalhoun
Bikerman wrote:

My point was that life increases entropy locally. It doesn't matter whether it is random or deterministic..

But didn't you say that it did matter when I brought up the example of a star? That even with a relatively stable and complex system of internal convection currents, that kind of reduction in local entropy didn't count towards being alive because it was deterministic and 'forced'?
Bikerman
Ahh...sorry, got sidetracked...
Well, the star doesn't decrease entropy is the simple answer. The only way you can consider it a decrese is if you ignore all the radiation, which would be a bit 'idiosyncratic'* Smile

*In scientific journals that would be the equivalent of shouting 'cheating bastard' Smile
ocalhoun
Bikerman wrote:
Ahh...sorry, got sidetracked...
Well, the star doesn't decrease entropy is the simple answer. The only way you can consider it a decrese is if you ignore all the radiation, which would be a bit 'idiosyncratic'* Smile

*In scientific journals that would be the equivalent of shouting 'cheating bastard' Smile

Humans and bacteria don't decrease entropy either, unless you ignore all the energy they burn through and spread around more diffusely by various means.

A star takes a concentrated form of energy, and at the expense of spreading that energy all over the place, is able to make a complex structure and pattern... Same as anything else traditionally considered life...
(Perhaps less efficiently so... burning through (literally) astronomical amounts of energy to produce a complexity that could be outdone by a small bacterium... But still, that's just a quantitative difference, not a qualitative difference.)
Bikerman
Nope, don't agree.
The problem is that if we keep using entropy in this slack manner, there will be problems.
OK, let me try this....
Living things need to decrease their own entropy constantly. The entropy present in the lifeform is moving downwards all the time.
Now, of course, it has to 'get rid' of entropy to the outside in order to do this. Actually I think it was Shroedinger who put this a different way - he said that life uses 'negative' entropy'. In fact he took it further - life feeds on negative entropy to keep it's own entropy low - nothing else that we know of does this. A star, for example, doesn't seem to me to be reducing entropy - even locally.

Ocalhoun wrote:
'A star takes a concentrated form of energy, and at the expense of spreading that energy all over the place, is able to make a complex structure and pattern...
What structure? The star itself is balancing against gravity. Gravity can reduce entropy, thus when a star forms the potential gravitic energy is converted into kinetic (particle) energy. The contraction in volume is a defacto reduction in entropy, but that in turn produces collisions which raise the temperature and increase the entropy. I'm not actually sure if overall star-formation is plus or minus......
...err, I think we need to consider the initial relationship between kinetic and potential (gravitic) energy. Intuition tells me that it should be possible to either increase or decrease entropy by contraction, depending on the initial energy state...

I'm going to have to think about this one....

But anyhoo...the point remains that life continues to decrease its own entropy by feeding on negative entropy (food) and storing it. Suns (and any other conceivable arrangement of atoms) don't do that as far as I can see....
Dennise
Quote:
But anyhoo...the point remains that life continues to decrease its own entropy by feeding on negative entropy (food) and storing it. Suns (and any other conceivable arrangement of atoms) don't do that as far as I can see....


But doesn't our sun itself (and other stars as well?) continually decrease its entropy i.e. converting hydrogen into helium by 'feeding' on the hydrogen? Wouldn't this conversion be considered a decrease in entropy? And adding another component to a life definition - death - suns would meet this criteria too.

It seems to me that an entropic definition of life - while quite interesting - may miss the mark because it is too dependent on what one's entropic 'system' is. I.e. the definition should be more local ?
kelseymh
Dennise wrote:
Quote:
But anyhoo...the point remains that life continues to decrease its own entropy by feeding on negative entropy (food) and storing it. Suns (and any other conceivable arrangement of atoms) don't do that as far as I can see....


But doesn't our sun itself (and other stars as well?) continually decrease its entropy i.e. converting hydrogen into helium by 'feeding' on the hydrogen? Wouldn't this conversion be considered a decrease in entropy?


No, because you are only considering part of the system (this was already addressed previously). As part of that conversion, the Sun emits an extremely large amount of thermal (Planckian distribution) radiation, which has a very high entropy, much more than the decrease due to fusion.
Bikerman
The sun wouldn't fit the description because it isn't feeding on negentropy. I must admit that I'm not sure how to go about measuring the entropy of the sun (or any star). I guess we would have to start with Boltzmann, giving us S=k*ln W (where W is the number of distinct arrangement of atoms and molecules)....a tad tricky to calculate methinks...
ocalhoun
Bikerman wrote:
Nope, don't agree.
The problem is that if we keep using entropy in this slack manner, there will be problems.
OK, let me try this....
Living things need to decrease their own entropy constantly. The entropy present in the lifeform is moving downwards all the time.

Hardly... Their energy storage only increases when they feed; at any other time, they are outputting more energy than they take in (With maybe an exception for some bacteria and fungi, et cetera, that feed constantly for their whole lives). Their complexity may increase, but may also decrease when they age and die.
Quote:

But anyhoo...the point remains that life continues to decrease its own entropy by feeding on negative entropy (food) and storing it.

Stars feed once, initially, while they form, and survive the rest of their life cycles on the energy gained during that stage.
...There are life forms on Earth that also feed only while growing, and stop feeding once they reach maturity. (Certain insects, if I remember correctly, being the prime example.)
Quote:
Suns (and any other conceivable arrangement of atoms) don't do that as far as I can see....

Uh... you realize that all life forms would fall under the 'any other conceivable arrangement of atoms' category, right?
After all, they are both conceivable and made of arrangements of atoms...
Bikerman
ocalhoun wrote:
Hardly... Their energy storage only increases when they feed; at any other time, they are outputting more energy than they take in (With maybe an exception for some bacteria and fungi, et cetera, that feed constantly for their whole lives). Their complexity may increase, but may also decrease when they age and die.
That's why I said loose definitions of entropy would cause problems. Entropy is not the same as energy. Entropy is a measure of how 'unusual' a state is (ie simply put - how many possible ways could this be, what is the possibility of it being THIS way). Humans are constantly growing (even if only fingernails). That is taking chemicals in a fairly disordered state and converting them into a highly ordered living cell. Thus the lifeform is constantly decreasing entropy.
Quote:
Stars feed once, initially, while they form, and survive the rest of their life cycles on the energy gained during that stage.
...There are life forms on Earth that also feed only while growing, and stop feeding once they reach maturity. (Certain insects, if I remember correctly, being the prime example.)
No, that is not analogous at all. Stars are 'powered' ultimately by gravity and that continues all the time. When a star is born it doesn't 'feed', you just get matter compressed to a point at which there is enough energy to start fusion going with the lightest element. Arguably all the 'feeding' is done long before the star is born.
Quote:
Uh... you realize that all life forms would fall under the 'any other conceivable arrangement of atoms' category, right?
After all, they are both conceivable and made of arrangements of atoms...
Nope - I said any OTHER.... ie anything OTHER than life.
johans
for me, its hard to define life we have different meanings on it.. but sometimes we hate or love the life.. but life really needs something to have meaning if we left here in earth.. we need some goals and achievements..

Of-course, we need to pray also to keep us and help us lead our goals here in earth..
CAiden
Life is all about to work hard.The person who stays,get nothing so keep this in mind that for a good life always work hard.
-link removed-
_AVG_
I think DNA is the key. There are indeed cellular patterns which are common to all life forms we have yet so far encountered. Further, nearly all life forms reproduce solely due to DNA (I may wrong about this though). However, interestingly enough, some viruses (such as the HIV I believe) reproduce using RNA (I don't know the exact details of this - and of course it depends on what you define reproduction to be). Perhaps someone could enlighten me on this matter, since I do find it interesting. Smile
Ankhanu
_AVG_ wrote:
I think DNA is the key. There are indeed cellular patterns which are common to all life forms we have yet so far encountered. Further, nearly all life forms reproduce solely due to DNA (I may wrong about this though).

All living things we currently know do contain DNA, but it is not a defining character of life (particularly if it is later decided that viruses are living organisms).

_AVG_ wrote:
However, interestingly enough, some viruses (such as the HIV I believe) reproduce using RNA (I don't know the exact details of this - and of course it depends on what you define reproduction to be). Perhaps someone could enlighten me on this matter, since I do find it interesting. Smile

All viruses contain RNA, which is inserted into a host cell for virus "reproduction" or replication.
Basically, viruses attach to a living cell, insert the RNA from their capsule into the cell, and from there, the cell's machinery reads the viral RNA and builds new viruses. The final stage often results in the cell dying as it lyses (bursts), spilling the newly built viruses out into the environment, though some viruses are released in little packets out of the cell, leaving it intact.
Dennise
DNA or RNA I think are too anthropocentric and too specific to define what life is. Others in this thread have implied or even said the same.

As the OP, I'm interested in what our space probes should be looking for in the search for extraterrestrial life forms. If we focus too much on DNA/RNA or other earth based based life forms, we could overlook other distant worlds that harbor important (emerging?) alternate life forms.

As for advanced life forms, such beings may likely be expected to have developed communications systems that use electromagnetic signals we cold detect. Surely that would be a beacon to some kind of life.

But even that criteria I think may be too anthropocentric.
Bikerman
I stick to my proposal - look for local islands of low entropy (lower than one would expect for the conditions).
So, how would this work? Well, looking for radio signals is an example. Radio signals are very low entropy, highly organised, and thus an indicator of life. The beauty of this approach is that it does not limit you to a particular technology or range of indicators - it can be applied universally.
Ankhanu
Aye, greater organization than the ambient environment, and/or chemicals that would be unlikely to be produced through basic chemical processes are what should be looked for, initially, then the other criteria for life can be investigated.
johans
WoW guys!!!
looks like some of as here are in Medical in Profession with have a lot of knowledge.. cool.
Dennise
Bikerman wrote:
I stick to my proposal - look for local islands of low entropy (lower than one would expect for the conditions).
So, how would this work? Well, looking for radio signals is an example. Radio signals are very low entropy, highly organised, and thus an indicator of life. The beauty of this approach is that it does not limit you to a particular technology or range of indicators - it can be applied universally.


Bikerman, could you give a few more examples of life clues based on low entropy ... especially ones that would reveal primitive life forms not known on Earth as - opposed to advanced life clues.

And thinking about more advance life forms, those natural geological features on Mars - once thought to be canals by Perecival Lowell - could be construed as low entropy 'islands' but of course (so far) have nothing to do with any present or past life form.

Does anyone think planetary (or other body) spectra - either emission or adsorption - might give clues to life forms on such bodies?
Bikerman
Well, we have already had the easiest one - radiowaves.
Others would include: (apart from the similar and related radiowaves in the optical or laser spectrum):

The presence of Ozone or oxygen in a planetary atmosphere (oxygen forms Ozone which is destroyed gradually in the upper atmosphere. The presence of ozone therefore idicates something producing the oxygen - such as photosynthesis.

Similarly the presence of methane in an atmosphere. Oxygen and Methane are both pretty reactive in molecule form and both tend to be 'captures' by chemical reaction which 'binds' them into more complex molecules. If either can be detected in means something is lowering entropy in the atmosphere* by replenishing the gas.

* Think of O2 and CH4 being 'chemically energetic'. Reaction with other elements and molecules represents an overall substraction of energy from the atmosphere (the energy present in the intra-atomic O2/CH4 bonds is higher than that present in the compounds that they form - that, in fact, is WHY they form compounds so readily) which is as good a way of saying 'increase in entropy' as any. It follows that more O2/CH4 is adding chemical energy to the atmosphere and therefore decreasing entropy in that same atmosphere.
Dennise
A short piece in the April 2011 issue of Astronomy Magazine (p18), reveals the possibility of some odd organic chemistry.

Not confirmed as of the magazine's publish date, scientists may have successfully grown bacteria on a diet of the toxic chemical arsenic. If the study is confirmed, it means life doesn't necessarily need the 'essential' building blocks within us all to flourish. The bacteria was weaned off phosphorus and replaced by arsenic. The bacteria's DNA, proteins and cell membranes all incorporated arsenic.

If confirmed (does anyone know?), it means there could be extra terrestrial life forms composed of building blocks different from our own - hydrogen, sulfur, carbon, phosphorous, nitrogen and oxygen.

Would such odd bacteria be found by our probes, or might the finding of arsenic preempt discovery of that primitive life-form?
Bikerman
Hmm....I think we need to be careful here. The ability of evolution to adapt organisms to extreme environments is one thing, but the assumption that life could therefore get started in those environments is another. I'm sure of the first, but much less sure of the second.
Dennise
Bikerman wrote:
Hmm....I think we need to be careful here. The ability of evolution to adapt organisms to extrene environments is one thing, but the assumption that life could therefore get started in those environments is another. I'm sure of the first, but much less sure of the second.


But isn't that anthropocentric thinking? Why couldn't 'life' get started that way .... or even a myriad of other ways that we might miss ..... especially considering very different environmental conditions.
Bikerman
I'm not saying it is impossible, just that it is not, in my opinion, an assumption we can make.
We know that Carbon looks like the best element to form the sort of long-chain molecules which seem to be necessary for life. OK, other elements, like Silicon, can form such chains, but it is more difficult to get them to do so. It seems reasonable, therefore, to look for carbon-based life. If one accepts this, then other things follow.
We are also closing in on the conclusion that life started once, and only once, on Earth. That is not yet a firm conclusion - it could be that life started many times and died off - but certainly all the life that we have examined seems to come from the same primal source. I think that this suggests that life might be a bit more 'reluctant' to get going that sometimes seems to be the modern assumption. To here some exobiologists and cosmologists speak on the matter, one could be forgiven for concluding that anywhere there is liquid water one might expect to find life. I am far from convinced about this. The chief counter-argument for me is the fact that Earth is certainly rich in water and yet we can only find one 'start event' in a 4.5 billion year timescale.......
kelseymh
Bikerman wrote:
I'm not saying it is impossible, just that it is not, in my opinion, an assumption we can make.[...]
To here some exobiologists and cosmologists speak on the matter, one could be forgiven for concluding that anywhere there is liquid water one might expect to find life. I am far from convinced about this. The chief counter-argument for me is the fact that Earth is certainly rich in water and yet we can only find one 'start event' in a 4.5 billion year timescale.......


Since the chemicals and early protocells are not themselves fossilizable, the only way to guess about when/where "start event" happened is through identifying chemical signatures which are "unique" (or at least extremely strongly correlated) to biological processes. If you assume carbon-based life, then you end up with essentially the same chemical signatures no matter how many times there are "start events," and hence it is impossible to know how many there were on Earth.

Second, if those start events are sufficiently separated in time, then you're likely to end up with the situation that the second, third, etc. become nothing but food. The ecological niches which a new protocell might occupy are already filled by the existing "first pass" life, and hence they've got nowhere to be.
Bikerman
LOL...both good points which tend to answer my objection Smile Conceded (partially).
However, there is no particular reason that DNA should be the choice for self-replication, and the fact that all life on earth does so is, I think, a point at least suggestive of single origin. We should also remember that for the vast majority of the time that DNA life HAS existed, it did so as non-carniverous single-celled photosynthesising bacteria....no?
kelseymh
Bikerman wrote:
LOL...both good points which tend to answer my objection Smile Conceded (partially).
However, there is no particular reason that DNA should be the choice for self-replication, and the fact that all life on earth does so is, I think, a point at least suggestive of single origin. We should also remember that for the vast majority of the time that DNA life HAS existed, it did so as non-carniverous single-celled photosynthesising bacteria....no?


Well, lots of followup to this, including areas of active current research Smile

The fact that all life on earth not only uses DNA, but also uses the same DNA-RNA-amino-acid mapping (the "Central Dogma" of molecular biology) is solid evidence for a single common descent. It is certainly possible (but see my previous post for lack of evidence) that other models of life existed, but disappeared without a trace.

What is most interesting to me about this, and the best possible evidence supporting a "single origin," is the fact that life in even the most isolated regimes (solid rock several kilometers deep, midocean vents, etc.) all have the same codons (DNA triplets which map to amino acids).

By "carnivorous," I guess you're implying cells which directly absorb whole other cells. I don't know that we have enough evidence from ~3.5 Gya to know how prevalent that was (stromatolites are easier to fossilize), but that's not really what I was thinking of.

Some form of photosynthesis certainly existed as long as life has been around, but so did other forms of energy production, including "eating." It is presumably easier to acquire energy by absorbing molecules which already have stored energy (food) than by making those molecules through a photochemical or other process.
Bikerman
Hmmm...I wonder if a different replication molecule would render DNA creatures inedible or even toxix. Pretty much everything we eat is DNA-based, so we don't have much precedent for a creature with an entirely different fundamental chemistry.....and my chemistry is nowhere near up to the task of even commenting intelligently on it Smile

Can stromatolytes use chemical energy directly from 'ingesting'? I thought they were purely photo-synthesisers
kelseymh
Bikerman wrote:
Can stromatolytes use chemical energy directly from 'ingesting'? I thought they were purely photo-synthesisers


No, they can't. They're formed by successive layers of photosynthetic cyanobacteria and sediment. The bacteria migrate up when the sediment layer gets thick enough to block sunlight.

I cited them as an example of selection bias. They are large (tens of cm across) and relatively easy to fossilize, and so we have good evidence for them. Individual free-swimming cells (amoebae, paramecia, etc.), on the other hand, will be much harder to find in the fossil record.
Bikerman
True enough, but if I remember what little I know, weren't the stromatalytes thought to be amongst the first life and the only life (with some variations on the theme) for about 1-2 billion years? That would appear to be a pretty large window for other life to get going...
johans
what is life?
for me its the one you live for.. as simple as that definitions.
Very Happy
Ankhanu
johans wrote:
what is life?
for me its the one you live for.. as simple as that definitions.
Very Happy

Wrong forum for this sort of response... this is about actual facts and classification, not circularity.
Dennise
At this point in this very interesting discussion, I'm astonished by the wonderful insight, knowledge, breadth and scope of contributors posts.

For me, I think the best life beacons as man explores our universe - as has been mentioned - would be electromagnetic signals together with telltale atmospheric spectra of other worlds. These would only be signals leading to areas of interest for life discoveries.

Electromagnetic signals are especially interesting because they represent low entropy and cover great distances in relatively short times. This is why I wholeheartedly support the SETI project. The fact that SETI has found nothing should make all of us feel both very lonely and very protective of our tiny insignificant little wet and rocky planet. Indeed but not likely, we just may be alone

If/when such beacons are discovered and homed in on, what wonders might they reveal? If we remove our anthropocentric thinking caps, our imagination becomes limitless.
Ankhanu
xikaouj wrote:
eat, work, sleep,
eat better, work (get more monye), sleep(as you want)

Does this apply to paramecia too?
Dennise
xikaouj wrote:
eat, work, sleep,
eat better, work (get more monye), sleep(as you want)



Huh ???
nguyenvulong
Well, general question, we don't need the answer, you already live in it .

Btw :

wikipedia wrote:
What Is Life? is a 1944 non-fiction science book written for the lay reader by physicist Erwin Schrödinger. The book was based on a course of public lectures delivered by Schrödinger in February 1943, under the auspices of the Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies at Trinity College, Dublin. The lectures attracted an audience of about 400, who were warned "that the subject-matter was a difficult one and that the lectures could not be termed popular, even though the physicist’s most dreaded weapon, mathematical deduction, would hardly be utilized."[1] Schrödinger's lecture focused on one important question: "how can the events in space and time which take place within the spatial boundary of a living organism be accounted for by physics and chemistry?"


LOL

Helios' edit: good that you've stated the source, but please use "quote" tags!!!
linux1993
I think life is about enjoying relationship about ourselves and doing the meaning things that maybe small to improve the society.
Ankhanu
linux1993 wrote:
I think life is about enjoying relationship about ourselves and doing the meaning things that maybe small to improve the society.

Does this apply to hemlock trees?
Bikerman
supriyomondal wrote:
What is life?

Why not start by saying what YOU think it is? That way we get some 'focus' in the discussion, and it gives people an idea of what you already understand or misunderstand.
kelseymh
Bikerman wrote:
supriyomondal wrote:
What is life?

Why not start by saying what YOU think it is? That way we get some 'focus' in the discussion, and it gives people an idea of what you already understand or misunderstand.


Better yet, lock this thread and redirect the user to the existing discussion (with the identical title).
inoshi
Dennise wrote:
As we continue to send robots to other worlds in search of 'life forms', one needs to consider just what life is. Without . . .

Any ideas?

I'll try to read into the thread, however I would put forth that a purely scientific definition of life, though useful and valuable, would probably be incomplete in my estimation.

Surprised

Inoshi
Ankhanu
inoshi wrote:
I'll try to read into the thread, however I would put forth that a purely scientific definition of life, though useful and valuable, would probably be incomplete in my estimation.

Why so?
It would seem to me (perhaps because I'm a biologist, and am "indoctrinated") that a scientific definition would be the most inclusive of all (known) forms of life and provide the most solid means of actual differentiation between life and non-life.

Could you explain what other ways of defining life are valid, and how they might be suprior? What are the pitfalls of a biological definition of life?
kelseymh
Ankhanu wrote:
inoshi wrote:
I'll try to read into the thread, however I would put forth that a purely scientific definition of life, though useful and valuable, would probably be incomplete in my estimation.

Why so?
It would seem to me (perhaps because I'm a biologist, and am "indoctrinated") that a scientific definition would be the most inclusive of all (known) forms of life and provide the most solid means of actual differentiation between life and non-life.

Could you explain what other ways of defining life are valid, and how they might be suprior? What are the pitfalls of a biological definition of life?


And do so without resorting to religious arguments.
inoshi
kelseymh wrote:

Why so?
It would seem to me (perhaps because I'm a biologist, and am "indoctrinated") that a scientific definition would be the most inclusive of all (known) forms of life and provide the most solid means of actual differentiation between life and non-life.

Could you explain what other ways of defining life are valid, and how they might be suprior? What are the pitfalls of a biological definition of life?

Yes, since science works in an atomized way, which is a kind of strength, it certainly limits itself to philosophically and spiritually understanding what life might be.
Ankhanu
inoshi wrote:
Yes, since science works in an atomized way, which is a kind of strength, it certainly limits itself to philosophically and spiritually understanding what life might be.


No, it limits itself to phenomena, that which can be observed. Philosophy and spirituality need not apply, science gives us an observable, mechanistic definition of life... a definition in which all living things fall. I've yet to encounter any other sort of definition that includes all known forms of life.
Bikerman
I don't see why it would limit philosophical discussion or thought. To say it could limit 'spirituality' is to beg the question, unless you define it first.
inoshi
Bikerman wrote:
I don't see why it would limit philosophical discussion or thought. To say it could limit 'spirituality' is to beg the question, unless you define it first.


Yes, because science only validates what it can explain through proofs, it necessarily leaves out what it can't. The lens of science has done great things in helping us to grow and to change the dialog, or focus, of an explanation of life, for example through the work of Bichat, but e.g. if we except his definition as penultimate, then I think it leaves us wanting.

Anyhow, I do want to read through the thread and try to understand what has been said here.

Inoshi
Bikerman
inoshi wrote:
Bikerman wrote:
I don't see why it would limit philosophical discussion or thought. To say it could limit 'spirituality' is to beg the question, unless you define it first.


Yes, because science only validates what it can explain through proofs, it necessarily leaves out what it can't. The lens of science has done great things in helping us to grow and to change the dialog, or focus, of an explanation of life, for example through the work of Bichat, but e.g. if we except his definition as penultimate, then I think it leaves us wanting.

Anyhow, I do want to read through the thread and try to understand what has been said here.

Inoshi
Nonono...you have some basic misunderstanding.
a) Science doesn't do 'proofs' - that's mathematics. Science does evidence and theory.
Now, what else is there? Well, my argument would be - nothing. Anything that has any effect on this universe must, by definition, leave some trace. If it leaves a trace then it can, in principle, be measured. If it can be measured then we are doing science.
If it does NOT interact with this universe then I don't see any difference between 'it' and 'nothing'.

If you don't want to read through the thread then it really is bad netiquette to join in - it is up to posters to try to ensure they are not repeating earlier points or re-iterating points that have already been dealt with....
inoshi
Quote:
Nonono...you have some basic misunderstanding.
a) Science doesn't do 'proofs' - that's mathematics. Science does evidence and theory.
Now, what else is there? Well, my argument would be - nothing. Anything that has any effect on this universe must, by definition, leave some trace. If it leaves a trace then it can, in principle, be measured. If it can be measured then we are doing science.
If it does NOT interact with this universe then I don't see any difference between 'it' and 'nothing'.

If you don't want to read through the thread then it really is bad netiquette to join in - it is up to posters to try to ensure they are not repeating earlier points or re-iterating points that have already been dealt with....


Ok, yes no need to be so pedantic, I really do think you know what I mean. People use / misuse the word proof in science all the time, I'm no exception.

As I'm not a scientist , not a mathematician, my term (for others here to see) refers to hypotheses proposing something to be evidential (proven true, a proof, even though that is relative and temporal and possibly to be reproved, not absolute).

Next,

Inoshi
kelseymh
inoshi wrote:
Quote:
Nonono...you have some basic misunderstanding.
a) Science doesn't do 'proofs' - that's mathematics. Science does evidence and theory.
Now, what else is there? Well, my argument would be - nothing. Anything that has any effect on this universe must, by definition, leave some trace. If it leaves a trace then it can, in principle, be measured. If it can be measured then we are doing science.
If it does NOT interact with this universe then I don't see any difference between 'it' and 'nothing'.

If you don't want to read through the thread then it really is bad netiquette to join in - it is up to posters to try to ensure they are not repeating earlier points or re-iterating points that have already been dealt with....


Ok, yes no need to be so pedantic, I really do think you know what I mean. People use / misuse the word proof in science all the time, I'm no exception.


I think we do need to be "pedantic," because you've demonstrated with your language that you don't seem to know what you mean, let alone what we mean.

Mathematics deals in proof: A is true. A implies B, which implies C. Therefore C is true. Remember your geometry classes in high school. That is "proof." It doesn't matter whether some new information comes along later, it doesn't matter which mythical sky father you kill goats for. If the logic of the proof was sound (i.e., you followed the rules), then C was, is, and always will be true.

Science deals in facts: Data we glean from observations and measurements of different facets of the universe. We create hypotheses to explain small sets of those facts, and theories which unify a broad swathe of hypotheses and facts in one explanatory structure.

We test those hypotheses and theories by comparing their predictions to new facts. If the test fails (good, reproducible observations don't match predictions) then we put the hypothesis aside and move forward.

The larger the body of facts we have to support a theory, the more we consider that theory supported, and the more likely we are to demand strong evidence to refute it. What's more, the broader the range of a theory, the more we can use it to predict and anticipate the behaviour of the world around us.
Bikerman
There's a nice little relationship which generally holds:
the easier it is to refute a theory (ie the more WAYS that it COULD be refuted), the more powerful the theory (since, by definition, each possible method to refute is a positive statement about reality made by the theory).

As Mike said, I may be pedantic in your estimation, but the pedantry is far from trivial and, in this matter, is actually essential.
inoshi
Yes, I guess you guys are correct, that's why this post should be put in another forum, because it's bigger than science. My reference to being pedantic is not a put down, just (another fact in) my observation.

Anyhow, let me blur the lines a little bit more, and say that any definition of life that doesn't contain include a poetic, probably falls short of what life must be.

Illogically & Emotionally,

Inoshi
Bikerman
So which of the following is true and which false ?
a) Worms are not alive
b) Worms are poetic

a) Bacteria are not alive
b) Bacteria are poetic

Prose is putting the right words in the right order
Poetry is putting the best words in the best order
Scientifically valid definitions are generally written in prose, since poetry, is almost by definition, subjective, and usually deliberately ambiguous.
inoshi
Bikerman wrote:
So which of the following is true and which false ?
a) Worms are not alive
b) Worms are poetic

a) Bacteria are not alive
b) Bacteria are poetic

Prose is putting the right words in the right order
Poetry is putting the best words in the best order
Scientifically valid definitions are generally written in prose, since poetry, is almost by definition, subjective, and usually deliberately ambiguous.


Good, it's not about binary validation of T/ F. You have to look at grammar, and effect, not continuing with definitions and "is" statements.
inoshi
Bikerman wrote:
There's a nice little relationship which generally holds:
the easier it is to refute a theory (ie the more WAYS that it COULD be refuted), the more powerful the theory (since, by definition, each possible method to refute is a positive statement about reality made by the theory).

As Mike said, I may be pedantic in your estimation, but the pedantry is far from trivial and, in this matter, is actually essential.


That's the Occam's Razor? I don't believe it, all the time.
Bikerman
No, that has nothing to do with ockham's razor.
Okham's Razor is used to decide between competing theories. There IS no competing theory in this case.
inoshi
Bikerman wrote:
No, that has nothing to do with ockham's razor.
Okham's Razor is used to decide between competing theories. There IS no competing theory in this case.

Ok, so then I don't understand your initial response, have to review what you are getting at (not that I understood it in the first place either).

Science has material, biological, etc. definings of life, however that's not the whole story (for me and many others). Life has to be seen in what it' s not and what science has not defined, and even what we can not conceive, it has properties that characterize it, marked by endedness, and resting in a kind of, or an actual, powerlessness. The antiquated but once useful view was that life can be enhanced and preserved (this leads to biopower and possibly fascisms).

Drop this in the philospohy and spirituality section.
Bikerman
Until you can provide some notion of what properties you think life has that science has not described then the rest is simply unsupported assertion.
You start with an assumption that the scientific description is somehow lacking, but you give no reason to suppose that this assumption is valid.
inoshi
Nice, yes my reason is a valid feeling which comes from my authentic place of being.
Bikerman
Meaningless gibberish. Whether it is valid has not been established and any place where one is, is by definition an 'authentic place of being'.
inoshi
Ok, I hand't seen you relocated the thread @bikerman. Maybe I was reposing it simultaneously.

The original topic rephrased because it also belongs outside of the range of science, which doesn't cover adequately all of human endeavor.

The question above is simply a starting point, for people to take seriously or irreverently, and spawn discussion.

Cheers to Life,

Inoshi
inoshi
Bikerman wrote:
Meaningless gibberish. Whether it is valid has not been established and any place where one is, is by definition an 'authentic place of being'.


Life, meaningless gibberish, yes.
Life, 42 (Douglas Adams), pointing to the meaninglessness of "definitive" claims.
Life, and so on.
Life, language, getting closer.
Life, ah, off again.

These are all life.

What do you mean "not been established"? That is probably more assumptive (than you claim) my statements to be, no? And, some statements can come from an inauthentic place.

In science definitions need to be relentless, in life they don't. In actuality they aren't, they're changing and growing mostly out of usage, and sometimes reinventing themselves.

One person's nonsense is another person's poetry. Another's reasoning someone else's poppycock!

Life-smiles,

Inoshi
Ankhanu
Ah, we're over in Philosophy & Religion on this one now, are we? I think I'd have preferred this as a science topic, it's much more meaningful that way Wink

But, change to philosophy aside, I think any good definitiion of life needs to be inclusive of all known life; if it needs to be changed in the future, so be it. But, it should be based on that which is intrinsically meaningful, and when violated should reliably indicate non-life. With this in mind, it should be based on observable phenomena.

Poetic definitions of life and the like are fine and good when asking about purpose or "meaning" (i.e. significance), but are useless when defining what the property of life is. While important to sentient beings, these concepts are derived, secondary, rather than intrinsic. Being derived/secondary, they don't belong in the principle definition of what life is; they're an element of quality rather than identity.
Bikerman
inoshi wrote:
What do you mean "not been established"? That is probably more assumptive (than you claim) my statements to be, no?
No. It isn't assumptive in any way. No phenomenon connected with life has been reliably reported that cannot be explained in terms of the physical laws. Those that ARE reported (miracles) are nearly always explained pretty easily on close examination or, at the very least, alternative possible causes have been suggested - and any such suggestion, no matter how remote, must always be MORE preferrable than the 'supernatural'.
Quote:
And, some statements can come from an inauthentic place.
No, still gibberish I'm afraid. Where a statement comes from doesn't really matter. What the statement says is the thing. Basic logic tells us that if a statement comes from somewhere, wherever that is, it is the authentic place from which the statement came. The statement itself might be deliberate lie, deception, half-truth - whatever, or it might be based in ignorance.
Quote:
In science definitions need to be relentless, in life they don't.
Neither do they in science. Definitions are pretty easy. Definitions need to be PRECISE, but that is a different thing. Without precise definitions, even in everyday life, you would be in trouble. You might not be aware of these definitions, but you soon would be if people started interpreting measurements differently, or used the word 'green' when they meant 'policeman'. In practice people need to know what a word is intended to mean, and without that you just have gibberish.
Quote:
In actuality they aren't, they're changing and growing mostly out of usage, and sometimes reinventing themselves.
Largely a function of youth, of course, who seek to subvert the language in order to exclude people they regard as 'old' - parent, teacher etc. Eventually some of this subverted language enters mainstream use - either through media usage or through being around long enough to spread by wom.
Quote:
One person's nonsense is another person's poetry. Another's reasoning someone else's poppycock!
No, that's the whole point really. Poetry is certainly subjective. Sense and reasoning are objective, within the basic axioms. Logic has basic laws and something either IS logical or is NOT logical - it doesn't matter a damn who is analyzing it.
inoshi
Bikerman wrote:
inoshi wrote:
What do you mean "not been established"? That is probably more assumptive (than you claim) my statements to be, no?
No. It isn't assumptive in any way. No phenomenon connected with life has been reliably reported that cannot be explained in terms of the physical laws. Those that ARE reported (miracles) are nearly always explained pretty easily on close examination or, at the very least, alternative possible causes have been suggested - and any such suggestion, no matter how remote, must always be MORE preferrable than the 'supernatural'.
Quote:
And, some statements can come from an inauthentic place.
No, still gibberish I . . .


I find it bothersome and a bit fanatical that you seem to think you have most of reality explained. I also find your statements completely subjective to your beliefs and opinions, as mine are for me.

Are you trying to prove something, and be offensive, and be elevating of self, instead of really thinking about what I have said (it's much easier to just shout "gibberish", as you have)?

Then, your style of communication is polarizing, to put one on the defensive, in order to prove something in your perceived paradigm of reality, which I don't match to, I guess because you can not, or will not accept that anything that I have said or say as valid. I reverse your inference about maturity.

I would hope that you could reconsider some of my statements and put them through your crucible for deeper understanding. In my opinion, most of reality is unexplained, and somehow we are here, talking, living.

Good Luck with you rigor, it's not mine, nor is life categorically able to be explained logically. One of the attributes of life is an/the erroneous. I'm not here to debate, but to exchange ideas in a friendly, non-hostile manner.

Inoshi
Bikerman
inoshi wrote:
Bikerman wrote:
inoshi wrote:
What do you mean "not been established"? That is probably more assumptive (than you claim) my statements to be, no?
No. It isn't assumptive in any way. No phenomenon connected with life has been reliably reported that cannot be explained in terms of the physical laws. Those that ARE reported (miracles) are nearly always explained pretty easily on close examination or, at the very least, alternative possible causes have been suggested - and any such suggestion, no matter how remote, must always be MORE preferrable than the 'supernatural'.
Quote:
And, some statements can come from an inauthentic place.
No, still gibberish I . . .


I find it bothersome and a bit fanatical that you seem to think you have most of reality explained. I also find your statements completely subjective to your beliefs and opinions, as mine are for me.
I take no credit for the FACT that we have a great deal of reality explained. It is not what I think or do not think that matters - and scientific explanations are certainly NOT a personal belief system.
You may believe what you wish, but the fact that those beliefs are based on nothing substantive remains - they are in no way 'equal' with views based on empirical evidence.
Quote:
Are you trying to prove something, and be offensive, and be elevating of self, instead of really thinking about what I have said (it's much easier to just shout "gibberish", as you have)?
If you are offended so easily then you are in the wrong place.
Quote:
Then, your style of communication is polarizing, to put one on the defensive, in order to prove something in your perceived paradigm of reality, which I don't match to, I guess because you can not, or will not accept that anything that I have said or say as valid. I reverse your inference about maturity.
Yes, I put people who make unsupported assertions to the test - if that makes you defensive then so be it - I cannot dictate your reactions. The idea that I am trying to 'prove' something is clearly fallacious, since I haven't made any positive assertions that would require proof, to the best of my knowledge. I have merely explained the position, as best I know it - it doesn't matter a diddly-squat whether you believe it or not - its true regardless.
You need to get over this delusion that any world-view is OK, and that nobody can say it is wrong. It is a wrong-headed way to think. Science can rule-out some things with a high degree of certainty. and if proponents of hypotheses that apparently challenge well established science wish to be taken seriously, then it is up to THEM to show WHY their beliefs/assertions are rational and credible. You can pick any one of millions of beliefs off the shelf - pix and mix as required - and the result will still be a worldview that is demonstrably wrong in some respects, unsupported conjecture in others, and overall nothing but a gigantic appeal to ignorance.
Quote:
I would hope that you could reconsider some of my statements and put them through your crucible for deeper understanding. In my opinion, most of reality is unexplained, and somehow we are here, talking, living.
I see nothing testable and therefore nothing to consider...
Quote:
Good Luck with you rigor, it's not mine, nor is life categorically able to be explained logically.
You still haven't provided any reason to suppose that is true.
Quote:
One of the attributes of life is an/the erroneous.
So what? We KNOW about biological errors and we are slowly learning about the mental side. Psychology and Neurology have a long way to go yet, but we already understand quite a lot about our brains and the pace of learning is accelerating.
Quote:
I'm not here to debate, but to exchange ideas in a friendly, non-hostile manner.
Well, I suggest you read the stickies....

I think you are, overall, confused about the debate itself. You seem to want to assign qualities to 'life' that are actually qualities only possessed, or only meaningful to, the human species - a tiny amount of life as a whole. Unless you are also willing to grant 'poetry' (and whatever else you assert are essential to any definition of life) to slugs, flies etc then clearly they are NOT necessary components or properties of life.
inoshi
I'll just reply at top here because it's getting convoluted in the pane to try and actually see who said what (though in the published response window it's clear).

Most phenomenon are only explained by theory, but the actuality of how they work is not known. Take gravity, photons, electrons, electricity, etc. It's more that we've discovered through science and the laws you mention, how to channel our human understanding of a phenomenon thorugh our senses and physicality, and then put it to use for us in practical ways.

Basic reality and how it exists is mostly theory. Scientific explanations, as they fall into the domain of science, are a form of religion, insamuch as one places authority for explaining reality outside of oneself.

I'm not trying to make my views equal to those of masses, just saying that the masses through lived experience are enculturated into beliefs systems. Your beliefs do shape your reality. If you recall in the beginning of my posts I plain and clear that science is useful, in certain categories of life. It does not function (or function well) in the domain of spiritual, emotion, intuitive, metas, the poetic, rhetorical, lingual, dassan-ic and so on. It comes from a cartesian, Copenhagen interprettaion and weltanschauung.

I'm not offended, bothered, and mentioning style. Of course people are free to act, behave and perform any way you wish within the guidelines of the forum. I didn't intend to be involved in a "heated" debate. I begin by considering what people say is valid and true for them, maybe not for me, and then see how things unfold, rather than forcefully inserting a specific viewpoint, and hope to be playful and creative (as science ultimately was before it was named, and became what it is today, simply experimentation, and often quite un-sanitized). Let science's history speak for itself. I invite people to consider viewpoints outside of their own, and think somehow we are closer than it appears here.

So, I'll try to get to the rest later. Other things to do in the moment @bikerman et al.

Inoshi

Bikerman wrote:
inoshi wrote:
Bikerman wrote:
inoshi wrote:
What do you mean "not been established"? That is probably more assumptive (than you claim) my statements to be, no?
No. It isn't assumptive in any way. No phenomenon connected with life has been reliably reported that cannot be explained in terms of the physical laws. Those that ARE reported (miracles) are nearly always explained pretty easily on close examination or, at the very least, alternative possible causes have been suggested - and any such suggestion, no matter how remote, must always be MORE preferrable than the 'supernatural'.
Quote:
And, some statements can come from an inauthentic place.
No, still gibberish I . . .


I find it bothersome and a bit fanatical that you seem to think you have most of reality explained. I also find your statements completely subjective to your beliefs and opinions, as mine are for me.
I take no credit for the FACT that we have a great deal of reality explained. It is not what I think or do not think that matters - and scientific explanations are certainly NOT a personal belief system.
You may believe what you wish, but the fact that those beliefs are based on nothing substantive remains - they are in no way 'equal' with views based on empirical evidence.
Quote:
Are you trying to prove something, and be offensive, and be elevating of self, instead of really thinking about what I have said (it's much easier to just shout "gibberish", as you have)?
If you are offended so easily then you are in the wrong place.
Quote:
Then, your style of communication is polarizing, to put one on the defensive, in order to prove something in your perceived paradigm of reality, which I don't match to, I guess because you can not, or will not accept that anything that I have said or say as valid. I reverse your inference about maturity.
Yes, I put people who make unsupported assertions to the test - if that makes you defensive then so be it - I cannot dictate your reactions. The idea that I am trying to 'prove' something is clearly fallacious, since I haven't made any positive assertions that would require proof, to the best of my knowledge. I have merely explained the position, as best I know it - it doesn't matter a diddly-squat whether you believe it or not - its true regardless.
You need to get over this delusion that any world-view is OK, and that nobody can say it is wrong. It is a wrong-headed way to think. Science can rule-out some things with a high degree of certainty. and if proponents of hypotheses that apparently challenge well established science wish to be taken seriously, then it is up to THEM to show WHY their beliefs/assertions are rational and credible. You can pick any one of millions of beliefs off the shelf - pix and mix as required - and the result will still be a worldview that is demonstrably wrong in some respects, unsupported conjecture in others, and overall nothing but a gigantic appeal to ignorance.
Quote:
I would hope that you could reconsider some of my statements and put them through your crucible for deeper understanding. In my opinion, most of reality is unexplained, and somehow we are here, talking, living.
I see nothing testable and therefore nothing to consider...
Quote:
Good Luck with you rigor, it's not mine, nor is life categorically able to be explained logically.
You still haven't provided any reason to suppose that is true.
Quote:
One of the attributes of life is an/the erroneous.
So what? We KNOW about biological errors and we are slowly learning about the mental side. Psychology and Neurology have a long way to go yet, but we already understand quite a lot about our brains and the pace of learning is accelerating.
Quote:
I'm not here to debate, but to exchange ideas in a friendly, non-hostile manner.
Well, I suggest you read the stickies....

I think you are, overall, confused about the debate itself. You seem to want to assign qualities to 'life' that are actually qualities only possessed, or only meaningful to, the human species - a tiny amount of life as a whole. Unless you are also willing to grant 'poetry' (and whatever else you assert are essential to any definition of life) to slugs, flies etc then clearly they are NOT necessary components or properties of life.
Bikerman
inoshi wrote:
I'll just reply at top here because it's getting convoluted in the pane to try and actually see who said what (though in the published response window it's clear).

Most phenomenon are only explained by theory, but the actuality of how they work is not known. Take gravity, photons, electrons, electricity, etc. It's more that we've discovered through science and the laws you mention, how to channel our human understanding of a phenomenon thorugh our senses and physicality, and then put it to use for us in practical ways.
Yet more confused nonsense. A theory generally IS the actuality of how it works. What about gravity, photons, electrons etc? We now have a model of how they behave which we can use to make predictions to many decimal places of accuracy. It has nothing to do with 'channeling human understanding of phenomena'. This is just verbiage. Science is a system. It works.
Quote:
Basic reality and how it exists is mostly theory. Scientific explanations, as they fall into the domain of science, are a form of religion, insamuch as one places authority for explaining reality outside of oneself.
More nonsense. Science only DOES theories - that is what science is - physical laws, hypotheses and theories, with theories at the top of the tree - the over-arching explanatory model. It is idiotic to compare it with religion. Scientific theory can be refuted at any time by any one. Religion can be refuted at no time by nobody. Scientific theories put their money with the words - they contain the seeds of their own destruction. Any theory will essentially say - if you observe X or Y or Z then this theory has just self destructed. THAT is why science is so damn powerful. Ruthless determination to prove hypotheses wrong, not self-serving ambition to avoid having to answer the question in the first place.
Quote:
I'm not trying to make my views equal to those of masses, just saying that the masses through lived experience are enculturated into beliefs systems. Your beliefs do shape your reality.
That may be, but they don't shape REALITY - ie the things we can actually measure.
Quote:
If you recall in the beginning of my posts I plain and clear that science is useful, in certain categories of life.
And I still am waiting to see a better system of thought for ANy 'category of life'.
Quote:
It does not function (or function well) in the domain of spiritual, emotion, intuitive, metas, the poetic, rhetorical, lingual, dassan-ic and so on.
Sprituality is subjective and therefore not something science is required for, but when spirituality meets the real world then it meets science. Emotion is actually being pretty well modeled by science and science is the ONLY game in town. as far as saying useful (predictive) things about emotion. Intuition is another way of saying gambling that one's 'common sense' is correct. It is not a particularly good strategy for solving problems of any sort and I certainly would not regard it as something to be encouraged. Poetry, like all the arts, speaks to our emotions, feelings, experiences etc. Once again if you want to say anything useful (ie something I can depend on) then it will be scientific concepts used (measurable, repeatable, testable, falsifiable).
Quote:
It comes from a cartesian, Copenhagen interprettaion and weltanschauung.
What did you do? pick three words at random? Do you know what the Copenhagen interpretation IS ?
Quote:
and hope to be playful and creative (as science ultimately was before it was named, and became what it is today, simply experimentation, and often quite un-sanitized).
What the hell does that mean? Science has always been about experiment and what you mean by 'un-santized' is something I'm not sure I actually want to know...i
Quote:
Let science's history speak for itself. I invite people to consider viewpoints outside of their own, and think somehow we are closer than it appears here.
No, it's good to trumpet a bit of science history for those who either don't know much or are worrying ready to downplay that history.
Basically your entire life is possible, relatively comfortable and relatively healthy and long-lived because of science. No other viewpoint or system or worldview has contributed anything significant at all to this. There are two 'modes of thought' - rational and irrational. Irrational can be nice for some, occasionally, but it is largely self-indulgent. Rational is the real world. If your views about the world are irrational, they may be nice, and easy to live with, but they aren't true...

If you are content to take the blue pill then that is your choice.
Ankhanu
inoshi wrote:
Most phenomenon are only explained by theory, but the actuality of how they work is not known. Take gravity, photons, electrons, electricity, etc. It's more that we've discovered through science and the laws you mention, how to channel our human understanding of a phenomenon thorugh our senses and physicality, and then put it to use for us in practical ways.

Basic reality and how it exists is mostly theory. Scientific explanations, as they fall into the domain of science, are a form of religion, insamuch as one places authority for explaining reality outside of oneself.

You clearly are outside your realm here, as what you're saying is complete and utter bullshit.

Theory is the pinnacle of what science does. Theory is explanation, theory is basis of prediction, theory is understanding... most of all, theory is supported by observed reality. Without theory, we have no real explanation... what is the alternative to theory? Assertion? Gut feelings? These things all too often fail in the face of evidence.

There is no religion in science. We don't blindly accept authority, we challenge it. We use our critical faculties to consider things that are put forth, and, more importantly, we test them. That's a critical aspect of science, we don't trust others, we find out for ourselves. Repeatability is key to acceptance, and repetition is best demonstrated by a third-party applying the same methods, often with different equipment and different locations.
That's key, while we do tend to accept the experts, ANYTHING in science can be tested by ANYONE... yes, if anyone wants to test some of the more esoteric aspects and theories, they've got a long road of education before them, but it can be done. Contrast this with other ways of knowing.

inoshi wrote:
Your beliefs do shape your reality.

Your perception of reality. Different ideas.
inoshi wrote:
If you recall in the beginning of my posts I plain and clear that science is useful, in certain categories of life. It does not function (or function well) in the domain of spiritual, emotion, intuitive, metas, the poetic, rhetorical, lingual, dassan-ic and so on. It comes from a cartesian, Copenhagen interprettaion and weltanschauung.

Science actually IS useful in some of those domains, though less so in the "spiritual" domain, insofar as "spiritual" has no consistent meaning/definition (ask any two people what the hell they mean by "spiritual" and you won't get consistent answers), and poetry is completely subjective, rhetoric is an element of language (which DOES nicely fall under sciences), and I have no idea what "dassan-ic" is Smile
The realms of emotion, intuition, language, etc. are all very much under the purview of science, and are very active fields.

inoshi wrote:
... hope to be playful and creative (as science ultimately was before it was named, and became what it is today, simply experimentation, and often quite un-sanitized).

And we're back to you having no idea how science is conducted leading you to make blind, baseless assertions that are completely untrue.
inoshi
loremar wrote:
Ankhanu wrote:
These traits include things such as: metabolism (need for "food" and production of waste products), reproduction, response to stimuli, maintenance of a relatively homeostatic internal environment, capacity for growth and the like.

I can think of one living being which lacks all of these traits. Guess what?

Hint: The answer is beyond the context of science. Razz


My brain at my own funeral, that I invited myself too when I started dialoging on this thread?!

Wink

Nice post!

Inoshi
inoshi
[quote="Ankhanu"]
inoshi wrote:
and I have no idea what "dassan-ic" is Smile
The realms of emotion, intuition, language, etc. are all very much under the purview of science, and are very active fields.

inoshi wrote:
... hope to be playful and creative (as science ultimately was before it was named, and became what it is today, simply experimentation, and often quite un-sanitized).

And we're back to you having no idea how science is conducted leading you to make blind, baseless assertions that are completely untrue.


I saw some of your other posts and you did seem to respond about life, so I'm just catching up here. Being under the purview of a belief system, everything basically can be. Science helps bring more questions up, and sometimes often startling counter-intuitive answers get provided through science (which is great!). This teaches us that life isn't always what we think it is, or can conceive, but gets exposed through a rigorous process.

Yes, referring to darshan (dassana), Indian systems of six ways of knowing, not called a philosophy in a continental sense within that culture, and also for a certain type of experience that doesn't translate into the west, but is close to insight plus release and gratification, among some of its characteristics.

You make ribald statements towards mine about the a supposed legitimacy in a history of science without querying what I refer too. We have different sets of facts. What I'm merely pointing out is that in the beginning of so called science, there was no science, it was merely experimentation, and quite messy for most if its history. Science is still subject to many human whims and intrusive ideologies. I'm not questioning repeatability, its method(s) and so on.

Out of My League,

Inoshi
inoshi
Dennise wrote:

What might be a sound and agreed basis of what we should be looking for in our search for extraterrestrial 'life' forms so that we may avoid false negatives .... or even false positives for that matter?

Any ideas?


Since I'm trying to inculcate a teaching attitude form others here (and so that my posts aren't swatted at like unwanted gnats), can you please tell us what you mean by false negatives and false positives, then I can answer better.

Cool Beans,

Inoshi
inoshi
Bikerman wrote:
If is beyond the 'context' of science then it doesn't really belong here......


Yeah well you changed that and opened up a whole new can of worms / pandora's box, eh?

Life as doesn't belong. Accurate, on track.

Inoshi
inoshi
Ankhanu wrote:
Bikerman wrote:
If is beyond the 'context' of science then it doesn't really belong here......

It's also not life if it's not a phenomenon (no phenomena are beyond science).


If we observe something outside of phenomenology, or not phenomenally, then can it be life?

Inoshi
inoshi
Bikerman wrote:
As I said...a fictional character...


Yeah Keep it Real, and Mark Twain was a fiction that was a life.

No?
inoshi
loremar wrote:
Bikerman wrote:
Indeed.
I took it to mean that it might be a fictional entity....

Oh you atheists know what I'm talking about. A living being which doesn't need traits akin to that of life: metabolism, response to stimuli, homeostasis, growth, except maybe reproduction, or maybe not since he and his offspring is the same.

Peterssidan wrote:
Can machines be considered life? Some of them have many similarities to real life. Instead of food they use batteries or fuel. Reproduction is a bit special because it is made with other kinds of machines and with help of humans. If they are unsuccessful they can adapt (evolution) or they eventually die out (extinction).

Organic Mecha? or non-organic? If organic material isn't required in the definition of life then, yeah.


If you've read The Whipping Star by Herbert, it's fine primer on what an ET life from could be like, that we can barely comprehend / undertstand, yet co-exist in the same physical reality with - your post and thread reminded me.

Inoshi
Bikerman
inoshi wrote:
You make ribald statements towards mine about the a supposed legitimacy in a history of science without querying what I refer too. We have different sets of facts. What I'm merely pointing out is that in the beginning of so called science, there was no science, it was merely experimentation, and quite messy for most if its history. Science is still subject to many human whims and intrusive ideologies. I'm not questioning repeatability, its method(s) and so on.
Do you actually know the history of science? It appears not.

Science BECAME science when it adopted experiment and empirical confirmation. Before that it was something we would call 'natural philosophy' or just 'philosophy'. Experiments are crucial to the way science works, so it is nonsense to say that, before science. there was just experimentation. The whole point is that there WASN'T experiment. Thus Church taught that the wisdom of the Ancients was the pinnacle of knowledge. 'Science' consisted of looking up what Plato (and later Aristotle) said about the matter - that was the answer, which you then copied down carefully. The idea of actually looking for yourself actually would not have occurred to most. Even Copernicus - the person credited with discovering the heliocentric universe - undeserved in my opinion - Copernicus, when working on the orbits of the planets, used the ancient Greek documents to work out the orbits and rarely actually used his own telescope - which was far superior to anything the Greeks had available to them.

As for Science being subject to human whim - not really. The funding and development of science, once done, is certainly subject to politics (small and big P), but science itself is designed to resist whim and ideology. That is why experiment is key. You make a hypothesis to explain an observation. You then design a test to disprove your hypothesis. If the hypothesis survives you publish and other people then try to disprove it. If they fail, and the hypothesis still survives, it can then be included as part of overall theory. The hypothesis either agrees with experiment or it does not and the whims and ideologies of the scientist matter not a jot.
inoshi
Bikerman wrote:
I see no principled reason why not....


I would agree, though when you bring the question of AI into it, and look at what has occurred at MIT etc., the philosophy behind that science applied was troubled. From what I understand that experiment has continued, though it has been criticized and could have taken new directions (and has successfully elsewhere) with different philosophies backing the AI application.

You can look it up, really interesting!

Inoshi
inoshi
Life as sleep, night.

Inoshi
inoshi
Bikerman wrote:
There are two 'modes of thought' - rational and irrational. Irrational can be nice for some, occasionally, but it is largely self-indulgent. Rational is the real world. If your views about the world are irrational, they may be nice, and easy to live with, but they aren't true...


In my perception there are multitude modes of thought. In fact thought has only a limited piece in the matter of life. The conception of only two modes of thought clearly demonstrates what I described earlier as polarized / polarizing behavior/ thinking. Life is much more complex than only rational and irrational to me, on / off. Modes of thought can be architectural, archeological, systematic, sensing, fearful, artistic, chemical, and these all represent aspects of life. To reduce life to thought in two modes is a hideous crime to our species and all life.

Now for Real, Night,

Inoshi
Bikerman
inoshi wrote:
Bikerman wrote:
I see no principled reason why not....


I would agree, though when you bring the question of AI into it, and look at what has occurred at MIT etc., the philosophy behind that science applied was troubled. From what I understand that experiment has continued, though it has been criticized and could have taken new directions (and has successfully elsewhere) with different philosophies backing the AI application.

You can look it up, really interesting!

Inoshi
AI is something I know a little about. I don't know what you mean by 'troubled philosophy' - doesn't really make sense to me.
AI is under active development and research in many universities and companies, though MIT do have some advanced programs in this area. I don't really understand what you think this 'philosophy' which you keep referring to actually is. If you mean the methodological approach then there isn't really one. Each application is different with different design requirements, different processing and interface requirements etc etc.
inoshi
ocalhoun wrote:
A more interesting question... Are stars alive by this definition?
They do 'ingest' 'food' and grow during their forming phases... and they do produce waste products... response to stimuli is questionable, since we don't often see stimuli significant enough to affect a star (going into different life phases based on the amount of waste products inside them, that might count. A star becoming a red giant might be viewed as a response to stimuli)... they do maintain a relatively homeostatic internal environment... and they do reproduce when they die...


I basically consider all of cosmos life, alive, living, not dead, in-inert. Death is something which happens in life. So, I would consider a star to be living, to what extent under various modes of thought would differ.

Today I play with the presumption of life. Guess that's totally biased eh?

Inoshi
nguyenvulong
It's really a big question by all means.
You can have many definitions but I guess none of it is completely right, just partially I think .


Mine : Life is the period of time when you was born til the day you die, and all the things come a long with it in your whole life .
LxGoodies
Quote:
What is life

This is complicated, so..... small=beautiful ! Keep it short

To start life with, I like the two conditions loremar came up with in contribution #2,

loremar wrote:
Life is something that you can distinguish from death and extinction.

So from your list, I have to choose:

Metabolism - to survive from death.

Reproduction - to survive from extinction.


I'd like to add a third condition

Evolution - the ability to structural change and adapt to new circumstances

Lx
Ankhanu
LxGoodies wrote:

I'd like to add a third condition

Evolution - the ability to structural change and adapt to new circumstances

Lx

In this case, then, individuals are not alive; evolution is a population level phenomenon that acts upon individuals.
LxGoodies
Ok I mean "lifeform" .. evolution is not an individual thing, it is a property of a species (or population, as you stated). Though individual members of the species will be affected in the long run, no individual will ever notice evolution. Lifespan is too short to notice it. Nevertheless, it works through individuals (live or die).

I see evolution as a conditionn for life, because I suspect no lifeform can maintain itself without means for adjustment to new circumstances ! Human kind attempts to do so with artificial means (houses, cooking, agriculture), but in the end.. we'll destroy our planet.. and life with it..

Lx
Ankhanu
LxGoodies wrote:
Ok I mean "lifeform" .. evolution is not an individual thing, it is a property of a species (or population, as you stated). Though individual members of the species will be affected in the long run, no individual will ever notice evolution. Lifespan is too short to notice it.

I don't know what you mean by "lifeform".
Individuals are affected in the short term, not the long term, of evolution. It's an interesting concept, as all the actual important changes happen at the molecular level, appear and act at the individual level, and ultimately manifest at the population level. Ultimately it's a game of molecular propagation and statistics Smile

LxGoodies wrote:
Nevertheless, it works through individuals (live or die).

Actually, reproduce or not, not live or die; living is evolutionarily pointless without reproduction. Reproductive success is the measure in which evolution operates, not living/dying.

LxGoodies wrote:
I see evolution as a conditionn for life, because I suspect no lifeform can maintain itself without means for adjustment to new circumstances ! Human kind attempts to do so with artificial means (houses, cooking, agriculture), but in the end.. we'll destroy our planet.. and life with it..

Lx

As I see it, evolution is a property of the form of life that we have here currently, but, is it a prerequisite for classification? We have to be able to identify living individuals independent of their parent populations, so this seems somewhat broadscale to be useful to identify life.
inoshi
LxGoodies wrote:
Ok I mean "lifeform" .. evolution is not an individual thing, it is a property of a species (or population, as you stated). Though individual members of the species will be affected in the long run, no individual will ever notice evolution. Lifespan is too short to notice it. Nevertheless, it works through individuals (live or die).

I see evolution as a condition for life, because I suspect no lifeform can maintain itself without means for adjustment to new circumstances ! Human kind attempts to do so with artificial means (houses, cooking, agriculture), but in the end.. we'll destroy our planet.. and life with it..

Lx


So in a lifeform, might you call this trait adaptability?

Inoshi
inoshi
inoshi wrote:
Dennise wrote:

What might be a sound and agreed basis of what we should be looking for in our search for extraterrestrial 'life' forms so that we may avoid false negatives .... or even false positives for that matter?

Any ideas?


Since I'm trying to inculcate a teaching attitude form others here (and so that my posts aren't swatted at like unwanted gnats), can you please tell us what you mean by false negatives and false positives, then I can answer better.

Cool Beans,

Inoshi


I guess to follow up on this unanswered and not self-researched question, Dennise is suggesting that we could misidentify life, and also completely let life go unnoticed because of the way we interpret signals and data.

& Question

Inoshi
Ankhanu
inoshi wrote:
LxGoodies wrote:
Ok I mean "lifeform" .. evolution is not an individual thing, it is a property of a species (or population, as you stated). Though individual members of the species will be affected in the long run, no individual will ever notice evolution. Lifespan is too short to notice it. Nevertheless, it works through individuals (live or die).

I see evolution as a condition for life, because I suspect no lifeform can maintain itself without means for adjustment to new circumstances ! Human kind attempts to do so with artificial means (houses, cooking, agriculture), but in the end.. we'll destroy our planet.. and life with it..

Lx


So in a lifeform, might you call this trait adaptability?

Inoshi


Plasticity.
inoshi
inoshi wrote:
LxGoodies wrote:
Ok I mean "lifeform" .. evolution is not an individual thing, it is a property of a species (or population, as you stated). Though individual members of the species will be affected in the long run, no individual will ever notice evolution. Lifespan is too short to notice it. Nevertheless, it works through individuals (live or die).

I see evolution as a condition for life, because I suspect no lifeform can maintain itself without means for adjustment to new circumstances ! Human kind attempts to do so with artificial means (houses, cooking, agriculture), but in the end.. we'll destroy our planet.. and life with it..

Lx

So in a lifeform, might you call this trait adaptability?
Inoshi

Ankhanu wrote:
Plasticity.

Nice! The differentiaiton we're hitting here between life and lifeform is a biggie too.
LxGoodies
Ankhanu wrote:

LxGoodies wrote:
I see evolution as a conditionn for life, because I suspect no lifeform can maintain itself without means for adjustment to new circumstances ! Human kind attempts to do so with artificial means (houses, cooking, agriculture), but in the end.. we'll destroy our planet.. and life with it..

Lx

As I see it, evolution is a property of the form of life that we have here currently, but, is it a prerequisite for classification? We have to be able to identify living individuals independent of their parent populations, so this seems somewhat broadscale to be useful to identify life.

You're right I dont think the results can be detected ("used for classification"), you could say there should be some agent in the lifeform that allows for random change that affects the complete body. Some kind of library (like earth DNA) of opportunities the life form has available, to potential change. I suppose such a collection of complex chemical compounds (and e.g. stem cell specialisation mechanisms) can be detected analysing 1 individual.

Anyway I think the first 2 conditions (metabolism and reproduction) are not sufficient as criteria. If we don't take the ability to (random) change into account, how would a researcher be able to distinguish between some predesigned, alien biomechanical device that emulates animal behaviour.. and real animals ?

Lx
inoshi
linux1993 wrote:
I think life is about enjoying relationship about ourselves and doing the meaning things that maybe small to improve the society.

That sounds like a few (or more) different things. The first about enjoying, a more natural and pleasant relational-situational-contextual being, and the second about, and involving the idea of progress, evolution, dealing with change, and making a contribution, fixing. I see it all as value fulfillment.

Life ABOUT something.

Inoshi
inoshi
Ankhanu wrote:
Ah, we're over in Philosophy & Religion on this one now, are we? I think I'd have preferred this as a science topic, it's much more meaningful that way Wink

But, change to philosophy aside, I think any good definition of life needs to be inclusive of all known life; if it needs to be changed in the future, so be it. But, it should be based on that which is intrinsically meaningful, and when violated should reliably indicate non-life. With this in mind, it should be based on observable phenomena.

Poetic definitions of life and the like are fine and good when asking about purpose or "meaning" (i.e. significance), but are useless when defining what the property of life is. While important to sentient beings, these concepts are derived, secondary, rather than intrinsic. Being derived/secondary, they don't belong in the principle definition of what life is; they're an element of quality rather than identity.

Hi Ankhanu - I appreciate your style, and what you have said.

Research into life could attempt to identify life outside of what is known, or continue to break it down into components that are meaningful to us, organic, non-organic, temporally observable, apparently conscious, etc. It also seems for me, that what comes up is the distinction between meaningfulness and usefulness.

It's my opinion that in the actual experience of a human beings, poetic and other ways, that you term "secondary" derivations of life, have led to folks seeking to establish (and in some cases doing so) scientific evidence. It's a feedback system. No person can act or think in an exclusively scientific way (we can approximate and try). We're organized quite separately from the kind of elementary and sophisticated machines which we have invented and program, though they reflect something about who we are as a species, and as such are an extension of human life, no less or no more than any other creation (or extension).

Laffing @ Meaning,

Inoshi
Ankhanu
My suggestion is: Forget about defining human life, and just define life.
This definition needs to be as relevant to Tsuga canadensis as it is to Dendya cavata, as it is to Streptococcus pyogenes, as it, ultimately is to Homo sapiens.

I'm sure you'll find that shared experience, quality of experience, poetics, etc. tend to fall away when you address the actual question, rather than the emotional connotations of the experience of life and its personal meaning.

The question of defining life is one that continues to be explored, though working definitions do exist; as with anything in science, we're always seeking to refine. For example, take a look at some criteria put forth by Ruiz-Mirazo and Moreno (2004) (modeled heavily on Emmeche, C.: 1998, Defining Life as a Semiotic Phenomenon, Cybernet. Human Knowing 5, 3–17.) for a definition:
Ruiz-Mirazo and Moreno, 2004. A universal definition of life: Autonomy ad open-ended evolution wrote:

The definition should:
(a) be fully coherent with current knowledge in biology, chemistry and physics;
(b) avoid redundancies and be self-consistent;
(c) possess conceptual elegance and deep explanatory power (i.e., it must provide a better understanding of the nature of life, guiding our search into its origins and its subsequent maintenance and development);
(d) be universal (in the sense that it must discriminate the necessary from the contingent features of life, selecting just the former);
(e) be minimal but specific enough (i.e., it should include just those elements that are common to all forms of life – not being, in principle, restricted to life on Earth – and, at the same time, it must put forward a clear operational criterion to tell the living from the inert, clarifying border-line cases, contributing to determine biomarkers, etc.).

(Quote credit links to a pdf of the paper)

You'll notice that almost any definition that deals with quality of life, or experience of existence does not meet these criteria... they're fairly poor definitions... without real defining power.
Ankhanu
If you want to have a little fun, here's a 54 page back and forth within the Journal of Biomolecular Structure & Dynamics that was kicked off with a "vocabulary" based analysis of about 120 definitions of life by Edward Trifonov (2011) arriving at a very concise definition of life as "self-reproduction with variations." As you can see in the collection of papers, not everyone agrees with the usefulness of such an approach, nor conclusion Wink
inoshi
Ankhanu wrote:
My suggestion is: Forget about defining human life, and just define life.
This definition needs to be as relevant to Tsuga canadensis as it is to Dendya cavata, as it is to Streptococcus pyogenes, as it, ultimately is to Homo sapiens.

I'm sure you'll find that shared experience, quality of experience, poetics, etc. tend to fall away when you address the actual question, rather than the emotional connotations of the experience of life and its personal meaning.

SNIP

Sure, to be studied. Citations are one thing (thank you): actual personal conviction, exploration; emotionally and/or intellectually stimulating, or otherwise are another.

What falls away is what's unimportant, or insignificant to an individual, theory, or culture, not an absolute. I do not see how ultimately we can take the human aspect out of it, but am willing to look at defining life without the consideration of homo sapiens (I don't think in this thread I've suggested that be the model, only talking about what was topical).

I also think it important that when we talk to one another, exchange, we avoid being supercilious, and really communicate (which is a practice).

The whole idea of "what is life" as a question seems an intangible to me, in reality, much like other "big" questions of this nature. They are designed to embark us on an adventure of learning and understanding. We definitely need to poke fun at them and ourselves. Asking other questions about life, removing the "is", and unbundling that, show a different set of answers, for specific scenarios, as you, others and myself have pointed out.

Debundling & Debunking Life,

Inoshi
Ankhanu
Nah, "what is life" is a criteria based question... it's not intangible at all. Well, I suppose if you go with some sort of "essence of life" mumbo-jumbo from centuries past it could be, but, those definitions have been dropped by the sensible.

I still think you're conflating "what is life" and "what is the experience of life", the latter of which is an intangible, subjective sort of thing. It has nothing to do with being supercilious, I think separating the two concepts is utterly necessary to answer the actual question. This thread was posted initially to explore the idea of identifying living organisms that might be outside our current understanding of living things, alien life that might not resemble our own; how to find life amongst the stars and know that it is life, and not overlook something that is alive, but we don't yet recognize as being such. To this end definitions like "experience what you can" and "be the best person you can be" (not definitions you specifically have brought forth, but that others have) are completely meaningless, right?
zimmer
life is for us to live on.. hard but we need to go with it.. grrrr..
Ankhanu
*sigh*
kndge9584
THE AIM FOR MOST PEOPLE:
Have a successful individual life that makes the people we care about happy or amazed.
albiemer
[quote="inoshi"]
Ankhanu wrote:
inoshi wrote:
LxGoodies wrote:
Ok I mean "lifeform" .. evolution is not an individual thing, it is a property of a species (or population, as you stated). Though individual members of the species will be affected in the long run, no individual will ever notice evolution. Lifespan is too short to notice it. Nevertheless, it works through individuals (live or die).

I see evolution as a condition for life, because I suspect no lifeform can maintain itself without means for adjustment to new circumstances ! Human kind attempts to do so with artificial means (houses, cooking, agriculture), but in the end.. we'll destroy our planet.. and life with it..

Lx


So in a lifeform, might you call this trait adaptability?

Inoshi


Plasticity.[/quote

Nice! The differentiaiton we're hitting here between life and lifeform is a biggie too.


I think so
albiemer
Ankhanu wrote:
My suggestion is: Forget about defining human life, and just define life.
This definition needs to be as relevant to Tsuga canadensis as it is to Dendya cavata, as it is to Streptococcus pyogenes, as it, ultimately is to Homo sapiens.

I'm sure you'll find that shared experience, quality of experience, poetics, etc. tend to fall away when you address the actual question, rather than the emotional connotations of the experience of life and its personal meaning.

The question of defining life is one that continues to be explored, though working definitions do exist; as with anything in science, we're always seeking to refine. For example, take a look at some criteria put forth by Ruiz-Mirazo and Moreno (2004) (modeled heavily on Emmeche, C.: 1998, Defining Life as a Semiotic Phenomenon, Cybernet. Human Knowing 5, 3–17.) for a definition:
Ruiz-Mirazo and Moreno, 2004. A universal definition of life: Autonomy ad open-ended evolution wrote:

The definition should:
(a) be fully coherent with current knowledge in biology, chemistry and physics;
(b) avoid redundancies and be self-consistent;
(c) possess conceptual elegance and deep explanatory power (i.e., it must provide a better understanding of the nature of life, guiding our search into its origins and its subsequent maintenance and development);
(d) be universal (in the sense that it must discriminate the necessary from the contingent features of life, selecting just the former);
(e) be minimal but specific enough (i.e., it should include just those elements that are common to all forms of life – not being, in principle, restricted to life on Earth – and, at the same time, it must put forward a clear operational criterion to tell the living from the inert, clarifying border-line cases, contributing to determine biomarkers, etc.).

(Quote credit links to a pdf of the paper)

You'll notice that almost any definition that deals with quality of life, or experience of existence does not meet these criteria... they're fairly poor definitions... without real defining power.


i accept it
inoshi
Ankhanu wrote:
Nah, "what is life" is a criteria based question... it's not intangible at all. Well, I suppose if you go with some sort of "essence of life" mumbo-jumbo from centuries past it could be, but, those definitions have been dropped by the sensible.

Ankhanu,

Honestly, I don't often pre-categorize whether questions I ask are "criteria based". Your comment came back to me quite a bit, and finally it hit upon me, that yes, of course, to be aware of a kind or type of question we're asking, is important.

I would suggest that my questions fall into the creatively, inspirationally, imaginatively, explorationally, intuitively, naturally, thoughtfully - based, and other categories. So, to frame a question, sure, but I haven't agreed to explore this topic as your criteria based one. Even if I did I think we would find quite a bit of difference in interpretation of what valid criterion are or could be.

Gots to get on the phone lots of folks to check in with after the storm, and back to other projects.

Opening it Up,

Inoshi
darthrevan
Life I sometimes have the definition of pain/depression/stressful but of course it is the opposite of death. Life can definitely be hard at times.
inoshi
darthrevan wrote:
Life I sometimes have the definition of pain/depression/stressful but of course it is the opposite of death. Life can definitely be hard at times.

Nice, in that "sometimes" infers that the definition can change, grow, morph. From a personal space, that to me is healthy, as life, especially as experienced, could not be boxed into a definition.

Inoshi
inoshi
johans wrote:
for me, its hard to define life we have different meanings on it.. but sometimes we hate or love the life.. but life really needs something to have meaning if we left here in earth.. we need some goals and achievements..

Of-course, we need to pray also to keep us and help us lead our goals here in earth..

Hmm, what do you mean "life really needs something to have meaning if we left here in earth.. we need some goals and achievements.."?

I would like to understand this better. Some philosophies say otherwise, not that life is a vacuum, but that attaining to goals and achievements is futile, as a human endeavor towards meaning.

Rolling Eyes

Inoshi
inoshi
inoshi wrote:
So in a lifeform, might you call this trait adaptability?
Inoshi

Ankhanu wrote:
Plasticity.

Finally getting a link to this article up here: http://plasticbodies.wordpress.com/2009/08/28/bichats-definition-of-life/

It refers to Bichat, as I mentioned previously, and the idea of moving away from traditional definitions of life that have descended form his work, as well as pointing to other properties besides "maintenance", such a fidelity, and I would insert, plasticity.

Rolling Eyes

Inoshi
inoshi
nguyenvulong wrote:
It's really a big question by all means.
You can have many definitions but I guess none of it is completely right, just partially I think .

Mine : Life is the period of time when you was born til the day you die, and all the things come a long with it in your whole life .

Your definition thereby, inherently, and accordingly, includes death.
inoshi
Ankhanu wrote:
johans wrote:
what is life?
for me its the one you live for.. as simple as that definitions.
Very Happy

Wrong forum for this sort of response... this is about actual facts and classification, not circularity.

The forum has changed, so this response has been revalidated!
inoshi
Bikerman wrote:
No, that has nothing to do with ockham's razor.
Okham's Razor is used to decide between competing theories. There IS no competing theory in this case.

Ok, and what's the nickname for your formula?

Bikerman's Chain?

Wink

Inoshi
inoshi
zimmer wrote:
life is for us to live on.. hard but we need to go with it.. grrrr..

hissss . . .
inoshi
Ankhanu wrote:
*sigh*

*blink - blink*
inoshi
Ankhanu wrote:
The question of defining life is one that continues to be explored, though working definitions do exist; as with anything in science, we're always seeking to refine. For example, take a look at some criteria put forth by Ruiz-Mirazo and Moreno (2004) (modeled heavily on Emmeche, C.: 1998, Defining Life as a Semiotic Phenomenon, Cybernet. Human Knowing 5, 3–17.) for a definition:
Ruiz-Mirazo and Moreno, 2004. A universal definition of life: Autonomy ad open-ended evolution wrote:

The definition should:
(a) be fully coherent with current knowledge in biology, chemistry and physics;
(b) avoid redundancies and be self-consistent;
(c) possess conceptual elegance and deep explanatory power (i.e., it must provide a better understanding of the nature of life, guiding our search into its origins and its subsequent maintenance and development);
(d) be universal (in the sense that it must discriminate the necessary from the contingent features of life, selecting just the former);
(e) be minimal but specific enough (i.e., it should include just those elements that are common to all forms of life – not being, in principle, restricted to life on Earth – and, at the same time, it must put forward a clear operational criterion to tell the living from the inert, clarifying border-line cases, contributing to determine biomarkers, etc.).

(Quote credit links to a pdf of the paper)
You'll notice that almost any definition that deals with quality of life, or experience of existence does not meet these criteria... they're fairly poor definitions... without real defining power.


We may not need to continue to define, but render to ourselves what life seems to be. Item (c) above gives me red flag warnings, in that it proposes (a possible insistence upon) an idea of "maintenance".

Maybe it could be revised to use another view of life in that respect, or briefly qualified somehow to eliminate a possible import of that element. I still need to study this, heady in a different way from me.

Inoshi
inoshi
Ankhanu wrote:
None of what you listed are definitions of life, by extension, loremar's are also off Wink In fact, there is no single definition of life, rather, life is defined by the presence of a suite of characters. <<SNIP>>

I would say suite of characters "and characteristics".

Also please tell us, what you mean by "characters"?

Inoshi
Ankhanu
inoshi wrote:
We may not need to continue to define, but render to ourselves what life seems to be. Item (c) above gives me red flag warnings, in that it proposes (a possible insistence upon) an idea of "maintenance".

Maintenance, as used in context of the article to which you're referring, is in the continuation of living systems, not maintenance of the definition. The persistence of life.

inoshi wrote:
Maybe it could be revised to use another view of life in that respect, or briefly qualified somehow to eliminate a possible import of that element. I still need to study this, heady in a different way from me.

I dunno, sustaining life seems to be a little important. Yes, you can explore the question of what life is when only looking at extremely brief, ephemeral examples, but, most living things persist for some span of time.

That overall item (c) above is widely applicable, and, I think, important. Poetic definitions are fun and all, but without simple, explanatory power of what life is, they're not very useful in the breadth of cases. As I've been repeating throughout this thread, the definition has to be as applicable to a bacterium, as it is to a fungus, as it is to a rotifer, as it is to a beetle, as it is to a human. If it is only applicable to human life, it is inadequate to define life.

inoshi wrote:
I would say suite of characters "and characteristics".

Also please tell us, what you mean by "characters"?

"Characters and characteristics" is redundant in this context. A character is an attribute, identifier, a feature... a characteristic, if you will.
Dennise
OK all, I'm the OP for this thread.

It seems to me the context of my question "what is life", appears to have gotten lost. In fact, I don't understand why the thread was moved here from one of the Science forums.

I was seeking some ideas of what our space probes should be looking for in terms of life-forms, as they wander out into space or maybe ever the universe . Such posts should have a scientific basis and not philosophical or religious musings; too many of which have been posted here.

However, if the moderator feels there is enough diversion of my original question onto a philosophical track based on such posts, that's his prerogative.
Bikerman
[MOD Mode]
I don't feel strongly about this one and I'm happy to be guided by members. I think I moved it originally in response to a report - can't honestly remember.
Anyhoo, if people think it should be moved back then speak-up and I'll oblige
Bikerman

[/MOD Mode]
Ankhanu
Bikerman wrote:
[MOD Mode]
I don't feel strongly about this one and I'm happy to be guided by members. I think I moved it originally in response to a report - can't honestly remember.
Anyhoo, if people think it should be moved back then speak-up and I'll oblige
Bikerman

[/MOD Mode]


I think the thread is FAR more useful as a scientific question than a philosophical one (as can be seen in my responses)...
That said, the fact-based inquiry has been pretty heavily derailed, and even when it was in the Science - > Life forum, it was being bombarded with "life if what we make of it" type responses... There's no solidly clear response to where it should be as a result. Should it be where it's (potentially) useful and was intended, or should it be where it ultimately meandered?
Bikerman
[MOD Mode]
OK _ I've moved it back, but left a shadow here - that is probably the best solution methinks....
Bikerman

[/MOD mode]
inoshi
Bikerman wrote:
[MOD Mode]
OK _ I've moved it back, but left a shadow here - that is probably the best solution methinks....
Bikerman

[/MOD mode]

I agree, and can we start a similar thread in philosophy forum? That's what makes sense, no?

What happened was that others and myself replied more philosophically, and when I started a thread in the philosophy forum (it got closed?) and this topic got moved there.

What do you mean "shadow"?

What does "OP" acronym mean?

Inoshi
inoshi
Bikerman wrote:
[MOD Mode]
OK _ I've moved it back, but left a shadow here - that is probably the best solution methinks....
Bikerman

[/MOD mode]

@ Bikerman, here's referring url I mentioned: http://www.frihost.com/forums/vt-141829.html.

Can we unlock (and come up with appropriate subject if original is/was off base?). We could have an intro(?) to direct folks to the original thread, that prefer to discuss the topic from the viewpoint of the philosophy of science only, or to stay in regular philosophy forum for all thought, where "unscientific" genuinely open dialog probably won't be described as "derailing", and other more condescending words.

Thanks,

Inoshi
Ankhanu
inoshi wrote:
What do you mean "shadow"?

What does "OP" acronym mean?


A shadow topic is a link to the main topic in another location. It remains in the location the thread was moved from as a link to its new location, but doesn't get bumped when there's new activity. It's so that people expecting the thread to be in the old location can find it.

OP mean "original post" or "original poster", depending on whether you're talking about the post that started a thread, or the person.
inoshi
Ankhanu wrote:
inoshi wrote:
What do you mean "shadow"?

What does "OP" acronym mean?


A shadow topic is a link to the main topic in another location. It remains in the location the thread was moved from as a link to its new location, but doesn't get bumped when there's new activity. It's so that people expecting the thread to be in the old location can find it.

OP mean "original post" or "original poster", depending on whether you're talking about the post that started a thread, or the person.

Thanks Ankh.
inoshi
Ankhanu wrote:
I think the thread is FAR more useful as a scientific question than a philosophical one (as can be seen in my responses)...
That said, the fact-based inquiry has been pretty heavily derailed, and even when it was in the Science - > Life forum, it was being bombarded with "life if what we make of it" type responses... There's no solidly clear response to where it should be as a result. Should it be where it's (potentially) useful and was intended, or should it be where it ultimately meandered?

Yes, maybe I was a bombardier for a new description of life, however I did try begin another thread to take this up, and it was shut down.

The way I perceive it science and philosophy in general inform each other as to what the bases of reality are, have been and could be, and that an exchange is going on presenting and directing the types of questions that are being asked (which may help form a hypotheses).

Inoshi
lingku
Bikerman wrote:
If is beyond the 'context' of science then it doesn't really belong here......

i agree with it
codegeek
I think life is all about balance. It is an act of strategically maneuvering your decisions so as to optimize happiness and satisfaction. It's actually a game of chess. The opponent is unknown but just. He respects our good moves, but is swift to pounce on the bad ones.
inoshi
codegeek wrote:
I think life is all about balance. It is an act of strategically maneuvering your decisions so as to optimize happiness and satisfaction. It's actually a game of chess. The opponent is unknown but just. He respects our good moves, but is swift to pounce on the bad ones.

There is a thread here too: http://www.frihost.com/forums/vt-146748.html.

Inoshi
inoshi
[quote="antoniotit"]
Dennise wrote:
As we continue to send robots to other worlds in search of 'life forms', one needs to consider just what life is. Without a sound definition, we may falsely conclude many worlds have been and are lifeless. This begs an important question: What is life .... really?

None of what you listed are definitions of life, by extension, loremar's are also off In fact, there is no single definition of life, rather, life is defined by the presence of a suite of characters. If any of the elements is missing, then something is deemed non-life. These traits include things such as: metabolism (need for "food" and production of waste products), reproduction, response to stimuli, maintenance of a relatively homeostatic internal environment, capacity for growth and the like.
The definitive qualities of life are not static, that is to say, as we learn more, they can and will be changed. There is some debate, for example, over the classification of viruses and whether or not they should be considered life forms (last I'd read, they are still non-life). Viruses, for example, do not reproduce on their own (they hijack living cells to build replicates of themselves).

The possibility of finding life unlike our own out there is present, and, I don't think our current definitions of life are likely to hinder our ability to, eventually, recognize something unlike ourselves as life. Faced with new forms of life, science will do as it always does: adapt to the new information.

I also wouldn't say that the current life traits are anthropocentric, either. Yes, it covers us as a being alive, but, it also covers every other species that has lived on the planet. The definition is limited by our experience, but, it would be fallacious to base a definition upon something for which there is absolutely no data.

Unclear where your comments begin and quote ends . . .
Blummer
I think life is a complicated system of explorations, emotions and self-expressions, a path of self-improvement and establishment.
Ankhanu
Blummer wrote:
I think life is a complicated system of explorations, emotions and self-expressions, a path of self-improvement and establishment.

How does a "system of explorations, emotions and self-expressions" apply to a sponge? A tree? A thermophilic chemosynthetic bacterium, etc?
johans
life have feelings and emotions. life is hard and we need to find ways how to handle if there are obstacles and needs to managed on your own.

life is life and should be exploring continues and we go on.
Ankhanu
Remember, folks, this is a SCIENCE forum; make your content scientifically sensible and applicable.
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