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Define LIFE


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on another thread here, an interesting question occured to me, it was about the dividing line between a collection of molecules and Life.

This isn`t by any means an Original question, but a search didn`t find it as a distict topic here yet.


So what constitutes life?


Fire seems to obey most all the qualifications to determine life and yet I for one would hesitate to call it Life (per se).


and where IS the dividing line? (think sperm/egg) at what point is it "A HUMAN LIFE"?


all the best :)

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YT - The answers to your questions are plain and simple, if you're asking an accomplished biologist like me.


Most will banter and come up with non-sensical answers, such as fafalones. But it's simple.


Life is a human life IF AND ONLY IF it's genes are human.


That's it plain and simple. So let's move to the other question.


Now you asked "what is life" but then said "what constitutes life". These are two different questions.


The biological definition of life is literally "that which is alive".


Most people here I've learned will flip out and not be satisfiied, but that's the scientific definition.


What contsitutes life? Science claims this question is 100% unknown.


We know of some fundamentals that apply to ALL LIFE on Earth.


So I suppose perhaps you mean that. I'm not going to bother to go into those details for two reasons:


1. You may not care


2. If you did, you could find this answer in ANY biology textbook.

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on that other thread i like the idea silicon life evolving circuts of electricity and becoming mobile, that would be cool.


I don't know if i have anything you unique to add about what life possibly is. Make your own decision creatively is my advice.


Intelligence--- it seems quite hypocritical that you accuse people of being too critical of you, then you giving it right back-- retaliation? I see no reason for you to bash fafalones (or others) comments. Unless you would enlighten me to the reason your answers are so much superior (who knows perhaps this possibility is true) i do not see it.

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The idea of silicon based life (other than A.I developed using current Computer technology) I find quite fascinating, I rather fancy that Boron would make an equaly good potential candidate.

Doing a search a few months ago on various Borates, I was quite astonished to find the volume of different molecules it can form naturaly, mostly minerals and although rellatively simple in structure there was such a variety :)

I`m uncertain exactly what it is that makes Carbon so special as a life (as we know it) precursor, I think it`s something to do with the amount and complexity of the bonds it can make (over simplified I`m sure) If shown a breakdown of all the chemical constituants in a Human, I`de be more inclined at 1`st glance to call us Water Based life as opposed to Carbon based.

I suppose that the advantage Silicon has over Boron however is that it is also a "semiconductor" whereas Boron may make more naturaly occuring molecules than Silicon, it does have this limitation.


Just thinking aloud :)

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That silicon life with circuts etc.. Is there a substance that, after once being exposed to electricity, becomes more conductive? If there is, and it somehow finds itself on the surface of a planet amased in electrical storms, might it develop those first few key pathways that initiate its concience? Over time it might learn to direct the electrical flow and build its own brain in a sense. It could be equated with a living human brain in a jar...I've had nightmares like that (well I don't know that nightmare is quite accurate but we shall leave it at that). No outside stimulus - just you and your unceasing thoughts. Thank god this electrobeast wouldnt have the outside stimulus to begin with, and actually become intelligent enough to go nuts.

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We've had a thread on silicon life, and the general consensus in the scientific community is that silicon has nowhere near the number of possible reactions required to be able to form life, at least was we know it.

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I say that the definitions of life are arbitrary anyway, and may only apply to here on planet Earth. I wouldn't be surprised if scientists find definite life that doesn't follow one or two of the "functions of life."


As for right now, life seems to be anything that follows functions such as-- reproduces, maintains homeostasis, etc...

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There's a bunch of things that don't fit into a biological definition of life but seem related by their chemical composition and replicating ability, like viruses, but also viroids, prions and plasmids.


Prions are interesting because they seem to be entirely composed of a protein. This protein invades a host cell and modifies a particular host protein, in shape, so it is now a prion protein, which is the same as the original prion. A particular type of prion is thought to be the cause of mad cow disease, and is a modified form of a protein common in neurons.

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