Definition of Life - VIRUSES LIVE OK!!!!

Herbert Martin Sauro hrs at aber.ac.uk
Wed Feb 9 17:16:48 EST 1994


I think viruses are 'live' entities because they have a set of
instructions but they have this neat ability to exploit another hosts'
machine so that they don't have to carry their own machine around with
them.  Since they retain the instructions part within themselves they
will experience evolution. 

I would also add entities such as tierran organisms to the 'live'
category although their evolution is quite constrained by the world they
occupy (compared to earth based life).  Tierran organisms are a bit odd
though because although the instructions form part of the organim the
machine part appears to be actually a part of the physical world they 
live in, i.e the virtual computer. Although thinking about it, the tierran
instructions are also part of the machine. I guess its the same with earth
based organisms in the sense that part of the machine resides in the laws
of nature and the other part in the way the machine is built from
physical parts.

Herbert Sauro



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