Criteria for Life

Alexander Berezin berezin at MCMAIL.CIS.MCMASTER.CA
Sat Jan 6 15:06:13 EST 1996

On Wed, 3 Jan 1996, James Burns wrote:

> On Wed, 3 Jan 1996, JB wrote:
> >  I once heard that there was a certain criteria for something to be
> > considered "alive."  I think it had to meet four(?) specific
> > requirements and that determined if it was considered to be living.
> > They were all biological criteria.  
> > 
> >    Could someone email me these crtieria?  Thanks!
> > --John
> > 
> > jbailey at
> Trying to remember my BIO 101 class, it is something like:
> Ability to reproduce 
> Utilize energy
> Excrete waste
> Motility or ability to respond to external stimuli
> Does a computer qualify?
> peace,
> jay
I read somewhere a nice arguing that automobiles
are alive. They satisfy all the above:

1) they reproduce using the environment (humans
at conveyor belt) as means for their reproduction,

2) they darwininly evolve (the fittest models
survive), others got extinct

3) they use energy, have exhausts, etc 

4) they certainly have motility and respond
to external stimuli

5) occasinally they fight and kill each other
in traffic accidents. Apparently from THEIR 
(automobiles) point of view, we humans are periferal
participants in these cases (as well as in most
other aspects of their life - I suspect they 
largely look at us as kind of inevitable nuisance,
pets perhaps).  

Alexander A. Berezin, PhD
Department of Engineering Physics
McMaster University, Hamilton,
Ontario, Canada, L8S 4L7
tel. (905) 525-9140 ext. 24546

More information about the Bioforum mailing list