Is it possible that everything is alive?

Tara Johnson johnsota at ucs.orst.edu
Thu Feb 1 16:47:33 EST 1996



On Wed, 31 Jan 1996, James Young wrote:

> In bionet.cellbiol you write:
> In biology, we do not look upon life as merely being a collection of carbon
> based compounds...that's what those wacky organic chemists do.. :)
> 
> Biologists look upon life with a very through and yet incomplete definition 
> of life.  We basically say that if it can not:
> 	1. Reproduce on its own, using machinery (organs or mechanisms)
> 	that it has inside of it.
> 	2. Pass on genetic information in the form of DNA
> 	3. React to stimuli and adjust conditions internally appropriately
> 	4. Acquire, utilize, and make energy
> 	5. be composed of cells
> 	6. be composed of "organic molecules" this last one is tough because
> 	certain algae use silica (diatoms) to form an outer coating or shell
> 	and this is certainly not made of molecules that we would consider 
> 	organic....
> 
> Therefore, not all things are living....atoms, protons, and other subatomic particles are no more living than your desk.  Can you desk spontaneously make more
> desks or move itself out of a room when a fire hits...no....so you see... the definition is a little more stringent than what you are applying.
> 
	Do you believe it's possible for something to follow the six 
scientific requirements of life and yet not have a spirit?  Or do you
believe that there are things that don't follow any of these 6 
requirements for life, but yet do have a spirit?  Can something be alive
and yet not have a spirit?  If a person were to invent something that 
followed these 6 scientific requirements for life, would it or not have
a spirit?



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