Evolving Machine Codes: Tierra V3.13

Pedro J Mendes prm at aber.ac.uk
Sat Jul 18 08:31:26 EST 1992


Hi John!

In article <23760 at castle.ed.ac.uk> eanv20 at castle.ed.ac.uk (John Woods) writes:
>
>Now I'd be the first to admit that Tierra is a wonderful program, but
>I can't help getting the feeling that a logical point is being
>overlooked here.  Is it not the case that Tierra `creatures' can only
>be considered `alive' because they have what we might think of as
>`life-like' characteristics?  And how do we define `life-like'? 

 You just mentioned the most important issue: that to discuss life one
must start from an unambiguous definition of life. It seems to me that
there is no widely accepted definition, therefore it is up to each
person to coinsider tierrans to be alive or not.

 I can see no difference between "alive" or "life-like". If you can tell
the difference between these two, maybe we can then decide about tierrans
being live creatures.

>I think we're still left with a sample size of one!
>              ^^^^^
>				... John Woods

 at least you seem to have some hope that one day this will change!

>
>P.S. Are viruses alive or dead?  Just a thought.

Well, that's a classic one. It is the best way of showing that in order
to discuss life we need to define it. According to some definitions, they
are not (because they cannot reproduce themselves), but with others they
are living beings.

C U one of these days, John!
Best, Pedro Mendes
prm at aber.ac.uk

P.P.S. - Are computer viruses alive or dead?



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