A possible definition of life.
John R. Campbell
campbejr at phu989.mms.sbphrd.com
Wed Apr 16 08:59:16 EST 1997
On 16 Apr 1997 06:37:22 -0700, "Ed Rybicki" <ed at MOLBIOL.UCT.AC.ZA> wrote:
>By: mattst at cogs.susx.ac.uk (Matthew Stanfield)
>> ... [snip]
>> "Life (on Earth) consists of all things built by DNA."
>Because, Matthew, there are those of us who think viruses - at least
>when in their hosts - display the attributes of living things. And
>many viruses have RNA genomes.
Yes, but in order to be replicated these puppies have gotta
be fed through reverse transcriptase (sp?) to generate the
DNA which can *then* be replicated to make the shell, RNA
strands and more reverse transcriptase.
Well, Matt was trying to focus on the feature that DNA *is*
a central point for carbon chauvinistic definitions of life.
> This is not to mention the
>possibility that computer viruses are, given a brand new niche of
>electronic labyrinths in which to electronicaly multiply, also alive
>(who are we to argue with Stephen Hawking?). Or memes (thought
>viruses - like the tune of "The Macarena").
Of course, that's trying to tie in "virtual" life (though can
anybody prove that what I'm going through these past 43 years
is a "real" life?).
>No, Matthew: I prefer:
> "Life (anywhere) is the phenomenon associated with th replciaiton of
>self-coding informational systems".
Not entiruely unreasonable and allows nanotech constructs (capable
of self-replication) an aspect of life.
Actually, what _is_ a cell but a nanomachine? (Though I think
nanotech purists would want to say that the cell has too large
a size for what they want.)
John R. Campbell, Speaker to Machines, Resident Heckler soup at jtan.com
"As a SysAdmin, yes, I CAN read your e-mail, but I DON'T get that bored!"-me
Disclaimer: I'm just a consultant at the bottom of the food chain, so,
if you're thinking I speak for anyone but myself, you must
have more lawyers than sense.
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