A possible definition of life.

Bill House bhouse at dazsi.nospam.com
Wed Apr 30 11:17:41 EST 1997

Peter Bentley <ucacpjb at cs.ucl.ac.uk> wrote in article <33678AD3.614A at cs.ucl.ac.uk>...
> Must all self-replicating entities be complex?
> Will all forms of life transform energy? (Would artificial life?)
> Must all self-replicating entities evolve, and is the occurance
> of evolution a requirement of life? (Must all life evolve?)
Wow, great questions!

1. Complexity is promoted (if not actually required) by the evolution property

2. Unless it transforms energy, it is static -- a rock, if you will. For A-Life, this
translates to memory and CPU cycles, but it's energy transformation nonetheless. The
key here is the local reduction in disorder, as this is what differentiates non-living
energy transformation from that performed by living things (artificial or otherwise).

3. Must life evolve? As it's environment changes, life must evolve or die. In fact,
without evolution, replication loses a great deal of its utility. Why have progeny,
when they'll just eat the food that you could have eaten? The answer is that your
progeny might be better than you, and thus ensure that some bit of you will endure into
the future. Hmm...

Perhaps the "will" to survive, if not individually, then as a species, is also a
property of life?  "Will" is obviously a poor word, but living things are also
obviously programmed to behave in this fashion, both as individuals and as species.

Bill House
Note: my e-mail address has been altered to
confuse the enemy. The views I express are
mine alone (unless you agree with me).

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