Cryptobiosis research?

John Hunter jdhunter at nitace.bsd.uchicago.edu
Fri Dec 8 18:21:58 EST 2000

>>>>> "Vytautas" == Vytautas  <Slotkusl at yahoo.com> writes:

    Vytautas> You don't understand the argument. The same clonning
    Vytautas> process already can achieve such a thing, but we can say
    Vytautas> it is not exactly the corpse wich is "life
    Vytautas> capable". With the neccesary technology, I think we may
    Vytautas> need nanotechnology besides advanced biotechnology
    Vytautas> methods, can make the same "30 years old corpse"
    Vytautas> alive. I don't say the human would keep having his
    Vytautas> memory, but the "corpse" would be definitely "alive" So
    Vytautas> the "30 years old corpse" WOULD be "life capable". All
    Vytautas> is technology.

    Vytautas> Yes, and "life capable" is not. So this definition can't
    Vytautas> exist alone. You may say something is "life capable"
    Vytautas> under certain conditions, but there can't be a
    Vytautas> definition of "life capable". Carbon dioxide is too
    Vytautas> "life capable"! 

We say a neuron is excitable if it is quiescent and, when given
sufficient current injection (and other conditions), it fires action

We say a dessicated cell is life capable if it is dormant and, when
properly hydrated (and other conditions), it restores normal cellular

'Life capable' can be a property of an object in the same way that
excitability can be a property of neurons.  The definition of the
property can refer to intrinsic and extrinsic features. I see no
problem with the reliance on extrinsic factors in the definition of a
property of an object.  How about reflective?  Can you define this
without reference to light?

    Vytautas> We have to make the neccesary mix with
    Vytautas> other compounds (like NH3, H2O, and other), add some
    Vytautas> electric discharges, let it stay with slowly changing
    Vytautas> conditions (imitating the evolution of the Earth
    Vytautas> enviroment during the same period of time), so in some
    Vytautas> hundred million (or a couple of billion) years you can
    Vytautas> obtain a living thing, wich would be of course
    Vytautas> "alive". So carbon dioxide is "life capable"? Yes, 

No!  Because even after you have mixed up your enormously complicated
soup, the CO2 is still not alive.  It is just a component of a living
thing.  It is no more alive than the CO2 in my bloodstream is.  The
'thing' which is life capable must be the same thing that is alive
after the environmental input.

That is why your corpse example above is flawed.  The corpse is not
life capable.  We may extract some DNA from it, clone it, and create
an organism with nearly the same DNA, but the damned corpse is still
dead as a doornail.  With the resurrection plant, cryogenically
preserved animals and dessicated cells, the thing before and after the
ressurection is the same, in the same way that I am the same thing
before and after a glass of water, or before or after I have had my
hand amputated.

John Hunter

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