# Define the term "life"

Discussion in 'Biology & Genetics' started by crazylenny, Aug 3, 2003.

1. ### crazylennyRegistered Member

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Basically I just want a biological definition to the term life or alive.

I remember in high school biology that there were conditions (I believe there were 5) that an object must meet or pass before it can be considered alive or else it is considered to be an inanimate object (such as a rock). Although I can't remember the conditions themselves. Anyone know them?

Also given the conditions, can someone explain why fire is not considered to be alive?

Several years ago I remember watching an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation (yeah yeah yeah I know, I'm a dork) where this very question came up and I believe Data explained (or maybe another member of the crew explained it to Data) why fire is not considered to be alive. Of course I forget why which is what I'm after.

thanks.

3. ### koreyRegistered Senior Member

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I think they are Reproduction, Adaptation, Excretion, Respiration, and Organization....Im not sure if those are the exact ones, though...

5. ### sargentlardSave the whales motherfuckerValued Senior Member

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Evidence of Cellular activity and cellular respiration. That's why Viruses aren't classified as living because they don't do the whole cellular respiration thing....it is soooo passe for them.

Fire isn't alive because it is just energy......it lacks any biological function...it is just a release of energy....as long as it has fuel it will keep burning but it isn't living

7. ### trojRegistered Senior Member

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true

im alive 'cos I P155 n sh1t!!!

8. ### Hercules RockefellerBeatings will continue until morale improves.Moderator

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The definition of life has become very blurred in recent years. But I think (assume?) that most biologists still use the “traditional” definition. As I remember it, the strict criterion for life is that it has the ability to generate and store its own energy. In other words, the cell must have an electron transport chain that can reduce a substrate to generate ATP, which it can then use as an energy source.

9. ### John ConnellanValued Senior Member

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physically speaking it is the ability to decrease local entropy at will!!!

10. ### sargentlardSave the whales motherfuckerValued Senior Member

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Re: true

what the hell does that have to do with anything?????

11. ### gendankenRuler of All the LandsValued Senior Member

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Crazylenny
Words fail me my lords. Depsite the scientific camp's insistence on the meaning of life being strictly biological, or that of the religious camp that would go to war swearing that its a ghostly ephemera that makes life I have only this to say:

Life is anything that goes " squoosh" when you step on it.
You find what you seek in a "squoosh".

Last edited: Aug 9, 2003
12. ### trojRegistered Senior Member

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i believe that thats a life process of all living things Larda!!!!!

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14. ### wesmorrisNerd Overlord - we(s):1 of NValued Senior Member

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Life (as in to be alive): that which was granted and currently maintains the 'spark of life' gained by 'the life force'.

('the life force' being the force in the universe (like gravity is a force) that drives the propensity for life)

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16. ### gendankenRuler of All the LandsValued Senior Member

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Says Mephurio:
True enough, comrade. But what about mostly dead? That implies slightly alive. All dead is something else entirely. There's only one thing you can do then. Know what it is?

17. ### whitewolfasleep under the juniper bushRegistered Senior Member

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"To satisfy all of th e conditions necessary for life, all living systems must be able to perform certain biochemical and biophysical activities which collectively are known as life functions.
Nutrition
Transport--involves absorption of materials, including the movement and distribution of materials within the body
Respiration
Excretion
Synthesis--involves those biochemical processes in cells by which small molecules are built into larger ones
Regulation
Growth
Reproduction"

If you need further explanation, ask.

18. ### spuriousmonkeyBannedBanned

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I was under the impression that the definition of life is flexible and changes accoring to the need of the scientists in question.

However, you know if something is alive or not when you see it.

19. ### trojRegistered Senior Member

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moneky 'n' his super specs!

not true.................unless monkey has $hit hot vision and can see bateria 20. ### spuriousmonkeyBannedBanned Messages: 24,066 Yes..I even saw some bacteria today. 21. ### trojRegistered Senior Member Messages: 34 scratchin ya ball$ were ya?

Last edited: Aug 12, 2003
22. ### spuriousmonkeyBannedBanned

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No, I am visiting a microbiology institute in Germany.

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