Life of Cells -- Poll

Discussion in 'Biology & Genetics' started by JFS321, Nov 2, 2005.

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Are you a mechanist or a vitalist?

  1. Mechanist

    14 vote(s)
    63.6%
  2. Vitalist

    4 vote(s)
    18.2%
  3. No opinion

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  4. Don't understand the question

    4 vote(s)
    18.2%
  1. JFS321 Antioxidant Man Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    50
    I want to see who out there are Mechanists...and who are Vitalists.

    Mechanists believe that life can be explained easily using only chemistry/physics. Vitalists believe that a certain "life force" must be present.

    Personally, I believe this life force is the very thing that allows the chemistry and physics of cells to be possible. Cellular functions are so complicated, and when you break them down into smaller units, it really does seem that non-living proteins, nucleic acids, lipids, etc. all function together and create a living organism. Simple chemistry and physics cannot create an immense complex of macromolecules that "learn" to recognize each other and work together in order to grow and divide. The average person thinks "well, cells TELL their components what to do and thus they control their macromolecules". This is true, but the cell ITSELF is nothing but a larger collection of molecules. Something must be present to drive this order.
    Just my thoughts.
     
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  3. spuriousmonkey Banned Banned

    Messages:
    24,066
    Isn't this a bit oldfashioned? The last time I read about the mechanists vs vitalist I was still in the field of the history of science.
     
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  5. JFS321 Antioxidant Man Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    50
    Perhaps old-fashioned, but people still have to be one or the other.
     
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  7. spuriousmonkey Banned Banned

    Messages:
    24,066
    No, I don't think so. 'The sum is more than the parts' can also be explained mechanically. There doesn't have to be a 'life force'.
     
  8. cyberhoy Registered Member

    Messages:
    8
    I think I am a mechanist
     
  9. melodicbard Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    208
    I am a Vitalist, I think I am more than a machine.
    Otherwise, I cannot explain why I am typing now and choose to response to this post.
     
  10. spuriousmonkey Banned Banned

    Messages:
    24,066
    Because you as a machine thrive only when you socialize.
     
  11. Roman Banned Banned

    Messages:
    11,560
    I like to think of myself as a robot. I'm like "harder-faster-better-stronger-work-is-never-over."

    Everything's better when you're a machine.
     
  12. valich Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    3,501
    There are attractive forces in Nature that compel cellular components to order, organize, grow, and divide. Whether or not you want to call these "forces" as a spiritual "life force" is a more of a matter of semantics or personal connotation of wording or religous belief, than it is of objective biology and physics, or biophysics.

    "Simple chemistry and physics cannot create an immense complex of macromolecules that "learn" to recognize each other and work together in order to grow and divide."

    Why not??? This sentence needs further explanation or better wording.
     
  13. EmptyForceOfChi Banned Banned

    Messages:
    10,848
    i have aquired shen and am not a robodroid,



    peace
     
  14. leopold Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    17,455
    in my 50+ years i have not seen any evidence of life coming from nonlife.but on the other hand i have not seen any evidence that the universe and everything in it is controlled by an all powerful force. there must be another option.
     
  15. valich Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    3,501
    Because evolution takes milleniums - do you doubt this? - then how would 50+ years possibly give you enough time to witness the origin of life? Or "life coming from nonlife"?

    There is no evidence that "everything in it is controlled by an all powerful force," but simple chemical bonding (ionic, covalent, and hydrogen bonds), as well as the four fundamental forces in Nature (Nuclear, Electromagnetic, Weak forces arising from radioactive decay, and Gravity) are all powerful forces that have contributed to evolution and the transition from "nonlife" to life in the world today as we know it.

    Are you a creationist?
     
  16. leopold Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    17,455
    if you mean "do i believe in god?" the answer is no i do not believe,or should i say have any evidence for "a god". are you a chemist?
     
  17. valich Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    3,501
    Then what do you believe caused the emergence of life?
     
  18. leopold Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    17,455
    choose between creationism and evolution . .
    based on the evidence i have come across, i can't choose either one.
     
  19. spidergoat Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    51,725
    The scientific understanding of life processes is still incomplete, but so far, chemistry and physics can explain a large majority of it. When you break it down into smaller parts, which part cannot be explained by chemistry and physics? Or, are you saying that even though we can understand the parts, the whole seems miraculous? It does, but to postulate an unnecessary force seems to be an argument from incredulity. You can't believe life does what it does mechanically. I say that it does. We are complicated robots, our brains are computers. DNA is the recipe for life.

    Understanding of chemistry and physics (the distinction between "simple" and "complex" chemistry or physics is not relevent) allowed us to create computers that perform seemingly miraculous feats of computation, don't computers have a "life force"? Why not?
     
  20. leopold Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    17,455
    no, my computer doesn't have a "life force"
    why not? -because it has no instincts
    and i also know how they are made.
     
  21. valich Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    3,501
    You seem to be equating "life" with a necessary "life force." Why so? You're struggling to search for something that is either a "spiritual force" (creationism) or a "life force" (evolution) when no such force needs to exist.

    The evidence supports evolution and you can perform your own experiments in your backyard or garage to prove it. Take two different sub-species of plants and mate then together (as Mendel did) and you'll see the emergence of a new subspecies. Mate a German Shepherd with a Chihuaha and then take the offspring and keep breeding them together and you wind up with an entirely different Canid sub-species: evolution. Breed those offspring long enough together and they will genetically drift apart so far from the original German Shepherd and Chihuaha that you would not be able to interbreed them again. Thus you have created an entirely new species.
     
  22. leopold Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    17,455
    i can name a lot of things that happen in nature that can't be explained by evolution. how a woman gets pregnant is one of them.
     
  23. Physics Monkey Snow Monkey and Physicist Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    869
    If I may chime in here, I would think you mean that you can name a lot of things in nature that haven't yet been explained in terms of evolution. Do you agree that this doesn't mean that these things can't be explained in terms of evolution?

    Regarding the original question, I think the notion that we are "merely" a mechanical collection of atoms is slighty understating the complexity of the system. As a physicist I can tell you that even a "simple" bunch of electrons in a solid can display behavior so wondrous and multifaceted that physicists have been studying it for 75+ years. Coming from another point of view, one can design various simple robots which respond to just a few stimuli in a rudimentary way, yet these robots can exhibit suprisingly complicated "societies". How do we know that a system as complicated as a human, even if it is "merely" mechanical, wouldn't do exactly what humans do?
     
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2005

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