Notices
Results 1 to 9 of 9

Thread: Life ????

  1. #1 Life ???? 
    Suspended
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Strugle Town
    Posts
    222
    Forgive me for asking what may have been discussed before, but I have been thinking a lot about what life is and what it is for?, Is the universe alive? Can the universe have intligence? Do you think that life on Earth and every where else, if we are not unique could have been seeded from some event [big bang] are the seeds floating around out there waiting??
    I hope this is the right forum, Biology did not seem right.


    Reply With Quote  
     

  2.  
     

  3. #2 Re: Life ???? 
    Forum Junior Cuete's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    4722,28 miles away from home
    Posts
    218
    I think this could go in Philosophical Discussion maybe?

    Meanwhile, this is what I can say:

    Quote Originally Posted by Die Fledermaus
    what life is
    Life is something that has organization, growth, reproduction, metabolism, response to stimuli and adaptation, among other things.


    Quote Originally Posted by Die Fledermaus
    and what it is for?
    Could it just be?? (Not sure about this one)


    Quote Originally Posted by Die Fledermaus
    Is the universe alive?
    No. It is a dynamic system... but no, it isn't alive (it doesn't reproduce and stuff)


    Quote Originally Posted by Die Fledermaus
    Can the universe have intligence?
    No. It is a complex system, but it can't solve problems, it doesn't have a mind of it's own.


    Quote Originally Posted by Die Fledermaus
    Do you think that life on Earth and every where else, if we are not unique could have been seeded from some event [big bang] are the seeds floating around out there waiting??
    Yes. If it happened here... why not somewhere else? (of course I'm not talking about the aliens that we usually see on TV)


    Reply With Quote  
     

  4. #3 Re: Life ???? 
    Universal Mind John Galt's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Posts
    14,168
    Quote Originally Posted by Cuete
    It is a complex system, but it can't solve problems, it doesn't have a mind of it's own.
    It does now. :wink:
    Reply With Quote  
     

  5. #4 Re: Life ???? 
    Forum Junior Cuete's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    4722,28 miles away from home
    Posts
    218
    Quote Originally Posted by Ophiolite
    Quote Originally Posted by Cuete
    It is a complex system, but it can't solve problems, it doesn't have a mind of it's own.
    It does now. :wink:
    Maybe yours... or mine. Just in that case...
    Reply With Quote  
     

  6. #5 Re: Life ???? 
    New Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Posts
    1
    Quote Originally Posted by Cuete
    I think this could go in Philosophical Discussion maybe?

    Meanwhile, this is what I can say:

    Quote Originally Posted by Die Fledermaus
    what life is
    Life is something that has organization, growth, reproduction, metabolism, response to stimuli and adaptation, among other things.


    Quote Originally Posted by Die Fledermaus
    and what it is for?
    Could it just be?? (Not sure about this one)


    Quote Originally Posted by Die Fledermaus
    Is the universe alive?
    No. It is a dynamic system... but no, it isn't alive (it doesn't reproduce and stuff)


    Quote Originally Posted by Die Fledermaus
    Can the universe have intligence?
    No. It is a complex system, but it can't solve problems, it doesn't have a mind of it's own.


    Quote Originally Posted by Die Fledermaus
    Do you think that life on Earth and every where else, if we are not unique could have been seeded from some event [big bang] are the seeds floating around out there waiting??
    Yes. If it happened here... why not somewhere else? (of course I'm not talking about the aliens that we usually see on TV)
    I support you, but ...

    Quote Originally Posted by Die Fledermaus
    Do you think that life on Earth and every where else, if we are not unique could have been seeded from some event [big bang] are the seeds floating around out there waiting??
    Yes. If it happened here... why not somewhere else? (of course I'm not talking about the aliens that we usually see on TV)

    maybe we it's a live because Earth just distance from Sun.

    sorry for my English
    :?
    Reply With Quote  
     

  7. #6  
    Time Lord zinjanthropos's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Driving in my car
    Posts
    6,092
    No matter how you look at it, life is a part of the universe, even if only unique to the Earth. Does this mean the universe is alive? Not necessarily but it's an absolute certainty that some parts of the universe are.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  8. #7  
    Suspended
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Strugle Town
    Posts
    222
    You are right Cuete some of this should be on Philosophy have jumped over to have a look see, thanks.

    You say: Life is something that has organization, growth, reproduction, metabolism, response to stimuli and adaptation, among other things.

    I think this could apply to our Universe :wink: :wink:
    Reply With Quote  
     

  9. #8  
    Forum Junior Cuete's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    4722,28 miles away from home
    Posts
    218
    Lets see...

    Organization: Yep, the universe has organization: Cumuli, Galaxies, Solar Systems and Planetary Systems.

    Growth: The Universe expands.

    Metabolism: Well this is an organic term, but maybe it can be interpreted as the chemical and nuclear reactions taking place in the Universe, like fusion and fision.

    Response to stimuli: I don't think there are any external stimuli in this case, but objects inside the Universe react to gravitational and electromagnetic forces applied to them.

    Adaptation: The Universe doesn't adapt because 'it' is all that exists... but the objects inside it adapt to the changes and reactions taking place in it.

    Reproduction: I'm not sure about this. Maybe it can reproduce itself, but we have no way to know this (yet).
    Reply With Quote  
     

  10. #9  
    Forum Radioactive Isotope mitchellmckain's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Salt Lake City, UTAH, USA
    Posts
    3,112
    Quote Originally Posted by Die Fledermaus
    I have been thinking a lot about what is life ...?
    Well a biologist will give certain qualifying properties as Cuete did but this is misleading, for it doesn't really address what life is really and some of these properties may very well be incidental. Reproduction for example. Are mules and people suffering from sterility not alive because they do not have the capability of reproducing? Obviously not. Another biological approach is to make a list of phenomena (like a list of species) and define life as any thing within this list, or to point to the commonalities of the chemical composition of the members of this list, such as DNA. But this may also be incidental to the fact that all life on the earth appears to have the same origins, and it seems all too possible that something which we would intuitively identify as alive might not share these chemical commonalities.

    Obviously there are some foundational work in meta-biology work to be done to define what life really is. But this is actually something which I have tried to do. I say that we intuitively call something alive when it does things for its own reasons. In other words we call something alive when its actions are not completely explained by its environment. This is somewhat explained in the idea of emergent characteristics. But the theory of self-organization in Erich Jantsch's book is more significant. Therefore, I say that life is a particular type of process by which a dynamic system in a far from equillibrium environment develops and maintains a self perpetuating but adaptable dynamic structure. For example, all known biological organisms constantly experience damage and deterioration that is constantly repaired by acquiring new raw materials and energy from its environment. It is this need for readily obtainable energy and materials that requires the far from equillibrium environment. Dynamic systems like this have some important identifiable characteristics. They maintain their independence from the evironment by maintaining internal structure and conditions dynamically, which means they do so by responding to the environment not by being insensitive to it. A rock, for example, maintains its structure by being insensitive to environmental change. As another example, the human body maintains its own internal temperature by responding to hot or cold environments by a variety of mechanisms like sweating and shivering. So two important characteristics are independence from the environment and sensitivity to the environment. The loss of these characteristics usually means death

    This self maintainance by responding (changing its dynamic structure or behavior) seems related to a primitive phenomena in non-linear systems called bifurcation. The basic idea is that a change in environment can cause a non-linear system to a critical point where it must choose between two possible structures. This has two important implications for two more identifiable characteristics of these dynamic systems which we can identify with living things. The third characteristic (in addition to independence and sensitivity) is the ability to learn, which derives from the ability to change structure in response to environmental change. The fourth characteristic is creativity which derives from the fact that these changes in structure involve non-deterministic choices. One more characteristic of these dynamic systems which seems to be an emergent charactersistic is the tendency to form cooperative communities.

    Quote Originally Posted by Die Fledermaus
    Is the universe alive?
    An important conclusion from this identification of life with this kind of process is that life is quantifiable. The measurement of this quantity called life may be a bit complex but it is measurable. The degree of simultaneous environmental independence and sensitivity to the environment is theoretically a measurable quantity. Perhaps the individual bifurcation events in a living system may not be countable but I believe that approximate measures can be devised to measure the learning and creative response abilities of living organisms. Communities greatly increase all the other measures of life which I have already suggested which makes numerical measures of community like population, communication, interdependency, and hierarchy all very good measure of life as well. Two other important measures are the duration of life and the time scale over which the learning and creative responses occur. Dynamic systems with very brief existence clearly have a low level of life and dynamic systems which persist a long time but show changes only over very a very large time scale also must be considered to have a low level of life.

    Another important conclusion from this identification of living things with this type of dynamic process is that the there are very primitive examples of such dynamic structures which are not ordinarily identified as alive. An obvious example is a weather system. In particular, hurricanes and the red spot on Jupiter come to mind. Rather than being counter-examples, I suggest that the measures I talked about in the previous paragraph will indicate an extremely low measure of life. But these weather systems do seem to absorb energy and materials from their environment to reinforce their own structure. There may be a question of whether the same identification can also be applied to stars and galaxies, but if so it is clear that the measure of life in these cases is relatively close to zero. But perhaps more important than these examples is the obvious implications that communities of living organisms can themselves be considered to be living organisms. Besides things like packs, herds, tribes and cultures, there are species and ecosystems, all of which most definitely exhibit all of the characteristics of living dynamic sytems themselves.

    In conclusion I think it is quite possible that the universe itself may be a form of life. Perhaps it was even created in some kind of bifurcation event, which sounds quite a bit like the symmetry breaking events talked about by physicists. HOWEVER, all the measures I have talked about indicate that the universe would NOT have a very high measure of life. Just considering the time scale over which the universe changes suggests that it is less alive than anything else. Furthermore it cannot be considered alive as any sort of community, the Minkowsky structure of space-time (the special theory of relativity) suggests that communication between its parts is close to non-existent.

    Quote Originally Posted by Die Fledermaus
    Can the universe have intligence?
    The most general definition of intellegence appears to be "the capacity to acquire and apply knowledge". To me this seems to be very very similar to the basic characteristic of dynamic systems to be sensitive to and respond to their environment. So I think that intellegence is really a basic characteristic of all living systems.

    I am sure that many would argue that it is more meaningful to associate intellegence with the manipulation of symbolic representations of information and with the manipulations of abstractions (or something like that). BUT I have serious doubts that a distinct line can be drawn here between what a "symbolic representation" and what is not and so I suspect that intellegence rather than being a qualitative difference is more of a quantitative difference than is usually thought, just like life. But I think it is most likely that a measure of intellegence in living systems cannot exceed the measure of life. Thus we cannot say that the universe itself is intellegent to any significant degree.

    Quote Originally Posted by Die Fledermaus
    Do you think that life on Earth and every where else, if we are not unique could have been seeded from some event [big bang] are the seeds floating around out there waiting??
    The only seeds are the materials and energy flows of which the universe is composed and which can be found througout the universe. For life does not derive from any special life giving substance or seed. Life derives in the potential present in matter and the physics which govern its behavior to form complex dynamic systems.

    Quote Originally Posted by Die Fledermaus
    and what it is for?

    I hope this is the right forum, Biology did not seem right.
    What is life for? Well that implies that it was created for a purpose, for if not then why should life be for anything. Now I believe that the life and the universe was created, but do you? Anyway, the Astronomy & Cosmology topic is certainly not the place such a discussion. Repost your question under religion if you want to pursue that possiblility for otherwise we must exclude all consideration of a creator.
    See my physics of spaceflight simulator at http://www.relspace.astahost.com

    I now have a blog too: http://astahost.blogspot.com/
    Reply With Quote  
     

Bookmarks
Bookmarks
Posting Permissions
  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •