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Thread: Help?

  1. #1 Help? 
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    Which should be the most basic feature in determining whether a thing is living or not: genetic material or cellular structure?


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  3. #2  
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    Both of those sound like life to me.


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  4. #3  
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    We have to defend one for a class project. It's really hard to choose.
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  5. #4  
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    Given your project, you have two choices:
    -Easy route
    -Hard route

    As I said, both are within the boundaries but Cellular Structure is more within than the DNA Molecule. A Molecule of DNA is a necessity for a living thing on Earth, but its days of self replicating outside of a cell seem to be long gone. There are just too many things that are more complex that will devour the self replicating molecules.
    Cellular structure demonstrates that more complex eating machine. The common definition of life includes (Going off memory from many years ago):
    Locomotion
    Ability to replicate or reproduce
    Responds to its environment
    Uses/consumes energy
    Can adapt to environment
    Is made up of cells

    So you can defend the Cellular structure as the easy route or bite the bullet and try to defend the DNA molecule just to test your wits and try to make a convincing argument that claiming that something must be made of cells to be considered life is flawed or how it reacts to things shouldn't be a factor and so on.
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  6. #5  
    Universal Mind John Galt's Avatar
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    When microscopes first revealed the cellular nature of life that became one of the key means of defining it. Therefore, the traditional route would be to argue that all life we know of has a cellular structure. One could expand on this noting emphasising the word structure. The many aspects of 'living' are conducted by partitioning the work into different parts of the cell. (This is true even in prokaryotes, which lack some of the more sophisticated structures of eukaryotes.)

    However, the ability of life to reproduce, to construct the cell, to perform the various kinds of work, is wholly dependent upon the gentic material. To me this is by far the easier argument to make. Expect, however, attacks from those who think viruses are not alive.
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