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Thread: Poisonous and Infectous

  1. #1 Poisonous and Infectous 
    Forum Bachelors Degree The P-manator's Avatar
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    I need to clear this up: the difference between posionous and infectous. Apparently, infectous agents are living organisms, like viruses and bacteria, and poisonous substances are, well, substances. But can't viruses be poisonous?


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  3. #2  
    Forum Sophomore L.E.A.P.'s Avatar
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    Umm sory but i don't think viruses are living organisms, they are more like proteins.


    From wikipedia:
    In the context of biology, poisons are substances that can cause injury, illness, or death to organisms, usually by chemical reaction or other activity on the molecular scale, when a sufficient quantity is absorbed by an organism. Paracelsus, the father of toxicology states-- "Everything is poison, there is poison in everything. Only the dose makes a thing not a poison".
    From wikipedia:
    An infection is the detrimental colonization of a host organism by a foreign species. In infection, the infecting organism seeks to utilize the host's resources in order to multiply (usually at the expense of the host). The infecting organism, or pathogen, interferes with the normal functioning of the host and can lead to chronic wounds, gangrene, loss of an infected limb, and even death. The host's response to infection is inflammation. Colloquially, a pathogen is usually considered a microscopic organism though the definition is broader, including bacteria, parasites, fungi, viruses, prions, and viroids. A symbiosis between parasite and host, whereby the relationship is beneficial for the former but detrimental to the latter, is characterised as parasitism. The branch of medicine that focuses on infections and pathogens is infectious disease.


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  4. #3  
    Universal Mind John Galt's Avatar
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    Viruses (and bacteria) infect. They do not poison. [Maybe there is some obscure instance where a particular type does so, but I rather doubt it.]

    The status of viruses - alive or dead - is debated. They become alive once they can call on the machinery of the infected cell. Outside the host cell they are not alive, though they aren't dead either.
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  5. #4  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ophiolite
    Viruses (and bacteria) infect. They do not poison. [Maybe there is some obscure instance where a particular type does so, but I rather doubt it.]

    The status of viruses - alive or dead - is debated. They become alive once they can call on the machinery of the infected cell. Outside the host cell they are not alive, though they aren't dead either.
    From a gallactic Point of view humans might be considered a virus - once we've killed the planet and moved on....
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  6. #5  
    Universal Mind John Galt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by billco
    From a gallactic Point of view humans might be considered a virus - once we've killed the planet and moved on....
    This can only be true in a literary and metaphorical sense, not in a literal, or biochemical sense.

    If you take a Gaian perspective then all the species that evolve and die before man emerges from the chrysalis onto the interstellar stage, are like the discarded husk left by the butterfly. In such a perspective life itself is the virus, man is simply its seed state.
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  7. #6  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ophiolite
    Quote Originally Posted by billco
    From a gallactic Point of view humans might be considered a virus - once we've killed the planet and moved on....
    This can only be true in a literary and metaphorical sense, not in a literal, or biochemical sense.

    If you take a Gaian perspective then all the species that evolve and die before man emerges from the chrysalis onto the interstellar stage, are like the discarded husk left by the butterfly. In such a perspective life itself is the virus, man is simply its seed state.
    I'll go and look up Gaian (if it's not an arrestable offence).

    Would it be more agreeable I changed it from 'considered a virus' to 'considered a poison'
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  8. #7  
    Universal Mind John Galt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by billco
    I'll go and look up Gaian (if it's not an arrestable offence).
    James Lovelock conceived and promoted the idea that the biosphere of the Earth functions like a single giant organism, with species/genera funtioning like cell types, and individuals being the analogue of single cells. His vision was the logical extension of ecological concepts. (It is only an arrestable offence in the minds of Republicans.)
    Quote Originally Posted by billco
    Would it be more agreeable I changed it from 'considered a virus' to 'considered a poison'
    It wasn't disagreeable; it simply was untrue in any literal or biochemical sense. The same would apply to describing man as a poison.
    In my experiece many of the largest mistakes in comprehension of science arise when individuals confuse analogy with reality. I just wanted to protect our youthful members from your poetic flight of fancy. 8)
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  9. #8  
    Forum Bachelors Degree The P-manator's Avatar
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    Yeah, OK, I get it. Viruses can produce poisons, though. And to a virus, we are Gaia. And to Gaia, we are viruses.
    Pierre

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