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  1. #1 Characteristics of Living Things 
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    If a man is considered sterile, and one of the characeristics of livings things is the ability to reproduce, is he still considered living?


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    Is a post menopausal woman still alive? Are all the non-reproducing members of a meerkat family or a wolf pack alive? What about those roving bands of bachelor elephants? They all look to be pretty alive to me.

    It's only the species that needs to reproduce, not every single individual member of that species.


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    Quote Originally Posted by ssorge View Post
    If a man is considered sterile, and one of the characeristics of livings things is the ability to reproduce, is he still considered living?
    Did you get some bad news or have a little surgical procedure done to you?
    All that belongs to human understanding, in this deep ignorance and obscurity, is to be skeptical, or at least cautious; and not to admit of any hypothesis, whatsoever; much less, of any which is supported by no appearance of probability...Hume
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    Quote Originally Posted by ssorge View Post
    If a man is considered sterile, and one of the characeristics of livings things is the ability to reproduce, is he still considered living?
    Your question shows how inaccurate our definitions of 'living' and 'life' are.
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    Let's see. I had to have a total hysterectomy at the age of 31.

    Am I still a female?
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    Quote Originally Posted by babe View Post
    Am I still a female?
    For a definitive answer you will have to post some sexy photos!
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    Quote Originally Posted by RedPanda View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by babe View Post
    Am I still a female?
    For a definitive answer you will have to post some sexy photos!
    ahahahahhah I have some beach ones...but I think I'd be banned.....*L*

    though one...I could post.....*chuckle*

    but you'd go blind

    BRAT!!!!!!!!!!
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    Quote Originally Posted by RedPanda View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by ssorge View Post
    If a man is considered sterile, and one of the characeristics of livings things is the ability to reproduce, is he still considered living?
    Your question shows how inaccurate our definitions of 'living' and 'life' are.
    Not really; post #2 answered the question - classification of living in this context is at the species level. I Think the OP is confusing different definitions of 'living', 'life' or 'alive' (possibly on purpose to raise discussion).

    As a counter-point, how do we classify a human baby, say, during their infertile period, considering they eventually go on to reproduce? Or a couple that lose a child?
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    Quote Originally Posted by NoCoolAvatar View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by RedPanda View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by ssorge View Post
    If a man is considered sterile, and one of the characeristics of livings things is the ability to reproduce, is he still considered living?
    Your question shows how inaccurate our definitions of 'living' and 'life' are.
    Not really; post #2 answered the question - classification of living in this context is at the species level.
    I hadn't read post #2 - but I don't agree with it.

    I will reply to Adelady (rather than to both of you).
    But please feel free to critique that reply.
    Last edited by RedPanda; September 6th, 2013 at 07:16 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by adelady View Post
    Is a post menopausal woman still alive? Are all the non-reproducing members of a meerkat family or a wolf pack alive? What about those roving bands of bachelor elephants? They all look to be pretty alive to me.
    It's only the species that needs to reproduce, not every single individual member of that species.
    That doesn't make sense to me.

    No-one really says a species is living or alive.
    They say it is extant or extinct, but not living.

    And, using that kind of logic, if the rabbit (as a species) is alive then how do I tell that the flat rabbit on the road is dead?

    The OP described "one of the characeristics of livings things".
    These are characteristics that living things require to be considered living, yes?

    Now, the answer may be "No - reproduction is not a characteristic of living things when determining if something is living" - in which case I see little to argue with.
    But, if being able to reproduce is a characteristic of a living thing, then that would mean that zorses and ligers and mules are all non-living.
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    Quote Originally Posted by RedPanda View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by adelady View Post
    Is a post menopausal woman still alive? Are all the non-reproducing members of a meerkat family or a wolf pack alive? What about those roving bands of bachelor elephants? They all look to be pretty alive to me.
    It's only the species that needs to reproduce, not every single individual member of that species.
    That doesn't make sense to me.

    No-one really says a species is living or alive.
    They say it is extant or extinct, but not living.

    And, using that kind of logic, if the rabbit (as a species) is alive then how do I tell that the flat rabbit on the road is dead?

    The OP described "one of the characeristics of livings things".
    These are characteristics that living things require to be considered living, yes?

    Now, the answer may be "No - reproduction is not a characteristic of living things when determining if something is living" - in which case I see little to argue with.
    But, if being able to reproduce is a characteristic of a living thing, then that would mean that zorses and ligers and mules are all non-living.
    By the OP's definition, the dead rabbit cannot reproduce; that is how you tell it is dead

    By the same token, how can you tell a man definitely, unequivocally can never reproduce, without testing him? He might just be 'not very good at it'!

    Both you and the OP are using a single part of a definition (reproduction) to define something as living here, though. You are quite right in saying 'reproduction is a characteristic of a living thing' but it is not the one and only defining attribute, is it?

    There is some synechdoche in the use of the word 'living'. Thinking particularly of the cells that go to make up humans, even though the infertile man cannot reproduce in the sense that he creates another human being, he does continue to 'reproduce' other cells such as skin cells, blood cells etc. In this, he is practicing self-sustained reproduction which we call 'growth'; another of the attributes of a living thing.

    Zorses and mules and ligers all grow, and to do so they 'metabolise' (another attribute) their food sources and use respiration to achieve this. As such, to consider them not living because of a defect in their genetics is over-stepping the mark a little, and not taking into account all the other evidence - it is bad science. You cannot use the one element to define the whole without considering these other parts.

    I agree, a definition of life is contentious, but the argument presented here is flawed in my opinion, as it fails to take into account the other attributes we use to define life.
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    Quote Originally Posted by NoCoolAvatar View Post
    By the OP's definition, the dead rabbit cannot reproduce; that is how you tell it is dead
    By the same token, how can you tell a man definitely, unequivocally can never reproduce, without testing him? He might just be 'not very good at it'!
    Both you and the OP are using a single part of a definition (reproduction) to define something as living here, though.
    You are quite right in saying 'reproduction is a characteristic of a living thing' but it is not the one and only defining attribute, is it?
    I would say that reproduction is neither an indication of living nor non-living.
    Combining it with other criteria just makes things worse, imo.

    Quote Originally Posted by NoCoolAvatar View Post
    There is some synechdoche in the use of the word 'living'. Thinking particularly of the cells that go to make up humans, even though the infertile man cannot reproduce in the sense that he creates another human being, he does continue to 'reproduce' other cells such as skin cells, blood cells etc. In this, he is practicing self-sustained reproduction which we call 'growth'; another of the attributes of a living thing.

    Zorses and mules and ligers all grow, and to do so they 'metabolise' (another attribute) their food sources and use respiration to achieve this. As such, to consider them not living because of a defect in their genetics is over-stepping the mark a little, and not taking into account all the other evidence - it is bad science. You cannot use the one element to define the whole without considering these other parts.
    I agree there are other better characteristics we could use to identify life - but they are not perfect; things we consider to be life forms would often end up excluded.

    Quote Originally Posted by NoCoolAvatar View Post
    I agree, a definition of life is contentious, but the argument presented here is flawed in my opinion, as it fails to take into account the other attributes we use to define life.
    But the definition of life (whichever one you pick) doesn't say you can pick and choose criteria.
    It says (e.g) "Life must reproduce AND breathe AND excrete AND ...etc."
    To include reproduction in the definition makes the definition exclude many things we are confident are alive (e.g. mules).

    Perhaps you can think of a definition that includes reproduction but doesn't exclude mules?
    Or maybe we should drop reproduction from any definition of life we choose?
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    Quote Originally Posted by RedPanda View Post
    But the definition of life (whichever one you pick) doesn't say you can pick and choose criteria.
    It says (e.g) "Life must reproduce AND breathe AND excrete AND ...etc."
    To include reproduction in the definition makes the definition exclude many things we are confident are alive (e.g. mules).

    Perhaps you can think of a definition that includes reproduction but doesn't exclude mules?

    Or maybe we should drop reproduction from any definition of life we choose?
    I think the original question posed is essentially philosophical in nature, and not scientific, as observational evidence to the contrary is being ignored.

    People have argued over the definition of life for so long now, and there is still no definitive answer. I don't think I'm going to solve it in one fell swoop. The big example for the argument you make would be the virus; considered non-living as it requires a host to reproduce, it nonetheless straddles the boundary between 'living/non-living' precariously.

    However, I would add that what you appear to be arguing is that every 'thing' you come into contact with needs to be separately classified as 'living' or 'non-living' i.e. 'organic' or 'inorganic' on the basis of what particular attributes they display at that moment in time. I say 'at that moment' because we are all infertile when young, so by your reckoning, none of us can be considered alive until we are fertile.

    To classify every thing separately would be an exhausting enterprise, if not impractical and unreasonable, and would bring us no closer to a universal definition. By separating out individuals of a population in this way, singularly assessing their 'living' or 'non-living' status (mules etc included) you require constant refinement in the precision of the definition for life that is required, but at the same time, over-emphasise the need for all members of a species to consistently display these qualities in order for them to be considered alive.

    Once you have proved one member of a species is 'organic', by definition, all other classified members of the same species must share the same attribute. To be considered human, not to mention infertile, the man had to be a member of a species that is classified as possessing 'life' in the first place. As such, only death can change that, and for one to die, it implies that one was living prior. So I would say the original question is a paradox - a man who is 'non-living' cannot be a man nor can 'he' be infertile, so the question can't exist!

    You argue that you don't understand the premise that we look at it from a species level; however, your counter-argument relies on the assumption that ALL mules are sterile - that is, all members of the mule species are 'non-living' due to the fact that some mules that have been studied are sterile. You must accept the premise from the species level in order to make this argument.

    No-one can say authoritatively that ALL mules that have ever existed were sterile (some females mules have borne young, in fact), and evidence of all other attributes of life are possessed by the animals - hence, they are alive. It is not a case of picking and choosing; in fact, in this case, we are well aware of the genetic basis for this inability (an incompatible number of chromosomes) and we can state quite assuredly that it is for this reason they are infertile, generally. It is a defect in the organism, but it does not imply that the organism is non-living.
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    Quote Originally Posted by NoCoolAvatar View Post
    I think the original question posed is essentially philosophical in nature, and not scientific, as observational evidence to the contrary is being ignored.
    It seemed scientific to me.
    If it's philosophical, then I'll leave you to it.
    Philosophy is not my thing.

    Quote Originally Posted by NoCoolAvatar View Post
    People have argued over the definition of life for so long now, and there is still no definitive answer. I don't think I'm going to solve it in one fell swoop. The big example for the argument you make would be the virus; considered non-living as it requires a host to reproduce, it nonetheless straddles the boundary between 'living/non-living' precariously.
    Not only that, but sterile mules would be considered non-living because they don't reproduce.

    Quote Originally Posted by NoCoolAvatar View Post
    However, I would add that what you appear to be arguing is that every 'thing' you come into contact with needs to be separately classified as 'living' or 'non-living' i.e. 'organic' or 'inorganic' on the basis of what particular attributes they display at that moment in time. I say 'at that moment' because we are all infertile when young, so by your reckoning, none of us can be considered alive until we are fertile.
    Considering the fact I have said several times that I don't think reproduction is a requirement of life, I do not understand why you think that.

    Quote Originally Posted by NoCoolAvatar View Post
    To classify every thing separately would be an exhausting enterprise, if not impractical and unreasonable, and would bring us no closer to a universal definition. By separating out individuals of a population in this way, singularly assessing their 'living' or 'non-living' status (mules etc included) you require constant refinement in the precision of the definition for life that is required, but at the same time, over-emphasise the need for all members of a species to consistently display these qualities in order for them to be considered alive.
    Scientists spend a lot of time classifying and defining things.
    I don't see why the definition of life should be excluded from that enterprise.

    Quote Originally Posted by NoCoolAvatar View Post
    Once you have proved one member of a species is 'organic', by definition, all other classified members of the same species must share the same attribute. To be considered human, not to mention infertile, the man had to be a member of a species that is classified as possessing 'life' in the first place. As such, only death can change that, and for one to die, it implies that one was living prior. So I would say the original question is a paradox - a man who is 'non-living' cannot be a man nor can 'he' be infertile, so the question can't exist!
    And once you have proved that one member of a species is male, by definition, all other classified members of the same species must share the same attribute.......or not.

    Quote Originally Posted by NoCoolAvatar View Post
    You argue that you don't understand the premise that we look at it from a species level; however, your counter-argument relies on the assumption that ALL mules are sterile - that is, all members of the mule species are 'non-living' due to the fact that some mules that have been studied are sterile. You must accept the premise from the species level in order to make this argument.
    No-one can say authoritatively that ALL mules that have ever existed were sterile (some females mules have borne young, in fact), and evidence of all other attributes of life are possessed by the animals - hence, they are alive.
    I do not assume all mules are sterile.
    I know that most mules are sterile - which, if you accept reproduction as a requirement to being alive, makes most mules non-living.

    Quote Originally Posted by NoCoolAvatar View Post
    It is not a case of picking and choosing; in fact, in this case, we are well aware of the genetic basis for this inability (an incompatible number of chromosomes) and we can state quite assuredly that it is for this reason they are infertile, generally. It is a defect in the organism, but it does not imply that the organism is non-living.
    It is not a defect - it is the normal state for a mule.
    Their genetic make-up prevents them from breeding.
    If anything (and if the report of a fertile mule is true) fertile mules are the defective ones.

    What you are doing is comparing a mule to another animal (horse); deciding what you think it should be able to do (reproduce); and calling it defective because it can't do it (because it is sterile).
    You are deciding a priori that mules are living and then saying that they should be able to reproduce, so that you can fit them into your definition of life.


    p.s. It's a long-ish post. If I missed something important, please repeat it and I'll reply to it.
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    OK so we said menopausal women....what about men who have been *cough* neutered, i.e. vasectomy....they also can't reproduce.
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    Quote Originally Posted by RedPanda View Post
    Scientists spend a lot of time classifying and defining things.
    I don't see why the definition of life should be excluded from that enterprise.

    I do not assume all mules are sterile.
    I know that most mules are sterile - which, if you accept reproduction as a requirement to being alive, makes most mules non-living.

    Quote Originally Posted by NoCoolAvatar View Post
    It is not a case of picking and choosing; in fact, in this case, we are well aware of the genetic basis for this inability (an incompatible number of chromosomes) and we can state quite assuredly that it is for this reason they are infertile, generally. It is a defect in the organism, but it does not imply that the organism is non-living.
    It is not a defect - it is the normal state for a mule.
    Their genetic make-up prevents them from breeding.
    If anything (and if the report of a fertile mule is true) fertile mules are the defective ones.

    What you are doing is comparing a mule to another animal (horse); deciding what you think it should be able to do (reproduce); and calling it defective because it can't do it (because it is sterile).
    You are deciding a priori that mules are living and then saying that they should be able to reproduce, so that you can fit them into your definition of life.


    p.s. It's a long-ish post. If I missed something important, please repeat it and I'll reply to it.
    I would say you missed the most important points and cherry-picked the ones you argued against. I apologise for making a few errors between your statements and the OP in my previous post.

    You did not answer the infertility of young humans and where this places you (and our argument!) and you did not answer the part about you using the same argument from the species level to make a distinction of mules as all possessing the same defining quality, yet not accepting a species view of things in other arguments.

    Please answer this question - it is central to the argument, I feel - If most mules are non-living (by your assertion), what do you define as having happened to them when, after growing and moving and metabolising, they fall over cliffs or don't get fed and watered and stop growing/moving and start to decay? Accepting that a non-living thing cannot die (only living things get to do that) I want you to explain to me the mystery of why a mule stops working in this situation. (A rock would never be so impertinent!)

    In my comparison, I am comparing the mule to one of its parents, and its parent's parent and so on, all of whom could reproduce (hence said mule's existence), so to expect its offspring to reproduce (as with all other species) but seeing it cannot is an example of finding a defect in the line. It is not unreasonable to make this comparison - If we never make such comparisons, we can never see what qualities are shared by living things, so it is necessary to do this.

    Life is not an object, a 'thing' that something possesses - it is a series of processes that define a living thing, and it is the ceasing of these processes that defines death. It is because of this inherent 'process-defining nature' that it is so difficult to pin down a definitive definition. I say that there is room for things that don't have the ability to reproduce, like mules and ligers and so on, in a definition of 'living'; I accept that sometimes there is other available evidence for life processes that we can use. What you are suggesting is taking one particular process and, failing to get a positive result for its presence, throwing the baby out with the bathwater. It is not as simple as that, unfortunately.

    Finally, if something is non-living, it is not possible for it to be infertile. As such your argument doesn't exist. You must classify your non-reproductive object as something else entirely; fertility is a preserve of living things, so infertility, with its implied assertion that the infertile thing 'would normally be fertile, but this one isn't', means that the thing must necessarily be living.

    Please feel free to reclassify every living thing known to man; but I don't want to be your lab assistant!
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    I will get back to your other points after this is settled:
    Quote Originally Posted by NoCoolAvatar View Post
    If most mules are non-living (by your assertion),
    This is now the third time I've had to explain this.
    Please explain how you can think that I am asserting that mules are non-living?

    I have repeatedly stated that I do not think that reproduction is a relevant criteria when defining life.
    For example: look at my previous post: "Considering the fact I have said several times that I don't think reproduction is a requirement of life, I do not understand why you think that."

    Why do you keep assigning me a position which is the exact opposite of what I say?

    If I am not able to convey even this simple point, then I doubt that anything else I say is going to get through.
    I am not sure how many more times I have to say it, or which particular words would make you accept it - but here it is again:

    I do not think mules are non-living.
    I do not think reproduction is a valid characteristic of a living organism.
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    Quote Originally Posted by redpanda View Post
    i will get back to your other points after this is settled:
    Quote Originally Posted by nocoolavatar View Post
    if most mules are non-living (by your assertion),
    this is now the third time i've had to explain this.
    Please explain how you can think that i am asserting that mules are non-living?

    I have repeatedly stated that i do not think that reproduction is a relevant criteria when defining life.
    For example: Look at my previous post: "considering the fact i have said several times that i don't think reproduction is a requirement of life, i do not understand why you think that."

    why do you keep assigning me a position which is the exact opposite of what i say?

    If i am not able to convey even this simple point, then i doubt that anything else i say is going to get through.
    I am not sure how many more times i have to say it, or which particular words would make you accept it - but here it is again:

    i do not think mules are non-living.


    I do not think reproduction is a valid characteristic of a living organism.

    i concur!!!!
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    You did assert that mules are non-living in post #14:"I do not assume all mules are sterile.I know that most mules are sterile - which, if you accept reproduction as a requirement to being alive, makes most mules non-living."

    That you don't agree with the assertion is irrelevant; you still asserted that 'if' you subscribe to the view that reproduction is necessary to define life, then it is fair to say mules are non-living. That you don't agree with the assertion you made is understood; but you still made it. My argument is that the assertion is not true, even if you do subscribe to the view that reproduction is relevant, as I do, and I gave the reasons for this in my last post.

    Reproduction is necessary in the definition of life and I shall explain why this is so.

    Your focus is on the individual organism, but a broader view is required if we are to define life in general. The definition, that includes reproduction, has to include the wide diversity of life on our planet, and is not supposed to be used as a definition of what 'every living thing' must do but of what constitutes life in general; what separates life from non-life.

    The examples you gave are all examples of a biological cul-de-sac, a literal 'dead-end'. If all organisms on Earth were suddenly unable to reproduce, like these examples, what would be the end effect? Life, in the general sense, would end. No organism is immortal, so without the ability to reproduce, life in any form cannot continue to exist once current living organisms have died.

    Reproduction is unique in living things; rocks do not multiply spontaneously; water does not grow and increase the number of constituent molecules given the right environment. This is why reproduction is required in a definition of life; it is a unique property of life in the general sense; and if the current living things did not reproduce at all, ALL life would cease to be.

    This argument is about a general view of what constitutes life and arguments from an individual perspective are irrelevant; when the liger dies there are still lions and tigers reproducing, continuing life on Earth. Reproduction facilitates this and as such is an absolute necessity for life to exist.

    If you disagree with what I say here, I would appreciate it if you would explain why, rather than mainly picking holes in my explanation. While you are welcome to do so, I think the discussion will be much better served if you explain your perspective on what it is exactly that means reproduction is not necessary in a definition of life in the general sense.
    Last edited by NoCoolAvatar; September 8th, 2013 at 02:51 PM. Reason: Formatting
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    Quote Originally Posted by NoCoolAvatar View Post
    You did assert that mules are non-living in post #14:"I do not assume all mules are sterile.I know that most mules are sterile - which, if you accept reproduction as a requirement to being alive, makes most mules non-living."That you don't agree with the assertion is irrelevant; you still asserted that 'if' you subscribe to the view that reproduction is necessary to define life, then it is fair to say mules are non-living. That you don't agree with the assertion you made is understood; but you still made it.
    It is the logical conclusion to your arguments.
    I am not doing anything other than following your own reasoning to its logical conclusion.

    Quote Originally Posted by NoCoolAvatar View Post
    Your focus is on the individual organism, but a broader view is required if we are to define life in general.
    But if the general definition excludes mules then it is wrong.
    If a broader view excludes mules then it is not the correct view.

    Quote Originally Posted by NoCoolAvatar View Post
    The definition, that includes reproduction, has to include the wide diversity of life on our planet, and is not supposed to be used as a definition of what 'every living thing' must do but of what constitutes life in general; what separates life from non-life.
    Wrong. That is exactly what it is supposed to be, else it is completely pointless.
    e.g.
    What would be the point of defining what radioactive materials are, if that definition excluded uranium and polonium?
    How would you be able to use that definition to decide if something is radioactive or not, if you knew that certain radioactive materials didn't fit the definition?

    Quote Originally Posted by NoCoolAvatar View Post
    The examples you gave are all examples of a biological cul-de-sac, a literal 'dead-end'. If all organisms on Earth were suddenly unable to reproduce, like these examples, what would be the end effect? Life, in the general sense, would end.
    But life on Earth is already going to end. The Earth is not immortal either.
    So - according to your logic - because life on Earth will end, nothing on Earth is alive.
    That does not seem a reasonable position to hold.

    Quote Originally Posted by NoCoolAvatar View Post
    Reproduction is unique in living things; rocks do not multiply spontaneously; water does not grow and increase the number of constituent molecules given the right environment. This is why reproduction is required in a definition of life; it is a unique property of life in the general sense; and if the current living things did not reproduce at all, ALL life would cease to be.
    And, since mules cannot reproduce, they must be non-living - according to your logic.

    Quote Originally Posted by NoCoolAvatar View Post
    This argument is about a general view of what constitutes life and arguments from an individual perspective are irrelevant;
    Considering the fact that mules (as a species) are sterile - that doesn't help you.

    Quote Originally Posted by NoCoolAvatar View Post
    when the liger dies there are still lions and tigers reproducing, continuing life on Earth.
    But your definition of life says that ligers are non-living.
    I am not sure how you can square that circle without removing reproduction from your list of requirements.


    Your argument seems to be that life has to continue to be considered life.
    But not individual life - life as a whole must continue, else you do not consider it to be living.
    But life is going to end - all life on Earth will end.
    Life on Earth is already in a "biological cul-de-sac, a literal 'dead-end'".
    So - using your own logic - nothing on Earth is alive.
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    The distinction between living and non-living is an artificial one, arising out of the innate human tendency to classify and define. In nature there is no distinction - things just are what they are.

    A human resolution to a human created problem is to take a view of life - non-life as portions of a spectrum ranging between the two end members. Otherwise we end up with a problem that is literally (and I mean that both literally and literally) of Lilliputian proportions. But don't let that thought egg you on, into a robust reply. (We should just end it here.)
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    Redpanda,

    Thank you for pointing out the flaws in my reasoning. I am clearly wrong, and thanks for making me see exactly where.

    However, although you have proved me incorrect quite conclusively, I am a little lost as to what does constitute a suitable definition of life without reproduction. Please enlighten us with your alternative 'correct' hypothesis of how to define life in general without the need for reproduction.
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    In a conference on exobiology a bout ten years ago, delegates were asked to submit definitions of life. Approximately seventy definitions were offered. I repeat the sense of my earlier remark - it probably doesn't matter how you classify it, as long as you know what it is you are classifiying. (Is Linnaeus alive?)
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    Quote Originally Posted by NoCoolAvatar View Post
    Thank you for pointing out the flaws in my reasoning. I am clearly wrong, and thanks for making me see exactly where.
    However, although you have proved me incorrect quite conclusively, I am a little lost as to what does constitute a suitable definition of life without reproduction. Please enlighten us with your alternative 'correct' hypothesis of how to define life in general without the need for reproduction.
    Life/living is a mental construct, a concept, which we humans created to differentiate us from rocks.
    This is something we created long ago.
    But now we are able to see that there are no clear lines.

    For example, look at the arbitrary lines we draw between species.
    We can draw a line between one type of animal and another similar animal and call them species A and species B.
    But, it is just us drawing a circle around stuff and saying "It's species A!".
    And there is no exact cut-off point.

    This becomes very apparent as species evolve.
    When one species evolves into another species we encounter the species problem.

    We humans like to categorise things - but things aren't always amenable to being categorised.
    Try playing Twenty_Questions when the other person is thinking of mushrooms...
    Question: "Animal, vegetable or mineral?"
    Answer: "No."
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    Quote Originally Posted by RedPanda View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by NoCoolAvatar View Post
    Thank you for pointing out the flaws in my reasoning. I am clearly wrong, and thanks for making me see exactly where.
    However, although you have proved me incorrect quite conclusively, I am a little lost as to what does constitute a suitable definition of life without reproduction. Please enlighten us with your alternative 'correct' hypothesis of how to define life in general without the need for reproduction.
    Life/living is a mental construct, a concept, which we humans created to differentiate us from rocks.
    This is something we created long ago.
    But now we are able to see that there are no clear lines.

    For example, look at the arbitrary lines we draw between species.
    We can draw a line between one type of animal and another similar animal and call them species A and species B.
    But, it is just us drawing a circle around stuff and saying "It's species A!".
    And there is no exact cut-off point.

    This becomes very apparent as species evolve.
    When one species evolves into another species we encounter the species problem.

    We humans like to categorise things - but things aren't always amenable to being categorised.
    Try playing Twenty_Questions when the other person is thinking of mushrooms...
    Question: "Animal, vegetable or mineral?"
    Answer: "No."
    Well this explains it all; I particularly liked the part where you said nothing... not only about anything, but especially about reproduction in the context of life, which is what I asked you about.

    You are clearly talking way above your understanding level with respect to biology, speciation and hybrids; your responses to my own argument show an uninformed knowledge-base at best, and, at worst, an ignorance which it appears you wish to maintain. You were thoughtful enough to give me links to Wikipedia - that renowned and rigorously peer-reviewed wiki-site that has a reputation as the most reliable source in the Universe(!) - I think this was especially touching.

    I would like to thank you for your 'Twenty Questions' example; that really was hilarious; the concept of a child's game which is flawed with respect to the strict taxonomic classification of fungi, and you use that to argue a point?! Stop it, you're killing me...

    By the way, all the points you raised about my last-but-one post are demonstrably wrong - I don't have the time to go into it all, as there is clearly a lot of work to be done to get you up to speed, and there's no guarantee you would listen, so I won't waste my time.

    Thank you for your insights, I've had a ball.
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    Quote Originally Posted by NoCoolAvatar View Post
    You are clearly talking way above your understanding level with respect to biology, speciation and hybrids; your responses to my own argument show an uninformed knowledge-base at best, and, at worst, an ignorance which it appears you wish to maintain. You were thoughtful enough to give me links to Wikipedia - that renowned and rigorously peer-reviewed wiki-site that has a reputation as the most reliable source in the Universe(!) - I think this was especially touching.

    I would like to thank you for your 'Twenty Questions' example; that really was hilarious; the concept of a child's game which is flawed with respect to the strict taxonomic classification of fungi, and you use that toargue a point?! Stop it, you're killing me...

    By the way, all the points you raised about my last-but-one post are demonstrably wrong - I don't have the time to go into it all, as there is clearly a lot of work to be done to get you up to speed, and there's no guarantee you would listen, so I won't waste my time.

    Thank you for your insights, I've had a ball.
    So - you can't actually refute anything I said.
    At least I enjoyed watching you struggle.

    I'll accept your defeat magnanimously and say no more.
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    Quote Originally Posted by NoCoolAvatar View Post

    Well this explains it all; I particularly liked the part where you said nothing... not only about anything, but especially about reproduction in the context of life, which is what I asked you about.

    You are clearly talking way above your understanding level with respect to biology, speciation and hybrids; your responses to my own argument show an uninformed knowledge-base at best, and, at worst, an ignorance which it appears you wish to maintain. You were thoughtful enough to give me links to Wikipedia - that renowned and rigorously peer-reviewed wiki-site that has a reputation as the most reliable source in the Universe(!) - I think this was especially touching.

    I would like to thank you for your 'Twenty Questions' example; that really was hilarious; the concept of a child's game which is flawed with respect to the strict taxonomic classification of fungi, and you use that to argue a point?! Stop it, you're killing me...

    By the way, all the points you raised about my last-but-one post are demonstrably wrong - I don't have the time to go into it all, as there is clearly a lot of work to be done to get you up to speed, and there's no guarantee you would listen, so I won't waste my time.

    Thank you for your insights, I've had a ball.
    What a nice can of sunshine you are.


    So instead of addressing his points directly, which you ironically clearly aren't getting, you go into a hissy fit in your 8th post on this board. IF you aren't willing to "waste" your time, there is no need for you to be here at all. This is a discussion forum. Your characterisations of his points are nonsense. Since you can't see that and we all would like you to address his points, seems there is only one thing for you to do, no?

    Bon voyage.
    Disclaimer: I do not declare myself to be an expert on ANY subject. If I state something as fact that is obviously wrong, please don't hesitate to correct me. I welcome such corrections in an attempt to be as truthful and accurate as possible.

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    Quote Originally Posted by NoCoolAvatar View Post
    you said nothing... not only about anything, but especially about reproduction in the context of life, which is what I asked you about.
    To clarify for anyone else reading this thread: the point of my reply was that we can't accurately define what is alive and what is not alive (and reproduction would not be a way to do so).

    Quote Originally Posted by NoCoolAvatar View Post
    You were thoughtful enough to give me links to Wikipedia - that renowned and rigorously peer-reviewed wiki-site that has a reputation as the most reliable source in the Universe(!)
    Does anyone else think that what is posted on that Wiki page is wrong? (It looked ok to me - but I am not an expert.)
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    Quote Originally Posted by NoCoolAvatar View Post
    You did assert that mules are non-living in post #14:"I do not assume all mules are sterile.I know that most mules are sterile - which, if you accept reproduction as a requirement to being alive, makes most mules non-living."
    He did not, he posed it as one possible argument, a rather amusing one indicated by the smiley he put at the end, which you seem to want to argue about rather than take his comment in context of setting it up as an example to frame the discussion towards his bigger point that there is no rigid definition.


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    Kalster, thanks for contributing.

    None of the points Redpanda made are scientifically sound and Redpanda does not support the argument with scientific evidence; instead s/he uses 'Twenty Questions', a child's game, and Wikipedia...

    As you say Kalster, this is a science board. I expect it to contain scientific discussion, not childish arguments like 'this is black! //NO, I THINK IT'S WHITE!'. S/He has not addressed any of my points with reasoned argument and recourse to a scientific standpoint; there is only opinion mixed with very little knowledge to back this up, all aimed at undermining anything I have posted, but never used to directly argue their side of the story. Even when asked, Redpanda was unable to reply to the question posed, and instead spoke about other things. I don't have the time to keep them on track.

    With a fundamental lack of understanding of biology quite evident, further argument would be a waste of everyone's time (For example, Redpanda appears not to know the difference between species and hybrids (bottom of post #20: "Considering the fact that mules (as a species) are sterile - that doesn't help you."); mules are not a species, they are a hybrid between two Equus species that have recently diverged, which is the reason for their general, but not universal, infertility (another lack of knowledge-point...).

    It is not possible for a reasonable person to argue reasonable science where someone is being unreasonable. Redpanda's opinions are that mainstream science has it all wrong; I wish Redpanda well in the endeavours to undermine many years' of work, but I don't fancy the chances of success...

    I apologise; I am clearly in the wrong forum. I need to go where there are people that want to (and just as importantly, are able to) talk about science scientifically.
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    Quote Originally Posted by NoCoolAvatar View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by RedPanda View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by ssorge View Post
    If a man is considered sterile, and one of the characeristics of livings things is the ability to reproduce, is he still considered living?
    Your question shows how inaccurate our definitions of 'living' and 'life' are.
    Not really; post #2 answered the question - classification of living in this context is at the species level. I Think the OP is confusing different definitions of 'living', 'life' or 'alive' (possibly on purpose to raise discussion).

    As a counter-point, how do we classify a human baby, say, during their infertile period, considering they eventually go on to reproduce? Or a couple that lose a child?
    Welcome to the forum. You have an untrue ID, so I thought you might like to browse some cool avatars.

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    Anyway from practical experience not being able to father a child, does create some very difficult relationship considerations. But then I guess that a part of life.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bad Robot View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by NoCoolAvatar View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by RedPanda View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by ssorge View Post
    If a man is considered sterile, and one of the characeristics of livings things is the ability to reproduce, is he still considered living?
    Your question shows how inaccurate our definitions of 'living' and 'life' are.
    Not really; post #2 answered the question - classification of living in this context is at the species level. I Think the OP is confusing different definitions of 'living', 'life' or 'alive' (possibly on purpose to raise discussion).

    As a counter-point, how do we classify a human baby, say, during their infertile period, considering they eventually go on to reproduce? Or a couple that lose a child?
    Welcome to the forum. You have an untrue ID, so I thought you might like to browse some cool avatars.

    Cool Animated Avatars - Bing Images

    Anyway from practical experience not being able to father a child, does create some very difficult relationship considerations. But then I guess that a part of life.
    Hello, Bad Robot - I understand your difficulties - it was a long, arduous struggle to finally hold my beautiful daughter in my arms. I'll check out the Avatars later - and I do like yours!
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    Quote Originally Posted by babe View Post
    OK so we said menopausal women....what about men who have been *cough* neutered, i.e. vasectomy....they also can't reproduce.
    Here's a fun link for you. Neutering My Husband - Scary Mommy: An honest look at motherhood
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    Quote Originally Posted by NoCoolAvatar View Post
    Kalster, thanks for contributing.

    None of the points Redpanda made are scientifically sound and Redpanda does not support the argument with scientific evidence; instead s/he uses 'Twenty Questions', a child's game, and Wikipedia...

    As you say Kalster, this is a science board. I expect it to contain scientific discussion, not childish arguments like 'this is black! //NO, I THINK IT'S WHITE!'. S/He has not addressed any of my points with reasoned argument and recourse to a scientific standpoint; there is only opinion mixed with very little knowledge to back this up, all aimed at undermining anything I have posted, but never used to directly argue their side of the story. Even when asked, Redpanda was unable to reply to the question posed, and instead spoke about other things. I don't have the time to keep them on track.

    With a fundamental lack of understanding of biology quite evident, further argument would be a waste of everyone's time (For example, Redpanda appears not to know the difference between species and hybrids (bottom of post #20: "Considering the fact that mules (as a species) are sterile - that doesn't help you."); mules are not a species, they are a hybrid between two Equus species that have recently diverged, which is the reason for their general, but not universal, infertility (another lack of knowledge-point...).

    It is not possible for a reasonable person to argue reasonable science where someone is being unreasonable. Redpanda's opinions are that mainstream science has it all wrong; I wish Redpanda well in the endeavors to undermine many years' of work, but I don't fancy the chances of success...

    I apologize; I am clearly in the wrong forum. I need to go where there are people that want to (and just as importantly, are able to) talk about science scientifically.
    Being on a forum is live and learn. I would suggest you stick around long enough to get to know a few of the regulars and let them get to know you. There are many topics you can join in that generally don't lead to confrontation. After you've been willing to put in the time, you'll find others will cut you more slack when you need it. I take it this is not your first forum? How did things go for you on the other forums?

    One of the most important things I've learned by being on the forums is to frame my comments so as not to cause problems with others and if I do see a problem developing, I don't keep poking it with a stick to see what happens.
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    Moderator Warning: @ NoCoolAvatar. All those with an interest in science are welcome here. What is not welcome are judgements upon the skills and knowledge levels of other members based upon cursory examination of a couple of posts. Please stop this. Now.

    Speaking now as just a member, the gist of RedPanda's observations are fundamentally sound. He argues, just as I have in two earlier posts, that definitions of life are synthetic and ultimately not especially important.

    Nitpicking the distinction between hydrbid and species is, well....nitpicking.

    And research showed that wikipedia measured up well to reference works such as Encyclopedia Brittanica. One would be foolish to accept its pronouncements as gospel, but the same would be true of any textbook, monograph, or peer-reviewed research paper. My experience with wikipedia for subjects on which I have a reasonable knowledge level is that it typically gives a good overview of a topic and that the references are a useful starting point for more detailed work.

    BadRobot has offered you some useful advice. I recommend you take it.

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    I hope the moderators appreciate my self-control.
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    Quote Originally Posted by RedPanda View Post
    I hope the moderators appreciate my self-control.


    You are laughing I hope.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bad Robot View Post
    You are laughing I hope.
    My sense of humour includes laughing at myself.
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    Quote Originally Posted by john galt View Post
    the distinction between living and non-living is an artificial one, arising out of the innate human tendency to classify and define. In nature there is no distinction - things just are what they are.

    A human resolution to a human created problem is to take a view of life - non-life as portions of a spectrum ranging between the two end members. Otherwise we end up with a problem that is literally (and i mean that both literally and literally) of lilliputian proportions. But don't let that thought egg you on, into a robust reply. (we should just end it here.)
    thank you!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bad Robot View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by babe View Post
    OK so we said menopausal women....what about men who have been *cough* neutered, i.e. vasectomy....they also can't reproduce.
    Here's a fun link for you. Neutering My Husband - Scary Mommy: An honest look at motherhood
    *laughing*

    well I was the one neurtered due to a pre-cancer condition! *L*....and let me tell you......when you are in a grocery store, with two little kids like 2 and 4 and you look at a milk carton and start to cry, hysterically...being neutered ain't all that fun!
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    Quote Originally Posted by RedPanda View Post
    I hope the moderators appreciate my self-control.

    awww shuddup and kiss me!!

    JUST KIDDING!
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    Quote Originally Posted by RedPanda View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Bad Robot View Post
    You are laughing I hope.
    My sense of humour includes laughing at myself.
    Learning to laugh at yourself teaches you the basics of humor *S*.....if we can't laugh at ourselves.....we cannot laugh at others
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    Quote Originally Posted by babe View Post
    Learning to laugh at yourself teaches you the basics of humor *S*.....if we can't laugh at ourselves.....we cannot laugh at others
    I never laugh at myself. I prefer having a more challenging target.
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Galt View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by babe View Post
    Learning to laugh at yourself teaches you the basics of humor *S*.....if we can't laugh at ourselves.....we cannot laugh at others
    I never laugh at myself. I prefer having a more challenging target.
    I do, often. I can be self-deprecating in my humor....to laugh at oneself is a gift....I rarely laugh at another's expense.

    It is not on my scope of life.
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    IMO, one characteristic of living things is that they are biochemical in nature.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Write4U View Post
    IMO, one characteristic of living things is that they are biochemical in nature.
    Here are the definitions of 'biochemical' that I found:

    "The study of the chemical substances and vital processes occurring in living organisms."
    "The chemical composition of a particular living system or biological substance."
    "Of or relating to biochemistry; involving chemical processes in living organisms."


    Which makes your statement circular in nature; you are pretty much saying that one characteristic of living things is that they are living.
    Although correct, that is kinda tautological.
    SayBigWords.com/say/3FC

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    Quote Originally Posted by RedPanda View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Write4U View Post
    IMO, one characteristic of living things is that they are biochemical in nature.
    Here are the definitions of 'biochemical' that I found:

    "The study of the chemical substances and vital processes occurring in living organisms."
    "The chemical composition of a particular living system or biological substance."
    "Of or relating to biochemistry; involving chemical processes in living organisms."


    Which makes your statement circular in nature; you are pretty much saying that one characteristic of living things is that they are living.
    Although correct, that is kinda tautological.
    Damn!! I touched myself! I am LIVING!
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    Quote Originally Posted by babe View Post
    Damn!! I touched myself!
    Too much information?
    SayBigWords.com/say/3FC

    "And, behold, I come quickly;" Revelation 22:12

    "Religions are like sausages. When you know how they are made, you no longer want them."
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    Quote Originally Posted by RedPanda View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by babe View Post
    Damn!! I touched myself!
    Too much information?
    Mr mind in the same gutter as mine, but that wasn't in reference to this!


    WHACK!

    Meaning....I can touch myself and I am real!

    poing poing poing poing ...yep it responds



    and sorry but for tonight this is going to be my final response.

    My surgery is in about 14 hours...I need to be a good girl and try to sleep all I can before so that the waiting period won't drive me to an anxiety attack.


    I don't know if I can be back the same day or a week

    I shall miss all of you........you teach me, you make me laugh, you make me want to smack ya, you are just delightful...thanks for your kindness....from my heart to all of yours...and those that might miss it in another place.please pass this to all of the forum as I don't know how to! Mahalo nui loa...and hui hou....I appreciate each of you....M
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    Quote Originally Posted by babe View Post
    My surgery is in about 14 hours...I need to be a good girl and try to sleep all I can before so that the waiting period won't drive me to an anxiety attack.
    It will all go fine and you'll be back pestering us in no time.
    KALSTER likes this.
    SayBigWords.com/say/3FC

    "And, behold, I come quickly;" Revelation 22:12

    "Religions are like sausages. When you know how they are made, you no longer want them."
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    Quote Originally Posted by RedPanda View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Write4U View Post
    IMO, one characteristic of living things is that they are biochemical in nature.
    Here are the definitions of 'biochemical' that I found:

    "The study of the chemical substances and vital processes occurring in living organisms."
    "The chemical composition of a particular living system or biological substance.""
    Of or relating to biochemistry; involving chemical processes in living organisms."


    Which makes your statement circular in nature; you are pretty much saying that one characteristic of living things is that they are living.
    Although correct, that is kinda tautological.
    And is the bolded definition incorrect? IMO, it is an exclusive common denominator of "living things".

    Other definitions may apply but this one seems to confirms my interpretation.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Write4U View Post
    "The chemical composition of a particular living system or biological substance."

    And is the bolded definition incorrect?
    Why do you think it might be incorrect?
    Who said it was incorrect?

    Quote Originally Posted by Write4U View Post
    IMO, it is an exclusive common denominator of "living things".
    The point you missed from my reply was that your answer was tautological.
    SayBigWords.com/say/3FC

    "And, behold, I come quickly;" Revelation 22:12

    "Religions are like sausages. When you know how they are made, you no longer want them."
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    Quote Originally Posted by RedPanda View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Write4U View Post
    "The chemical composition of a particular living system or biological substance."

    And is the bolded definition incorrect?
    Why do you think it might be incorrect?
    Who said it was incorrect?
    You said it was not valid, because it appears to be tautological.

    Quote Originally Posted by Write4U View Post
    IMO, it is an exclusive common denominator of "living things".
    The point you missed from my reply was that your answer was tautological.
    No, I did not miss the point at all,
    The set of such formulas is a proper subset of the set of logically valid sentences of predicate logic (which are the sentences that are true in every model).
    Tautology (logic) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Tell me where my model is not applicable in all the definitions you provided. The point you missed is that my comment identifies a common denominator (biochemistry) and is exclusive only to living things. Without biochemistry a thing cannot be called a living thing. A thing may grow like a crystal, it may also be identified by other common scientific principles, but it cannot be a "living" thing unless it IS biochemical in functions.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Write4U View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by RedPanda View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Write4U View Post
    "The chemical composition of a particular living system or biological substance."

    And is the bolded definition incorrect?
    Why do you think it might be incorrect?
    Who said it was incorrect?
    You said it was not valid, because it appears to be tautological.
    No, it is your statement: "IMO, one characteristic of living things is that they are biochemical in nature." that is tautological.
    Your definition of what is living relies on the word 'biochemical'.
    And the definition of biochemical relies on the word 'living'.
    Your definition is circular.

    Quote Originally Posted by Write4U View Post
    The point you missed from my reply was that your answer was tautological.
    No, I did not miss the point at all,
    The set of such formulas is a proper subset of the set of logically valid sentences of predicate logic (which are the sentences that are true in every model).
    Tautology (logic) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    No - not that one.
    This one:
    Tautology (rhetoric) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    "Rhetorical tautologies state the same thing twice, while appearing to state two or more different things"
    SayBigWords.com/say/3FC

    "And, behold, I come quickly;" Revelation 22:12

    "Religions are like sausages. When you know how they are made, you no longer want them."
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Galt View Post
    Moderator Warning: @ NoCoolAvatar. All those with an interest in science are welcome here. What is not welcome are judgements upon the skills and knowledge levels of other members based upon cursory examination of a couple of posts. Please stop this. Now.

    It took me less than ten posts to get a Moderator warning!

    I am not trolling, by the way, but I find it amusing that, should you read my earlier posts, I came here with the right intention to discuss, and have been asking for specific input from the poster on their stance, which they have clearly failed to address (why they think reproduction is not required in a general definition of life). He has not 'set out his stall' so to speak, with regards this issue, other than to disagree with my points. That is not debate or discussion - THAT is the nitpicking you speak of - and yet I am the one you choose to step-in and rebuke!

    Just for the record, I raised the 'level of knowledge' point precisely because the poster was nitpicking with bad examples that seemed to show this to be the case (by the way, it is not nitpicking to distinguish between hybrid and species - they are distinctly different and it is relevant to the discussion at hand); and as I could put my argument no more simply than already stated, I was suggesting that it was for this reason I wouldn't enter into further debate with this question. With the level of knowledge that was apparent from the remarks given, it appeared to me that the poster was talking with authority on a subject they apparently knew little about - I don't see the problem with raising that point, even if the poster were later to be found to be more knowledgeable than anyone else on the subject. The evidence from the 'few posts' you talk of was that this is not the case. Those posts were all I have to go on, I'm afraid.

    You're the Moderator, though, so I accept your rebuke; I find it ironic that it is you, and perhaps Kalster (interesting you haven't rebuked his post where he was most 'unwelcoming' to someone interested in science), and not actually Redpanda that happen to be the ones to make me feel most unwelcome here. Ironic indeed.
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    Write4U;"The chemical composition of a particular living system or biological substance."[/I]

    And is the bolded definition incorrect? Why do you think it might be incorrect?
    RedPanda,
    Who said it was incorrect?
    Thus it is correct?

    You said it was not valid, because it appears to be tautological.
    No, it is your statement: "IMO, one characteristic of living things is that they are biochemical in nature." that is tautological.
    Your definition of what is living relies on the word 'biochemical'.
    And the definition of biochemical relies on the word 'living'.
    Yes, because it pertains specifically to living things. There is a difference in chemical function between living things and non-living things. When it pertains to living things this chemical function is termed biochemical.
    Your definition is circular.
    But is it true?

    Quote Originally Posted by Write4U View Post
    The point you missed from my reply was that your answer was tautological.
    No, I did not miss the point at all,
    The set of such formulas is a proper subset of the set of logically valid sentences of predicate logic (which are the sentences that are true in every model).
    Tautology (logic) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    No - not that one.
    Yes, that one. The bolded quote from wiki.

    This one:
    Tautology (rhetoric) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    "Rhetorical tautologies state the same thing twice, while appearing to state two or more different things"[/QUOTE]

    Who is stating two different things? It answers the OP question precisely.
    I am not trying to proposing anything new and I don't care if it is circular. Biochemistry is a characteristic that sets the molecular functions of living things apart from other molecular chemistry. Biochemistry (AND ALL THAT IT ENTAILS) is a characteristic of living things. One can also say that living things differ from non-living things because they are composed of biochemical structures and functions. True or not?

    So far the conversation has concentrated on the ability to procreate (multiply) which is not an exclusive characteristic of living things.

    "Bio" means pertaining to living things and therefore must be characteristic of living things. There are no living things which are not biochemical in nature. The prefix bio identifies a things as being related to and characteristic of living things.
    Am I wrong?
    Last edited by Write4U; September 9th, 2013 at 05:12 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Write4U View Post
    It answers the OP question precisely.
    I am not trying to proposing anything new and I don't care if it is circular. Biochemistry is a characteristic that sets the molecular functions of living things apart from other molecular chemistry. Biochemistry (AND ALL THAT IT ENTAILS) is a characteristic of living things. One can also say that living things differ from non-living things because they are composed of biochemical structures and functions. True or not?

    So far the conversation has concentrated on the ability to procreate (multiply) which is not an exclusive characteristic of living things.

    "Bio" means pertaining to living things and therefore must be characteristic of living things. There are no living things which are not biochemical in nature. The prefix bio identifies a things as being related to and characteristic of living things.
    Am I wrong?

    Viruses are made out of biochemical compounds, such as DNA (or RNA), proteins and lipids. Yet, viruses are non-living entities.
    So how do these statements fit in your explanation?
    "The only safe rule is to dispute only with those of your acquaintance of whom you know that they possess sufficient intelligence and self-respect not to advance absurdities; to appeal to reason and not to authority, and to listen to reason and yield to it; and, finally, to be willing to accept reason even from an opponent, and to be just enough to bear being proved to be in the wrong."

    ~ Arthur Schopenhauer, The Art of Being Right: 38 Ways to Win an Argument (1831), Stratagem XXXVIII.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Write4U View Post
    You said it was not valid, because it appears to be tautological.
    No, it is your statement: "IMO, one characteristic of living things is that they are biochemical in nature." that is tautological.
    Your definition of what is living relies on the word 'biochemical'.
    And the definition of biochemical relies on the word 'living'.
    Your definition is circular.
    But is it true?
    Do you not know what a circular definition is?


    Quote Originally Posted by Write4U View Post
    The set of such formulas is a proper subset of the set of logically valid sentences of predicate logic (which are the sentences that are true in every model).
    Tautology (logic) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    Quote Originally Posted by RedPanda View Post
    No - not that one.
    Quote Originally Posted by Write4U View Post
    Yes, that one. The bolded quote from wiki.
    I think I know which meaning of the word 'tautology' I was using.
    This one:
    Tautology (rhetoric) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


    Telling me what I meant is a bizarre thing to do.
    Are you ok?


    Quote Originally Posted by Write4U View Post
    It answers the OP question precisely. I am not trying to proposing anything new and I don't care if it is circular.
    So, you are quite happy with your definition of life being little more than "Life is life."
    Well - you aren't aiming high, are you.


    Quote Originally Posted by Write4U View Post
    Biochemistry is a characteristic that sets the molecular functions of living things apart from other molecular chemistry. Biochemistry (AND ALL THAT IT ENTAILS) is a characteristic of living things. One can also say that living things differ from non-living things because they are composed of biochemical structures and functions. True or not?
    As I keep saying: it's circular.


    Quote Originally Posted by Write4U View Post
    So far the conversation has concentrated on the ability to procreate which is another characteristic of living things.
    But not all living things.
    Which makes it useless, as part of a definition of life, when it excludes many kinds of life.


    Quote Originally Posted by Write4U View Post
    "Bio" means pertaining to living things and therefore must be characteristic of living things. There are no living things which are not biochemical in nature. The prefix bio identifies a things as being related to and characteristic of living things.
    Am I wrong?
    I am not sure how the etymology of 'biochemical' is relevant.
    We've already agreed on its definition.


    Anyway, since it seems you accept that your definition is circular, there is little more to say.
    "One characteristic of living things is that they are [living]" is very....insightful.
    SayBigWords.com/say/3FC

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cogito Ergo Sum View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Write4U View Post
    It answers the OP question precisely.
    I am not trying to proposing anything new and I don't care if it is circular. Biochemistry is a characteristic that sets the molecular functions of living things apart from other molecular chemistry. Biochemistry (AND ALL THAT IT ENTAILS) is a characteristic of living things. One can also say that living things differ from non-living things because they are composed of biochemical structures and functions. True or not?

    So far the conversation has concentrated on the ability to procreate (multiply) which is not an exclusive characteristic of living things.

    "Bio" means pertaining to living things and therefore must be characteristic of living things. There are no living things which are not biochemical in nature. The prefix bio identifies a things as being related to and characteristic of living things.
    Am I wrong?

    Viruses are made out of biochemical compounds, such as DNA (or RNA), proteins and lipids. Yet, viruses are non-living entities.
    So how do these statements fit in your explanation?
    Then why are they called biological?
    wiki
    Viruses are found in almost every ecosystem on Earth and are the most abundant type of biological entity.[5][6] The study of viruses is known as virology, a sub-speciality of microbiology.
    If viruses are not living things, why does the study of viruses include the prefix "bio" (living)?
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    Quote Originally Posted by PhDemon View Post
    Washing powder can be called biological, is that alive too? Excrement is biological material, is that alive?
    Thus the prefix "bio" is used incorrectly as per Red Panda, who maintains that the term biochemical and living things is circular reasoning.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Write4U View Post
    IMO, one characteristic of living things is that they are biochemical in nature.
    So you don't believe we will ever have selfaware machines? Or maybe you will just refuse to believe they are alive?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Write4U View Post
    Thus the prefix "bio" is used incorrectly as per Red Panda
    I have never disagreed with your definition of 'biochemical' - in fact I provided that very definition.

    And you disagree that excrement is biological material?

    Are you ok?
    SayBigWords.com/say/3FC

    "And, behold, I come quickly;" Revelation 22:12

    "Religions are like sausages. When you know how they are made, you no longer want them."
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bad Robot View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Write4U View Post
    IMO, one characteristic of living things is that they are biochemical in nature.
    So you don't believe we will ever have selfaware machines? Or maybe you will just refuse to believe they are alive?
    Is the universe alive or as you put it "a self aware machine". That sounds like theism (deism) to me.
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    Quote Originally Posted by RedPanda View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Write4U View Post
    Thus the prefix "bio" is used incorrectly as per Red Panda
    I have never disagreed with your definition of 'biochemical' - in fact I provided that very definition.

    And you disagree that excrement is biological material?

    Are you ok?
    No I don't, considering that it consists of living organisms which function by biochemical reactions.

    But is a rock a biological object with the characteristic of a living thing (functioning by a biochemical process)?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Write4U View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Bad Robot View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Write4U View Post
    IMO, one characteristic of living things is that they are biochemical in nature.
    So you don't believe we will ever have selfaware machines? Or maybe you will just refuse to believe they are alive?
    Is the universe alive or as you put it "a self aware machine". That sounds like theism (deism) to me.
    Not really, but bio life may not be the only type of life that can exist. At the moment it's all we know of, but does that mean I shouldn't keep an open mind on that subject?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Write4U View Post
    No I don't, considering that it consists of living organisms which function by biochemical reactions.
    Or not:
    Normally, feces are made up of 75 percent water and 25 percent solid matter. About 30 percent of the solid matter consists of dead bacteria; about 30 percent consists of indigestible food matter such as cellulose; 10 to 20 percent is cholesterol and other fats; 10 to 20 percent is inorganic substances such as calcium phosphate and iron phosphate; and 2 to 3 percent is protein. Cell debris shed from the mucous membrane of the intestinal tract also passes in the waste material, as do bile pigments (bilirubin) and dead leukocytes (white blood cells).
    feces (biology) -- Encyclopedia Britannica
    SayBigWords.com/say/3FC

    "And, behold, I come quickly;" Revelation 22:12

    "Religions are like sausages. When you know how they are made, you no longer want them."
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    [QUOTE=RedPanda;459155]
    Quote Originally Posted by Write4U View Post
    You said it was not valid, because it appears to be tautological.
    No, it is your statement: "IMO, one characteristic of living things is that they are biochemical in nature." that is tautological.
    Your definition of what is living relies on the word 'biochemical'. And the definition of biochemical relies on the word 'living'. Your definition is circular.
    But is it true?
    Do you not know what a circular definition is?

    Quote Originally Posted by Write4U View Post
    The set of such formulas is a proper subset of the set of logically valid sentences of predicate logic (which are the sentences that are true in every model).
    Tautology (logic) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    =RedPanda;458956]No - not that one.
    [QUOTE}Write4U
    Yes, that one. The quote from wiki. Tautology (logic)
    I think I know which meaning of the word 'tautology' I was using.
    This one: Tautology (rhetoric) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia[/U]
    That is the wrong chronology. You asked if I knew the meaning of tautology and I answered you. Then you tell me that is not what you wanted to hear, sorry about that.

    Yes that is the quote you were using, the rhetoric one, but it was not the quote I was using, the logic one(with a link to wiki) in response to your question. Is my quote inferior to yours? (read the link).

    Telling me what I meant is a bizarre thing to do.
    Are you ok?
    Now you are being dishonest and you know it. I'm ok, but you seem to be a little self absorbed.

    Quote Originally Posted by Write4U View Post
    It answers the OP question precisely. I am not trying to proposing anything new and I don't care if it is circular.
    So, you are quite happy with your definition of life being little more than "Life is life."
    No, I was trying to tell you that your argument of circularity was not important in the context of my posts
    you aren't aiming high, are you.
    Wrong again, I did not say "Life is Life". I said "one" characteristic of living things is the fact that they have a common denominator, biochemical functions.

    Please quote me accurately, perhaps then you and others may understand what I said, not what you said I said.
    Quote Originally Posted by Write4U View Post
    Biochemistry is a characteristic that sets the molecular functions of living things apart from other molecular chemistry. Biochemistry (AND ALL THAT IT ENTAILS) is a characteristic of living things. One can also say that living things differ from non-living things because they are composed of biochemical structures and functions. True or not?
    As I keep saying: it's circular.
    Not in this context

    Quote Originally Posted by Write4U View Post
    So far the conversation has concentrated on the ability to procreate which is another characteristic of living things.
    But not all living things.
    Which makes it useless, as part of a definition of life, when it excludes many kinds of life.
    Interestingly, I did not see you argue that. I did not participate in that particular part of the discussion.

    Quote Originally Posted by Write4U View Post
    "Bio" means pertaining to living things and therefore must be characteristic of living things. There are no living things which are not biochemical in nature. The prefix bio identifies a things as being related to and characteristic of living things.
    Am I wrong?
    t sure how the etymology of 'biochemical' is relevant.
    We've already agreed on its definition.

    Anyway, since it seems you accept that your definition is circular, there is little more to say.
    "One characteristic of living things is that they are [living]" is very....insightful.
    No, that is not what I said because that would be circular. We have just heard from others that biochemistry can also be part of the characteristics of non-living organisms. That falsifies the assertion of circular reasoning (tautology). Either that, or the prefix "bio" is misapplied

    The point I was making that all living things have a common denominator (characteristic) and that is their biochemical functions, distinct from things which are only partly biochemical or use a host's biochemical functions (like viruses) and are therefore not considered living things in and of themselves.

    As I said before, I am not introducing anything new or controversial. Everything I have said I have supported with quotes from other sources.
    While you may consider it "very..........insightful" (you forgot the "smirk"), I thought it did identify one characteristic of what is considered a living thing. In context of the OP question. No more, no less.
    Last edited by Write4U; September 9th, 2013 at 08:48 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by RedPanda View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Write4U View Post
    No I don't, considering that it consists of living organisms which function by biochemical reactions.
    Or not:
    Normally, feces are made up of 75 percent water and 25 percent solid matter. About 30 percent of the solid matter consists of dead bacteria; about 30 percent consists of indigestible food matter such as cellulose; 10 to 20 percent is cholesterol and other fats; 10 to 20 percent is inorganic substances such as calcium phosphate and iron phosphate; and 2 to 3 percent is protein. Cell debris shed from the mucous membrane of the intestinal tract also passes in the waste material, as do bile pigments (bilirubin) and dead leukocytes (white blood cells).
    feces (biology) -- Encyclopedia Britannica
    I did not bring up feces, someone else did. Address them, not me in that context.
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    Quote Originally Posted by RedPanda View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by babe View Post
    My surgery is in about 14 hours...I need to be a good girl and try to sleep all I can before so that the waiting period won't drive me to an anxiety attack.
    It will all go fine and you'll be back pestering us in no time.
    PESTERING YOU? WHACK! I am a little woozy, and my tummy is upset from the anesthesia......but by tomorrow, without patch, I hope to observe change.

    And Kalster, thanks and a WHACK! for you too!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Write4U View Post
    That is the wrong chronology. You asked if I knew the meaning of tautology and I answered you.
    That is a lie.

    Quote me asking you for the meaning or fuck right off.
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    Quote Originally Posted by babe View Post
    PESTERING YOU? WHACK! I am a little woozy, and my tummy is upset from the anesthesia......but by tomorrow, without patch, I hope to observe change.
    Welcome back!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Write4U View Post
    The point I was making that all living things have a common denominator (characteristic) and that is their biochemical functions
    As the definition of biochemical is "the chemistry of living things", it would appear you definition is:

    All living things share a common denominator and that is the chemistry of living things.

    Circular and completely useless.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Write4U View Post
    I did not bring up feces, someone else did.
    I've checked your posts.
    You have definitely brought up a lot of faeces.
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    Quote Originally Posted by RedPanda View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Write4U View Post
    That is the wrong chronology. You asked if I knew the meaning of tautology and I answered you.
    That is a lie.

    Quote me asking you for the meaning or fuck right off.
    Way too mean.


    Write4U, if you want to define life as that which has biochemistry, you would first need to define what constitutes "biochemistry", so when examining a sample of something that you can use that to label that thing as alive.

    For example, would a virus fit that definition?
    Disclaimer: I do not declare myself to be an expert on ANY subject. If I state something as fact that is obviously wrong, please don't hesitate to correct me. I welcome such corrections in an attempt to be as truthful and accurate as possible.

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    Quote Originally Posted by KALSTER View Post
    Way too mean.
    I'm just calling it as I see it.
    There is no way (unless you are illiterate or mentally deranged) for someone to read anything I posted as a request for the definition of 'tautology'.
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    Allow me to define and contextualize what biochemistry is.

    Biochemistry is, literally, the study of the chemistry of life.
    It must be noted that it overlaps with other scientific disciplines, including cell biology, genetics, immunology, microbiology, pharmacology and physiology.
    The science of biochemistry is concerned with some issues:
    1. What are the chemical structures of biological molecules?
    2. How do biological molecules interact with each other?
    3. How does the cell synthesize and degrade biological molecules?
    4. What are the mechanisms for organizing biological molecules and coordinating their activities?
    5. How is genetic information stored, transmitted and expressed?
    6. Etc.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cogito Ergo Sum View Post
    Biochemistry is, literally, the study of the chemistry of life.
    So, to determine whether something can be categorised as"biochemistry" we need to know if it is the chemistry of life. Therefore, Write4U, we need a definition of "life" that is not dependent on biochemistry.

    Otherwise I can say that rainwater dissolving rocks is "biochemistry". Why? Because the rock and/or water must be alive. Why? Because they are taking part in a biochemical reaction. Why is it a biochemical reaction? Because they are alive. ....

    In case you miss the point, Write4U, that is obviously nonsense.
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    Quote Originally Posted by RedPanda View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Write4U View Post
    That is the wrong chronology. You asked if I knew the meaning of tautology and I answered you.
    That is a lie.

    Quote me asking you for the meaning or fuck right off.
    You used the word Tautology before I did and I am sure you knew you were using the rhetorical definition you used. But I did not because you failed to clarify which definition you were using with a link.
    When I responded to your using the word Tautology, I used a different (the logical) definition of the word Tautology and provided a link.

    Page53,
    RedPanda
    The point you missed from my reply was that your answer was tautological.
    No, I did not miss the point at all,
    The set of such formulas is a proper subset of the set of logically valid sentences of predicate logic (which are the sentences that are true in every model).
    Tautology (logic) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    Page 54,
    RedPanda,
    No - not that one.
    This one:
    Tautology (rhetoric) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    "Rhetorical tautologies state the same thing twice, while appearing to state two or more different things"
    But I had not been using that definition and up to that point I did not know what definition you were using.
    Page 56
    Originally Posted by Write4U View Post
    The point you missed from my reply was that your answer was tautological.
    No, I did not miss the point at all,

    The set of such formulas is a proper subset of the set of logically valid sentences of predicate logic (which are the sentences that are true in every model).
    Tautology (logic) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    No - not that one.
    At which time I had to insist which definition I was using. Thus my response, "Yes that one."

    Then on pages 46 and 54 you also introduced the term "circular (thinking) and on page did ask if I knew the meaning of circular thinking.
    page 58
    September 9th, 2013, 03:19 PM Quote Originally Posted by Write4U View Post
    You said it was not valid, because it appears to be tautological.
    No, it is your statement: "IMO, one characteristic of living things is that they are biochemical in nature." that is tautological.
    Your definition of what is living relies on the word 'biochemical'.
    And the definition of biochemical relies on the word 'living'.
    Your definition is circular.
    But is it true?
    Do you not know what a circular definition is?
    To which I again quoted my definition of tautology, which allows a common denominator, something which is a unique characteristic of a living thing, biochemistry, which you promptly dismissed on your interpretation of Tautology and Circular reasoning.

    But tautology or circular reasoning is irrelevant in context of the OP. What we have named bio-chemistry is the particular chemistry which is common to and identifies whether a thing is alive or in a purely physical state of a more general chemical nature, bio-chemistry is a specific sub category of chemical structures and functions which are characteristic of a living organism. It is a scientific fact, directly answering the OP question, not a philosophical discussion of what living things are and get trapped in circular reasoning.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Strange View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Cogito Ergo Sum View Post
    Biochemistry is, literally, the study of the chemistry of life.
    So, to determine whether something can be categorised as"biochemistry" we need to know if it is the chemistry of life. Therefore, Write4U, we need a definition of "life" that is not dependent on biochemistry.

    Otherwise I can say that rainwater dissolving rocks is "biochemistry". Why? Because the rock and/or water must be alive. Why? Because they are taking part in a biochemical reaction. Why is it a biochemical reaction? Because they are alive. ....

    In case you miss the point, Write4U, that is obviously nonsense.
    But that would be the incorrect usage of the word "bio", wouldn't it?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Write4U View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by RedPanda View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Write4U View Post
    That is the wrong chronology. You asked if I knew the meaning of tautology and I answered you.
    That is a lie.

    Quote me asking you for the meaning or fuck right off.
    You used the word Tautology before I did and I am sure you knew you were using the rhetorical definition you used. But I did not because you failed to clarify which definition you were using with a link.
    When I responded to your using the word Tautology, I used a different (the logical) definition of the word Tautology and provided a link.
    That is not a quote of me asking you for the meaning of 'tautology'.

    Therefore you should fuck right off.
    Last edited by RedPanda; September 10th, 2013 at 05:58 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Write4U View Post
    What we have named bio-chemistry is the particular chemistry which is common to and identifies whether a thing is alive or in a purely physical state of a more general chemical nature

    Biochemistry is the study of the chemistry of life, not the study of objects to determine if they are alive or not.
    "The only safe rule is to dispute only with those of your acquaintance of whom you know that they possess sufficient intelligence and self-respect not to advance absurdities; to appeal to reason and not to authority, and to listen to reason and yield to it; and, finally, to be willing to accept reason even from an opponent, and to be just enough to bear being proved to be in the wrong."

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    Quote Originally Posted by RedPanda View Post
    ****
    I have named one characteristic of livings things, their bio-chemistry, which is unique and separate from other chemical processes..

    Is this thing alive?
    How Brainless Slime Molds Redefine Intelligence [Video]: Scientific American
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    Quote Originally Posted by Write4U View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by RedPanda View Post
    ****
    I have named one characteristic of livings things, their bio-chemistry, which is unique and separate from other chemical processes..

    This characteristic is not enough to distinguish between living and non-living things.

    DNA replication is a series of biochemical reactions, which can be done in a 50µL tube put in thermocycler without the presence of living things.
    This process, called PCR, requires DNA, enzymes, ions and a buffer solution. Biological molecules which undergo biochemical reactions without the presence of a living thing.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Write4U View Post
    Unfortunately, yes.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cogito Ergo Sum View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Write4U View Post
    What we have named bio-chemistry is the particular chemistry which is common to and identifies whether a thing is alive or in a purely physical state of a more general chemical nature

    Biochemistry is the study of the chemistry of life, not the study of objects to determine if they are alive or not.
    True, because we are still building the data base. And as I understand it, we are getting pretty good at defining what is life and at what stage in the universal general chemistry, Some of the chemistry was used to produce living things. Their chemistry has so many common identifiers found in their chemical structures and functions. When all chemical signatures correspond with another it identifies common characteristics such as DNA, cellular structure and functions with all other known living things, one may conclude that it is alive.

    This does not exclude new data, but it does explain evolution.

    Another interesting creature which shares very little with our bio-chemical function is the cuttle fish.
    http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/nature/...amouflage.html
    Last edited by Write4U; September 10th, 2013 at 06:38 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by RedPanda View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Write4U View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by RedPanda View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Write4U View Post
    That is the wrong chronology. You asked if I knew the meaning of tautology and I answered you.
    That is a lie.

    Quote me asking you for the meaning or fuck right off.
    You used the word Tautology before I did and I am sure you knew you were using the rhetorical definition you used. But I did not because you failed to clarify which definition you were using with a link.
    When I responded to your using the word Tautology, I used a different (the logical) definition of the word Tautology and provided a link.
    That is not a quote of me asking you for the meaning of 'tautology'.

    Therefore you should fuck right off.
    OK, I'll rephrase: Stop doing that.
    Disclaimer: I do not declare myself to be an expert on ANY subject. If I state something as fact that is obviously wrong, please don't hesitate to correct me. I welcome such corrections in an attempt to be as truthful and accurate as possible.

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    Quote Originally Posted by KALSTER View Post
    OK, I'll rephrase: Stop doing that.
    Any chance of you moderating Write4U's posts aswell?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Write4U
    But tautology or circular reasoning is irrelevant in context of the OP. What we have named bio-chemistry is the particular chemistry which is common to and identifies whether a thing is alive or in a purely physical state of a more general chemical nature, bio-chemistry is a specific sub category of chemical structures and functions which are characteristic of a living organism. It is a scientific fact, directly answering the OP question, not a philosophical discussion of what living things are and get trapped in circular reasoning.
    But you clearly stated that you don't have even a child's understanding of biology - and that clearly shows.
    You also said that your grasp of English is equal to that of a walnut with learning difficulties.
    Even you admit that nothing you ever post makes sense.

    I guess that it is fine to make up stuff about what people have said, as long as you don't put it in quotes or swear.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Write4U View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Strange View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Cogito Ergo Sum View Post
    Biochemistry is, literally, the study of the chemistry of life.
    So, to determine whether something can be categorised as"biochemistry" we need to know if it is the chemistry of life. Therefore, Write4U, we need a definition of "life" that is not dependent on biochemistry.

    Otherwise I can say that rainwater dissolving rocks is "biochemistry". Why? Because the rock and/or water must be alive. Why? Because they are taking part in a biochemical reaction. Why is it a biochemical reaction? Because they are alive. ....

    In case you miss the point, Write4U, that is obviously nonsense.
    But that would be the incorrect usage of the word "bio", wouldn't it?
    Of course it would. But it is entirely consistent with your circular definition which, because it is circular can be used to define anything as living.
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    Quote Originally Posted by RedPanda View Post

    I guess that it is fine to make up stuff about what people have said, as long as you don't put it in quotes or swear.
    Come on, don't be ridiculous. You can deal with him apparently having made up something you said without resorting to profanities, is all I am asking.

    He responded in post #79 with where he got that from. Clearly he thinks "Do you not know what a circular definition is?" means the same as you asking him if he knows what tautology is. You know he's English is not brilliant. Why not simply clear that up instead of calling him a liar and swearing at him?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Write4U View Post
    I have named one characteristic of livings things, their bio-chemistry, which is unique and separate from other chemical processes..
    The only thing that makes them unique and separate from other chemical processes is that they are taking place in a living organism. Therefore, you cannot use them to define what a living organism is. Your definition come back to: "A living organism is a thing that does what living organisms do". Useless.

    Let's take an example. Someone discovers a new "thing" (on Mars, maybe) but it is totally unlike any life on Earth. Some people claim it should be considered a new life form. Others disagree. Let's see if we can use your definition of "living" to resolve it:

    One possible scenario:

    A: Does the "thing" have biochemical processes going on?
    B: What do you mean by "biochemical"?
    A: You know, the chemistry of life.
    B: I don't know. That depends if it is alive or not. How do we tell?
    A: Chemistry! Does it have biochemical processes going on?
    B: What do you mean by "biochemical"?
    A: You know, the chemistry of life.
    B: I don't know. Is it alive?
    A: ...

    Another possible scenario:

    A: Does the "thing" have biochemical processes going on?
    B: Well, nothing similar to any life on Earth, no.
    A: Ah, so it is not alive.
    B: But it grows, reproduces, metabolises, moves, and even organizes dance and music festivals. It has a book in the New York Times best-seller list. And it was telling me yesterday about its plans for ...
    A: Sorry. No biochemistry, no life.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cogito Ergo Sum View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Write4U View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by RedPanda View Post
    ****
    I have named one characteristic of livings things, their bio-chemistry, which is unique and separate from other chemical processes..

    This characteristic is not enough to distinguish between living and non-living things.

    DNA replication is a series of biochemical reactions, which can be done in a 50µL tube put in thermocycler without the presence of living things.
    This process, called PCR, requires DNA, enzymes, ions and a buffer solution. Biological molecules which undergo biochemical reactions without the presence of a living thing.
    What makes you use the word biological if it does not pertain to a living thing? And even if this occurs, are there other comparative properties present which identify the organism with other living things? The list quoted by Cogito Ergo Sum (page) on page 77, shows but sample of the areas of inquiries related to the definitions and chemical data accumulated to the definition of physical biochemical life.

    No one says this bucket contains water. It is moving. Is it a living thing? The answer is clearly no.
    But if I say this long bucket contains an organism with all the biochemical elements and functions of a human and it is moving. Is it a living thing? The answer is clearly yes. And you could even refine it to identify that organism as a human, because of the commonality of chemistry and functions contained in the data.
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    Quote Originally Posted by KALSTER View Post
    He responded in post #79 with where he got that from. Clearly he thinks "Do you not know what a circular definition is?" means the same as you asking him if he knows what tautology is.
    But he posts a link to tautology in post 53.
    I do not ask "Do you not know what a circular definition is?" until post 58.
    Or do you think he is prescient?

    Quote Originally Posted by KALSTER View Post
    You know he's English is not brilliant. Why not simply clear that up instead of calling him a liar and swearing at him?
    I do not think that it is an English problem - his English seems ok.
    I genuinely think it is either a mental problem or a dishonestly problem.
    Maybe I am being too generous when assuming it is dishonestly.


    I used the word 'tautology'.
    He then preceded to tell me which meaning I was using.
    So...is he crazy or stupid?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Write4U View Post
    What makes you use the word biological if it does not pertain to a living thing?
    So you are saying that the same chemical reactions (DNA replication) happening outside a living organism are not biochemistry, but if they occur in a living organism then they are biochemistry?

    So how does that help define whether something is living or not? You can't look at the (bio)chemistry to decide because you will only know if it is biochemistry or ordinary chemistry after you have decided if it is living or not. CIRCULAR ARGUMENT.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Write4U View Post
    What makes you use the word biological if it does not pertain to a living thing? And even if this occurs, are there other comparative properties present which identify the organism with other living things? The list quoted by Cogito Ergo Sum (page) on page 77, shows but sample of the areas of inquiries related to the definitions and chemical data accumulated to the definition of physical biochemical life.

    Molecules that are typical (or even exclusively) found in living things.
    DNA is a biological molecule, it is present in every organism. If DNA leaves the cell, it is still a biological molecule. The same applies to enzymes.

    Yes, there are other properties that we can assign to living organisms in order to distinguish between living and non-living entities.
    Compartmentalization, homeostasis, reproduction, evolution, etc.
    "The only safe rule is to dispute only with those of your acquaintance of whom you know that they possess sufficient intelligence and self-respect not to advance absurdities; to appeal to reason and not to authority, and to listen to reason and yield to it; and, finally, to be willing to accept reason even from an opponent, and to be just enough to bear being proved to be in the wrong."

    ~ Arthur Schopenhauer, The Art of Being Right: 38 Ways to Win an Argument (1831), Stratagem XXXVIII.
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  97. #96  
    ***** Participant Write4U's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Strange View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Write4U View Post
    I have named one characteristic of livings things, their bio-chemistry, which is unique and separate from other chemical processes..
    The only thing that makes them unique and separate from other chemical processes is that they are taking place in a living organism. Therefore, you cannot use them to define what a living organism is. Your definition come back to: "A living organism is a thing that does what living organisms do". Useless.

    Let's take an example. Someone discovers a new "thing" (on Mars, maybe) but it is totally unlike any life on Earth. Some people claim it should be considered a new life form. Others disagree. Let's see if we can use your definition of "living" to resolve it:

    One possible scenario:

    A: Does the "thing" have biochemical processes going on?
    B: What do you mean by "biochemical"?
    A: You know, the chemistry of life.
    B: I don't know. That depends if it is alive or not. How do we tell?
    A: Chemistry! Does it have biochemical processes going on?
    B: What do you mean by "biochemical"?
    A: You know, the chemistry of life.
    B: I don't know. Is it alive?
    A: ...

    Another possible scenario:

    A: Does the "thing" have biochemical processes going on?
    B: Well, nothing similar to any life on Earth, no.
    A: Ah, so it is not alive.
    B: But it grows, reproduces, metabolises, moves, and even organizes dance and music festivals. It has a book in the New York Times best-seller list. And it was telling me yesterday about its plans for ...
    A: Sorry. No biochemistry, no life.
    I prefer to look at it as "wow', new chemistry and it behaves as what we know of living things. Lets study this apparent new form of life, just like we study the cuttle fish and its biochemical makeup and functions in the NOVA skip. Most scientist I know are excited by the prospect of new discoveries, such as extra terrestrial organisms.

    Personally I look forward to the day we have mapped the biochemical structure and functions in humans. Any abberations in the human organism can be genetically corrected, perhaps even before it is born.
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  98. #97  
    Brassica oleracea Strange's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Write4U View Post
    I prefer to look at it as "wow', new chemistry and it behaves as what we know of living things. Lets study this apparent new form of life
    So you have decided it looks like life ... on what basis?

    Your definition of life was "biochemistry" but we can't know if is biochemistry until we have decided that it is alive.

    Will you now admit your "definition" is circular and useless.

    Most scientist I know are excited by the prospect of new discoveries, such as extra terrestrial organisms.
    Of course. Why is that relevant?
    ei incumbit probatio qui dicit, non qui negat
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  99. #98  
    ***** Participant Write4U's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Strange View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Write4U View Post
    I prefer to look at it as "wow', new chemistry and it behaves as what we know of living things. Lets study this apparent new form of life
    So you have decided it looks like life ... on what basis?
    look at the list

    Your definition of life was "biochemistry" but we can't know if is biochemistry until we have decided that it is alive.
    Will you now admit your "definition" is circular and useless.
    At no time did I say that biochemistry is the definition of life. I said bio-chemistry is a characteristic of life (on earth).

    Most scientist I know are excited by the prospect of new discoveries, such as extra terrestrial organisms.
    Of course. Why is that relevant?[/QUOTE]

    Then why do you assume that scientists would reject the proposition that something alien might be alive, in spite of our lack of data?
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  100. #99  
    Brassica oleracea Strange's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Write4U View Post
    At no time did I say that biochemistry is the definition of life. I said bio-chemistry is a characteristic of life (on earth).
    Of course it is. Because that is what defines biochemistry.

    So all you are doing is saying that something done by living things is a characteristic of living things.

    Well, yes. But that is not exactly a useful statement. In fact, it looks like a tautology.

    And, of course, because we can study biochemistry in vitro it is not even unique to life.

    Then why do you assume that scientists would reject the proposition that something alien might be alive, in spite of our lack of data?
    Huh? I don't assume that. There all sorts of people doing research on possible forms of exo-biology.
    ei incumbit probatio qui dicit, non qui negat
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  101. #100  
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    Quote Originally Posted by RedPanda View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by KALSTER View Post
    He responded in post #79 with where he got that from. Clearly he thinks "Do you not know what a circular definition is?" means the same as you asking him if he knows what tautology is.
    But he posts a link to tautology in post 53.
    I do not ask "Do you not know what a circular definition is?" until post 58.
    Or do you think he is prescient?

    Quote Originally Posted by KALSTER View Post
    You know he's English is not brilliant. Why not simply clear that up instead of calling him a liar and swearing at him?
    I do not think that it is an English problem - his English seems ok.
    I genuinely think it is either a mental problem or a dishonestly problem.
    Maybe I am being too generous when assuming it is dishonestly.


    I used the word 'tautology'.
    He then preceded to tell me which meaning I was using.
    So...is he crazy or stupid?
    Why not simply a misunderstanding? That happens too you know, even with something as simple as this and even without either party being crazy or stupid, or being deliberately dishonest. I have seen it happen MANY times on this forum, even sometimes between two well regarded members.

    I just don't understand the automatic default interpretation of it as something as extreme as dishonesty or mental problems and then reacting to that by being offensive. While I agree that his definition is circular, I do not ascribe the same characteristics to his interpretation of the he said she said battle surrounding "tautology" that you do.

    I'm simply asking you, in my capacity as admin, to not automatically assume the worst and then reacting distastefully to it, the distasteful bit being the most important. What we get is the thread derailing into he said, she said nonsense and then I have to step in when you start swearing at other members. Just tone it down please.
    Disclaimer: I do not declare myself to be an expert on ANY subject. If I state something as fact that is obviously wrong, please don't hesitate to correct me. I welcome such corrections in an attempt to be as truthful and accurate as possible.

    "Gullibility kills" - Carl Sagan
    "All people know the same truth. Our lives consist of how we chose to distort it." - Harry Block
    "It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." - Aristotle
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