Life - How Should It Be Viewed?

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  • #46
    It's one thing to be called a dinosaur - I'm 80 y.o. next year - I think I can wear this one. I'll just shoot to be the best 80 y.o. dinosaur on the planet!

    BUT.......


    To be told that the dinosaur engages in "dinosaur thinking".......well...an entirely different matter!

    I think old dinosaur's can be taught new tricks........but "new" must equal "real" (Not some fiction dreamed up in consciousness (?))

    Bob A (Dinosaur)

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    • #47
      Hi Dilip:

      I've canvassed the whole thread.....which post has the link to the Scientific American article you wish me to read: "Does Life Really Exist"?

      I hope its not that we are living a simulation in an alien's computer .

      Bob A

      Comment


      • #48
        OK - I did some searching on google.......


        December 2, 2013

        Why Life Does Not Really Exist

        By Ferris Jabr

        This article was published in Scientific American’s former blog network and reflects the views of the author, not necessarily those of Scientific American

        https://www.scientificamerican.com/b...-really-exist/

        Dilip - disclosure - this is going to be a tough read for me......the title is NOT encouraging!

        But hey.......I'm open!

        Bob A (Researcher Par Excellence!)
        Last edited by Bob Armstrong; Monday, 11th March, 2024, 01:13 PM.

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        • #49
          Originally posted by Bob Armstrong View Post
          OK - I did some searching on google.......


          December 2, 2013

          Why Life Does Not Really Exist

          By Ferris Jabr

          This article was published in Scientific American’s former blog network and reflects the views of the author, not necessarily those of Scientific American

          https://www.scientificamerican.com/b...-really-exist/

          Dilip - disclosure - this is going to be a tough read for me......the title is NOT encouraging!

          But hey.......I'm open!

          Bob A (Researcher Par Excellence!)
          Bob, I wrote my own AI summarizer four years ago for my own research. Https://www.otomidemo.xyz This was just for my personal use, but we will
          be releasing an advanced version of this that will not have the biases found on generative AI programs like chatgpt etc.
          Here is a summary of the story you seem reluctant to read.


          Why Life Does Not Really Exist

          The author has been fascinated with living things since childhood. For as long as people have studied life, scientists have struggled to define it. Do people, cats, plants and other creatures belong in one category and K’Nex, computers, stars and rocks in another? My conclusion: No. I

          In fact, I decided, life does not actually exist, he says.. The author has written about nature and science for a living. NASA's working definition of life is not able to accommodate the ambiguity of viruses. Defining life as a self-sustaining system capable of Darwinian evolution also forces us to admit that certain computer programs are alive. All life on our planet depends on our DNA and RNA stores the information necessary to build the first cell. At the same time, scientists and many other scientists favor an origin of life as the RNA world known as the world of life. Researchers have created self-replicating ribozymes that may have once existed in the planet’s primordial soup. Life is a concept that we invented.

          There is no threshold at which a collection of atoms suddenly becomes alive. Carol Cleland, a philosopher at the University of Colorado Boulder, thinks that the instinct to precisely define life is misguided, but she is not yet ready to deny life's physical reality. In trying to define life, we have drawn a line at an arbitrary level of complexity, says Cleland. Life is impossible without and inseparable from what we regard as inanimate. The more similar something is to us, the more it appears to move, talk, feel, think. The particular set of attributes that makes a human a human is clearly not the only way (or, in evolutionary terms, even the most successful way) to go about being a 'living thing' The innumerable atoms that make up everything on the planet continually congregate and disassemble themselves, creating a ceaselessly shifting kaleidoscope of matter.
          Last edited by Sid Belzberg; Monday, 11th March, 2024, 02:53 PM.

          Comment


          • #50
            Originally posted by Sid Belzberg View Post

            Bob, I wrote my own AI summarizer four years ago for my own research. Https://www.otomidemo.xyz This was just for my personal use, but we will
            be releasing an advanced version of this that will not have the biases found on generative AI programs like chatgpt etc.
            Here is a summary of the story you seem reluctant to read.


            Why Life Does Not Really Exist

            The author has been fascinated with living things since childhood. For as long as people have studied life, scientists have struggled to define it. Do people, cats, plants and other creatures belong in one category and K’Nex, computers, stars and rocks in another? My conclusion: No. I

            In fact, I decided, life does not actually exist, he says.. The author has written about nature and science for a living. NASA's working definition of life is not able to accommodate the ambiguity of viruses. Defining life as a self-sustaining system capable of Darwinian evolution also forces us to admit that certain computer programs are alive. All life on our planet depends on our DNA and RNA stores the information necessary to build the first cell. At the same time, scientists and many other scientists favor an origin of life as the RNA world known as the world of life. Researchers have created self-replicating ribozymes that may have once existed in the planet’s primordial soup. Life is a concept that we invented.

            There is no threshold at which a collection of atoms suddenly becomes alive. Carol Cleland, a philosopher at the University of Colorado Boulder, thinks that the instinct to precisely define life is misguided, but she is not yet ready to deny life's physical reality. In trying to define life, we have drawn a line at an arbitrary level of complexity, says Cleland. Life is impossible without and inseparable from what we regard as inanimate. The more similar something is to us, the more it appears to move, talk, feel, think. The particular set of attributes that makes a human a human is clearly not the only way (or, in evolutionary terms, even the most successful way) to go about being a 'living thing' The innumerable atoms that make up everything on the planet continually congregate and disassemble themselves, creating a ceaselessly shifting kaleidoscope of matter.
            None of what you wrote in this post says why life does not exist. As Bob A. pointed out, it seems to be a matter of opinion of the author. So this is an Op-Ed piece, nothing more.

            Doesn't the idea of life really begin (and maybe even end) with the notion of self-awareness? "I think, therefore I am"?

            And what about the end of life in an organism? Suppose a human being dies of cancer, and the cancer gets totally removed posthumously, why is there not a process to bring the life BACK to that person? Including all their personality quirks and memories? This is an important aspect of life, at least for some forms of life. Perhaps a tree or a plant doesn't have memories or personality quirks, but once a plant dies, it similarly cannot be brought back to life.

            What is it that has left the organism? Where does it go? It if just "ends", why does it end? If it was there at one time, and the cause of death is removed / solved, why cannot the life return with say a jolt of electricity or some other energy?

            Furthermore, why cannot science with all its powers of investigation find out what goes on with cell division? How does a cell divide into two cells, and exactly WHEN and HOW does the 2nd cell receive life? The 2nd cell becomes totally independent of the 1st, there is no parent-child relationship. And the ability, knowledge and DRIVE to divide is passed on.

            If it is just chemistry, science should be able to answer this by now. How much more time do they need? The truth AFAIK is, science knows NOTHING about the life-creation aspect of cell division. Science doesn't know WHERE the life comes from or HOW it gets into the cell.

            If I am wrong on this and science has created self-replicating 'entities' that seem to have life and pass on their self-replicating abilities, I am all ears to hear about it. And no, the computer game of Life does not count, for obvious reasons.

            Comment


            • #51
              Originally posted by Pargat Perrer View Post

              None of what you wrote in this post says why life does not exist. As Bob A. pointed out, it seems to be a matter of opinion of the author. So this is an Op-Ed piece, nothing more.

              Doesn't the idea of life really begin (and maybe even end) with the notion of self-awareness? "I think, therefore I am"?

              And what about the end of life in an organism? Suppose a human being dies of cancer, and the cancer gets totally removed posthumously, why is there not a process to bring the life BACK to that person? Including all their personality quirks and memories? This is an important aspect of life, at least for some forms of life. Perhaps a tree or a plant doesn't have memories or personality quirks, but once a plant dies, it similarly cannot be brought back to life.

              What is it that has left the organism? Where does it go? It if just "ends", why does it end? If it was there at one time, and the cause of death is removed / solved, why cannot the life return with say a jolt of electricity or some other energy?

              Furthermore, why cannot science with all its powers of investigation find out what goes on with cell division? How does a cell divide into two cells, and exactly WHEN and HOW does the 2nd cell receive life? The 2nd cell becomes totally independent of the 1st, there is no parent-child relationship. And the ability, knowledge and DRIVE to divide is passed on.

              If it is just chemistry, science should be able to answer this by now. How much more time do they need? The truth AFAIK is, science knows NOTHING about the life-creation aspect of cell division. Science doesn't know WHERE the life comes from or HOW it gets into the cell.

              If I am wrong on this and science has created self-replicating 'entities' that seem to have life and pass on their self-replicating abilities, I am all ears to hear about it. And no, the computer game of Life does not count, for obvious reasons.
              I never commented on the content. Bob was reluctant to spend the time and effort reading this article that Dilip cited, so I provided him with a brief summary that gives the gist of the story.

              Comment


              • #52
                Thanks for the summary Sid......although I was hesitant about the content I was going to encounter, in fact I was looking forward to reading it, especially after learning the bit I now know about quantum mechanics from you guys (I am Niels Bohr taught - but more on atomic structure than quantum theory).

                So I will still read the whole article.

                My simple problem with the whole energy vs particle theory: I still can't walk through a tree.

                Bob A (Dinosaur catching up!)

                Comment


                • #53
                  Human Institutions

                  [I'm still working on quantum physics......slow going......but in the meantime.......]

                  Question

                  Because power corrupts, and because there can be incompetent people in bureaucracy, and because bureaucracies tend to become very big, and empires unto themselves and because politicians are very bad at oversight of their bureaucracies.....

                  Is it true?: Human institutions barely give more "benefit" to the citizen than "detriment"! They are barely more than 50% effective at doing what they do, over all.

                  Bob A (Over-skeptical?)

                  Comment


                  • #54
                    Originally posted by Bob Armstrong View Post
                    Human Institutions

                    [I'm still working on quantum physics......slow going......but in the meantime.......]

                    Question

                    Because power corrupts, and because there can be incompetent people in bureaucracy, and because bureaucracies tend to become very big, and empires unto themselves and because politicians are very bad at oversight of their bureaucracies.....

                    Is it true?: Human institutions barely give more "benefit" to the citizen than "detriment"! They are barely more than 50% effective at doing what they do, over all.

                    Bob A (Over-skeptical?)
                    Don't confuse bureaucracies with other wonderful Human Institutions we have, please...

                    Comment


                    • #55
                      I think all human institutions face this problem - not just government bureaucracy........Religions........Private Corporations.....Not-for-profit Corporations.......Volunteer Community organizations.

                      All are subject to the limitations I've described above.

                      What do other CT'ers think? Too skeptical?

                      Bob A (Pretty skeptical)

                      Comment


                      • #56
                        Originally posted by Bob Armstrong View Post
                        I think all human institutions face this problem - not just government bureaucracy........Religions........Private Corporations.....Not-for-profit Corporations.......Volunteer Community organizations.

                        All are subject to the limitations I've described above.

                        What do other CT'ers think? Too skeptical?

                        Bob A (Pretty skeptical)
                        That is why Libertarianism gives priority to the individual and the innermost circles...

                        Comment


                        • #57
                          Originally posted by Bob Armstrong View Post
                          Human Institutions

                          [I'm still working on quantum physics......slow going......but in the meantime.......]

                          Question

                          Because power corrupts, and because there can be incompetent people in bureaucracy, and because bureaucracies tend to become very big, and empires unto themselves and because politicians are very bad at oversight of their bureaucracies.....

                          Is it true?: Human institutions barely give more "benefit" to the citizen than "detriment"! They are barely more than 50% effective at doing what they do, over all.

                          Bob A (Over-skeptical?)
                          As the 'management' of private institutions gets large, it gets further away from the owners' supervision, and management's 'self-interest' gets further divorced from the 'interest of the institution', leading to eventual decline.
                          In the public institutions, the self-interest of management (and the so-called board of directors) reigns supreme from the start!
                          In both types (private and public), the bulkier the management gets, the problem of 'everyone's business is nobody's business' hastens the decay...

                          Comment


                          • #58
                            Originally posted by Bob Armstrong View Post
                            I think all human institutions face this problem - not just government bureaucracy........Religions........Private Corporations.....Not-for-profit Corporations.......Volunteer Community organizations.

                            All are subject to the limitations I've described above.

                            What do other CT'ers think? Too skeptical?

                            Bob A (Pretty skeptical)
                            Everything we know of on Earth has a cycle of birth ... growth ... stabilization ... decline and decay .... death.

                            Sometimes an entity can "buck the trend" and rejuvenate after a decline. Also, the stabilization part can be skipped, growth can suddenly reverse into decline. But nevertheless, everything eventually declines into death.

                            Just saw a video that illustrates this well. It's a mathematical principle known as "3n+1". Take any positive integer starting number. Multiply by 3 and add 1. If the result is odd, do the same again, multiply by 3 and add 1. If the result is even, divide by 2.

                            Eventually you end up at 1. It appears to be the case, they have tested by brute force all starting numbers up to 2 to the power of 66. Every single one ends up going down to 1. But the graph can jump up and down dramically. Even starting numbers that differ by just 1 can have dramatically different lengths to their graph before they end up at 1.

                            But they all end up at 1. Once you reach 1, you then to go 4, then to 2, then back to 1. There is no escape from the 4-2-1 cycle. Endless.

                            (Note: there is no mathemical proof that all positive integer starting numbers MUST end up at 1. So the brute force testing is our only source of knowledge. Sometimes you just can't prove a negative.)

                            We're not sure about the Universe as a whole yet, whether it has the birth ... growth ... stabilization ... decline ... death cycle. Right now it's in growth.
                            Last edited by Pargat Perrer; Sunday, 17th March, 2024, 03:30 AM.

                            Comment


                            • #59
                              Hi Pargat:

                              Thanks.......didn't know about "3n+1". Seems odd that it is known only by brute force, and no "Principle" can be discovered........just another one of those mysteries of higher math I guess.

                              Click image for larger version

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                              My understanding of the Universe is that it cannot expand indefinitely....apparently there comes a point at which it loses momentum.....it seems like the energy source has weakened to the point that some type of mass attraction starts occurring to counter the expansion energy. The momentum changes towards densification, and the Universe starts "shrinking" or falling back into itself. I believe some posit disappearance into a black hole. Some "cancellation" - I think of it as quantum physics' entanglement of pairs (As much as I've got it). Creation from nothing is only possible by the emergence of existent opposites (I don't know if this is matter vs dark matter). So whatever is "pulling" the Universe to collapse is the opposite of the Universe.......and at the end they mutually self-destruct each other.......result.........return to Void.

                              OK physicists - have a good run at me and explain how I don't know what I'm talking about!

                              Bob A (Blissfully Ignorant)
                              Last edited by Bob Armstrong; Sunday, 17th March, 2024, 05:11 AM.

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                              • #60
                                The idea that everything follows a rigid cycle of birth, growth, stabilization, decline, and death is too simplistic. Many natural systems experience phases of renewal, unpredictable fluctuations, and don't neatly fit this pattern.

                                Even if we focus on individual lifespans, there are exceptions. Additionally, the universe's ultimate fate is unknown – it might not follow the same rules we observe in smaller, Earth-bound systems.

                                Comparing the "3n+1" mathematical pattern to this is misleading. This number puzzle has interesting behavior, but it doesn't directly translate to the complexities of living organisms or the entire cosmos. While intriguing, the pattern can't be used as proof of a universal decline towards "death."

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