What Is Life   
When I use the term arrogantly or blatantly stupid or willfully evil, I fully qualify what I said, backing these assertions with simple, plain and easy to understand logical dissertations and factual disclosures (grounded fully in our existential reality, not some imaginary postulated ones where aliens hide on the dark side of the moon or on some hidden planet Nibiru waiting patiently from decades to centuries or longer, just to save those few who believe in them from the impending destruction of our planet earth prophesied by some ancient calendar; or where the entire humongous universe of ours just came into existence out of absolutely nothing and non existence some 13 to 14 billions ago), that any man, woman and even child of average intelligent can understand. I have spoken nothing without supplying full easy to understand and clear irrefutable reasoning and proofs to support my assertions and statements. No one is required at any time to agree. Blind faith is not required.
From Dictionaries - What Is Life
Books on biology have life as: a distinctive characteristic of a living organism from dead organism or non-living thing, as specifically distinguished by the capacity to grow, metabolize, respond (to stimuli), adapt, and reproduce.
Others still have life as something chemical in composition with biological functionality and not compulsorily organic.
One very interesting definition from a dictionary has life as: the existence of an individual human being or animal.
The friendly Wikipedia has it as a nice academic definition that is hardly definitive or helpful: Life is a characteristic that distinguishes objects that have signaling and self-sustaining processes from those that do not, either because such functions have ceased (death), or else because they lack such functions and are classified as inanimate.
What Mainstream Science Has To Say About What Is Life
NASA defines life as:
Life is a self-sustained chemical system capable of undergoing Darwinian evolution.
Living things tend to be complex and highly organized. They have the ability to take in energy from the environment and transform it for growth and reproduction. Organisms tend toward homeostasis: an equilibrium of parameters that define their internal environment. Living creatures respond, and their stimulation fosters a reaction-like motion, recoil, and in advanced forms, learning. Life is reproductive, as some kind of copying is needed for evolution to take hold through a population's mutation and natural selection. To grow and develop, living creatures need foremost to be consumers, since growth includes changing biomass, creating new individuals, and the shedding of waste. To qualify as a living thing, a creature must meet some variation for all these criteria.
Many mentioned that life is very hard to define.
What is life? It’s a seemingly simple question that leads to complex answers and heated philosophical and scientific arguments. Some focus on metabolism as the key to life, others on genetics, and there has even been a suggestion that we need a whole new field of science in order to come up with a satisfactory definition.If we ever hope to identify life elsewhere in the universe, we need to understand what separates living creatures from non-living matter.
What is life, exactly? This is a question that keeps biologists up at night. The science of biology is the study of life, yet scientists can't agree on an absolute definition. Are the individual cells of your body, with all their complex machinery, "alive?" What about a computer program that learns and evolves? Can a wild fire - which feeds, grows, and reproduces - be considered a living entity?
According to Sohan Jheeta, an astrobiologist from the Open University in Milton Keynes, UK, biologists have spent far too long dithering about how to define what a living organism actually is. As a result there are more than 280 definitions of life on record, and none of them really hits the mark, Jheeta says.
"There is no broadly accepted definition of 'life.' Suggested definitions face problems, often in the form of robust counter-examples. Here we use insights from philosophical investigations into language to argue that defining 'life' currently poses a dilemma analogous to that faced by those hoping to define 'water' before the existence of molecular theory. In the absence of an analogous theory of the nature of living systems, interminable controversy over the definition of life is inescapable."
Astrobiologists are committed to studying life in the Cosmos, the terran life we know as well as the extraterran life we do not know but hope to encounter. But what exactly do we seek?The question is hardly new, nor is the recognition of its difficulty. Also not new is a certain imprecision in the language used to address this question and therefore an imprecision in the consequent ideas.
Definitions tell us about the meanings of words in our language, as opposed to telling us about the nature of the world. In the case of life, scientists are interested in the nature of life; they are not interested in what the word "life" happens to mean in our language. What we really need to focus on is coming up with an adequately general theory of living systems, as opposed to a definition of "life."
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Last Updated: 2013 12 05
First Posted: 2013 12 05
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