> > From: "Mike O'Hara" <mohara at ihug.co.nz>
> > Subject: what is alive?
>> > Carrying on from the original question (are viruses alive) and looking
> > at Mario Vaneechoutte's definition, how do people feel about 'alive' for
> > the BSE agent. At this stage it looks to be a variant protein form that
> > perpetuates its structure by altering non-variant forms (the ultimate in
> > political conversions). One would have to suppose that the variant form
> > arose in some way and has since perpetuated itself.
>> For me, it's simple: it's not replicating; like fire, it is simply
> propagating a chemical reaction which varies according to its
> substrate; therefore, it is not alive.
>> Ed Rybicki, PhD
OK, so replication (together with, perhaps, recursive coding) is an
essential feature of LIFE.
Is it a necessary or a sufficient condition? In other words, can
(computer) programs be considered alive? (I know what Ed thinks).
Louis van de Zande
(Life is a minestrone. (10CC))