LIFE vs DEATH (seeking answers)

Alec Cawley alec at cawley.demon.co.uk
Sat May 3 17:50:20 EST 1997

It was said by William A Taylor that
>e904952p at hjc wrote:
>> Hi! I am a high school student fascinated by the phenomena of life. I've
>> just discovered the wonder of Usenet so I've been posted a lot recently.
>> One thing I want to ask is that what exactly happens when life leaves a
>> living organism. Physically I don't see anything much has happened. We
>> still got roughly, if not exactly, the same amount of matter there, but
>> still something must have happened, since it's now dead!
>> So what is it?
>> If we consider life as an open system could we say that it's gone though
>> bifurcation and has 'jumped' to another state which is commonly called
>> 'death'?
>> Life is certainly a strange phenomena. If we construct a system and throw
>> in some nutrients and a living organism, some time later we find two
>> organisms in the system. But if we throw in a DEAD organism, nothing will
>> happen no matter how long we wait.
>> Isn't it kind of odd?
>I see this as a philosophical question, which will not find many
>satisfying responses in this newsgroup as this is mostly a scientific
>forum.  Scientific views of life can be called mechanistic which says that
>living things are merely a more complex arrangement of matter than
>non-living things.  A vitalist view holds that living things are of a
>different quality than non-living things.  I think that your answer lies
>in the latter which, however, is not the scientific view.

"This" may be a scientific forum to you, but because of the uninhibited
way the original poster has spammed the newsgroups, he has also hit a
completely unscientific wibble group. We shall see what eventuates.
Myself, I think it depends how many empties you have lined up when you
reply. Sober, I am scientific. A few beers, and I begin to marvel at
Life. A few more, and it can't *just* be the chemicals, can it? Just
before unconsciousness, vitalism appears to be the prefiect, and
obviousm, answer to it all.


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