David N. Levy wrote:
>> In article <610fld$rh6 at net.bio.net>
> Mike Lamb <mikejonlamb at earthlink.net> writes:
>> > My feeling? Prions are not alive but viruses are alive.
> > The essence of life is the replication of coded information.
>> By this reasoning, then, a book which instructs or compells a person in
> how to create a new book just like the first is then "alive".
>> Or the instruction: "take this message, copy it and paste it 500
> times", is then "alive".
>> To me, a definition of life must include an inherent metabolism
> sufficient for the construction of progeny, not just the instructions
> telling or compelling another body to do so.
I am probably in the minority but. . . . . . I do believe that the
replication of coded information is the essence of life AND that there
are 3 major forms of life on this planet:
Organic Life, Cultural Ideas, and Computer Code.
The reason for my belief is that the replication of code is a very
special process. There are a set of principles which describe how this
replication occurs. Here is an example of one such principle: The
Complexity of the Code set is limited by the fidelity of its
replication. Therefore, it is much more difficult for an RNA virus to
become complex than it is for a DNA virus to become complex. Also, it is
much more difficult for a society to become complex if they do not have
a written language. So, those without a written language have simpler