The essence and origins of life. What is it? Yes, we can define characteristics that differentiated the living from the non-living. The building blocks of life are still not the same as a simple virus. Do you think new forms of life "become living" these days?. Do you think that the conditions to form new life simply do not exist anymore? Evolution can not even begin until something (still yet unknown to us) happens first. Do you think we will ever discover the recipe?

Views: 1172

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

Do you think we will ever discover the recipe?

We'll probably see the dawn of machine intelligence with the power of self-replication and improvement start to appear within the next few generations: a technological singularity. It will be the last machine we'll ever need to invent, because it builds machines for us: a machine machine. 3D printing technology will probably be a part of that.

Do think machines could ever be classified as living and have "rights"? Blade Runner, probably my favorite movie, alluded to this issue, however there was still a distinction between replicants and humans. I just wonder if life as we know it is still being created here on earth..or is that process done with. Obviously conditions have changed.

Imagine you transferred your consciousness into a machine. Imagine you copied your consciousness and created a second instance of yourself in a machine. Are you still human? Imagine an artificial human-like consciousness was created from scratch. Is that human? Are rights tied to being human, or being sentient?  I suspect it would end up being the latter: and 'human rights' will become 'sentient rights'. 

But you mean life as we know it, so consider this. New viruses are created when two viruses interact in one animal and swap DNA packets. Then you get a new strain. That, by the way, was the basis of the plot in the movie 'Contagion'. A hybrid bat virus and pig virus becomes a super-virus. Then again, it's debatable that a virus is actually alive. Although life as we know it probably started in a similar fashion, going from almost alive to alive. So who knows? 

The interesting thing about viruses: They need a host to exit their "dormant state"? If this is true, it implies viruses as we know them were not the first living things, simple as they are. Not sure if all viruses need a host to reproduce. It's the old chicken and the egg problem.

I agree, that if a machine can actually becomes truly self-aware...wow ! That is one of the more common definitions of life.

I think someday the true Abiogenesis model will be discovered. That should kill of 99% of all religions.

The interesting thing about viruses: They need a host to exit their "dormant state"? If this is true it implies viruses as we know them were not the first living things, simple as they are.

Consider what a virus is: a self-replicating strand of DNA or RNA in a little wrapper. That's pretty much it. I find that interesting.

Life probably started with self-replicating biological molecules that produced nucleic acids: DNA and RNA. Once the oceans of the world are teeming with countless trillions of little self-replicators, all you need to do is wait a billion years and let natural selection do the rest.  

I think someday the true Abiogenesis model will be discovered.

I think you're right. We've already discovered some interesting stuff

That should kill of 99% of all religions.

I hope you're right!

Consider what a virus is: a self-replicating strand of DNA or RNA in a little wrapper. That's pretty much it. I find that interesting.

A nit, a tiny one:  The DNA in a virus cannot replicate itself, nor its wrapper, without help from enzymes in the cell it infects.  (This implies that viruses could not originate until after full-blown cells existed, so Robert is correct on that score.)

The DNA in a virus cannot replicate itself, nor its wrapper, without help from enzymes in the cell it infects. (This implies that viruses could not originate until after full-blown cells existed, so Robert is correct on that score.)

Possibly. Or it implies that enzymes now found in living cells once existed without them in the prebiotic soup. 

I wasn't suggesting viruses were the first self-replicators, only that self-replicators may have been the first kind of almost-alive life.  

Sorry Robert, but you'll need another analogy - there is no chicken and egg problem, as reptiles and dinosaurs were laying eggs long before the first chicken ever cackled --

So it is a dinosaur and egg problem  then?

I'm not sure, depends on what might lay eggs that are older than dinosaurs - the problem will still exist, all the way back to the first egg-layer, only the subject will change. It's just that I've been informed that chickens want to be left out of it, they're trying to keep a low profile (Shhh! It's a survival thing!).

It is true that scientists will someday discover the key to Abiogenesis. I don't think the discovery will kill 99% of all religions however. The theists will simply respond as usual, "God did it!".

After your consciousness started inhabiting that machine, would it stop thinking itself human and admit to itself that it's a machine?

BTW, my understanding was that according to the most commonly asserted (by biologists) minimum requirements of being alive:

When researchers first discovered agents that behaved like bacteria but were much smaller and caused diseases such as rabies and foot-and-mouth disease, it became the general view that viruses were biologically "alive." However this perception changed in 1935 when the tobacco mosaic virus was crystallized and it was shown that the particles lacked the mechanisms necessary for metabolic function. Once it was established that viruses consist merely of DNA or RNA surrounded by a protein shell, it became the scientific view that they are more complex biochemical mechanisms than living organisms. (source)

RSS

Blog Posts

The tale of the twelve officers

Posted by Davis Goodman on August 27, 2014 at 3:04am 5 Comments

Birthday Present

Posted by Caila Rowe on August 26, 2014 at 1:29am 14 Comments

Services we love!

We are in love with our Amazon

Book Store!

Gadget Nerd? Check out Giz Gad!

Advertise with ThinkAtheist.com

In need a of a professional web site? Check out the good folks at Clear Space Media

© 2014   Created by umar.

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service