Re: Life in the Lab -- Fox and the Nobel Prize

Moorad Alexanian (
Mon, 10 May 1999 14:09:12 -0400

Sometning that cannot die is not alive. Life withouth death is not life. If
protocells cannot die, then they are not alive in the first place. Why call
them protocells, why not cells? Because they are not cells!


-----Original Message-----
From: <>
To: <>;
<>; <>;
Date: Saturday, May 08, 1999 3:05 AM
Subject: Re: Life in the Lab -- Fox and the Nobel Prize

>In a message dated 5/7/99 7:22:26 AM Mountain Daylight Time,
> writes:
>> That is precisely the point. Death is an integral part of what life is.
>> I never her the proponents of "life-in-a-test-tube" talk about it. Death
>> the cessation of life. You see, such deep issues are always circular.
>Which is exactly why biologists do not discuss it. Biology is the science
>life; hence biologists cannot study it when it no longer exists. Nor can
>they study something that cannot be measured or experimented with. Death
>part of life only in that death is what you have when life stops. As such,
>no one can say what it is, only what it is not. Like any science, biology
>can only study what is; it cannot study what is not. Death is not a
>concept like life; it is metaphysical, and science cannot study
>Besides, as you admit your argument is circular. You are saying that to
>prove protocells are alive we have to show that they can die, but before we
>can do that we must prove that they are alive in the first place. In other
>words, since death is the cessation of life, to use death to prove the
>existence of life we have to know that life exists and thus can cease.
>That's why it is better to define life by what it does, not by what you
>when it stops doing what it does. Which is exactly what Fox accomplished.
>As such, knowing that his protocells are alive, we can now also say that
>can die.
>Kevin L. O'Brien