Re: Life in the Lab -- Review Paper

Moorad Alexanian (
Wed, 19 May 1999 09:26:05 -0400

Dear Kevin,

The ultimate goal is to explain life as we know it at the macro level. It is
true that one cannot have classical pictures of quantum effects, but there
we have learned to rely on the solutions of mathematical equations and their
predictions at the micro and macro level. I agree with Massie that labeling
events and things can be fraudulent. Richard Feynman said that by labeling
the thing not understood people falsely think that they have contributed to

Take care,


-----Original Message-----
From: Massie <>
To: <>
Date: Tuesday, May 18, 1999 7:48 PM
Subject: Re: Life in the Lab -- Review Paper

> wrote:
>> In a message dated 5/18/99 1:22:47 PM Mountain Daylight Time,
>> writes:
>> > People have a notion of what it is to be alive and is obviously
governed by
>> > the living things that surrounds us. In a theory of the synthesis of
>> > there will invariably be some "transitional" forms of life that would
>> > neither be common nor obvious. Therein will reside the disputes of
>> > life arises from nonliving matter or not.
>> Most lay common sense notions of physical reality turn out to be wrong;
as a
>> physicist you should know that very well. So a common sense notion of
>> is irrelevant. The dispute over whether protocells are life will not be
>> resolved until people realize that the only definition really significant
>> the debate is a biological one, and a biological definition of life will
>> closely tied to molecular and cellular biological theory.
>> Kevin L. O'Brien
>Would you please stop calling them "protocells." They are not proto
>anything. This is a naming game. In advertising, they say "Tell the
>big lie often enough and they will believe it."
>Lets be honest and find a neutral name for these "little balls of Carbon
>based chemicals" and then state that some feel that these are alive and
>that others don't.
>Bert Massie