Re: Life in the Lab -- Review Paper

Brian D Harper (
Thu, 20 May 1999 18:41:47 -0700

At 07:09 PM 5/18/99 EDT, Kevin 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 life,
>> there will invariably be some "transitional" forms of life that would
>> neither be common nor obvious. Therein will reside the disputes of whether
>> 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 life
>is irrelevant. The dispute over whether protocells are life will not be
>resolved until people realize that the only definition really significant to
>the debate is a biological one, and a biological definition of life will be
>closely tied to molecular and cellular biological theory.

May I assume then that you will be skeptical about an author who gives
a definition of life obtained from Websters dictionary?

Brian Harper
Associate Professor
Applied Mechanics
The Ohio State University

"All kinds of private metaphysics and theology have
grown like weeds in the garden of thermodynamics"
-- E. H. Hiebert