Re: Life in the Lab -- Review Paper

Moorad Alexanian (
Fri, 21 May 1999 08:59:28 -0400

The problem is not removed by defining life in a way that gives rise to
controversy. In fact, it is the very definition of what is alive that is in


-----Original Message-----
From: Brian D Harper <>
To: <>
Cc: <>
Date: Thursday, May 20, 1999 6:40 PM
Subject: Re: Life in the Lab -- Review Paper

>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
>>> 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
>>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.
>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