Re: The young age of Earth

Ami Chopine (
Sun, 21 Mar 1999 23:20:47 -0800

Your requirement is too stringent from a biochemical point of

Unfortunately, however, it is a requirement to explain the advent of life on
this planet. The use of an esoteric definition of abiogenesis to proclaim
it fact is a little misleading.

Let me ask you a question: are red blood cells alive by your

By themselves, no. They are part of a living system. If isolated, with all
the things necessary to keep them alive, you will soon lose all of them to
natural causes with no new little replacement cells. They cannot reproduce.
They do not evolve. Being part of a living system does not make it alive.

>Let me ask you another question: are viruses alive? They have a genetic
>code, but no metabolic system.

I don't know. I've wondered this for a long time, especially since one of
my main interests and the direction I've wanted to go in was virology.

The problem, however, with both of these examples is that they are both post
'genetic code'. They wouldn't exist without it.

You and I would both agree that metabolic systems are absolutely essential
for life (in the case of viruses, they don't have their own, but they use
others). I believe a genetic code is absolutely essential for life. Both
must exist, in my opinion, to define something as life.

Can the metabolic systems you speak of evolve? If so, is there a ceiling to
their level of complexity?


Ami Chopine