Life attribute and failing

Life criterion checklist (viruses)

In hmolscience, life attribute and failing refers to a standard "criterion" of "life" and a counter-example of some "thing" that has that criterion but is patently not alive.

Adjacent is a generic “life criterion” checklist (Ѻ) employed to help students determine if viruses are alive or not.

In 1999, Paul Davies, in his The Fifth Miracle, as cited by Michael Brooks (2008), listed all of the various “attributes” or criterion said to delineate life, and their respective counter argument, disproof, or “failing”; a collection of these, among others, is listed below: [1]

Failing | Disproof

1.Metabolism ● A property of a system involving "catalysts" and a "free energy" conversion "mechanism" (Blum, 1951; Morgulis, 1952).Perpetual motion of the living kind (Thims, 2009)Jupiter's red spot

● Process chemicals to gain itself energy; consumes fuel and excretes waste (Brooks, 2008).● Jupiter's great red spot "metabolizes" (Brooks, 2008).
● Automobiles "consume fuel and excrete waste (Brooks, 2008).

● Feed on "negative entropy" (Schrodinger, 1944) ● Incorrect; "free energy" is correct discussion (See: note to chapter 6)
● Disproved via ridicule (Pauling, 1989)
2.ReproductionAble to replicate itself. [3] ● Bush fires, viruses (Pauling, 1970), and crystals “reproduce”; mules don’t (Brooks, 2008). [3]
● Early universe reactions, e.g. H + H → H2 or hydrogen-to-helium reaction, are forms of "replication" or forms of reproduction of copies of itself, but not defined as alive.
● Computer programs reproduce.
TMV image
3.GrowthIncrease in size and development.● Rocks grow (Linnaeus, 1735); crystals grow (Lotka, 1925); rust grows and develops; fires grow (McFadden, 2000).Crystal growth vs bacteria growth
4. Irritability Excitation in response to stimulus; animate; reaction in response to environment.● A "windmill" is a an "animate thing" that is not alive.
Retinal molecule (C20H280) straightens in reaction to light stimulus (Thims, 2007)
Retinal (animate molecule)
5.MotilityHas the property of motion; something that "moves around" (Brooks, 2008).● Iron moves to the loadstone; straw attracts to amber (Thales, 580BC); sand grains blow in wind (McFadden, 2000).
● Synthetic carbon-based molecules, e.g. DTA (C14H10S2), "walk" (Thims, 2010)
● Robots can run and jump.
Walking molecule (DTA vs Human)
6.Boundary Contained within a boundary, e.g. cell or bacteria (Margulis, 1995)● A steam engine has a boundary; a virus has a boundary; bucky
● The "cell-as-molecule" (Harrison, 1993) model discredits model.
Cell as molecule (labeled)
7. Genetical Contains RNA and or DNA● A plant virus, which is non-alive "crystal" or "molecule" (Pauling, 1970), contains RNA.
● RNA is not alive.
Crick on life
8.Ordering A system that moves disorder to order (Schrodinger, 1944).● A candle flame creates order from disorder in its environment and is patently not alive (Brooks, 2008).
Benard cells are an order-from-disorder phenomenon, but are not defined as alive.
Benard cells (order form disorder)

(add discussion)

See also
Defunct theory of life
Life does not exist

1. (a) Davies, Paul. (1999). The 5th Miracle: the Search for the Origin and Meaning of Life (preface, pgs. 11-22; ch. 2: Against the Tide, pgs. 49-68; algorithmic entropy, pg. 276-77 and ch. 4). Orion Productions.
(b) Brooks, Michael. (2008). 13 Things That Don’t Make Sense: the Most Baffling Mysteries of Our Time (pdf) (ch. 5: “Life: Are You More Than Just a Bag of Chemicals”, pgs. 69-82). DoubleDay.
2. (a) Pauling, Linus. (1970). General Chemistry, (section: "The Nature of Life", pgs. 767-69). New York: Dover.
Brooks, Michael. (2008). 13 Things That Don’t Make Sense: the Most Baffling Mysteries of Our Time (pdf) (ch. 5: “Life: Are You More Than Just a Bag of Chemicals”, pgs. 69-82). DoubleDay.
3. Rees, Martin. (2005). Universe: the Definitive Visual Guide (pg. 52). Dorling Kindersley.

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