Rock vs human

Rock vs Human 5
A modern molecular formula (see: human molecular theory) depiction of the "rock vs. human" comparison that often arises on what is life or mind from matter debates, and or reductionism vs. anti-reductionism discussions, eliminative materialism objects, etc. The difference between the two, a rock and human, contrary to historical patch attempt solutions, e.g. "one is conscious one isn't", "one is alive one isn't", one responds to stimulus, one doesn't, etc., is the difference in the atomic structure or average molecular formula of the two entities, shown above, according to which each has different properties, the latter tending to have more dynamic, animate, and reactive than the former—neither, however, being alive.
In philosophy, rock vs human (TR:43), or "stone vs human", is the overly-common query or comparison in respect to the seeming similarity and or difference between a rock (or stone) and a person (or human) — generally framed in the context of ‘what is life’ discussions, animate vs inanimate behavior queries, mind from matter dialogs, one nature vs. two nature like debates, among other similar issues of conceptual puzzlement.
In terms of chemical composition, in comparing glauconite vs a human, as shown adjacent, while the rock and the human are similar having the following:
Common elements: H, O, K, Na, Fe, Mg
Rock elements: Al, Si - based
Human elements: C - based
Here we see the distinguishing difference between a rock and a human, namely that the latter is aluminum and silicon based, and the latter is carbon based, and this is why humans have the properties they have, e.g. animation, intelligence, etc., and rocks have the properties they have, e.g. inertness, non-intelligence, etc.
The subject of the rock versus a human comparison often tend to teeter between panbioism and the defunct theory of life perspectives; in some cases, ideas about consciousness, purpose, values, etc.; or in the case of the religiously-bent type to lean into loaded creationism theory solutions, spiritual creation energy theories, and or agnosticism uncertainties. [3] The comparison frequently arises in discussions on the subject of the origin of life or life in the context of the physical sciences.
Matter | Thinking & feeling
In 1729, Jean Meslier, in his §91: “The Thoughts, Desires, Will, and Sensations of Good and Evil are only Internal Modifications of the Person or Animal that Thinks, Knows, or Feels Good or Evil”, of this The Testament, engaged in an attack on Cartesian-themed views of Nicolas Malebranche (The Search after Truth) and Francois Fenelon (The Existence of God), and one point of which he first cites Horace and laughing at humorous work rule:
“Could you, my friends, contemplating this work, hold yourselves back from laughing?”
— Horace (c.19BC), Art of Poetry (5)
An image of a stone with feelings from the Stones Have Feelings Too! (Ѻ) Card deck set, as a representation of the view of Jean Meslier that feelings derive from matter as contrasted with the view of Francois Fenelon that a “feeling stone” (see: rock vs human) is something that children will laugh at.
Then he cites how Fenelon said the following about "laughing children" (see: laughing children rule) and people who would attribute feelings to stones: [1]
Matter cannot think or feel and the people, even children, cannot be persuaded otherwise. People and children are far from believing that matter is capable of thinking and feeling in anyway, so that they could not help laughing if you told them that a stone, a piece of wood, a table, or their dolls felt pain or pleasure and joy or sadness.”
Francois Fenelon (c.1690), On the Existence of God
Meslier rebuts this logic as follows: [1]
“Now that is a lovely argument for a person of such rank, merit, and erudition! People and even children could really have a reason to laugh and make fun of those who to amuse themselves would like to make them believe that stones, tables, boards, furniture, or dolls had knowledge and sentiment because they know, indeed, that these sorts of things cannot know or feel anything. But, their laughter would not come, as Fenelon would like to make them understand, from the fact that these kinds of things are only matter or made of matter, but because they would see that these things are not ‘animate’ and do not have life like animals and consequently they cannot think or feel.”
Here, this is good rebuttal logic. The children can understand that while a stone and a human and a human are both types of matter, the difference between them is a difference of "animation" properties, a human being carbon-based being animate thereby, and a stone being aluminum-based being inanimate thereby.
Linnaeus | Mineral life
In 1735, Carl Linnaeus, in his System of Nature (Systema Naturae), introduced binomial nomenclature classification (Linnaean classification) of species scheme, dividing the world into: mineral, plant, and animal; implicitly a non-living matter (mineral or mineral life) and living matter (plant life and animal life) divide, as it has been passed down to us; Linnaeus, however, seems to have had, in his mind, a bit of a "gradual panbioism" conception; in his own words, he divided nature into the following three kingdom conceptualizations: [1]

“Stones grow; plants grow and live; animals grow, live, and feel.”

Shown adjajcent is a rendition of a Linnaean-like animal, vegetable, mineral divide, each of them alive and intelligent, in some sense.

Animal vegetable mineral (labeled)
The Linnaean classification (1735) scheme of nature. (Ѻ)
This quote seems to have been passed on over the next century, verbatim, with little reflection, until about the mid-19th century, when people started questioning the “stones grow” assertion; or for example, to what extent plants can "feel":

“How do stones, or mineral substances, grow? Not as plants, shrubs, or trees. Whenever they grow at all, it is by accretion. It is as if a new layer or coating were added to, or plastered on, to them. They grow, in general, very slowly.”
— William Alcott (1859) (Ѻ)

“Objections: Stones do not grow, but increase in size by accretion. Feeling may be said to exist in the lower classes of both plants and animals, provided that contractility be accepted as a property of sensitive tissue. If it be surmised that pain is a result of feeling (i.e. sensation), it may be attributed to Oethalium with equal propriety as to Ameba. Were every act of fissuration, evisceration or amputation accompanied with pain, it becomes difficult to understand why self-mutilation should be so frequently imposed for the preservation of both individual life and that of the species. It is probable that at such times an organism feels no more pain than is experienced by the contractile contents of an ovum undergoing segmentation.”
— Harrison Allen (1869) (Ѻ)


Paley watch analogy
A depiction of William Paley's 1802 "watch analogy", the gist of which is that if you were walking along a heath and came across a stone and a watch, and asked yourself how they came to be, you would say the stone came to be their by natural forces, but the watch had an artificer (aka watchmaker) who designed the watch with parts that produce motion for a purpose; the watch is analogous to a human, who must have been designed similarly, and that "designer" must be god.
Paley | Stone vs watch
In 1802, William Paley gave his famous "watch analogy", according to which he stated that if he was walking on a heath—or tract of wasteland—and he came across a pocket watch, it would be most reasonable to assume that someone had dropped it and that it was made by a watchmaker and not by natural forces; the original statement of which is as follows:

“In crossing a heath, suppose I pitched my foot against a stone, and were asked how the stone came to be there; I might possibly answer, that, for anything I knew to the contrary, it had lain there forever: nor would it perhaps be very easy to show the absurdity of this answer. But suppose I had found a watch upon the ground, and it should be inquired how the watch happened to be in that place; I should hardly think of the answer which I had before given, that, for anything I knew, the watch might have always been there. Yet why should not this answer serve for the watch as well as for the stone?

Why is it not as admissible in the second case, as in the first? For this reason, and for no other, viz. that, when we come to inspect the watch, we perceive (what we could not discover in the stone) that its several parts are framed and put together for a purpose, e.g. that they are so formed and adjusted as to produce motion, and that motion so regulated as to point out the hour of the day; that if the different parts had been differently shaped from what they are, of a different size from what they are, or placed after any other manner, or in any other order, than that in which they are placed, either no motion at all would have been carried on in the machine, or none which would have answered the use that is now served by it.”

The gist argument, which is a rock vs human argument relocated to the focus of a watch, is that design implies a designer, and that designer must be god. [2]

Will of Rock (vs Will of Human)
A depiction of George Scott's 1969 thought experiment, taught in class, wherein he tried to argue that the rock falls via natural physical law, but that humans have free will, or something along these lines.
In 1926, George Scott, a physical chemist, co-taught an interdisciplinary course, with social psychologist George Breed, noted for doing some research on eye contact in human interactions, at the University of South Dakota, entitled “Disorder in Nature and Human Affairs”, relating behaviorism and physical science. During one course, Scott did a rock vs human scenario, of him standing on a ladder dropping rocks on people, themed in some way on the Skinner model of pigeons dropping bombs on the Germans, so to argue that people have free will, whereas rocks don’t; which he summarizes as follows: [20]

“During one of our ‘Disorder in Nature and Human Affairs’ courses, I can still remember one fine afternoon, when I tried to explain the difference between human ‘acts’ and deterministic ‘acts’, described by physical natural laws, by describing a street scene in which I carried a rock onto a ladder above a sidewalk and allowed it to drop while people walked underneath. ‘If I had dropped it from the right height and instant, I might have hit someone in the head and killed them. The fall of the rock should be deterministically calculated from Galileo’s formula: h = ½gt ², and the rock will fall according to physical natural law, but the height and timing of the initiation of the fall would be my own ‘free willchoice!”
George Scott (1985), Atoms of the Living Flame (pgs. 135-36)

Here, of course, we are reminded of Alexander Pope’s poetic quip about a rock falling on his head:

“When the loose mountain trembles from on high; shall gravitation cease, if you go by?”
Alexander Pope (1734), An Essay on Man (§:4.128)

Scott goes on to discuss how he and Breed argued about this, Breed suggesting that he could Skinnerian like positive conditioning, with “beautiful, voluptuous maidens” to turn Scott into his hitman:

“Suppose, I just waited repeatedly until, by chance, you carried a rock, time after time, up the ladder and every time you came closer and closer to hitting someone on the head, I gave you a ‘beautiful, voluptuous maiden’, like Skinner giving pigeons food to make them dance in figure eights. Then, you’d be conditioned by positive reinforcement to be my hitman, just like Skinner’s pigeons, and it wouldn’t be ‘free willact at all!”
— George Breed (c.1969), dialogue with Scott on his rock dropping scenario

In 1874, English physical economist Stanley Jevons gave the following ripe energy-chemistry based continuity theory (aka great chain of being) view of things: [12]

“By degrees it is found that the chemistry of organized substances is not widely separated from, but is rather continuous with, that of earth and stones. Life itself seems to be nothing but a special form of that energy which is manifested in heat and electricity and mechanical force. The time may come, it almost seems, when the tender mechanism of the brain will be traced out, and every thought reduced to the expenditure of a determinate weight of nitrogen and phosphorus.”

This is excellent discernment, indeed; very close to the defunct theory of life solution.

In circa 1920s, German philosopher Martin Heidegger, according to British artist Wolfe von Lenkiewicz (2011), supposedly, discussed some type of “non-experiencing stone” distinction.

In 1925, American physical chemist Gilbert Lewis stated the following on the matter: [1]

“What shall we now say to this prime classification of science into animate and inanimate branches? Do living beings possess traits which the rocks do not possess, or are the same traits possessed in different degrees? Indeed, are all distinctions in kind reducible to distinctions in degree? These questions are hard to answer.”

A 2018 video of Libb Thims using a rock, as compared to a stick, and some trash, etc., to teach "thing philosophy" to his two nephews.
In many cases in queries about rocks versus humans, discussion of energy and or entropy tends to be in the vicinity. The above section by Lewis, for example, is followed by his view that “living things are cheats in the game of entropy”; a view that he attributes to Hermann Helmholtz who, according to Lewis, “thought that living beings may escape from the law of entropy.” (fact check)

In 1938-39, English physiologist Charles Sherrington, in his "Man on His Nature" lecture-turned-book, employs the rock vs. human comparison in a well-honed manner to give way to the defunct theory of life point of view:

“The ‘motion’ of an energy system is its ‘behavior’. Various types of organization of system produce on that basis various types of behavior. A gray rock, said Ruskin, is a good sitter. That is one type of behavior. A darting dragon-fly is another type of behavior. We call the one alive, the other not. But both are fundamentally balances of give and take of motion with their surround. To make ‘life’ a distinction between them is at root to treat them both artificially.”

The person referred to here is English art critic John Ruskin, which seems to be a reference to an 1849 pocket book note scribbled to his father about how he was sitting on a gray rock on a glacier while waiting for the fog to clear.

In 1945, French atheist existentialist philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre stated the following: [13]

“The effect of any form of materialism is to treat all men—including oneself—as objects, which is to say as a set of predetermined reactions indistinguishable from the properties and phenomena that constitute, say, a table, a chair, or a stone.”

In 1980, Iranian mechanical engineer and thermodynamics professor Mehdi Bazargan, in discussion of his Thermodynamics of Humans (1956), in an article section on the 'Cause of Movement and Life', stated the following: [11]

“In general, an object in a given force field will, of necessity, behave in a calculable and predictable way. For any object, whether a stone, a plant, or a human society, force means movement.”

human, stone, molecule, planet
American economist Murray Rothbard’s hilarious 1960 comparison of a human vs stone vs molecule vs planet, among which he says the human is unique in that it possesses a “rational consciousness” and can “choose” the course of its actions, unlike the other three of his entity classifications. [10] The inherent problem here, naturally enough, is that humans, according to ecologically stoichiometry, are now textbook-defined as “molecules”(see: human molecular formula); hence the so-called “moral” distinction between a human molecule (left) and any other animate CHO-based molecule, that shown (third from left) being the retinal molecule, or CHNOPS+ based molecule, becomes blurred, after which former dichotomies become fictional or rather in need of great correction and reform.

The following is an early conscious stone statement:

“What is life may be subject of dispute; but it is far from true that we are no better able to answer this question to-day than last century. For ourselves we hold that life is immanent in substance; and we think it may be safely stated that modern science does not believe that it needs a truly organized structure for the manifestation of life. It is true we do not recognize conscious stones, nor conscious trees; but this does not prove that life is not universally diffused, and that the whole of nature is not indeed and in truth alive.”
Henry Bray (1910), The Living Universe (pg. 204)

In 1960, American economist Murray Rothbard (1926-1995) gave the following rather hilarious stone, molecules, and planets vs humans comparison: [10]

Scientism is the profoundly unscientific attempt to transfer uncritically the methodology of the physical sciences to the study of human action. Both fields of inquiry must, it is true, be studied by the use of reasons—the mind’s identification of reality. But then it becomes crucially important, in reason, not to neglect the critical attribute of human action: that, alone in nature, human beings possess a rational consciousness. Stones, molecules, planets cannot choose their courses; their behavior is strictly and mechanically determined for them. To ignore this primordial fact about the nature of man—to ignore his volition, his free will—is to misconstrue the facts of reality and therefore to be profoundly and radically unscientific.”

This is a classic “two natures” (incorrect) belief system stance; the converse “one nature” (correct) position is outlined by Charles Sherrington (above). The premise of whether or not a human, as compared to a molecule or chemical, can "choose" the course of its actions, of course, is a question central to the work of Goethe, in the years 1796-1908 (see: Goethe timeline).

It will take some time here to pick into Rothbard’s mind, in regards to the his above divisional dichotomy, being that: (a) he was irreligious and agnostic toward the existence of god, describing himself as a "mixture of an agnostic and a Reform Jew", sometimes identifying as an atheist, yet critical of the "left-libertarian hostility to religion", and (b) he was an associate of Ayn Rand, prior to her becoming famous, via Atlas Shrugged (1958), stating that her ideas were not as original as she proclaimed but similar to those of Aristotle, Thomas Aquinas, and Herbert Spencer; the two eventually partying ways over various differences, including his defense of anarchism. [16]

rock, spider, car
American philosopher Bernard Rollin’s 1981 rock (and pebble) vs spider vs car comparison, which he employed to ferret out his system of moral treatment of animals. [14]

Morality | Rock vs animal vs machine
In 1981, American philosopher Bernard Rollin, in his Animal Rights and Human Morality, did a rock vs. spider vs. machine comparison to argue his animal moral ideology, one generally aimed at facilitating the legislation of the ethical treatment of animals: [14]

“Let us consider three categories of things: a rock, a machine, and an animal. For the sake of simplicity, let us look to a living thing—say, a spider—whose pleasure and pain many people feel is at least highly questionable for us to discuss, but who possibly has some rudimentary awareness. Clearly, in the case of the rock, it is senseless to speak of any real intrinsic unity to its being or any needs. If the rock is split or eroded, it remains a rock. If it is ground into sand, it is perhaps no longer a rock, but there is nothing to tell us that it has jumped a metaphysical barrier and become a totally different sort of thing, nor would we say that something undesirable has happened to the rock. There is nothing about a rock that resists the change to sand; the change is from dead matter in one form to dead matter in another form.

In contrast, consider a spider. It has an intrinsic nature connected with being a spider, one that requires that it be alive. When it ceases to be alive, it is like the rock, and there is little difference between a crushed dead spider and a dried-up dead spider. The change from living to dead is far more profound than the change from rock to sand, and it is sensible to call it understandable from the point of view of the spider. But when the spider is alive, it has what Aristotle called a telos, a nature, a function, a set of activities intrinsic to it, evolutionarily determined and genetically imprinted, that constitute its ‘living spiderness.’ Furthermore, its life consists precisely in a struggle to perform these functions, to actualize this nature, to fulfill these needs, to maintain this life, what Hobbes and Spinoza referred to as the conatus or drive to preserve its integrity and unity.

This is not of course to suggest that the spider or any animal need be conscious of its nature and all of these needs, any more than a man need be conscious of his need for oxygen or calcium. It surely makes sense to speak of conscious needs. Even wants and intentions perhaps need not necessarily be conscious—many analytical psychologists speak of unconscious wants and intentions, though whether or not this is sensible is the subject of much philosophical debate. It is enough that we as moral agents can sensibly assert that the spider has interests, which are conditions without which the creature, first of all, cannot live or, second of all, cannot live its life as spider nor fulfill its telos. Third and most important, as we shall shortly discuss, it is necessary that we can say sensibly of the animal that it is aware of its struggle to live its life, that the fulfilling or thwarting of its needs matter to it.

Once again, we must stress that a man may not be conscious of his need for oxygen, but thwarting that need certainly matters to him. This sort of talk is senseless vis-a-via a rock. Further, we are aware that it is in our power to nurture or impede these needs and even to destroy the entire nexus of needs and activities that constitute its life. And once this is recognized, it is difficult to see why the entire machinery of moral concerns is not relevant here, for it is the awareness of interest in living (human) beings that we have argued is constitutive of morality in the first place. We may of course decide that the interests of the spider are insignificant compared with our desire for a spider-free living room, but the key point is that such a decision logically must be considered a moral decision, quite unlike sweeping up a pebble one finds in the living room. We are of course not considering the details of the moral decision, but simply pointing out that as a living creature with interests, the spider enters the arean of moral concern.

Contrast this with a machine. Someone might argue, cleverly, that machines also have a telos or functional nature and, correlatively, have needs. The telos of a thermostat is to regulate the temperature in a room; the telos of a car is to run. Connected with this telos are needs; the car needs oil, gas, antifreeze, air in the tires, and so forth. Must we assert then that cars fall within the scope of moral concern? If so, the entire theory must collapse under its own weight for it violates our basic moral intuitions to consider a car in itself an object of moral concern?”

Rollin, a “university bioethicist”, at Colorado State University, four years later, would use this platform of logic be become the principal architect of 1985 federal legislation dealing with the welfare of experimental animals.

In 2013, American moral philosopher Joshua Greene stated matter-of-factly that rocks, because they don’t “experience” things, are beyond the scope of moral concerns: [15]

“Everything you do is ultimately done to enhance the quality of someone’s experience. We generally [however] regard things that have not experience, things like rocks, as beyond the scope of moral concerns. Thus, it’s plausible that the goodness and badness of everything ultimately cashes out in terms of the quality of people’s experiences.”

Greene, to note, like Rollin, would go on to be a key speaker in the 2014 US commission on bioethics.

Kick a stone | kick a dog
The views of English social anthropologist Gregory Bateson are frequently requoted in regards to his comparison of kicking a dog versus kicking a stone, the latter of which he says strictly follows the billiard ball conservation of energy/first law of thermodynamics "behavior" model. [8] Austrian-born American theoretical physicist Fritjof Capra truncates Bateson’s view as such:

“When I kick a stone, I give energy to the stone, and it moves with that energy … When I kick a dog, it responds with energy [it received] from [its] metabolism.”

Bateson uses this comparison to argue about the energy of amoeba and of neurons firing in circuits.
human, goals, and rocks
A comparison depiction of pendulum versus a human, to bring into view Cuban-born American philosopher Alicia Juarrero's 1999 human differs from stone (bob) assertion that: [7]

“Pendula, too, ‘tend’ to achieve an end state of rest. But stones and pendula have neither goals nor ends; nor do they act in order to reach them.”

The correction here, of course, is that the they both tend to "seek" equilibrium, each, however being quantified by a different force function, gravity and free energy, respectively.

Teleology | Goal-seeking
In 1958, British philosopher Richard Peters, in his The Concept of Motivation, attempted to explain the ability to vary movements relative to a goal in a way that is appropriate to change in the situation necessary to define it as a goal and in the conditions relevant to attaining it, using the example of Pavlov’s dogs salivating, using the stone comparison, as follows: [6]

“For the explicandum [salivation] can only be adequately described by means of concepts like ‘relevance’ and ‘appropriateness’ to an end. Processes, on the other hand, like melting of ice or the movements of glass when struck by a stone do not require such concepts in their description. They just happen. They are not recognized or describe in terms which related to them to some kind of means-end nexus. For they do not vary in light of situations related in this sort of way to them. They therefore cannot be sufficiently explained in causal terms.”

In 1999, citing Peters, Cuban-born American ontic opening philosopher Alicia Juarrero, gave a similar take, albeit comparing people to stones, avalanches, and pendula: [7]

“Goals and ends, however, differ from end states, those internal states of quiescence and satisfaction that psychologists often postulate as ultimate motivators. The difference between goals and end states is basic to any teleological account of action. Stones and avalanches persist in rolling downhill no matter what obstacles they encounter. Pendula, too, ‘tend’ to achieve an end state of rest. But stones and pendula have neither goals nor ends; nor do they act in order to reach them. Moreover, purposive human behavior is not always followed by such end states; sometimes, despite trying their hardest, agents fail to achieve their goal. Goal-directedness is thus not a generalizing tending toward and end state.”

The general problem here, particularly in the Juarrero rendition of the stone vs. human comparison, is that comparison is done in such a manner as to be a straw man or aunt sally argument, quick to set up and easy to knock down. If, conversely, a human, a carbon-based molecule (see: carbon-based life), is compared to carbon atom and the so-called "internal states of quiescence and satisfaction" that the carbon atom, with its octet bonding valency requirements, "feels", using laymanized anthropomorphic language (which eliminative materialism rejects), when it "satisfies" Abegg's rule, such as by migrating, through the action of the exchange force, to the geometrical arrangement of having four surrounding hydrogen atoms, in the organization of end state reaction product of methane, the aunt sally is not so easily knocked down. The reason for this is that the comparison is more apt. An inert non-reactive stone, a silicon-based structure, commonly, being a less apt comparison.

rock vs bird (diagram)
A rock (inanimate) vs. bird (animate) comparison by American ecological engineer Jeff Tuhtan, from his 2012 dissertation “A Modeling Approach for Alpine Rivers Impacted by Hydropeaking Including the Second Law Inequality”, wherein he employ’s the Bauer principle, i.e. “animate systems are those whose internal flow configurations allow them to resist equilibrium, whereas inanimate systems possess forms which are incapable of resisting equilibrium; both systems are however subject to equilibrium as an attractor”, to compare and contrast the behaviors of the two different types of matter. [5]
Hmolpedia mentions
In a 2011 Hmolpediaorigin of life” thread discussion, with Russian physical chemist Georgi Gladyshev (emergent properties life theorist) and American chemical engineer Ted Erikson (panpsychism life theorist), American electrochemical engineer Libb Thims (defunct theory of life formulator) commented:

“To elaborate further, to explain what I'm getting at, you’re not going to be able to look into a chemistry textbook (or physics textbook for that matter) and hear chemists talking about how the noble gases are ‘dead’ or ‘dead systems’ because they are inert or non-reactive, owing to their stability, which is based on their filled outer valence shell electron configuration; whereas, conversely, acids and bases are ‘alive’ or ‘living systems’ because they need or have extra electrons, respectively, and can thus react with each other or with other varieties or species of chemicals, whereas the noble gases, generally can't react, but only float around "mindlessly", we might say. This same type of logic extrapolates upwards to humans, often differentiated into a nonsensical dichotomy (especially in the mind-body philosophical debates) when we hear people using the argument that ‘well what separates a rock from a human?’”

(add discussion)

In 2012, the term "chnopsology" was Hmolpedia-coined during a rock vs. human comparison, suggested as an upgrade replacement for the now-defunct term "biology" (see: defunct theory of life), introduced in a set of June 2012 Hmolpedia forum threads discussions between Belgian psychologist-philosopher David Bossens and Americans civil-ecological engineer Jeff Tuhtan and electrochemical engineer Libb Thims, namely in threads: “maximum entropy and heat death” (Jun 14), “life” (Jun 16), “misrepresentation” (Jun 20), and “animated organisms” (Jun 23). In the "life" thread, post #15, Thims commented in response to a query by Bossens:

"Re: “[we] can[’t] deny that bio/whatever-ology is different from a rock, a table, a chair, glass...”, watch the following chemical party video. The carbon atom is the central entity of your “whatever-ology” subject, i.e. “carbon-ology”, being that carbon is a light-sensitive atom, meaning that it has the property of flexibility and hence animation and as such is very “reactive” or the “life of the part” as the video shows. The argon (Ar) is like the “rock, table, chair, glass”, notice how she is very non-reactive (although, technically, glass is silicon-based; rock can be seen has having a certain amount of reactivity, in the big history geochemical view of earth structure change). More correctly, however, I would say that “CHNOPS-ology” (chnops-ology or chnopsology), is the namesake you are looking for; e.g. Erik Andrulis’ 2012 abstract (panbioism):

“This theory is based upon a straightforward and non-mathematical core model and proposes unique yet empirically consistent explanations for major phenomena including, but not limited to, why living systems [animate systems] are predominantly CHNOPS (carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen, phosphorus, and sulfur).”

Notice how the questionable term "living system" easily drops out of the definition, and can easily be rewritten using the updated substitution of "animate systems", a term we all agree upon. I’ve used the CHNOPS mnemonic as well before, back in circa 2003, when I wrote out a memory crick to help memorize the human molecular formula. I’ll start an Hmolpedia CHNOPS article soon, to help with the matter (being that there are numerous CHNOPS articles around [the internet])."

The above "how the questionable term 'living system' easily drops out", to note, brings to mind how in the mid 19th century the questionable terms "living force" (or vis viva) and "dead force" (vis mortua) easily dropped out of circulation, particularly going into the early 20th century, with the acceptance of the terminologically neutral terms: kinetic energy (coined by William Thomson and Peter Tait in 1862) and potential energy (coined by William Rankine in 1853), respectively, terms that scale up and down the so-called great chain of being, molecular evolution table, or molecular evolution timeline.

The term "chnopsology", to note, was first used as a dead link on the animate organism page (23 Jun 2012) and used a second time as a dead link on the Gerald Joyce page (24 Jun 2012), upon which the chnopsology Hmolpedia article was started (24 Jun 2012), for lack of a better term (in replacement of biology).

Human choice | Coin flip
A variant of the rock vs. human comparison, to note, in respect to questions of choice, is the "coin vs. human" comparison, or specifically "coin toss" vs. "human choice" comparison, e.g. as found in the 2007 film No Country For Old Men (see: fate vs. destiny).

The following are related quotes:

“As a runaway horse is better than a stone which does not run away because it lacks self-movement and sense perception, so the creature is more excellent which sins by free will than that which does not sin only because it has no free will.”
Augustine (c.410) [17]

“In crossing a heath, suppose I pitched my foot against a stone, and were asked how the stone came to be there; I might possibly answer, that, for anything I knew to the contrary, it had lain there forever: nor would it perhaps be very easy to show the absurdity of this answer. But suppose I had found a watch upon the ground, and it should be inquired how the watch happened to be in that place; I should hardly think of the answer I had before given, that for anything I knew, the watch [analogy for human] might have always been there.There must have existed, at some time, and at some place or other, an artificer or artificers, who formed [the watch] for the purpose which we find it actually to answer.”
William Paley (1802), Natural Theology

“How do we know that that form of atomic and molecular motion we call ‘life’ is the highest of all forms? Perhaps the dominate creature—the most rational and god-like of all beings—is an invisible gas. Or perhaps it is a flaming and effulgent mass of molten stardust. Who can say that men have souls while rocks have none?”
Howard Lovecraft (1916), “Letter to Rheinhart Kleiner, Ira Cole, and Maurice Moe”, Aug 8 [19]

“Another fatal obstacle to a full-fledged natural science of human social phenomena is alleged to be the presence in the latter of a unique and mysterious something called motives. What is meant by motives? The word is used to designate those circumstances to which we find it ‘reasonable’ to attribute an occurrence. The motive we impute to an act is accordingly entirely relative to the frame of reference we adopt and accept as reasonable. To a scientist, the motives of a stone rolling downhill or of a boy murdering his father are simply the full set of circumstances resulting in either event.”
George Lundberg (1947), Can Science Save Us? (pg. 22)

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2. Origin of life (#72) (2011) – Hmolpedia threads.
3. (a) DePaul, Victoria. (2008). Creating the Intrapreneur (pg. 86). BookPros.
(b) Osho. (2012). The Journey of Being Human (pg. 134). MacMillan.
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(b) Lee Ufan – Wikipedia.
5. Tuhtan, Jeff. (2012). “A Modeling Approach for Alpine Rivers Impacted by Hydropeaking Including the Second Law Inequality” (pg. 87) (pdf), PhD dissertation, Stuttgart University, Germany.
6. (a) Peters, Richard S. (1958). The Concept of Motivation (ability to vary movments, pg. 13; stone, pg. 113). Humanities Press.
(b) Richard Stanley Peters – Wikipedia.
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10. (a) Rothbard, Murray N. (1960). “The Mantel of Science”, in: Scientism and Values (editors: Helmunt Schoek and James Wiggins) (pg. 159). D. Van Nostrand.
(b) Hsieh, Ching-Yao, and Ye, Meng-Hua. (1991). Economics, Philosophy, and Physics (pg. 46). M.E. Sharpe.
11. Bazargan, Mehdi. (c.1980). “Religion and Liberty” (Section: Opposition: the Cause of Movement and Life, pgs. 81-82, note 23: Thermodynamics of Humanity); originally in Rediscovery of Values (Bazyabi-e Arzeshha); reprinted in Liberal Islam: a Source Book (chapter 7, pgs. 73-84) edited by Charles Kurzman, Oxford University Press, 1998.
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(b) Mirowski, Philip. (1989). More Heat than Light: Economics as Social Physics, Physics as Nature’s Economics (pg. 219). Cambridge University Press.
13. Sartre, Jean-Paul. (1945). “Existentialism is a Humanism”, Lecture at Club Maintenant, Oct 29; in: Existentialism is a Humanism (including A Commentary on The Stranger; translator: Carol Macomber; Introduction: Annie Cohen-Solal; Notes and Preface: Arlette Elkaim-Sartre; editor: John Kulka) (materialism, pg. 41). Yale University Press, 2007.
14. (a) Rollin, Bernard. (1981). Animal Rights and Human Morality (pgs. 99-100). Prometheus Books.
(b) Bernard Rollin – Wikipedia.
15. Greene, Joshua. (2013). Moral Tribes: Emotion, Reason, and the Gap Between Us and Them (pg. 160). Penguin.
16. Murray Rothbard – Wikipedia.
17. (a) Author. (1955). The Problem of Free Choice, Vol. 22 of Ancient Christian Writers (bk. 2, pgs. 14-15). The Newman Press.
(b) Plantinga, Alvin. (1974). God, Freedom, and Evil (pg. 27). William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.
18. (a) Linnaeus, Carolus. (1751). Philosophia Botanica (translator: Frans A. Statleu) (§:Introduction, 1-4). Publisher.
(b) Anderson, Margaret J. (2009). Carl Linnaeus: Father of Classification (pgs. 52-53). Enslow Publishers.
19. Lovecraft, H.P. (2010). Against Religion: the Atheistic Writings of H.P. Lovecraft (editor: S.T. Joshi; foreword: Christopher Hitchens) (abs) (Amz) (rocks, pg. 9). Sporting Gentlemen.
20. Scott, George P. (1985). Atoms of the Living Flame: an Odyssey into Ethics and the Physical Chemistry of Free Will (pgs. 135-36). University Press of America.

External links
What is the difference between a rock and a human being? (2006) – Yahoo Answers.

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