The definition of the word 'life' If you look up the definition of the word life in a scientific dictionary or encyclopedia you will find an entry related to what living entities do: breathe, eat, grow, reproduce, etc. However, not all individuals regarded to be 'living' do all these things. For instance, if your aunt never had a child, was she ever alive? If you haven't eaten in three days, were you dead during that interval? Are you dead between meals? If you hold your breath for a minute, were you not alive in the meantime? We could go on and on. Let's now ponder a scientific definition, one we can use consistently and which applies to all living entities...
alive/living: a natural object that moves against the least path of resistance by itself
life: the set of living entities
The word 'natural' is included to eliminate artificial objects that Man has made. We make toy airplanes that fly and tiny trucks that move against gravity. They are secondary level in Mother Nature's world. We designed these objects to work against gravity. Without Man, we would just have metal, silicon and carbon. Likewise, pixels on a screen are not alive. The raster scans and lights each one up in succession to create the sense of motion. The pixel is static. What moves is the raster. And fire does not meet the requirements of the definition, not because it doesn't go up the walls of a burning house, but because fire is not an object for the purposes of Physics. Fire is a verb. Fire is a process, the process of combustion. This definition is scientific because it can be used consistently -- in a rational manner -- to explain any phenomenon of our Universe. The only reason the devil's advocate seeks ways to debunk at all costs is because the definition threatens the deep-rooted foundations of his religion. Of course, this definition is sure to offend many fanatic religionists and they will line up to challenge it. They should be aware, however, that before they are issued a number to stand in line, they will be required to have a definition of their own that they can defend. We can't come out of the conference room until we have a scientific definition of life/living. We can't begin to do Biology until we have a definition of the bread and butter of the discipline. We won't deviate one inch from this policy. A skeptic who has no alternative to propose has simply not done a minimum of research on the word life or on the Scientific Method.
What is life?
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