Talk:ALife Boston

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*many people have come to think that the idea of evolution '''must''' be part of the definition of life. A flame is very complex (in the information theory sense) and it replicates. A mule is also complex but doesn't replicate at all. Are flames alive? Are mules? (And going further) are viruses? Mules, viruses and humans are interrelated by evolution. Depending on your preferences, I think it's fair to say that they are alive. Flames are not interrelated by evolution (with other living things) so they are not alive despite being complex and self-replicating. What do you think? --[[User:Alexanderwait|ASW]] 12:01, 2 Aug 2005 (EDT) *many people have come to think that the idea of evolution '''must''' be part of the definition of life. A flame is very complex (in the information theory sense) and it replicates. A mule is also complex but doesn't replicate at all. Are flames alive? Are mules? (And going further) are viruses? Mules, viruses and humans are interrelated by evolution. Depending on your preferences, I think it's fair to say that they are alive. Flames are not interrelated by evolution (with other living things) so they are not alive despite being complex and self-replicating. What do you think? --[[User:Alexanderwait|ASW]] 12:01, 2 Aug 2005 (EDT)
-*Maybe flames can "evolve", i.e. take on heritable properties in response to a changing environment; e.g. encountering a series of fuels with different upper/lower [[http://www.me.utexas.edu/~ezekoye/rsch.dir/firesite/science_thermodynamics.html flammability limits]]. But the flames may have high entropy but not be very complex in the sense below. (Maybe someone could provide an open source version of the "Statistical Complexity" calculations for the well defined examples below and/or ways to estimate it for more interesting scenarios like flames and viruses).J. P. Crutchfield and K. Young, [[ftp://ftp.santafe.edu/pub/CompMech/papers/ISC.pdf Inferring Statistical Complexity]], Physical Review Letters 63 (1989) 105-108. J. P. Crutchfield and K. Young, Computation at the Onset of Chaos, in Entropy, Complexity, and Physics of Information, W. Zurek, editor, SFI Studies in the Sciences of Complexity, VIII, Addison-Wesley, Reading, Massachusetts (1990) 223-269.+*Maybe flames can "evolve", i.e. take on heritable properties in response to a changing environment; e.g. encountering a series of fuels with different upper/lower [[http://www.me.utexas.edu/~ezekoye/rsch.dir/firesite/science_thermodynamics.html flammability limits]]. Flames may have high "entropy" but not high "complexity" in the sense below. (Maybe someone could provide an open-source version of the "Statistical Complexity" calculations for the well-defined examples below and/or ways to estimate it for more interesting scenarios like flames and viruses).J. P. Crutchfield and K. Young, [[ftp://ftp.santafe.edu/pub/CompMech/papers/ISC.pdf Inferring Statistical Complexity]], Physical Review Letters 63 (1989) 105-108. J. P. Crutchfield and K. Young, Computation at the Onset of Chaos, in Entropy, Complexity, and Physics of Information, W. Zurek, editor, SFI Studies in the Sciences of Complexity, VIII, Addison-Wesley, Reading, Massachusetts (1990) 223-269.
--[[User:geochurch|gmc]] --[[User:geochurch|gmc]]

Revision as of 21:15, 5 August 2005

A universal definition of life

Ruiz-Mirazo K, Pereto J, and Moreno A. (2004) A Universal Definition of Life: Autonomy and Open-ended Evolution. Origins of Life and Evolution of Biospheres 34(3):323-46. Image:2004.Ruiz-Mirazo.pdf

We propose to define universally living beings as autonomous systems with open-ended evolution capacities, and we claim that all such systems must have:
  • a semi-permeable active boundary (membrane);
  • an energy transduction apparatus (set of energy currencies);
  • and, at least, two types of functionally interdependent macromolecular components (catalysts and records).

What do you think of these claims? The paper?

  • Obviously, I like the paper since I chose it. In the Quantum Coreworld lifeforms can begin with a simple energy transduction apparatus, a very primitive boundary and the possibility of separate catalysts/records. But the locality of (3D) space also seems to be essential for "open-ended" evolution. None of these, however, are "provably" essential and there might be other features that are essential... How can we know? --ASW 10:00, 2 Aug 2005 (EDT)
  • Not an original thought (Varela?), but it seems common sense that you can usually tell whether something's alive by looking at it for a little while. You don't have to know anything about evolution. So a definition that appeals to evolution to define life doesn't reflect the usual meaning of the word. How will it help you to have a definition, anyhow? --Jonathan Rees 11:30am EDT 2 Aug 05
  • many people have come to think that the idea of evolution must be part of the definition of life. A flame is very complex (in the information theory sense) and it replicates. A mule is also complex but doesn't replicate at all. Are flames alive? Are mules? (And going further) are viruses? Mules, viruses and humans are interrelated by evolution. Depending on your preferences, I think it's fair to say that they are alive. Flames are not interrelated by evolution (with other living things) so they are not alive despite being complex and self-replicating. What do you think? --ASW 12:01, 2 Aug 2005 (EDT)
  • Maybe flames can "evolve", i.e. take on heritable properties in response to a changing environment; e.g. encountering a series of fuels with different upper/lower [flammability limits]. Flames may have high "entropy" but not high "complexity" in the sense below. (Maybe someone could provide an open-source version of the "Statistical Complexity" calculations for the well-defined examples below and/or ways to estimate it for more interesting scenarios like flames and viruses).J. P. Crutchfield and K. Young, [Inferring Statistical Complexity], Physical Review Letters 63 (1989) 105-108. J. P. Crutchfield and K. Young, Computation at the Onset of Chaos, in Entropy, Complexity, and Physics of Information, W. Zurek, editor, SFI Studies in the Sciences of Complexity, VIII, Addison-Wesley, Reading, Massachusetts (1990) 223-269.

--gmc


  • Please add your thoughts here!

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