Scientific American has added to my headache that is the biocentrism K on Monday by releasing the article: “Why life does not really exist”. While, I’ve had to vote negative on presumption while judging this fine bit of scientific analysis a time or two, it is not my most favorite argument. I can’t help but think an aff that claims a .0001% chance of winning life exists and is worth preserving isn’t winning most of these ballots. Nonetheless, the evidence is good…too good.
Here is an exerpt:
“Recognizing life as a concept in no way robs what we call life of its splendor. It’s not that there’s no material difference between living things and the inanimate; rather, we will never find some clean dividing line between the two because the notion of life and non-life as distinct categories is just that—a notion, not a reality. Everything about living creatures that fascinated me as a boy are equally wondrous to me now, even with my new understanding of life. I think what truly unites the things we say are alive is not any property intrinsic to those things themselves; rather, it is our perception of them, our love of them and—frankly—our hubris and narcissism.
First, we announced that everything on Earth could be separated into two groups—the animate and inanimate—and it is no secret which one we think is superior. Then, not only did we place ourselves in the first group, we further insisted on measuring all other life forms on the planet against ourselves. The more similar something is to us—the more it appears to move, talk, feel, think—the more alive it is to us, even though the particular set of attributes that makes a human a human is clearly not the only way (or, in evolutionary terms, even the most successful way) to go about being a ‘living thing.’
Our late family cat, Jasmine (Credit: Jabr family)
Truthfully, that which we call life is impossible without and inseparable from what we regard as inanimate. If we could somehow see the underlying reality of our planet—to comprehend its structure on every scale simultaneously, from the microscopic to the macroscopic—we would see the world in innumerable grains of sand, a giant quivering sphere of atoms. Just as one can mold thousands of practically identical grains of sand on a beach into castles, mermaids or whatever one can imagine, the innumerable atoms that make up everything on the planet continually congregate and disassemble themselves, creating a ceaselessly shifting kaleidoscope of matter. Some of those flocks of particles would be what we have named mountains, oceans and clouds; others trees, fish and birds. Some would be relatively inert; others would be changing at inconceivable speed in bafflingly complex ways. Some would be roller coasters and others cats.”
I’m sure this will be in your anthro updates for Blake everybody! The rest of the article can be found here.