Questions I have for Evolutionists, Q3

August 30, 2007

Question 3:

What is being “alive” in scientific terms?



  1. Depends on whom you ask.

    – having an “inside” separated from the world
    – getting energy and matter in and out in a controlled way
    – be able to make a copy of yourself

    is (I think) the minimum.

  2. What do you mean by the first two?

    “Able to make a copy of yourself” So infertile woman are not alive? Also, copy machines are alive?

  3. 1. Having a membrane or skin or other border to the outside that is controlled by the organism. Controlled to a limit, because with total control one would never catch a flue.

    2. Getting energy out of the surroundings either by catching radiation (plants) or “eating” high energy chemical compounds, mostly other life forms but sometimes stuff like H2S and so on.
    Import of stuff that is needed other than for energy – water, salts…..
    Export of waste.

    3. Women are not able to make a copy of them self. “Humans” as a species are. Look at the numbers…. You are mixing individual fate with the general potential.

    Honeybees are infertile but the whole colony can make a copy of itself. (BTW, there is some argument about if the bee or the colony is the real living organism.)

    Please show me the copy machine that can make a functional copy of itself. That argument is simply silly.

  4. Having skin? So snake skinned cowboy boots are alive?

    Even “dead” people and plants get energy from their surroundings, and to an extent process energy, just not in the same way while they are “alive”. What is your criterion to know “what ways of processing energy” determine being “alive”? And whatever that criterion is… why?

  5. Even “dead” people and plants get energy from their surroundings,

    No. Not in the way a living organism does. A corpse gets warmer in the sun, like a stone. But it doesn’t ingest an other organism (or sandwich made out of other organisms) to keep the body temperature up, feed the muscles and build stuff. The same is valid for plants – a dead plant doesn’t make starch out of sunlight, water and carbon dioxide. It does it a time if you put a flower in a vase, but you can describe that as a long dying.

    The criterion is “control” and “means”. Both is done in a complicated biochemical system in the cells. This system stops (slowly) after death. BTW, “death” is also difficult to define…..

    Why? Because this is done only by living organisms. You’ll say that this is a circular argument. Well, in a way it is. We know a priori the difference between living and dead. Science took things that are definitely dead and things that are definitely alive and compared. The list of differences is a guideline to define “alive” or “dead” at the border of theses two realms.

    The same is done with stuff like “solid” or “liquid”, “black” and “white” and so on. It’s the base of science.

    Some questions for you: Is a virus alive or dead? Is a bacteria alive or dead? And why do you answer that way?

  6. and to an extent process energy,

    How? No idea how that should happen.

  7. After someone dies, food is still in process of breaking down, but only for a short while. In my worldview I can account for what it means to die. In your death means nothing. Everything is matter in motion.

  8. In my world view “death” means end of life for an organism. What does it mean in yours?

  9. In my worldview I can account for “life”, thus “death”. In a naturalistic worldview “life” can’t be defined, therefore neither can “death”. We are just atoms in motion. That’s all. Life is a metaphysical concept. I can account for life because God is an eternally living being. We are created in His image, hence recognize what “life” and “death” are.

  10. “In my worldview I can account for “life”, thus “death”.”

    Then please define.

    “In a naturalistic worldview “life” can’t be defined, therefore neither can “death”.”

    I gave you a definition for “life”, didn’t I?

  11. You have tried to define “life” in purely naturalistic terms and this it the problem. Purely naturalistic definitions can’t absolutely differentiate between life and non-life. One of your definitions was to process energy. Yet even a dead body processes energy in some way shape and form.

  12. If I take my definition from above I can absolutely differentiate between life and non-life.

    A dead body:

    – having an “inside” separated from the world – YES
    – getting energy and matter in and out in a controlled way – NO
    – be able to make a copy of yourself – NO

    One NO would have been enough to kick him out, he has got two.

    A dead body has no control over matter and energy transport. “Control” is part of the definition.

    You know the old way to test if someone is dead? Checking matter im- and export with a mirror in front of the mouth and nose? Breathing is just that.

    “In my worldview I can account for “life”, thus “death”.”

    Ok, where is your checklist?

  13. And “inside” separated form the world? Here we go again. In a purely naturalistic universe everything is ultimately matter and electromagnetism. There are no “insides”.

  14. he’s referring to skin separating the internal systems from the world.

  15. Again, this is the problem with the one and the many which assumes the Triune God of Scripture. In a purely Naturalistic universe the basic components, as we know it, are time, space, matter, and energy. There is no basis to identify anything, thus differentiate anything, unless we first have the abstract laws of logic to help us do this.

  16. i don’t see how you misunderstanding what he was saying is an indication that abstract laws of logic point to a triune god(which is basically a candy coated pantheon). there’sno need for a forced attempt at a definitive explanation for what we call abstract laws.

  17. I’m not misunderstanding him. I’m pointing out how the Triune God of Scripture is the precondition for identifying things which are made up of matter and energy. Especially “skin” and “the world”, such as in your previous remark.

  18. that just doesn’t make any rational sense. unless you’re just reiterating a personal opinion then what value does this statement have in logical discourse? it’s not falsifiable. it’s not verifiable. right here and right now it means absolutely nothing.

  19. It’s not even falsifiable that something must be falsifiable to be proven true. And what I stated was an inference from the impossibility of the contrary. If you take away the Triune God of Scripture then you take away the necessary precondition for us to even do science. Again, science does not account for itself, but the Triune God of Scripture does. Your starting point is science, when science itself requires a former starting point.

  20. jeez, you are a piece of work. we don’t prove things to be true. we show them to not be false in as much as our observation of the data will allow. verification and falsification is the standard we have made for our own methods, methods that don’t require appeals to any supposed higher power. without it, any crackpot can say anything they want and ascribe truth to it, like, “without a triune god of the scripture that i happen to adhere to, science is impossible” or how about, “without the ascended spirit of my oversoul mental processes are impossible”.

    your claims are baseless opinions. we are living evidence that god is not necessary for any motivation and we will continue to be until any supposed god provides universal, firsthand knowledge of itself. until then, you are blowing smoke and obviously parroting some ineffectual theological philosophy that you only comprehend well enough to repeat the same damn line over and over. again, nice try, though.

  21. I understand falsification can be useful, but it only assumes other things. Proofs do not exist on their own. Something must first account for proofs, so you are indeed correct that only the Triune God of Scripture can account for the laws of logic (which are first needed to prove things), because nothing else can.

    Falsifications do not stand on their own. Again, one reason I know this is because the claim that we can only prove something which is falsifiable, is itself not a falsifiable claim. So you would only be left saying you don’t know how non-falsifiable data can be known, but it is sometimes. No one, not even you, applies this standard absolutely. It’s impossible.

    No, we ARE living evidence of the Triune God of Scripture, because of the impossibility of the contrary. You say we prove things to not be false. You want universal first hand knowledge of God? You already have it. It’s as plain as the nose on your face. You’re borrowing His laws of logic. Let’s move this over to the other thread now and continue to talk about the laws of logic and why any contrary worldview cannot account for these.

    I think we’re pretty much done here. Thanks.

  22. do you actually read my posts? you say i’m correct that only the triune god of scripture can account for these things? i didn’t say that so stop putting words in my mouth. i quoted you. i wouldn’t be correct in saying that. i would be lying or presenting an opinion.

    falsifications works for everything it applies to. it’s a method of weeding out incorrect ways of thinking or doing. so yes, it could be falsified if it was shown that it doesn’t work in it’s practical application in the real world. furthermore, what non-falsifiable data do you have access to that is known? it’s applied practically, which is all that matters in the real world.

    how many times have i said that proofs don’t exist outside of mathematics and yet you continue to not only use this language to describe your worldview but you also ascribe the language to me when i said nothing of the sort and even spoke against it. once again, saying it over and over again doesn’t make it true. having no way to explain other than chalking it up to a supposed all powerful deity that fills in your gaps of knowledge makes it all the more obvious that this is an area where you are only comfortable enough to parrot ideas that reinforce the view you’ve chosen but not fully grasp them.

  23. You were quoting me when you said that. Granted. Yet it is the most correct thing you’ve said so far.

    You’re not allowing yourself to be wrong. Which you completely are.

    For example: you said falsifications works for everything it applies to.

    Ok. Tell me exactly how you falsified this claim to know that it is absolutely true? Sounds like you might be admitting that they don’t apply to everything (which was my original point). If so, then admit you agree with me and cut the foreplay of your circular arguments.

    what non-falsifiable data do you have access to that is known?

    Transcendent a-priori such as morality and especially the laws of logic!

    I’ll meet you over in the other thread where you can tell me where your laws of logic come from so that you can account for science in the first place. You make it sound like “having a god who fills my gaps in knowledge” is somehow bad or icky. Yet, you haven’t falsified this claim, so you’re inconsistent with your worldview and are only giving your opinions (which you accuse me of).

    But you’d be undercutting your own worldview if you didn’t provide a basis for how we have laws of logic too. Everyone needs a foundation for why we use logic. It’s our starting point for why we make logical arguments in the first place. You’ll find that your starting point is the same as mine, but you wont like it because Christ must first save your heart so that He can also save your mind.

  24. haha, ok. this is just evangelism. not real content. i’ll move it to the other thread.

  25. Without Christ, there is no content. I’ll meet you over there.

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