Monday, July 04, 2005

What is a living being?

Who or what is a living being? Let me try to see if I understand it right ...

We don't call a thing as living being if that thing can just breathe. Also its not an object which can move. Then what constitutes a living being? Is it just its ability to reproduce? If I do see some nodding heads then I would like to dwelve a little deep as to what we mean by "reproduce".

So reproduce is producing oneself again, or basically copying one over. So works well for the modern definition of living beings where we have covered all taxonomic groups. Fair enough. But with our understanding of Genes and how we replicate ourselves, lets see how or why we need to make some changes.

Gene theory tells us that there is a certain DNA structure which is copied over after some permuations and combinations between the two sexes (atleast in most cases). Now we know this gene is a molecular structure which given the right conditions and a set of definite time is able to decode and arrange a given set of molecules in a certain way and hence successfully replicate itself up. So a couple of things which I think needs emphasis -
1) right conditions without which the culmination and hence the replication might never happen
2) definite time which varies based on the complexity and a lot of unknown factors (lets say its the time of implemeting an algorithm)

Well there is our reproduction flowchart. Apply it and wow, you can copy yourself up. But wait a minute, isn't that how NaCl, O2, H2O, CO2 and everything around us (and actually the so called US) have been formed. There are not 100% NaCl molecules around us, neither are there 100% O2 molecules and why is that. Its the same magic principle, the reproduction flowchart. Continued later ....

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