Are viruses and fire considered living things? page 3

63 posts

Flag Post
Originally posted by Shadowhopeful:

I’m going to go back to Primary School Education for my answer.
A living thing has 7 main features.
Movement, Respiration, Nutrition, Growth, Reproduction, Excretion, [Something beginning with S

A virus does not respire, it doesn’t excrete, and it doesn’t require nutrition. Hence, not alive.

Fire moves, and can technically grow and reproduce, but it doesn’t do anything else. Hence, not alive.

Also, I don’t think sentience counts for anything. Last time I checked, plants are not sentient.

It breathes oxygen and CO2. Eats whatever it’s burning. And excretes ash.

 
Flag Post
Originally posted by thijser:

It breathes oxygen and CO2.

That’s basically fuel.

Eats whatever it’s burning.

Again, fuel.

And excretes ash.

In a very vague definition, yes.

 
Flag Post

clearly life is an attribute we do use for many life forms (by far the most) that we don’t think feel either emotion or pain. and yet you went there. why did you go there?

Two primary reasons:

1. The current definition of life is a placeholder, it is not complete. We can define it in whatever way we currently like, but that is purely a definition. Something being a “lifeform” shouldn’t change the way we think about it. Sentience is a very real reason why we think something is alive. Sorry if you thought that means I argue only sentient beings are alive.
2. Mules are not alive. This is so incredibly silly in the same way I think it would be incredibly silly to think fire is alive.

 
Flag Post

Respiration requires Glucose, not just oxygen.

And I remembered what the S was.
It’s Sense.

 
Flag Post

A virus is an organism.

Fire is a chemical reaction.

One is alive, one is synthetic.

 
Flag Post
Originally posted by 12_Hundred:

A virus is an organism.

Define “organism.”

No seriously, define it.

One is alive, one is synthetic.

I think you’re missusing synthetic.

 
Flag Post
Originally posted by tenco1:
Originally posted by 12_Hundred:

A virus is an organism.

Define “organism.”

No seriously, define it.

One is alive, one is synthetic.

I think you’re missusing synthetic.

1. An organism, by Webster’s Definition, is “any living entity”. To me, this equals a) anything composed chiefly of organically-derived substances, b) something that is capable of replication through the use of its systems, and with its own materials, and c) something that uses a system of individually-created mechanisms (i.e., organs or tissue) in order to continue actuating or growing.

2. Synthetic is understandable as being anything not naturally-occurring or typically not naturally-derived, and since fire is not a naturally-occurring phenomenon on the organic level, I would say that the use of the term here would be fair enough.

 
Flag Post
Originally posted by 12_Hundred:

1. An organism, by Webster’s Definition, is “any living entity”. To me, this equals a) anything composed chiefly of organically-derived substances, b) something that is capable of replication through the use of its systems, and with its own materials, and c) something that uses a system of individually-created mechanisms (i.e., organs or tissue) in order to continue actuating or growing.

2. Synthetic is understandable as being anything not naturally-occurring or typically not naturally-derived, and since fire is not a naturally-occurring phenomenon on the organic level, I would say that the use of the term here would be fair enough.

A virus is a strand of DNA coated in protein, not a cell/organism/protozoan.

Organic-derived substances = Wood. You say wood is living? gl.
Viruses require a host cell in order to replicate, it cannot do so by itself.
Viruses don’t grow.

I just countered all 3 of your points, therefore virus =/= alive.

Fire can occur naturally. Lightning striking a tree?
Chemical Reaction, yes. Synthetic? No.

 
Flag Post

an organism is a biological object that function as an entity, and physically has a stucture based on organs or organelles. more simply, it is anything made up of living cells.

 
Flag Post
Originally posted by Shadowhopeful:

Organic-derived substances = Wood. You say wood is living? gl.

Well wood does come from a tree, and depending on what you do with the wood, it will still technically be living, or at least remain a part of an organism for awhile.

 
Flag Post

there’s three states. alive, dead and lifeless. wood is dead, but it’s not lifeless. but another “organic-derived substance” is oil, and coal, which i guess is uhm…well, not alive. an oil field is not an organism, but it is organic matter.

Viruses require a host cell in order to replicate, it cannot do so by itself.
Viruses don’t grow.

many parasites also need a host to replicate. and virusses DO grow, but only in infancy, while in the enviroment of a cell. like many animals also only grow in a larval state, and not at all as an adult.

 
Flag Post

There is one difference between viruses and parasites. Viruses don’t have their own metabolism. This is why they are not considered alive following a biological definition.
I think that viruses developed from parasites and are more or less simply highly specialised parasites. So, personally, I find it a bit difficult to decide here.

 
Flag Post

Here’s a question I haven’t really seen answered: does it currently matter whether we define something as “alive” or not? Will we treat a virus differently between it being defined as alive or not alive? We will probably continue to take medicine against the more damaging viruses. Will we treat fire differently between it being defined as alive or not? We will probably still use it to see in the dark or to burn something. I believe the important issue to look at is sentience. If something does not feel pain and has no emotions, then we generally care less if it is “used” or removed (note: not always, think of collections). If we suddenly find out fire is afraid when we try to put it out, or feels pain when doing so, we might stop using it as if it isn’t sentient. A lot of viruses are damaging to our health, so we will continue to battle against them regardless of any sentience status. We will still put out fire when it is dangerous to us. But, if sentient, we shouldn’t throw them around without care.