The earth is not alive...no really, it's not
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03-12-2014, 01:48 AM
RE: The earth is not alive...no really, it's not
For as long as I can remember "The hills are alive with the sound of music".
So there's that. Big Grin
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03-12-2014, 02:33 AM
RE: The earth is not alive...no really, it's not
if the earth is alive does that mean that my fridge, vacuum cleaner, pc, phone are alive too ?
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03-12-2014, 05:07 AM
RE: The earth is not alive...no really, it's not
(03-12-2014 12:14 AM)morondog Wrote:  I like the gaia hypothesis Sad

No. Just no...

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03-12-2014, 05:30 AM
RE: The earth is not alive...no really, it's not
Until anyone can give me a universally recognised definition of 'alive', I'm not going to say he's wrong.

Drinking Beverage

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03-12-2014, 05:45 AM
RE: The earth is not alive...no really, it's not
(03-12-2014 05:30 AM)DLJ Wrote:  Until anyone can give me a universally recognised definition of 'alive', I'm not going to say he's wrong.

Drinking Beverage

Is metabolism necessary?

The only single characteristic common to all forms of life is that it has a metabolism. I went to some of Margaret Boden's lectures when I was at Sussex and she makes for a convincing case.

The only way you can argue that the Earth is alive is to say that the life on its surface that uses the free energy given off by the sun is its metabolism.

But it's not a very useful idea if life on the surface has little or no effect on the rest of the rock.

Some ideas are good because they are useful rather than factually correct (e.g. Newtonian physics, the Bohr model of the atom). That's the reason why the Gaia hypothesis has lasted.
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03-12-2014, 05:47 AM
RE: The earth is not alive...no really, it's not
(03-12-2014 05:45 AM)Mathilda Wrote:  Some ideas are good because they are useful rather than factually correct (e.g. Newtonian physics, the Bohr model of the atom). That's the reason why the Gaia hypothesis has lasted.

And here I was ready to blame the neo-pagans and wiccans... Consider

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03-12-2014, 05:48 AM (This post was last modified: 03-12-2014 05:51 AM by Stuffed_Assumption_Meringue.)
RE: The earth is not alive...no really, it's not
(02-12-2014 08:40 PM)Rahn127 Wrote:  So I'm driving home from work with my younger brother and out of the blue he says....

"All this oil drilling and mining around the world, it's no wonder there are more earthquakes and sink holes happening. The earth is alive and responding to all the damage we are doing to it."

I replied "Hold up, the earth isn't alive."
He says "Of course it's alive, anything that has life growing on it is alive."

My mind is blown at this point because I've known my brother for as long as he's been alive and this level of craziness has never been uttered before.

I reply "No, no & no. The earth is a planet. Plants, trees, etc grow in soil, water or wherever it's possible for them to grow. Rocks aren't alive. Earthquakes happen due to tectonic plates shifting. Those plates aren't alive. They are moving according to the laws of physics. Sink holes again, aren't alive. Do I really need to explain this ?"

He continues on, well we don't really know do we ? I mean, when you remove some element from the ground, it can effect the whole world. That to me would seem to show that it's alive."

Mind blown for second time

Me-"Mining an element, like gold for instance, from the ground, can have an effect on the surrounding land, but it's because of the human element. The roads we makes, the trucks we drive on those roads, the pollution from the mining process, the destruction of the land itself from the mining. All of these things can have an ill effect on the area, but I use the word ill when maybe I should use the word bad. The land itself isn't ill. It's not alive so it can't be ill the way we are ill. You can't look at coincidences and conclude life. It doesn't work that way."

He concedes the argument by changing the subject.

In much the same way, religion sees a coincidence and concludes that there must be a god.....Again NO

Succinct, coherent and you may have actually succeeded in your goal. A rarity in and of itself.

Praise worthy.

(03-12-2014 05:45 AM)Mathilda Wrote:  
(03-12-2014 05:30 AM)DLJ Wrote:  Until anyone can give me a universally recognised definition of 'alive', I'm not going to say he's wrong.

Drinking Beverage

Is metabolism necessary?

The only single characteristic common to all forms of life is that it has a metabolism. I went to some of Margaret Boden's lectures when I was at Sussex and she makes for a convincing case.

That's not what I was taught. (Highschool stuff though.) IIRC the common characteristics are; able to respond to external stimuli, changes state over time (grows and adapts), maintains a consistent internal temperature and able to reproduce.

*Checking* I was wrong. Disappointed in myself.
Wikipedia Wrote:1. Homeostasis: Regulation of the internal environment to maintain a constant state; for example, electrolyte concentration or sweating to reduce temperature.
2. Organization: Being structurally composed of one or more cells — the basic units of life.
3. Metabolism: Transformation of energy by converting chemicals and energy into cellular components (anabolism) and decomposing organic matter (catabolism). Living things require energy to maintain internal organization (homeostasis) and to produce the other phenomena associated with life.,[36]
4. Growth: Maintenance of a higher rate of anabolism than catabolism. A growing organism increases in size in all of its parts, rather than simply accumulating matter.
5. Adaptation: The ability to change over time in response to the environment. This ability is fundamental to the process of evolution and is determined by the organism's heredity, diet, and external factors.
6. Response to stimuli: A response can take many forms, from the contraction of a unicellular organism to external chemicals, to complex reactions involving all the senses of multicellular organisms. A response is often expressed by motion; for example, the leaves of a plant turning toward the sun (phototropism), and chemotaxis.
7. Reproduction: The ability to produce new individual organisms, either asexually from a single parent organism, or sexually from two parent organisms.[41][42] or "with an error rate below the sustainability threshold."

Earth fails on points four through seven. So not alive?

Will check essay in the morning.

(03-12-2014 05:07 AM)EvolutionKills Wrote:  
(03-12-2014 12:14 AM)morondog Wrote:  I like the gaia hypothesis Sad

No. Just no...

[Image: Final-Fantasy-The-Spirits-Within.jpg]

Hey. I liked The Spirits Within. (Granted I was like, eleven and I haven't seen it since.)

(03-12-2014 02:33 AM)Ace Wrote:  if the earth is alive does that mean that my fridge, vacuum cleaner, pc, phone are alive too ?

I hope not. I don't think I could use a piece of equipment if it was silently judging me.

Soulless mutants of muscle and intent. There are billions of us; hardy, smart and dangerous. Shaped by millions of years of death. We are the definitive alpha predator. We build monsters of fire and stone. We bottled the sun. We nailed our god to a stick.

In man's struggle against the world, bet on the man.
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03-12-2014, 06:51 AM
RE: The earth is not alive...no really, it's not
(03-12-2014 05:48 AM)Stuffed_Assumption_Meringue Wrote:  That's not what I was taught. (Highschool stuff though.) IIRC the common characteristics are; able to respond to external stimuli, changes state over time (grows and adapts), maintains a consistent internal temperature and able to reproduce.

*Checking* I was wrong. Disappointed in myself.
Wikipedia Wrote:1. Homeostasis: Regulation of the internal environment to maintain a constant state; for example, electrolyte concentration or sweating to reduce temperature.
2. Organization: Being structurally composed of one or more cells — the basic units of life.
3. Metabolism: Transformation of energy by converting chemicals and energy into cellular components (anabolism) and decomposing organic matter (catabolism). Living things require energy to maintain internal organization (homeostasis) and to produce the other phenomena associated with life.,[36]
4. Growth: Maintenance of a higher rate of anabolism than catabolism. A growing organism increases in size in all of its parts, rather than simply accumulating matter.
5. Adaptation: The ability to change over time in response to the environment. This ability is fundamental to the process of evolution and is determined by the organism's heredity, diet, and external factors.
6. Response to stimuli: A response can take many forms, from the contraction of a unicellular organism to external chemicals, to complex reactions involving all the senses of multicellular organisms. A response is often expressed by motion; for example, the leaves of a plant turning toward the sun (phototropism), and chemotaxis.
7. Reproduction: The ability to produce new individual organisms, either asexually from a single parent organism, or sexually from two parent organisms.[41][42] or "with an error rate below the sustainability threshold."

The problem is that although all those are features of life that we can clearly identify as being alive, there are other organisms which exist which may miss any one of those features. There are also systems which exhibit many of those features but which are not deemed to be alive.

For example, mules or donkeys are infertile because they are hybrids and therefore cannot reproduce yet they are clearly alive. You don't need to respond to stimuli and to adapt in order to be alive, for example a human body on life support.

You can't have a life without some form of organisation, but organisation by itself is not enough to say that something is alive. The same goes for homoeostasis and growth and maintenance. You can have a system that has many of the properties above but we still don't define them as being alive. Viruses have some of the properties listed above but don't have a metabolism of their own. Although personally speaking I think there is a case to be made that corporations could be argued as being alive.

Homoeostasis, growth and structural maintenance all depend on an existing metabolism. Metabolism though should not be restricted to just organic matter, but any system that breaks down any form of high grade free-energy able to perform lots of work into low grade free energy which cannot perform much work.
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03-12-2014, 06:55 AM
RE: The earth is not alive...no really, it's not
I was on a date with a girl once who said that overpopulation would never be a problem.

I asked why she thought that, and she responded in a sort of valley girl tone of voice "Because the earth is growing. HELLOOOOOOOOO!!!" like I was the idiot in the room.

She also thought she could communicate with trees.

I wish I could say that we didn't go out again, but she's hot and I'm not as evolved as I sometimes like to think... Blush

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03-12-2014, 07:17 AM
RE: The earth is not alive...no really, it's not
Make an equally crazy analogy to show him why he's crazy.

(02-12-2014 08:40 PM)Rahn127 Wrote:  "All this oil drilling and mining around the world, it's no wonder there are more earthquakes and sink holes happening. The earth is alive and responding to all the damage we are doing to it."

All of this time we're spending on computers and smart phones, it's no wonder we are becoming less social. Our devices are turning us into computers.


(02-12-2014 08:40 PM)Rahn127 Wrote:  He says "Of course it's alive, anything that has life growing on it is alive."

Of course we are computers. Anything that can use a computer must be a computer.


(02-12-2014 08:40 PM)Rahn127 Wrote:  He continues on, well we don't really know do we ? I mean, when you remove some element from the ground, it can effect the whole world. That to me would seem to show that it's alive."

We don't really know, do we? I mean, if person A can say something on the Internet, person B can read it. That to me would seem that we're all computers.
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