Discussion:
Have scientists created life?
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Dingbat
2021-04-01 00:24:10 UTC
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Subject: Have scientists created life?

A synthetic organism that replicates by dividing
https://www.livescience.com/synthetic-cell-division.html

It would lose half its size by dividing into halves. I assume that it
does something to regain its size or it could not divide indefinitely.
Stefan Ram
2021-04-01 00:29:19 UTC
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Post by Dingbat
Subject: Have scientists created life?
The term "life" is vague.

Life already existed before scientics. So, it is more
plausible to say that "life has created scientists".
Jerry Friedman
2021-04-01 03:59:49 UTC
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Post by Dingbat
Subject: Have scientists created life?
I'd say no. They've drastically modified a living organism.
Post by Dingbat
A synthetic organism that replicates by dividing
https://www.livescience.com/synthetic-cell-division.html
It would lose half its size by dividing into halves. I assume that it
does something to regain its size or it could not divide indefinitely.
Makes sense to me.
--
Jerry Friedman
Athel Cornish-Bowden
2021-04-01 05:32:02 UTC
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Post by Jerry Friedman
Post by Dingbat
Subject: Have scientists created life?
How does that relate to English usage?
Post by Jerry Friedman
I'd say no. They've drastically modified a living organism.
Hardly even that (though quite a lot of boasting has done on: think
Craig Venter). So definitely no.
Post by Jerry Friedman
Post by Dingbat
A synthetic organism that replicates by dividing
https://www.livescience.com/synthetic-cell-division.html
It would lose half its size by dividing into halves. I assume that it
does something to regain its size
You've heard of "eating", I suppose?
Post by Jerry Friedman
Post by Dingbat
or it could not divide indefinitely.
Makes sense to me.
--
Athel -- British, living in France for 34 years
Arindam Banerjee
2021-04-01 05:55:47 UTC
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Post by Athel Cornish-Bowden
Post by Dingbat
Subject: Have scientists created life?
How does that relate to English usage?
Scientist as another word for mother?
Post by Athel Cornish-Bowden
I'd say no. They've drastically modified a living organism.
All operations do that.
Post by Athel Cornish-Bowden
Hardly even that (though quite a lot of boasting has done on: think
Craig Venter). So definitely no.
Okay so scientist is not another word for mother, not yet anyway.
Post by Athel Cornish-Bowden
Post by Dingbat
A synthetic organism that replicates by dividing
https://www.livescience.com/synthetic-cell-division.html
It would lose half its size by dividing into halves. I assume that it
does something to regain its size
You've heard of "eating", I suppose?
Post by Dingbat
or it could not divide indefinitely.
Makes sense to me.
--
Athel -- British, living in France for 34 years
Peter Moylan
2021-04-01 09:27:07 UTC
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Post by Athel Cornish-Bowden
Post by Jerry Friedman
Post by Dingbat
Subject: Have scientists created life?
How does that relate to English usage?
Post by Jerry Friedman
I'd say no. They've drastically modified a living organism.
Hardly even that (though quite a lot of boasting has done on: think
Craig Venter). So definitely no.
Post by Jerry Friedman
Post by Dingbat
A synthetic organism that replicates by dividing
https://www.livescience.com/synthetic-cell-division.html
It would lose half its size by dividing into halves. I assume that it
does something to regain its size
You've heard of "eating", I suppose?
The article doesn't say whether they've made it capable of taking in
nutrition.
Post by Athel Cornish-Bowden
Post by Jerry Friedman
Post by Dingbat
or it could not divide indefinitely.
Makes sense to me.
--
Peter Moylan Newcastle, NSW http://www.pmoylan.org
Peter T. Daniels
2021-04-01 13:56:42 UTC
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Post by Athel Cornish-Bowden
Post by Dingbat
Subject: Have scientists created life?
How does that relate to English usage?
Is that an Aggressive QuestionTM?
Post by Athel Cornish-Bowden
I'd say no. They've drastically modified a living organism.
Hardly even that (though quite a lot of boasting has done on: think
Craig Venter). So definitely no.
Post by Dingbat
A synthetic organism that replicates by dividing
https://www.livescience.com/synthetic-cell-division.html
It would lose half its size by dividing into halves. I assume that it
does something to regain its size
You've heard of "eating", I suppose?
Is that an Aggressive QuestionTM?
Post by Athel Cornish-Bowden
Post by Dingbat
or it could not divide indefinitely.
Makes sense to me.
Dingbat
2021-04-02 23:03:20 UTC
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Post by Athel Cornish-Bowden
Post by Dingbat
Subject: Have scientists created life?
How does that relate to English usage?
Does this meet a definition of LIFE in English?
Post by Athel Cornish-Bowden
I'd say no. They've drastically modified a living organism.
Hardly even that (though quite a lot of boasting has done on: think
Craig Venter). So definitely no.
Post by Dingbat
A synthetic organism that replicates by dividing
https://www.livescience.com/synthetic-cell-division.html
It would lose half its size by dividing into halves. I assume that it
does something to regain its size
You've heard of "eating", I suppose?
Post by Dingbat
or it could not divide indefinitely.
Makes sense to me.
Jerry Friedman
2021-04-03 02:51:22 UTC
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Post by Dingbat
Post by Athel Cornish-Bowden
Post by Dingbat
Subject: Have scientists created life?
How does that relate to English usage?
Does this meet a definition of LIFE in English?
"Create" might be the more dubious word.
--
Jerry Friedman
Snidely
2021-04-04 17:35:23 UTC
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[...]
Post by Dingbat
Post by Athel Cornish-Bowden
Post by Dingbat
Subject: Have scientists created life?
How does that relate to English usage?
Does this meet a definition of LIFE in English?
Chose from:

1a: the quality that distinguishes a vital and functional being from a
dead body
b: a principle or force that is considered to underlie the distinctive
quality of animate beings
c: an organismic state characterized by capacity for metabolism (see
METABOLISM sense 1), growth, reaction to stimuli, and reproduction

<URL:https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/life>

1c reflects the rule-of-thumb I learned in 8th grade biology: Life is
GRIMM: Growth, reproduction, irritability, movement, and metabolism.

But how does your original question lead us to discussing this? You
didn't say anything there about English definitions of life.

/dps
--
"I'm glad unicorns don't ever need upgrades."
"We are as up as it is possible to get graded!"
_Phoebe and Her Unicorn_, 2016.05.15
Dingbat
2021-04-06 06:13:28 UTC
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Post by Snidely
[...]
Post by Dingbat
Post by Athel Cornish-Bowden
Post by Dingbat
Subject: Have scientists created life?
How does that relate to English usage?
Does this meet a definition of LIFE in English?
1a: the quality that distinguishes a vital and functional being from a
dead body
b: a principle or force that is considered to underlie the distinctive
quality of animate beings
c: an organismic state characterized by capacity for metabolism (see
METABOLISM sense 1), growth, reaction to stimuli, and reproduction
<URL:https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/life>
1c reflects the rule-of-thumb I learned in 8th grade biology: Life is
GRIMM: Growth, reproduction, irritability, movement, and metabolism.
But how does your original question lead us to discussing this? You
didn't say anything there about English definitions of life.
What meaning other than "Did scientists create life or something other than life" would be relevant to a English usage forum?
Snidely
2021-04-07 07:49:53 UTC
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Post by Dingbat
Post by Snidely
[...]
Post by Dingbat
Post by Athel Cornish-Bowden
Post by Dingbat
Subject: Have scientists created life?
How does that relate to English usage?
Does this meet a definition of LIFE in English?
1a: the quality that distinguishes a vital and functional being from a
dead body
b: a principle or force that is considered to underlie the distinctive
quality of animate beings
c: an organismic state characterized by capacity for metabolism (see
METABOLISM sense 1), growth, reaction to stimuli, and reproduction
<URL:https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/life>
1c reflects the rule-of-thumb I learned in 8th grade biology: Life is
GRIMM: Growth, reproduction, irritability, movement, and metabolism.
But how does your original question lead us to discussing this? You
didn't say anything there about English definitions of life.
What meaning other than "Did scientists create life or something other than
life" would be relevant to a English usage forum?
How about the obvious: "Is the word 'life', in it's English
definitions, appropriate in the discussion of scientists "creating"
life at [url elided]?"

Your subject line, citation, and follow-up sentence seemed to be more
aimed at the science than at the English usage. I am not surprised
Athel objected.


/dps
--
Rule #0: Don't be on fire.
In case of fire, exit the building before tweeting about it.
(Sighting reported by Adam F)
Jerry Friedman
2021-04-07 18:44:34 UTC
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Post by Athel Cornish-Bowden
Post by Dingbat
Subject: Have scientists created life?
How does that relate to English usage?
I'd say no. They've drastically modified a living organism.
Hardly even that (though quite a lot of boasting has done on: think
Craig Venter). So definitely no.
...

Significantly modified? (Now that life has been re-created in this thread.)
--
Jerry Friedman
Athel Cornish-Bowden
2021-04-08 13:54:04 UTC
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Post by Jerry Friedman
Post by Athel Cornish-Bowden
Post by Dingbat
Subject: Have scientists created life?
How does that relate to English usage?
I'd say no. They've drastically modified a living organism.
Hardly even that (though quite a lot of boasting has done on: think
Craig Venter). So definitely no.
...
Significantly modified? (Now that life has been re-created in this thread.)
I would still say no. What Venter did required a lot of technological
expertise, but was conceptually close to obvious. What the host
bacterium did was to convert the modified genome into a living organism
-- vastly more difficult, and no one is anywhere near being able to do
that.

Think of the following analogy. Suppose I laboriously type the text of
A Tale of Two Cities into my computer, and then print off lots of
copies. A lot of work, certainly, but have I created a new literary
masterpiece? If I make a few alterations here and there (which I would
call "improvements") have I then created a new literary masterpiece?
--
Athel -- British, living in France for 34 years
Jerry Friedman
2021-04-08 14:54:21 UTC
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Post by Athel Cornish-Bowden
Post by Athel Cornish-Bowden
Post by Dingbat
Subject: Have scientists created life?
How does that relate to English usage?
I'd say no. They've drastically modified a living organism.
Hardly even that (though quite a lot of boasting has done on: think
Craig Venter). So definitely no.
...
Significantly modified? (Now that life has been re-created in this thread.)
I would still say no. What Venter did required a lot of technological
expertise, but was conceptually close to obvious. What the host
bacterium did was to convert the modified genome into a living organism
-- vastly more difficult, and no one is anywhere near being able to do
that.
Thanks.
Post by Athel Cornish-Bowden
Think of the following analogy. Suppose I laboriously type the text of
A Tale of Two Cities into my computer, and then print off lots of
copies. A lot of work, certainly, but have I created a new literary
masterpiece?
Maybe if your name is Pierre Menard.
Post by Athel Cornish-Bowden
If I make a few alterations here and there (which I would
call "improvements") have I then created a new literary masterpiece?
Surely it's a little more than that. If you delete some words or chapters
from a novel, it's still a novel, but if you delete some genes from a
genome, you have to be doing things exactly right to get a functioning
genome, and the knowledge of which ones can and can't be deleted
is a contribution to science, despite the overselling.
--
Jerry Friedman
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