Yes but this is more perception. They seem to react but it's simple chemicals coming into contact with other chemicals which causes chemical
They don't in any way think to react.
not the best example but i'm tired and going to bed after I hit the post reply button
Natrium stays dormant when properly preserved (surrounded by oil) but when it comes into contact with air it starts to react.
viruses have certain molecules on their protein capsules which when they come into contact with the molecules in a cell membrane causes a series of
chemical reactions which allows them to enter the cell.
Another series of reactions caused by contact of molecules dissolves the proteine capsule, The free drifting rna or dna get's absorbed by the nucleus
and hencefort the nucleus will continue to follow the instructions it contains.. which are now the ones from the virus' rna/dna.
viruses not being concidered alive is not persay my own opinion and it's a concideration anyway. based on observed behaviour. It's best treated on a
molecular level then as a life form. e.g. trying to know why a virus wants humans instead of pigs will bring you nowhere because it's (bio)chemical
compatibility not a choice or preference or somesuch which are things we associate with our idea of living things.
On a funny note though fire shares more characterics of the classic definition set for life then viruses
The number of complex chemical reactions to amount to complex behaviour seems to be the definition of life nowadays imho. What that number is. You
My personal opinion:
To be alive to me you need to observe and actively react to your surroundings. And I mean psychology react, a simple chemical reaction or nano
mechanical result will not do for me.
Very basic lifeforms have this trait. Viruses do not. I haven't seen a virus be curious about anything or swim a little or be lazy. They are just
inanimate untill they come into contact with the right stuff.
For me there is Life life.. as in things that are living a life. and you have advanced molecules and nano structures which are a level above totally
inanimate material and a level under full flung life. I think the distinction is important.
Difference between life and living. If life is rna and dna.. then sure viruses are life. But are they living it?
Just my 2 cents and now i'm off for some much needed sleep.
[edit on 26/5/2007 by David2012]