According to the online Merriam-Webster Dictionary, life is “an organismic state characterized by capacity for metabolism, growth, reaction to stimuli, and reproduction.” Viruses are not living things. Viruses are complicated assemblies of molecules, including proteins, nucleic acids, lipids, and carbohydrates, but on their own they can do nothing until they enter a living cell. Without cells, viruses would not be able to multiply. Therefore, viruses are not living things.
Prions propagate by transmitting a misfolded protein state. When a prion enters a healthy organism, it induces existing, properly folded proteins to convert into the disease-associated, prion form; the prion acts as a template to guide the misfolding of more proteins into prion form. These newly formed prions can then go on to convert more proteins themselves; this triggers a chain reaction that produces large amounts of the prion form
Originally posted by MichiganSwampBuck
By that definition a virus is not alive. However, it seems to be a parasite adapted enough to the environment to survive, find a host, and reproduce. It then gets into a position to infect more hosts and continue to survive.
It has a strategy to survive, find a host, reproduce, and continue to infect more hosts. That sounds like something that is alive to me. It may be so basic a life form that it could be considered the half-way point to being just another chemical compound reacting to the environment and other compounds, however . . .
This comes back to the idea that everything is just mechanical including biology, the body as the machine. So either life is just a machine made of dead molecules, or everything is alive and there is a "ghost in the machine".
I like to believe that everything is alive and has a desire to exist and fight against entropy.
Originally posted by thudpuddy
Had to respond though over the word "missing" in your title , having just gotten over the flu I'm pretty sure I found one virus that ain't missing .
Originally posted by Wertdagf
reply to post by jiggerj
Crystals and minerals are the only non-life self replicating structures. It would interesting to find them to be involved at some point of the selection process.
I think the whole fatty vesticles thing is rather good at getting it all started.
Search for some videos on Abiogenisis on youtube... that would be a better educator.
there is no known method of abiogenesis, nor is one likely to exist. even a single cell is incredibly complex, and to suggest it somehow assembled itself is illogical.