Saturday, July 30, 2011

Vitalism: alive and well

Yet another demonstration that the intuitive ideas of vitalism are alive and well. This NY Times article about Joyce's RNA self-replicator is dripping with vitalistic language starting with the title. For example: "They can make their own RNA and see if they can then breathe life into it."

Of course there is no bright line that separates the living from the inanimate -- at least they point out that "Biologists do not agree on what the definition of life should be or whether it is even useful to have one.". As Andy Ellington says: "'Life' is a word for poets, not scientists."

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