funny. yesterday on conflux i posted a series that explored, in part, explanation versus description in science. today i stumble upon a “new, universal definition of life” founded in the desire to separate descriptive from explanatory definitions:

“Bernard Korzeniewski of the Institute of Molecular Biology at Jagiellonian University in Kraków, Poland, says that definitions of life usually list the attributes an organism must have, such as genes, a certain level of complexity, the ability to reproduce and evolve, and so on. But this, he says, merely describes life rather than providing a useful way of deciding what’s alive and what’s not.

So Korzeniewski set out to formulate a fundamental definition of life, “which would apply not only to life presently existing on our planet but also to the first living organisms on Earth, as well as to life-like phenomena existing presumably on other planets in the Universe”, as he puts it.

His definition is this: “A network of inferior negative feedbacks subordinated to a superior positive feedback.” In other words, it’s a system that tries to regulate itself to preserve its identity.”

cool idea, but i’m not sure about a theory that states that ants aren’t alive.

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