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No. 7662
59 kB, 640 × 560
If a cancerous cell line from a vertebrate becomes established as a venereal or otherwise transmissible disease (eg Devil Facial Tumor Disease, Canine Transmissible Venereal Tumor), does this represent a new life form distinct from the species that cancer developed in originally?
No. 7663
>transmissible cancer
Well you learn something new every day. And apparently they do not think this is viral either.

>does this represent a new life form distinct from the species that cancer developed in originally?
Generally speaking the description of "life" is based on it having a genetic code. This is partly why viruses are debatable as "life" because they're pretty much just replicating RNA, which even lower in the case of prions is literally just malformed proteins that end up replicating in cellular machinery.

So let me put it this way, would you consider a tumor to be a new form of life? Would you consider a tumor to be independent of you? No? Well there you go then.
No. 7666
Yes because it survives independently of the original body. To say otherwise would cause problem regarding offspring.

>Generally speaking the description of "life" is based on it having a genetic code.

Who told you this? If I chop my own off it still has the human genetic code but you won't see it running any marathons.
No. 7685
*its own
Meaning that your own cells are still verifiably human. If it has some kind of DNA, it's alive. If it has RNA, it's a life form type kind of thing. If it's just malfolded proteins it's not alive but can kind of act like it.

So something such as say cancer is a disease but not normally pathogenic and is not a separate life form.
No. 7687
I think we're rapidly approaching the realisation that the definition of life is uncomfortably hazy. Kurzgesagt is pretty reddit but they did a good rundown on this:
(they forget XNA though which is artificial DNA made in a lab from synthetics)

But to get to my point, yes I have human dna and so do you along with some other dna. But we’re not the same lifeform. We’re the same species but the definition of species is a group able to exchange genetic information or otherwise breeding which these cancer cells can’t do with hosts (again, hazy definition as cross species breeding occurs and horizontal transfer etc.)

I’d posit the reason viruses and rampaging cancers aren't classed as alive is merely because it wrecks our sorting of the world around us. We’re more comfortable with AI these days but equally it causes us to look at self-replicating code as life that itself opens cans of worms.
No. 7692
The strange thing in my view is that we say viruses aren't alive yet we still sort them into taxonomies as if they were
No. 7706
229 kB, 452 × 332
They're basically a technicality and that's just because they don't have their own actual DNA and require hijacking cellular machinery in order to reproduce, is my understanding. Generally speaking viruses are kind of in that twilight zone just at the outer edge of what we could call "life" and functionally are a bit more like some kind of limited grey goo, resembling a bit more an organic biological machine than "life" in the strictly conventional sense. But of course with the discovery of prions I would indeed say that Brit was spot on in that the whole borderlines of what genuinely constitutes discrete "life" is much more hazy than we Westerners like to believe.

Speaking of which, it really actually is a much more cultural bias, in that Western thought tends to like truncating and categorizing everything. It reminds me of this Dave Chappelle skit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1NZJjUU4CyY we really do unintentionally do this and it biases our complete worldview in semi-autism. Some other cultures like far Easterners and Native Americans tend towards a more holistic view, where to a European we see "there is the mountain, and the peaks, and the various tree lines, and the ice, and the river, and the streams, and the ocean" and so on, whereas these cultures tend to just see the interlinking things of the entire water cycle; the trees absorb the rains and respirate and the evaporated water falls as snow which melts which feeds streams and so on. It is also a difference in terms of typical linear thinking, which I suspect I'm processing differently in some non-linear way compared to lots of other people. Not saying there is any inherent "better" or inferiority/superiority to thought in fact that very premise is kind of what I mean about a Eurocentric thinking and perceiving style which is built on comparison and categorization, rather than interconnection and interelatedness which sees the forest for the trees and how each individual part makes up a piece of the whole dynamic system.

For instance, we as organisms are absolutely filled with non-human DNA that we need to function such as gut flora. Certain organisms are entirely dependent upon it for survival like termites, whose gut flora is what breaks down wood. I heard some theory that parts of evolution including our "junk" DNA may actually be the result of viruses interfering in our cellular and genetic machinery. In fact last I heard the one theory about photosynthesis was that somehow some ancient organism absorbed another unicellular organism and assimilated it and that that's what chloroplasts are https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chloroplast#Primary_endosymbiosis

This is another huge problem I have with Western particularly Germanic thinking, which perceives things in an idiotic "nature is red in tooth and claw survival of the fittest means survival of the strongest!" thing, which completely and utterly ignores symbionts at both the cellular, species-group, and interspecies level for survival which has arguably played the overwhelming role in life on earth, the ramifications of which would probably transfer politically if you actually thought about them (for instance favoring something more like mutualism or a form of libertarianism than monarchism or dictatorship).

I would even further posit that if life had any inherent meaning, it is to evolve and spread more life, even if at the most basic thing that means us as a species effectively being a type of planetary infection that can and must consciously slumber its way to mutating new means of transmission so as to become spaceborne and thus infecting the other fomite planetary bodies of distant stars. We can possibly achieve this even by ejecting our material in their general direction and hoping whatever organisms can survive the cold vacuum and radiation of deep space until infecting another body with ourselves.
No. 7719
>they don't have their own actual DNA
>they're pretty much just replicating RNA

Herpesviridae would like a word with you


>I heard some theory that parts of evolution including our "junk" DNA may actually be the result of viruses interfering in our cellular and genetic machinery.

Indeed, some even appear to be involved in the cellular/molecular physiology underlying certain complex behaviors

No. 7760
Viruses have no metabolism they are no lifeform and it is not discussable.

Moves (Any kind of taxis)
Has a metabolism/anabolism
Reproduces (No matter how, genetically speaking)
-Wait, is fire a life form?
Last but not least it needs some kind of enclosed membrane

Sure any cell is lifeform. The cell you are refering to would just be a strain of that cell.
HeLa cells also don't have too much to do with Henrietta Lacks genetics, but they're still a strain of her cells (spoiler: she dead :D).
No. 7766
>Sure any cell is lifeform. The cell you are refering to would just be a strain of that cell.


Using methods of genomic inference, some researchers have estimated that the cell line which comprises CTVT may be as old as 11,000 years. Is it fair then to characterize the emergence of this transmissible cancer as a speciation event?
No. 7770
>Moves (Any kind of taxis)
Non-motile bacteria
No. 7814
Perhaps addition to definition of life - localized decrease in entropy? Compartmentalized information gradients? Trying to think without 'biocentrism', there must be a lot of weird shit out in the universe beyond aminoacid-based replicants.
No. 7815
The entire history of science is categories and compartments being assumed, and then realizing they were wrong. Everything is always more hazy, interconnected, and complicated. The 'Western' view was kind of vital for scientific inquiry though i think, even if it isn't the most accurate way of representing reality.
No. 7823
>Perhaps addition to definition of life - localized decrease in entropy? Compartmentalized information gradients?

Many of the scientists researhing astrobiology/origins of life today think of life in these terms
No. 24793
I'd say if the cancer cells are able to live independently from the host organism, then yes.
Other than that all life seems to be variants of mutating DNA aka cancer.
No. 24805
>Perhaps addition to definition of life - localized decrease in entropy?

Surely you mean increase in entroy?
No. 24810
No, he most certainly didn't mean that. It would make no sense.
No. 24824
Higher complexity lifeforms increase the inherent entropy to a system. A perfectly ordered universe is a dead one. You know what has low entropy? Mars. Or better yet the moon. That thing has been sitting up there in a perfectly ordered orbit only slowly moving away for eons while taking the occasional bombardment. Meanwhile earth has radically changed repeatedly throughout its history thanks in part to lifeforms. We wouldnt even have an oxygenated atmosphere without life and life has been messing with the carbon cycle for hundreds of millions of years. Life in general has wildly introduced disorder into the planet's various systems. I know theres a lot of foolish talk about "order" regarding life but there absolutely isn't and the world has been in a constant state of flux due to it. Barring massive collisions you can make a prediction with a small amount of data about Mars and it will still be true in a billion years, but when you introduce life into the equation suddenly it's not so certain Mars won't have life in a thousand years, or be missing its moons, or be suddenly destroyed by some unforeseen technological catastrophe or whatever. In fact the only reason we cannot accurately make a prediction about what Mars is going to be like in 10,019AD is because life life exists that isnt even anywhere near its surface but just happens to be on another distant planet in its neighborhood.

Life is, at best, ordered chaos. What is a species today may not be tomorrow. What the very composition of the upper crust is like may no longer be true and what exists today as a species may not exist in a million years even without human intercerence, because mankind is a higher chaos.
No. 24847
>Higher complexity lifeforms increase the inherent entropy to a system.
They decrease the entropy of themselves by increasing the entropy of the surroundings. They themselves are systems with decreasing entropy, i.e. localized decreases of entropy. The rest of your post is pseudo-philosophical musings and poor attempts at redefining the terminology, so I won't bother to address it.
No. 24853
Get down from your high horse, you simply aren't correct.
Low entroy is low information, all life with a metabolism is an increase in information and thus entropy compared to the same matter without the metabolism.
No. 24855
here's a neat video of alan kay talking about the information theory of cell biology and how it relates to computer science

No. 24857
>pseudo-philosophical musings
>and poor attempts at redefining the terminology,

>1. a thermodynamic quantity representing the unavailability of a system's thermal energy for conversion into mechanical work, often interpreted as the degree of disorder or randomness in the system.
>"the second law of thermodynamics says that entropy always increases with time" · [more]

>2. lack of order or predictability; gradual decline into disorder.
>"a marketplace where entropy reigns supreme"

>3. (in information theory) a logarithmic measure of the rate of transfer of information in a particular message or language.

>Entropy has often been loosely associated with the amount of order or disorder, or of chaos, in a thermodynamic system. The traditional qualitative description of entropy is that it refers to changes in the status quo of the system and is a measure of "molecular disorder" and the amount of wasted energy in a dynamical energy transformation from one state or form to another. In this direction, several recent authors have derived exact entropy formulas to account for and measure disorder and order in atomic and molecular assemblies.
I'm not going to copypaste this all but
No matter which definition of "entropy" you're using life increases it. I'm not speaking locally. I'm talking about planet-wide which is the result of life continually having an impact on the molecular composition of the planet namely the atmosphere, which directly has an effect on the rate of energy reflection/absorption. Considering the context was
>Perhaps addition to definition of life - localized decrease in entropy? Compartmentalized information gradients? Trying to think without 'biocentrism', there must be a lot of weird shit out in the universe beyond aminoacid-based replicants.
I assumed he was speaking more broadly than strictly talking about laws of thermodynamics in the strictest mechanical sense regarding physics, particular given that I'm pretty sure the context of those posts was referring more to what one might call a particular organism or unit of life, as opposed to talking about ecosystems, though I'd say it works at either macro or micro scales. Nothing I said was "pseudo philosophical" I was talking pretty literally about namely the second definition of entropy, i.e. a decline into disorder and unpredictability. Given that life has thus far proven capable of extinguishing itself, both as recently as this very minute with humans using advanced technology, all the way to microbes turning the planet into an oxygenated mess which is thought to have wiped out the overwhelming majority of life, I'd say it is entirely reasonable to call this an entropic force, especially if human intervention eventually manages to do something so severe as causing a Venusian tier runaway greenhouse effect (which we have already proven capable of doing to some degree completely on accident in a short period of time) to some event that could somehow get the atmosphere to begin gradually getting blown off to resemble something like Mars, I'd again say this is accurate at the technical level by definition.

Unless of course you mean an extremely narrow definition as in
> In the idealization that a process is reversible, the entropy does not change, while irreversible processes always increase the total entropy.
trying to talk about this as purely a local system such as say a part of an ecosystem and just rely entirely on the first law of thermodynamics instead and just focus on the preservation of mass/energy in that particular system without talking about any other connections to that system or anything else regarding increase or decrease in order by any other definition of which I just gave you three.

Nevermind it occurred to me that academics probably had this exact same argument and see the line of reasoning you were using after just looking for it
No. 24862
>Low entroy is low information
No, it isn't. Entropy is an amount of imformation you can get about the system, not an amount of information you already have. Take, for example, the message "go **** yourself", where every "*" represents an unknown letter of the Latin alphabet. The entropy of this message is four letters, that is, we can get four letters worth of new information from it. But it's not of much use to us as it is now, because it can mean lots of different things, like "go kiss yourself", "go make yourself", "go loot yourself" and even "go zwjd yourself". In order for this message to make sense, we have to eliminate the uncertainty, to decrease its entropy, and then the message turns into something like "go fuck yourself" - the entropy of this message is zero since there is no uncertainty anymore, but now we understand what is it about. Likewise, a living organism has to keep its present state in order to, well, be living, so it combats its own ever-increasing entropy by expelling it to its surroundings, decreasing it to a proper amount (of course that amount is always non-zero, because otherwise it would make the energy exchange impossible). When the organism's entropy increases to its maximum, the organism becomes dead, non-living.
No. 24863
Well, why the hell were you speaking about the Universe when we were trying to define a "living organism"? For that purpose anything that happens to total entropy of the Universe is irrelevant, the borders of the system we examine and trying to define are the borders of that living organism.
No. 24866
That entire video is very good, thank you so much for posting it here. Gave me tons of inspiration for my work :3
No. 24870
I'm glad you liked it
No. 24886
I meant at macro and micro levels and I find it interesting that seemingly both death and increasing local entropy in the surroundings while requiring free energy are all things that have to be glossed over for that definition to work. But I'm not very good at physics so frankly I haven't got much business arguing the matter to begin with. The German was focusing on definition 3. I was focusing more on definition 2 and you on definition 1. Also the only reason the system can even exist is by a constant stream of energy from our nearest star. I see the system as being inherently unstable and still think you need a bit of mental gymnastics to try and keep this exact theory but whatever.
No. 24907

I take back what I've said in >>24853 after reading the linked wikpedia article. My view has changed to: I understand the concept(s) of entroy much less than I thought.

Lots of food for thought, I guess I should thank you for that.
No. 24909
I'm not exactly an expert on it myself. I only know what I know because it was required to get at least a little bit familiar with the concept for the Basics of Information Theory course at my uni. And even then, although the professor insisted that we read Shannon's Mathematical Theory of Communication, I kinda took a shortcut and read Wolkenstein's Entropy and Information instead. It was a good read and I managed to pass the exam thanks to it, but I feel like my knowledge on the matter is still kinda insufficient. Maybe I'll get to Shannon someday, just for the sake of self-education.