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Widen The Goal In The Search For Alien Life

From: UFO UpDates - Toronto <post.nul>
Date: Sun, 01 Jul 2012 21:22:20 -0400
Archived: Sun, 01 Jul 2012 21:22:20 -0400
Subject: Widen The Goal In The Search For Alien Life

Source: NewScientist.Com


24 May 2012

Widen The Goal In The Search For Alien Life
by Bob Holmes

We need to cast off our biological blinkers in the search for
life beyond Earth and turn to physics, says cosmologist Charley

What's wrong with the definition of "life"?

Almost everything. For a start, we don't really have one. When
you ask a biologist, "Are viruses alive?", half of them will say
yes, and half will say no. We don't want a terrestrial-life-only
definition. We want one that could apply elsewhere in the
universe. This is important because NASA is trying to build an
instrument to detect life elsewhere.

So we can't just head off and look for the molecules of life as
we know it?

Imagine if some historian wanted to know about the origin of
France. Most French people now have passports. So imagine the
historian went out on an archaeological dig to look for French
passports. That would be ridiculous. France as a nation has
evolved over time, and only in the modern version do you get
passports. Same for life. You could say all life today has DNA,
but in the past, who knows?

Many biologists define life as anything that undergoes Darwinian

[More at site... thanks to Diana Cammack for the lead]

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