advertisement 1
advertisement
SEARCH:
Friday, December 15th, 2017                                                 SUBSCRIBE TO OUR RSS FEEDrss feed

Life is Evolution

Published by on May 8, 2011

Life is Evolution thumbnail

by Don Kaiser

THE SOLE CHARACTERISTIC that ultimately distinguishes living from non-living matter is classical Darwinian evolution. Life is simply matter that evolves.

A simple analysis of the definition of life leads to the conclusion that living matter is inanimate matter that evolves. Evolution is the sole feature that differentiates living matter from non-living matter.

Consider a definition of life from the old college days:

Life is the property of a highly organized molecular complex, the stability of which is maintained by its constant utilization of energy.

It seems a bit flowery, so to simplify:

Life is organized matter self-maintained by energy utilization….

Energy utilization is essential to maintain the stability of life forms because, without it, life forms are very unstable and decompose into non-living matter. In fact, life forms are so unstable that, even with energy utilization, they all eventually die….

Does the Definition Exclude All Non-Living Matter?

There are many examples of non-living matter maintained by their utilization of energy. Some examples are waterfalls, volcanoes, hurricanes, and stars. So, a definition of life requires something more to exclude such non-living matter. Adding something about reproduction might help:

Life is organized matter self-maintained by energy utilization and a process that reproduces its structure for self-maintained energy utilization in the future….

By specifying that life must include a reproductive process, inanimate matter like waterfalls and hurricanes are excluded. However, some scientists might argue rather convincingly that stars reproduce. To eliminate stars as living matter, a process that more faithfully reproduces itself could be added:

Life is organized matter self-maintained by energy utilization and a process that accurately reproduces its structure for self-maintained energy utilization in the future.

This simple definition seems to eliminate stars and other forms of inanimate matter. Specifying a nucleic acid-based reproductive mechanism rather than just a reproductive process would accurately define all of the known forms of life. But the general definition above allows for the possibility of other hypothesized mechanisms such as those based on lipids, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, or polyphosphates.

Perfect Clones Can’t Cut It.

Any life form with a reproductive process that creates an exact copy or a perfect clone of itself would satisfy the requirement of a process that accurately reproduces itself. Such a process would always produce the same exact structure and function for energy utilization and self-maintenance in a given environment. However, in a changed environment, functional energy utilization and self-maintenance might benefit from, or even require, new structure(s).

Every Environment Changes With Time.

In order for a life form to persist through time, it must have a mechanism that provides for structural changes to function in a changed environment. Some life forms can produce exact copies or perfect clones, but most importantly, they also provide mechanisms for introducing structural changes by mutation or recombination. No life forms exist that cannot provide such changes. So, the definition of life becomes:

Life is organized matter self-maintained by energy utilization and a process that accurately reproduces its general organizational structure with a mechanism that allows for structural changes to utilize energy for self-maintenance in a changed environment.

Based on this definition of life, the sole characteristic that distinguishes living from non-living matter is a reproductive mechanism that allows for structural changes to utilize energy for self-maintenance in a changed environment.

Adaptation is Essential.

When successful structural changes to utilize energy for self-maintenance in a changed environment are produced, adaptation is said to occur. Over time, with continuously changing environments and adaptations, life forms undergo natural selection and classical Darwinian evolution. Thus, for periods of time exceeding the lifespans of individuals, the sole characteristic that distinguishes living and non-living matter is the process of Darwinian evolution. So, what is life?

Life is matter that evolves.

Most fundamentally, the definition becomes:

Life is evolution.

The two are inseparable. Given the fact that all life forms die, how do they persist through time and changing environments? Every environment harboring life forms must change, simply because of their existence, so evolution is the only way life forms can persist through time. Not only did Charles Darwin discover what makes life possible despite the fact that all life forms eventually die, he unwittingly discovered the sole feature that distinguishes living from non-living matter. Charles Darwin defined life.

Life is Evolution.

*  *  *

Sources:

Goode, M. Dennis, biophysics course, 1974, Department of Zoology, University of Maryland, College Park, MD.

Dawkins, Richard, The Selfish Gene. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 1976. ISBN 0-19-286092-5.

Read the full article at Suite101.com

Related Articles:

Readers' Comments

  1. Don Kaiser on June 25th, 2011 9:23 pm

    I appreciate you spreading around my thesis that “life is evolution” but it’s funny how my original work sort of gets misrepresented with the new figure you attached to it. Although it’s probably somewhat naive of me to think that my article could actually win-over any of the Darwin haters out there, this was in fact, one of my intentions. However, you obviously make my article appear much more inflammatory and polarizing in that regard. Although I’m not certain how it will play out, I currently consider it unfortunate. But thanks anyway for re-publishing my article in your magazine. There can be no doubt that for periods of time exceeding the lifespans of individuals, the only thing that distinguishes living from non-living matter is Darwinian evolution. In the long run, life is simply matter that evolves. I think it’s quite inspiring.

  2. Don Kaiser on August 21st, 2011 2:50 pm
  3. Don Kaiser on August 21st, 2011 2:53 pm

    Please see the Wikipedia article on “Reproduction” for a discussion of sexual and asexual reproduction.





  • Her killer was made into a hero
  • Literature, US News »

    Homeless Jack on “Grabbing Some Pussy”

    November 7, 2016

    Homeless Jack on “Grabbing Some Pussy” thumbnail

    We discovered this piece scrawled on some foolscap left on our doorstep, an all-lower-case Kerouac-style stream of consciousness rap, and offer it as we found it. by H. Millard trump is an american original and a throwback to the days when americans were bursting with confidence and energy and the sheer joy of freedom and […]

    Africa, History »

    ‘The Choice of Achilles’: John Alan Coey Against the New World Order

    January 3, 2013

    ‘The Choice of Achilles’: John Alan Coey Against the New World Order thumbnail

    by T.R. Bennington AS EVER, BUT ESPECIALLY in our present state of civilizational malaise, there is a need for figures with the power to inspire — men who in less confused and cynical times would have been unabashedly described as heroic. One such figure is Corporal John Alan Coey, a young soldier who has perhaps […]

    Science »

    Quarter of Americans Convinced Sun Revolves Around Earth

    March 2, 2015

    Quarter of Americans Convinced Sun Revolves Around Earth thumbnail

    “DOES the Earth go around the Sun, or does the Sun go around the Earth?” If you answered the latter, you’re among a quarter of Americans who also got it wrong, according to a new report by the National Science Foundation. A survey of 2,200 people that was released Friday revealed some alarming truths about […]

  • Reader’s Comments

  • Categories

  • Archives

  • Pages

  • Login / Register / RSS

  • Vintage Mercury »

    Jailbirds

    June 7, 2017

    Jailbirds thumbnail

    by Jim Tully; from The American Mercury, September, 1928; transcribed by Kevin I. Slaughter THE jail room was thirty-five feet long, twenty-five feet wide, and seven feet high. In this large cage were fifty prisoners. Some had been sentenced and were serving jail terms; others awaited trial, or removal to the penitentiary. The floor was of […]

    Opinion »

    The Old Right and the Antichrist

    June 7, 2017

    The Old Right and the Antichrist thumbnail

    by Richard Spencer (pictured) The following address was given to the H.L. Mencken Club’s Annual Meeting; November 21-23, 2008. BEFORE William F. Buckley settled on writing God and Man at Yale in 1951, the 25 year-old had something quite different in mind as a debut volume. Buckley planned, and may have begun drafting, a book caustically […]

    Literature »

    The Fame of a Dead Man’s Deeds Audio Book: World War II

    December 12, 2017

    <em>The Fame of a Dead Man’s Deeds</em> Audio Book: World War II thumbnail

    by Bradford L. Huie for The American Mercury THIS WEEK Robert Griffin’s The Fame of a Dead Man’s Deeds — read this week by Vanessa Neubauer in our continuing audio book series — deals with Dr. William Luther Pierce’s views on the watershed event of the last 100 years: the Second World War. (ILLUSTRATION: American bombers rain death […]

  • Names and Topics



  • FEATURED ARTICLES

    Literature »

    The Fame of a Dead Man’s Deeds Audio Book: Timothy McVeigh

    October 8, 2017

    <em>The Fame of a Dead Man’s Deeds</em> Audio Book: Timothy McVeigh thumbnail

    by Bradford L. Huie for The American Mercury AGAIN AND AGAIN the claim is made that Dr. William Pierce’s novel The Turner Diaries was the “inspiration” for Timothy McVeigh’s 1995 attack on the Federal Building in Oklahoma City. But was that true? Professor Robert S. Griffin asks Dr. Pierce tough questions on his, his novel’s, and […]

    Frank Audio Books, History »

    New Audio Book: The American Mercury on Leo Frank – Rosser’s Closing Arguments, part 2

    October 6, 2017

    New Audio Book: The American Mercury on Leo Frank – Rosser’s Closing Arguments, part 2 thumbnail

    THIS WEEK in our audio book series we present part 2, the final part, of the powerful, skillful closing arguments of Luther Z. Rosser for the defense of Leo Frank (pictured) in his trial for the murder of Mary Phagan, read by Vanessa Neubauer. Rosser, possibly the most feared lawyer in Atlanta in his day, […]

    Literature »

    The Fame of a Dead Man’s Deeds Audio Book: Pierce on The Turner Diaries

    October 1, 2017

    <em>The Fame of a Dead Man’s Deeds</em> Audio Book: Pierce on The Turner Diaries thumbnail

    by Bradford L. Huie for The American Mercury TODAY WE ENTER the mind of the author of the most controversial novel ever written — The Turner Diaries. Professor Robert S. Griffin interviews and probes fearlessly into the thinking of Dr. William Pierce, the subject his unique biography, The Fame of a Dead Man’s Deeds. What was William […]

    Frank Audio Books, History »

    New Audio Book: The American Mercury on Leo Frank – Rosser’s Closing Arguments, part 1

    September 27, 2017

    New Audio Book: The American Mercury on Leo Frank – Rosser’s Closing Arguments, part 1 thumbnail

    THIS WEEK in our audio book series we present part 1 of the powerful, skillful closing arguments of Luther Z. Rosser (pictured) for the defense of Leo Frank in his trial for the murder of Mary Phagan, read by Vanessa Neubauer. Rosser was respected — and feared — as one of the best attorneys of […]

    Literature »

    The Fame of a Dead Man’s Deeds Audio Book: The Turner Diaries

    September 24, 2017

    <em>The Fame of a Dead Man’s Deeds</em> Audio Book: The Turner Diaries thumbnail

    by Bradford L. Huie for The American Mercury WHAT IS PROBABLY the most controversial novel ever written — The Turner Diaries — is the subject of this week’s chapter of our new audio book, The Fame of a Dead Man’s Deeds. (ILLUS.: The cover and autographed title page of a first edition copy of The Turner Diaries, […]

    Frank Audio Books, History »

    New Audio Book: The American Mercury on Leo Frank – Arnold’s Closing Arguments, part 2

    September 20, 2017

    New Audio Book: The American Mercury on Leo Frank – Arnold’s Closing Arguments, part 2 thumbnail

    REUBEN ARNOLD’S closing arguments (part 2) for the defense of Leo Frank — on the charge of murdering his sweatshop employee Mary Phagan — are our presentation this week in our new audio book series, read by Vanessa Neubauer. This series encompasses the American Mercury’s coverage of the 1913 trial and conviction of Jewish sex killer […]

    Literature »

    The Fame of a Dead Man’s Deeds Audio Book: Revilo P. Oliver

    September 17, 2017

    <em>The Fame of a Dead Man’s Deeds</em> Audio Book: Revilo P. Oliver thumbnail

    by Bradford L. Huie for The American Mercury RESPECTED PROFESSOR of the classics — co-founder of the John Birch Society — radical racial-nationalist — witness before the Warren Commission — and profound influence on William Luther Pierce: All of these things describe Revilo Pendleton Oliver, who is the subject of this week’s chapter of our new […]

    Frank Audio Books, History »

    New Audio Book: The American Mercury on Leo Frank – Arnold’s Closing Arguments, part 1

    September 15, 2017

    New Audio Book: The American Mercury on Leo Frank – Arnold’s Closing Arguments, part 1 thumbnail

    REUBEN ARNOLD’S closing arguments (part 1) for the defense of Leo Frank — on the charge of murdering his sweatshop employee Mary Phagan — are our presentation this week in our new audio book series, read by Vanessa Neubauer. (ILLUS.: Luther Rosser and Reuben Arnold headed Frank’s defense team.) This series encompasses the American Mercury’s coverage of […]

    Literature »

    The Fame of a Dead Man’s Deeds Audio Book: The National Alliance

    September 11, 2017

    <em>The Fame of a Dead Man’s Deeds</em> Audio Book: The National Alliance thumbnail

    by Bradford L. Huie for The American Mercury WILLIAM LUTHER PIERCE was born 84 years ago today. The political organization he created, the National Alliance, is 47 years old if we count its earliest incarnation, the National Youth Alliance, which began in 1970. It is still making the news today in 2017, 15 years after Pierce’s […]

    Frank Audio Books, History »

    New Audio Book: The American Mercury on Leo Frank – Hooper’s Closing Arguments

    September 8, 2017

    New Audio Book: The American Mercury on Leo Frank – Hooper’s Closing Arguments thumbnail

    THIS WEEK our new audio book of the American Mercury’s coverage of the 1913 trial and conviction of Jewish sex killer Leo Frank moves into the closing arguments of the attorneys to the jury. We will be presenting these extensive arguments in order and in full — a monumental, book-length project that will add another sixteen […]