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LucidElement

What Is Life?

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Exeter
life is.....too short

So true. :(

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Nucular
First off, kudos to Nucular for some very insightful and well-worded posts! He has done a good job of explaining why, in evolutionary terms, life is the way we find it. The discussion may, however, have veered away somewhat from the intent of the OP's question which seemed to be not so much "Why is life the way it is? as "Why life at all?" And this is, really, a very good question. Given that I agree with just about everything Nucular has said, I still have to wonder why any of what I consider reality exists for me to be conscious of in the first place. I must, likewise, wonder why I exist to be conscious of it.

Thanks for the kind words, Sagredo - and thanks also for widening out the discussion again, I agree it was getting a little narrow.

Indeed, to fully answer the question 'what is life?' we should ask the more ultimate question 'why anything?', or 'why is there something rather than nothing' (a question I suspect to be unanswerable - not just with science, but with anything).

Starting, however, from the premise that there is something, whether we know why or not, we could arrive at some possible hypotheses to begin to address such questions.

After all, I can imagine a universe just like this one with the single exception that no one and nothing in it is conscious at all or ever has been or ever will be-basically a universe just like this one except that it does not exist. At least I think I can do this. (I can certainly imagine a universe like this one but in which Germany won WWII. I can certainly imagine a "universe" consisting of nothing more than a two-dimensional Euclidean plane. And I don't think either of these "universes" plays host to any conscious experience. Although who knows? I might be wrong about that.)

On the face of it, it almost seems as if plain old non-existence ought to be the simplest and most natural state of affairs. How/why does it happen that anything goes to the trouble of existing at all? Understandably, this question motivates many people to speculate regarding the "meaning" of life. I don't, myself, know whether there is any such "meaning." But it is a very interesting question-one which does not admit of an answer in scientific terms (as far as I can see, anyway).

As I said, I totally agree with that assessment. Unless, at some point, it could be shown that the central assumption in our position on that - that 'nothing' is the natural rest state, or default, of reality, which is the position which requires us to explain why 'not-nothing' exists - is wrong or questionable, I don't see a way any mode of enquiry could answer it even in principle.

But in terms of why the universe is of a type to be able to develop conscious, living organisms within it, there are several possible hypotheses, none of which we can at present satisfactorily choose between.

AFAIK, these hypotheses fall into one of two categories, as far as I can see: the 'supernatural' explanations (God/gods/whatever made it so), and the 'multiverse' explanations (we find ourselves in this universe out of many simply because this is the one that permits us to evolve in, and for no other reason!).

Personally, if I had to choose now, my money would be on one of the various multiverse explanations - that this portion of reality in which we find ourselves is one of many, whether through time (lots of successive universes), space (other universes 'over there', as it were), black holes/baby universes (new universes are spawned inside black holes), Everett interpretation of QM (for every virtual particle in a wavefunction there is a new universe tangential to our own), m-theory (our universe is only one random bubble in a vast, churning world of clashing membranes), etc. So in any of these possibilities, maybe there also exist the Euclidean 2D planar universe, and perhaps an identical one to our own except totally barren; and the only reason we find ourselves in the 'right' one is that we wouldn't have evolved in the 'wrong' one!

But there are of course problems with these ideas, just as there are with the supernatural hypotheses (God, gods, whatever) - although some of them can be described mathematically, this doesn't mean they're more likely to be true, really. Some have more going for them in terms of making accurate predictions in some cases (e.g. m-theory), but there is, ultimately, just the same evidence for other universes as there is for a Creator Deity - pretty much nowt. I think if I'm honest, the only reason I prefer the multiverse explanations to the supernatural explanations is that we already know there's a universe, so we're postulating more of something we do know exists rather than more of something we don't know exists. But this is small reason for such a big theory really.

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Nucular
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vg5Y2zT-C_Y

man.....thats awful.

he will probably haunt your nightmares from now on.

Gah! It all came flooding back when I saw that clip - now I think I'll wake up screaming every night! Heh, good avatar, Briks ;)

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NeoGenesis

Irony.

Life is wonderful.With out it we all be dead.

Dont take life to seriously.You wont get out alive.

Cheers. ;)

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Exeter

What is life?

Life is Edit Edit Edit with a drunk girl who'll do Edit Edit, and then Edit like a Edit Edit.

It's also Edit Edit my Edit ass off with an Edit Edit Edit while she stands on her Edit head.

I Edit love my Edit Edit life.

If you don't agree then Edit Edit yourself.

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Copasetic
So in any of these possibilities, maybe there also exist the Euclidean 2D planar universe, and perhaps an identical one to our own except totally barren; and the only reason we find ourselves in the 'right' one is that we wouldn't have evolved in the 'wrong' one!

Very anthropic principle-ish! I agree though, I feel that we are in this finely tuned universe because we could not have evolved in one not so finely tuned to our existence.

I also agree that ours is likely only one universe of an infinite number of possibilities. Whether these other universes exist simultaneously or prior to ours, I do not know. But, I see no reason to think a universe is a unique event in the cosmos.

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Username Deleted
What is life?

Life is Edit Edit Edit with a drunk girl who'll do Edit Edit, and then Edit like a Edit Edit.

It's also Edit Edit my Edit ass off with an Edit Edit Edit while she stands on her Edit head.

I Edit love my Edit Edit life.

If you don't agree then Edit Edit yourself.

That's a whole lot of editing going on in your life, Exeter. You might want to get someone to look at that and Edit it out. :D

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Exeter
That's a whole lot of editing going on in your life, Exeter. You might want to get someone to look at that and Edit it out. :D

Most of it has already been edited out for one reason or another, some of it by me.

I guess that means I'm into self editing.

I'm so Edit bad. B)

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=Jak=

What is Life?

Each one in the end want to Know the truth of LIFE!

Lost In Factor Equal

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alien2

Some of you guys are pretty deep and put a lot of thought into this, not that I'm knocking it. I was looking for something more on the lines of philosophy, you guys really took the cake.

Life is what it is, no more no less, how's that, does that sound alright? I didn't want to get into evolution but Nucular looks to be pretty much right on(if that is evolution).

Like they say life is what you make it(hopefully most of the time), you pretty much know how your life is going to turn out when you come of age right? I guess from that point all that's left to do is make it better from there on out.

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The_Spirit_of_Truth
life is.....too short

Sometimes true and sometimes not. For example when someone experiences a maximally-high pain, then time has almost stopped for him since the bigger the pain is, the more slowly time runs.

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briks hithouse
Sometimes true and sometimes not. For example when someone experiences a maximally-high pain, then time has almost stopped for him since the bigger the pain is, the more slowly time runs.

i'd kind of agree, depends on your perspective/situation, thers that bit in the film magnolia where the old guy who's been terminally ill for ages says life isnt short its too long.

if your life consists of a lot of pain and suffering its gonna seem long innit.

also i can imagine when u become very old and your health worsens life wud seem to drag on.

personally i'd define life as paradox, as in its very nature everything tends to boil down to paradox for me. so life both is and isnt everything, or beyond our limited understanding the universe can accomadate everysingle perspective any human being can possibly imagine and this perspective can be both true and false and everything inbetween at the same and different time.

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