February 21, 2007 5:23am CST
Perhaps the most compelling reason it is difficult to define life is the lack of objective measuring tools. All of our human methods for defining the undefinable (science, philosophy, religion, metaphysics, etc.) are self-limiting in some way. Unlike other living organisms, human beings seem to be driven to quantify and categorize the world around them. If we can describe a phenomenon such as 'life' well enough, we can bring some order out of chaos. The problem is, once one working definition of life has been created, a previously unknown plant or animal may appear and defy the definition. Then when can we be able to define life?
22 Feb 07
Life is an attribute of matter that is considered alive. A diverse array of living organisms can be found in the biosphere on Earth. Properties common to these organisms – plants, animals, fungi, protists, archaea and bacteria – are a carbon and water-based cellular form with complex organization and genetic information. They undergo metabolism, possess a capacity to grow, respond to stimuli, reproduce and through natural selection adapt to their environment in successive generations.