Finding a consensus for a working definition of life is among the hardest problems which astrobiologists tackle; for every nuanced school of thought there seems to exist a different definition. For those who don’t understand—
Take the following result as an example (using Google scholar):
Note that the search took less than a tenth of a second to produce 14,000 results. The current state of cutting edge research does not fair better (as the comments to my previous post may be indicative), and some mainstream scientists would insist that to define life exposes science to the “slippery slope argumentation of theology.” And, what is meant by the terms slippery slope is the definitions become devoid of empirical evidence (and meaning)—which is a cardinal sin in the pantheon of science.
So, can we give new insight to the scientific definition of life? Perhaps, we should look at how various scientific disciplines define life and the way the in which definitions are utilized.
concluding on Saturday (8/31/2013)