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Tue Apr 14, 2020, 08:24 PM

We need a poll: is a virus alive?

I vote no.

36 replies, 988 views

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Arrow 36 replies Author Time Post
Reply We need a poll: is a virus alive? (Original post)
Goodheart Apr 2020 OP
Haggis for Breakfast Apr 2020 #1
Goodheart Apr 2020 #3
Haggis for Breakfast Apr 2020 #23
Celerity Apr 2020 #26
Haggis for Breakfast Apr 2020 #29
Celerity Apr 2020 #30
Haggis for Breakfast Apr 2020 #31
Celerity Apr 2020 #33
Haggis for Breakfast Apr 2020 #34
Celerity Apr 2020 #35
msongs Apr 2020 #2
grantcart Apr 2020 #5
OAITW r.2.0 Apr 2020 #4
RockRaven Apr 2020 #6
SheltieLover Apr 2020 #10
GeorgiaPeanut Apr 2020 #7
grantcart Apr 2020 #8
milestogo Apr 2020 #9
Zambero Apr 2020 #11
Goodheart Apr 2020 #12
Zambero Apr 2020 #19
napi21 Apr 2020 #13
unblock Apr 2020 #14
qazplm135 Apr 2020 #15
jberryhill Apr 2020 #16
MLAA Apr 2020 #17
Dem2 Apr 2020 #18
Baclava Apr 2020 #20
Goodheart Apr 2020 #22
lastlib Apr 2020 #36
greyl Apr 2020 #21
DavidDvorkin Apr 2020 #24
Celerity Apr 2020 #27
NurseJackie Apr 2020 #28
ProfessorGAC Apr 2020 #25
whistler162 Apr 2020 #32

Response to Goodheart (Original post)

Tue Apr 14, 2020, 08:26 PM

1. Yes.

Ever heard the term "attenuated ?"

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Response to Haggis for Breakfast (Reply #1)

Tue Apr 14, 2020, 08:27 PM

3. Yes, I have, but I don't know what point you're trying to make.


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Response to Goodheart (Reply #3)

Wed Apr 15, 2020, 05:07 PM

23. What I meant is that it's not alive and kicking in the normal sense

that we think of when we classify something as being a living organism. "Is it alive ?" Well, we still don't have a clear guideline, much less a universally agreed upon standard by which to say yes or no.

There's been a raging (Bad choice of words !) debate about whether viruses are a living thing or not since long before I was in school (and that was back when dinosaurs roamed the Earth). One of my Dons used to say that a virus is alive, but attenuated, in that it is weakened just below the thresh hold of that we can say with certainty (a BIG word in science) is alive. So, the debate goes on and on.

Am I making any sense ? I think I phrased this whole thing in a confusing manner. Sorry.

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Response to Haggis for Breakfast (Reply #1)

Wed Apr 15, 2020, 05:18 PM

26. attenuated does not automatically mean what is being attenuated is alive

it simply means reduced in strength, and is often used to refer to inanimate things

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Response to Celerity (Reply #26)

Wed Apr 15, 2020, 05:45 PM

29. See my previous post.

As I said, I probably worded this in the most confusing manner possible.

And I was relying on information from a lecture decades ago when I was at university. I think the point the Don was trying to make is that viruses remain much of a mystery to us and that the debate about whether or not they are alive, was something that will require a greater understanding and light years of research before we truly understand them. It was his opinion that they were alive, but "attenuated."

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Response to Haggis for Breakfast (Reply #29)

Wed Apr 15, 2020, 05:49 PM

30. I think we need a concrete definition of what life is in order to answer the question definitively

I tend to come down on the side that it is SOME form of quasi life, but I can see this entire subject spiralling into an endless ontological debate.

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Response to Celerity (Reply #30)

Wed Apr 15, 2020, 05:54 PM

31. Agreed.

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Response to Haggis for Breakfast (Reply #31)

Wed Apr 15, 2020, 05:57 PM

33. +1 thanks for the replies

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Response to Celerity (Reply #33)

Wed Apr 15, 2020, 06:12 PM

34. Whenever I fail to be clear or make a mistake or put out bad intel,

I always want to respond to clarify or apologize - whatever is appropriate.

When I retired from the military, I went to work for the US Public Health Service (PHS) at the beginning of the HIV/AIDS epidemic. That is what sparked my curiosity about viruses. AIDS/Ebola/Marburg, etc. I was fascinated by the science. That something like a virus (or a retro-virus) could wreck such havoc and catastrophe on the human body. And that we were so defenseless, that our immune systems could be so out-maneuvered and co-opted . . . I need to stop this thing or the post will end up being pages long.

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Response to Haggis for Breakfast (Reply #34)

Wed Apr 15, 2020, 06:13 PM

35. much appreciated

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Response to Goodheart (Original post)

Tue Apr 14, 2020, 08:26 PM

2. poll the virus lol nt

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Response to msongs (Reply #2)

Tue Apr 14, 2020, 08:29 PM

5. Well it would have to be activated first lol

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Response to Goodheart (Original post)

Tue Apr 14, 2020, 08:28 PM

4. No idea, but worth bookmarking to see the comments.

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Response to Goodheart (Original post)

Tue Apr 14, 2020, 08:31 PM

6. No, but for convenience we should discuss them as if they are and treat them as if they are...

Or we could re-define the conventional definitions of "alive" and "life" used in biological sciences.

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Response to RockRaven (Reply #6)

Tue Apr 14, 2020, 08:35 PM

10. This!👆

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Response to Goodheart (Original post)

Tue Apr 14, 2020, 08:32 PM

7. A virus does not meet the definition of life fully

 

which require food consumption, metabolism, homeostasis, respiration, procreation and evolution.

However, it meets Koch's postulates.

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Response to Goodheart (Original post)

Tue Apr 14, 2020, 08:32 PM

8. Not until it becomes activated by attaching to a cell

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Response to Goodheart (Original post)

Tue Apr 14, 2020, 08:34 PM

9. I would say anything that can put the whole world on its timetable is very much alive -

Depending on how you define alive.

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Response to Goodheart (Original post)

Tue Apr 14, 2020, 08:37 PM

11. Genetic particle

It cannot replicate on it's own, since it requires a host cell to create new copies of itself. I would hazard a guess that viruses are the lowest life form, although an even lower lowlife has been showing up at "press briefings" as of late.

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Response to Zambero (Reply #11)

Tue Apr 14, 2020, 08:39 PM

12. That's all very interesting, but you didn't vote!

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Response to Goodheart (Reply #12)

Wed Apr 15, 2020, 12:16 AM

19. Just did!

Live virus?

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Response to Goodheart (Original post)

Tue Apr 14, 2020, 08:42 PM

13. Yes. Living, eating & destroying peoples lungs everywhere. n/t

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Response to Goodheart (Original post)

Tue Apr 14, 2020, 08:42 PM

14. it's really a question of semantics in that we know what a virus is

it can't replicate without a host cell.

so the question really is, is "alive" a term we want to apply to such a thing?

personally, i don't really care, i'm fine with it not technically being "alive".

are mushrooms "vegetables"? technically, no, they're fungi. but people eat them as if they're vegetables so whatever....

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Response to Goodheart (Original post)

Tue Apr 14, 2020, 09:03 PM

15. prions aren't alive

but they can cause disease. I think a virus is closer to a prion than a life form. But it certainly straddles the line.

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Response to Goodheart (Original post)

Tue Apr 14, 2020, 09:12 PM

16. Well, the Evangelicals seem opposed to eradicating it, so it has the "pro-lifers" on its side

 

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Response to jberryhill (Reply #16)

Tue Apr 14, 2020, 09:31 PM

17. Lol. Good one.

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Response to Goodheart (Original post)

Tue Apr 14, 2020, 09:42 PM

18. I heard someone describe it as a very large molecule

Not sure how a large molecule can be defined as "life".
This is the DU member formerly known as Dem2.

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Response to Goodheart (Original post)

Wed Apr 15, 2020, 01:02 AM

20. Are seeds alive? They have the potential for life, under the right conditions, but can die

They are parasitic life seeds, thats what I think, viruses need a host to reproduce, and they have the DNA/RNA to make major changes to any cell they invade to produce all the energy needed to do that.

The debate rages on
This is the DU member formerly known as Baclava.

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Response to Baclava (Reply #20)

Wed Apr 15, 2020, 07:57 AM

22. I vote YES on the seed.

What is life?

Who am I without you by my side?

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Response to Goodheart (Reply #22)

Wed Apr 15, 2020, 06:15 PM

36. George Lives!!

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Response to Goodheart (Original post)

Wed Apr 15, 2020, 01:04 AM

21. This isn't one of those things determined by polling of public opinion, is it? nt

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Response to Goodheart (Original post)

Wed Apr 15, 2020, 05:11 PM

24. First we have to agree on a definition of "alive".

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Response to DavidDvorkin (Reply #24)

Wed Apr 15, 2020, 05:22 PM

27. +100000

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Response to DavidDvorkin (Reply #24)

Wed Apr 15, 2020, 05:32 PM

28. Maybe the OP is asking if it's sentient... if it knows what it's doing... planning, scheming, etc.

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Response to Goodheart (Original post)

Wed Apr 15, 2020, 05:11 PM

25. It Reproduces

Subbed science in late Feb and 8th graders were learning viruses.
The textbook said it meets the definition of life insofar as it's capable of reproducing.
So, in a limited sense, it seems yes.
But, no metabolism, no respiration, no consumption.
So it's a VERY different form of life.

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Response to Goodheart (Original post)

Wed Apr 15, 2020, 05:55 PM

32. Yes and since this one is 19 it can vote!

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