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Author Topic: Can Viruses be Considered as Zoetic (Living) Beings?  (Read 934 times)

Offline nathan_jacob7

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Hello scientific community! My name is Nathan, and I have been studying viruses for a couple years. My goal is to best answer a controversial scientific question that is still unanswered to this day: "Can viruses be considered as a zoetic (living) being?" After studying many resources and databases, I compiled accurate information to best answer this question through an editorial (attachment). I hope that people can read my views on the topic, and I'm open to responses, discussion, and contructive criticism from the community! Thanks!


 

Offline puppypower

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Re: Can Viruses be Considered as Zoetic (Living) Beings?
« Reply #1 on: 09/08/2016 12:10:43 »
One analogy is a virus is like software, while a cell is like the operating system of a computer. Software can make the computer come alive. However, it needs the operating system to help it access all the computer resources it needs. The operating system is self contained and can do both activities at the same time.

The virus demonstrates just how important an active membrane is, in terms of life. The cell membrane helps to establish an aqueous gradient;  between the DNA and the membrane. This gradient has a connection to the operating system. During cells cycles, when the DNA is being duplicated, the DNA is taken offline for duplication, yet life goes on. This is because the gradient is never offline.

Water is critical to life. Life will not work without water, since all the organics become inanimate matter. When we dehydrate yeast, it becomes an organic powder. You add water and life reappears, yet water is not included in the definition of life.

The gradient of the cell is connected to the water. The virus, by itself, does not have the proper aqueous gradients needed for an operating system. The virus has to be uploaded to make use of an existing gradient.

The DNA is the most hydrated molecule in life. It contains a lot of water as part of its active structure; double helix of water. The membrane is composed of lipids which do not hydrate as easy as the DNA, except at the outer surfaces due to attached groups. This creates a gradient between the DNA and membrane, at the level of the water.

The hierarchy of materials from DNA to membrane reflects the organics aligned to the aqueous gradient. The virus membrane is different and creates a different gradient with far less potential; software.

« Last Edit: 09/08/2016 12:17:16 by puppypower »
 

Offline nathan_jacob7

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Re: Can Viruses be Considered as Zoetic (Living) Beings?
« Reply #2 on: 09/08/2016 17:23:48 »
I agree that viruses don't have as complicated membrane gradient as other cells. However, I don't believe that this is a distinguishing factor that classifies life. The virus's capability to reproduce, grow, and metabolize (under specific conditions) are all essential characteristics that put it in the "life" group. All viruses have some type of these three characteristics.
 

Offline puppypower

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Re: Can Viruses be Considered as Zoetic (Living) Beings?
« Reply #3 on: 10/08/2016 12:00:27 »
The software and operating system analogy, between virus and cells is useful. Software can use all the resources of a computer, but it can only do so by making use of the operating system. We can download an app, such as a game, but without the operating system, nothing will happen. The app is not alive all by itself. Virus are a co-dependent form of life, whereas cells are an independent form of life.

The difference between these two states can be correlated to the composition of the membrane, relative to water. No cell or virus, that we know of,  will work without water. No other solvent can substitute for water. Yet water is not part of the definition of life. This makes it hard to create a consistent definition of life. A priest does not reproduce, so is a priest considered alive?

Water and oil do not mix, but rather create potentials with each other, which help them separate into two phases. This potential between water and organics is needed for life. The virus needs to insert itself within an established gradient, since it own internal gradient is not sufficient for life. The water-oil affect of the host cell will cause the virus to break down along the gradient, so it can influence the gradient.
 

Offline puppypower

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Re: Can Viruses be Considered as Zoetic (Living) Beings?
« Reply #4 on: 11/08/2016 11:51:32 »
To continue on with the software and operating system analogy, Microsoft and Apple each approach the relationship between the operating system and software, differently. Software (virus) designed for the Microsoft operating systems, becomes imbedded into the operating system. Whereas, software for Apple, remains more self contained.

The difference is most noticeable if your try to uninstall software from each operating system (treat for a virus). An Apple software un-install is faster, with you only having to put the software's icon in the trash. Whereas with Microsoft, un-install makes use of a more formal extraction process, due to the virus having been imbedded into the operating system.

In this larger virus analogy, one type of virus, remains more self contained, but can it still make use of the machinery of the cell. While the other virus type imbeds itself into the DNA to become part of the operating system. The first type may be a strategy for using virus to extend the operating system of deficit cells, while being easier to neutralize; uninstall, when done. The second would create more permanent changes to the cell, but will be harder to uninstall.

The design of each would be based on what I call configurational potential. Configurational potential has to do with the potential created by the organic virus in water, which is a function of its own internal material gradient and packing. Tweaking the internal gradient is how you place or merge the virus into the cell;  apple or windows.

The Apple approach makes apples computers less vulnerable to computer virus, than the Windows approach. Because Windows merges the software, computer type virus, hidden in the software, can be unintentionally placed into the operating system. The more self contained approach of Apple, does not allow these fragments to enter the operating system, quite as easy. Most of the common virus tend to use the Windows approach and are very effective for altering the cell to is own needs. However, the analogy suggests harnessing virus for good, may be possible with a slightly modified strategy; designer virus to extend cells.
« Last Edit: 11/08/2016 12:03:35 by puppypower »
 

Offline nathan_jacob7

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Re: Can Viruses be Considered as Zoetic (Living) Beings?
« Reply #5 on: 13/08/2016 17:32:19 »
The analogy does make sense, as viruses commonly invade cells and take over their machinery. But the ability for viruses to be able to hack (access) the "operating system" (nucleus) could also classify it as a different type of life form. It is essentially following characteristics of "software", but has a different approach to access an operating system, which could classify it as a living being. 
 

Online Villi

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Re: Can Viruses be Considered as Zoetic (Living) Beings?
« Reply #6 on: 16/08/2016 05:59:59 »
Yes, viruses are living beings in my opinion. I would consider something alive if it can reproduce it's atomic structure and information. Viruses meet these criteria because they can produce more virus particles from infecting cells using the information encoded in their DNA. Just because they need another living thing, a host, to replicate still makes them alive. Bigger living things need environments with nutrients, energy, etc. and viruses simply use living things as their environment.

However, these general criteria could extend to things not considered biologically alive, such as computer viruses, certain rocks/minerals and who knows what else.
 

Offline puppypower

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Re: Can Viruses be Considered as Zoetic (Living) Beings?
« Reply #7 on: 17/08/2016 12:16:12 »
The analogy does make sense, as viruses commonly invade cells and take over their machinery. But the ability for viruses to be able to hack (access) the "operating system" (nucleus) could also classify it as a different type of life form. It is essentially following characteristics of "software", but has a different approach to access an operating system, which could classify it as a living being.

I agree with you, based on the thinking of existing organic-centric biology. But life is codependent on water, with water, not part of that equation, to the level of codependence.  For example, no enzyme will work without water, yet enzymes are usually portrayed in textbooks, without the water. This dead zone; omission of water, is what often creates the life mythology; intuitive extra. 

The virus is not so much consciously taking over the machinery of the cell. Rather the virus will passively follow the gradients created by the water-organic configurational grid of the cell. The analogy is closer to pieces of iron, of different weight, moving vertically in a magnetic field. Some particles will move faster and go further while some will lag behind.

Using the software analogy, when you install software into Windows, the operating system has a procedure for spreading out and hooking up the software to the operating system. The software is passive, until after it is installed. Once installed and triggered, it becomes dynamic. Not all virus will impact every cell, because each cell type will have a unique gradient for passive install.
 
 

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Re: Can Viruses be Considered as Zoetic (Living) Beings?
« Reply #7 on: 17/08/2016 12:16:12 »

 

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