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An astrobiologist suggests changing how we search for alien life

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Astrobiologist Sara Imari Walker commented recently that current definitions of life are a “mess”: “A popular definition that “life is a self-sustaining chemical system capable of Darwinian evolution” excludes any organisms that can’t reproduce because they are not capable of evolution—therefore mules and many senior citizens are excluded if you read the definition too strictly.”

Well, now that she mentions it, there are over 100 definitions of life. Many don’t particularly make sense, as she points out. Also, there are many ways evolution can happen other than Darwinian evolution (horizontal gene transfer, for example). Why be exclusive?

More at Mind Matters News.

See also: Particle physicist offers 75 reasons we don’t see aliens. But Oxford’s Future of Humanity Institute gives high odds that we are the only intelligent beings in the galaxy (Lots more linked.)

Capable of Darwinian evolution... does this mean that "living" aliens must be light-skinned entities who see dark-skinned entities as inferior beings who need to be conquered and enslaved? polistra
How long until Walker is cancelled for daring to say Darwin is not all encompassing? BobRyan
Astrobiology A Science without data. But it is a Science. The definition of Science is: Science is "a cushy berth on Uncle Sam's gravy train" TAMMIE LEE HAYNES
Science is supposed to be careful observation of Nature. We've never observed an alien by any available sense or channel, therefore we can't deal with the concept as science. It's just fantasy. It's a complete waste of money and brainpower. If aliens exist and want us to know that they're around, they WILL let us know. Until then, it's pointless. polistra

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