… we are sure it must be a fully natural event that just sort of happened. Or else a fully natural event that just had to happen. Right after the Big Bang, if that’s the time frame needed.
The definition of life has reached the point where science historian George Dyson tells us, “Life is whatever you define it to be.” Richard Dawkins has suggested it is “anything highly statistically improbable, but in a particular direction.” And at a year 2000 international “What is life?” conference, no two definitions were the same.
Biochemist Edward Trifonov noted that there are 123 definitions available and, undeterred, promptly proposed his own: Life is self-reproduction with variations. Which was just as promptly contested. In a 2012 issue of philosophy journal Synthèse, Edouard Machery concluded that “scientists, philosophers, and ethicists should discard the project of defining life.”
Still in the game, astrobiologist Charley Lineweaver proposes a new, non-Darwinian approach to defining life: More.
See also: Is there a good reason to believe that life’s origin must be a fully natural event?