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Why viruses are not considered to be alive


At Cosmos, science writer Jake Port offers reasons, including

In order to replicate, viruses must first hijack the reproductive equipment of a host cell, redirecting it to ‘photocopy’ the genetic code of the virus and seal it inside a newly formed container, known as the capsid. Without a host cell, the virus simply can’t replicate.

Viruses fail the second question for the same reason. Unlike other living organisms that can self-divide, splitting a single cell into two, viruses must ‘assemble’ themselves by taking control of the host cell, which manufactures and assembles the viral components.

Finally, a virus isn’t considered living because it doesn’t need to consume energy to survive, nor is it able to regulate its own temperature. Unlike living organisms that meet their energy needs by metabolic processes that supply energy-rich units of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the energy currency of life, viruses can survive on nothing. In theory, a virus can drift around indefinitely until it contacts the right kind of cell for it to bind to and infect, thus creating more copies itself. More.

This argument has a long history (see below). The problem is, the fact that viruses seek to replicate themselves at all would put them on the side of life.

See also: Another stab at whether viruses are alive

Phil Sci journal: Special section on understanding viruses

Why “evolution” is changing? Consider viruses

The Scientist asks, Should giant viruses be the fourth domain of life? Eukaryotes, prokaryotes, archaea… and viruses?

Viruses are alive.


Are viruses nature’s perfect machine? Or alive?

Surely, all these primordial kinds of questions/mysteries arise from atheists' a priori rejection of evidence that they not wish to incorporate in a process of reasoning, which consequently tapers off, its unwanted conclusions ignored, fantasy, anthing beeing better than 'inference to the best explanation. And right at the core of this cognitive still-birth failure has been their refusal to accept paradoxes, best exemplified by those increasingly ubiquitous in quantum mechanics, the most successully-tested paradigm ever. Of course, in practical terms, in order to make a living and climb worldly ambition's 'greasy pole', every bit as greasy and squalid as that of the 99.9999 % of the politicians', corces them to go along with the evidence, to get along. The folly of materialism, the 'bedrock' - no don't laugh - of contemporary science is more than adequately demonstrated by common sense. It really is not a close secret to a child that mind and matter are all together different 'things', like words on a page tnad their meaning, as John Lennox pointed out to a materialist academic colleague, who had fancied himself as a scientist - and Lennox, the mathematician and philosopher, as a duffer. The only weapon capable of making any kind of impression against a carapace of wilful ignorance of such abysmal impermeability, it seems to me, is ridicule. Axel

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