, Volume 16, Issue 4, pp 323-325
Date: 21 Jan 2011

Definitions of Life are not Only Unnecessary, but they can do Harm to Understanding

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In my response to the paper by Jagers op Akkerhuis, I object against giving definitions of life, since they bias anything that follows. As we don’t know how life originated, authors characterise life using criteria derived from present-day properties, thus emphasising widely different ones, which gives bias to their further analysis. This makes their results dependent on their initial suppositions, which introduces circularity in their reasoning.

Nico van Straalen (2010) did also comment on Jager op Akkerhuis’ (2010a) paper. See Jagers op Akkerhuis (2010b) for replies.