[ExI] atoms and cells - what is shared between them?

Natasha Vita-More natasha at natasha.cc
Sun Jul 22 16:57:27 UTC 2012

Thank you Anders!

-----Original Message-----
From: extropy-chat-bounces at lists.extropy.org
[mailto:extropy-chat-bounces at lists.extropy.org] On Behalf Of Anders Sandberg
Sent: Sunday, July 22, 2012 6:55 AM
To: ExI chat list
Subject: Re: [ExI] atoms and cells - what is shared between them?


A living and a dead body after all contain the same number of atoms, just
arranged in a different way.

Perhaps the main difference is that living bodies have a lot of molecules in
metastable high energy states ready for use, and that dead bodies do not.
>From a revival perspective the real issue is of course the ordering of the
molecules rather than their energy states, but typically low energy states
also have high entropy: there are more ways of being dead than alive, but
they are all macroscopically fairly boring.

On 20/07/2012 23:59, natasha at natasha.cc wrote:
> Atoms and cells are phenomena on different levels; yet, it is the 
> organization of the molecules, which contain atoms, that forms a 
> system such as a cellular system. The dynamics of apoptosis concerns 
> molecules interacting, where individual atoms do not take place other 
> than as constituents of the molecules. When the cells die it is 
> because the molecules that form the them are no longer in the same 
> position or organization and, therefore, not capable of performing the 
> necessary cell functions. Thus, cell death occurs because the 
> molecules, containing atoms, have been rearranged by metabolic 
> processes or by the effects of random damage. Of consequence is that 
> the atoms may still exist, but because the molecular position or 
> organization has changed, they are prevented from performing their 
> functions and unable to assist the efficacy of a cell's role in 
> relation to the entire system of the organism.

Anders Sandberg,
Future of Humanity Institute
Philosophy Faculty of Oxford University

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