Life vs non-life

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A basic "life vs non-life" divide diagram, illustrating the question as to how "dead atoms" (Tyndall, 1874) become, supposedly, a "living" thing, such as a moving or animated gecko?

In hmolscience, life vs non-life (LH:2), aka “inert masses vs living points (or living molecules)” (Diderot, 1769)[1], “living vs lifeless” (Goethe, 1770), “organic [see: organ] vs inorganic” (Haeckel, 1862)[2], “life vs dead atoms” (Tyndall, 1874)[3], “living and non-living” (Bose, 1902)[4], “animate vs inanimate” (Sidis, 1925), “alive vs non-alive” (Crick, 1966), or “living matter vs non-living matter”, etc., refers to perceptual divide, particularly in respect to the question of the "origin of life", held in the minds of many (albeit not panbioists or abioists), according to which, lying somewhere between the formation of the first hydrogen, which is not alive (according to most), in the universe, and humans, which are presumed to be alive (according everyone, but abioists)[5], or between going from "molecules" to "man" (Ham, 1975)[6], in the course of heated form-change of things over time, there was a "life start" point, which should be explainable "scientifically", around which "life" arose or emerged form "non-life".

The phrase "life vs non-life", in other contexts, may be found in discussions as to whether, e.g. "viruses", which can be defined as molecules and crystals, are alive or not alive (Newman, 1937)[7]; or, in the context of extra-terrestrial life detection systems discussions, how one might build a probe to distinguish or recognize alien "life", e.g. on Mars (Lovelock, 1965),


About 4.6 billion years ago, the solar system formed from a whirling cloud of 92-elements, at which point the "sun"ignited, and began to radiate "heat" outwards, as shown below left. Then, in the third orbit of rotating matter around the newly-ignited sun, the "earth" formed. Later, when the earth cooled and water condensed into oceans, aquatic species began to form in the ocean, and eventually fish began to crawl out, eventually becoming reptiles, then humans, made of 26-elements, as shown below right, as theorized by Thales and Anaximander, in their so-called hylozoism model:

In more detail, in the "precambrian era" (4,600 to 541 million years ago), shown below, specifically in or before the archean period (4,000 to 2,500 million years ago), multi-cellular organisms began to form, as evidenced by the fact that fossilized coccoid cyanobacteria, from 3,500 million years ago, have been found in Australia[8], as shown below:[9]

Subsequently, if we are to conceded that humans are "alive" [??], and that we evolved over time from "bacteria" and other "cambrian animals", sometime between 4.6 billion years ago (zero year) and 3.5 billion years ago (bacteria formation), there should have been a "life start" point, demarcation, or dividing line, and concordant physico-chemical mechanism, corroborative to this supposed "transition" (or transition state), that can be explained thermodynamically? This deep question is what is called the "life vs non-life" debate, aka the "great problem of natural philosophy" (Hilaire, 1836)?[10]

Miller-Urey experiment | 1952

In Dec 1952, Stanley Miller, under the guidance of planetary chemist Harold Urey, who previously had theorized that the "warm pond model" (Darwin, 1871)[11] could be reproduced chemically, conducted their famous Miller-Urey experiment, wherein the continuously sparked a mixture of methane , ammonia , water , and hydrogen gases thought to have been prevalent in the archean period (4-2.5 BYA), and thereby synthesized organic compounds, namely the amino acids: glycine, α-alanine, β-alanine, and possibly aspartic acid and α-amino-n¬-butyric acid; amino acids being the precursors to proteins.[12]

In the decades to follow, most came to naively believe, that this experiment, along with other theories such as clay substrate theory, auto-catalysis (see: chemical perpetual motion), self-organization, etc., thus filled in the gap, and is thereby explained the "life / non-life divide".

Crick | Molecules and Men | 1966

In 1966, Francis Crick, in his Of Molecule and Men lecture, in the wake of his co-discovery of DNA (1953), with James Watson, began to address the growing "neo-vitalism" trend running rampant, wherein he suggested that we would be well-advised to abandon the word "alive".

Thims | Molecular evolution | 2005

In 2005, Libb Thims made a molecular evolution tables, followed later by an expanded sideways scrollable "evolution timeline" (2007), according to which, the following ideology began to became suspect:[13]

(aspartic acid) = not alive [?]
(RNA, ribonucleic acid / DNA) = alive!
(coenzyme A) = more alive [??]

in 2008, Michael Brooks, in his 13 Things That Don’t Make Sense: the Most Baffling Mysteries of Our Time, categorizing “life” as the fifth biggest thing, in modern science, that does NOT make sense?[14]

This, in conjunction with "human chemical reaction theory" (Goethe, 1809; Thims, 2007)[15], the view was discerned that a reaction such as "hydrogen H reacting to hydrogen H", to form dihydrogen H2, is no different, other than mechanism type and complexity, than say a "human Hu reacting with another human Hu", to form dihumanide Hu2, according to which the "life / non-life divide", as shown below, has no apparent meaning:

Origin of life problem.jpg

In other words, each "thing", i.e. atom, molecule, chemical or molecular species, M1, M2, M3 ... Mi, shown above, has a quantifiable free energy of formation ΔG associated with it (Dolloff, 1975; Goldstein, 1993; Schroeder, 2000; Thims, 2007)[16][17][18][13], based on the value of the Gibbs energy changes associated with the reactants, in each step or reaction mechanism, symbolized above by the reaction arrow (→), on going to products. This was first explained by Norman Dolloff (1975) via the following so-called "organism synthesis equation":[16]

Dolloff organism synthesis equation.png

wherein Σ ni is the sum of the n elements going into the formation of the organism (or chemical species), is the change in the Gibbs energy associated with the reaction, is the entropy change associated with the reaction. All of this is based on the logic of Gilbert Lewis' pioneering 1923 "free energy tables" of the formation of chemical species. There is, in short, NO such thing as "living Gibbs free energy" (see: scientific god synonyms); which amounts to supreme objectionable nonsense.

In this view, accordingly, one cannot distinguish any one of the above reaction arrows (→) or mechanism steps as being a so-called "life start". Rather, each step is but the actuation of larger solar-powered variations of proton-electron formation spacetime geometries, some, specifically those in the CH-based species category, e.g. CHNOPS+ types (plants, animals, and humans), becoming light-induced states of extended animation. Attempts to single out any "one" of these mechanism steps and call it "alive" (or the first "living" reaction) will always amount to "scientific Jabberwocky" (Lotka, 1925), i.e. nonsense.

Defunct theory of life | Abioism

In 2009 to 2013, all of the above culminated in the heated "defunct theory of life debate", particularly between Libb Thims and Georgi Gladyshev, which resulted in life terminology reform, the coining of the term "abioism" (Thims, 2015) as the new conceptual model of animation, among other things.

End matter

See also


  1. (a) Ball, Philip. (2011). Unnatural: the Heretical Idea of Making People (pg. 125-26). Vintage Books.
    (b) D’Alembert’s Dream – Wikipedia.
  2. Organic vs inorganic – Hmolpedia 2020.
  3. Tyndall, John. (1874). “Address” (dead atoms, pg. 32), Delivered before the British Association assembled at Belfast. Longmans, Green, and Co.
  4. Bose, Jagadis. (1902). Response: in the Living and Non-Living. Longmans.
  5. Hydrogen to human – Hmolpedia 2020.
  6. Molecules to man evolution – Hmolpedia 2020.
  7. Virus – Hmolpedia 2020.
  8. Evolution timeline – Hmolpedia 2020.
  9. (a) Reader, John. (1986). The Rise of Life. Roxby.
    (b) Lutgens, Fredrick K. (2006). Essentials of Geology. Pearson.
    (c) Ledo, W.; Martinez, J.D.; Ramos, C.; Saab, Z. (2013). “History of Life: as We Know It” (image). Pacific Rubiales Energy Corp.
  10. Great problem of natural philosophy – Hmolpedia 2020.
  11. Warm pond model – Hmolpedia 2020.
  12. Miller-Urey experiment – Hmolpedia 2020.
  13. 13.0 13.1 Thims, Libb. (2007). Human Chemistry, Volume One. LuLu.
    Thims, Libb. (2007). Human Chemistry, Volume Two. LuLu.
  14. (a) Brooks, Michael. (2005). “13 Things: That Don’t Make Sense”, New Scientist, Mar. 19.
    (b) Brooks, Michael. (2008). 13 Things That Don’t Make Sense: the Most Baffling Mysteries of Our Time (§5: “Life: Are You More Than Just a Bag of Chemicals”, pgs. 69-82). DoubleDay.
  15. Human chemical reaction theory – Hmolpedia 2020.
  16. 16.0 16.1 Dolloff, Norman H. (1975). Heat Death and the Phoenix: Entropy, Order, and the Future of Man (figure 1.3, pg. 19; free energy, 27+ pgs; Gibbs, 9+ pgs; god; 3+ pgs; social, 9+ pgs). Exposition Press.
  17. Goldstein, Martin; Goldstein, Inge F. (1993). The Refrigerator and the Universe: Understanding the Laws of Energy (Entropy of a mouse, pgs. 297-99). Harvard.
  18. Schroeder, Daniel V. (2000). An Introduction to Thermal Physics (pdf) (magician diagram, pg. 150; one rabbit, two rabbit diagram, pg. 163). Addison.


  • Thims, Libb. (2016). “Lotka’s Jabberwock: on the ‘Bio’ of BioPhysical Economics” (slides: Flickr) (YT), 7th BioPhysical Economics meeting, University of District of Columbia, Washington DC, Jun 28; Human Chemistry 101, Jul 6.

External links

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