Can Science Answer the 'Life' Question? by Tyler Wood

"What is life?" is a question that theoretical biologists are trying hard to figure out. Physicists have even entered into this field of inquiry. There are no definitive answers as of yet, but the question of how to get these answers persists. Can science ever understand what life is?  I will look at two different views of how we are going to arrive at these answers, if possible;  one based on a tradition of science from one of these physicists turned theoretical biologist, and one from a new science emerging (how ironic) from the biological tradition only to try and flip the views on their heads. The former being Erwin Schrödinger in his infamous and well-noted essay entitled aptly What is Life? and the latter being a proponent of artificial life Christopher G. Langton in his essay entitled also very pertinently Artificial Life. Schrödinger takes the traditional reductionist view of life, while Langton takes a view that, instead of going top down, goes from bottom up. Are these methods going to answer the question to what life is, or is science getting in over its head on this question? I will argue that these methods have added greatly to the study of science and what features life might have but they remain unable to answer the question – "what is life?"

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