mandustries wrote:3. Check, if we consider blood to be a material from the environment. (See 2.)
Homeostasis does not involve utilizing materials from the environment (although it is necessary in many cases). Homeostasis is the process by which the body maintains a specific internal environment necessary for life. For example, right now, the temperature outside is 88 F. My body's temperature is 98.3 F (as told by my thermometer). A bit high (I'm on immunotherapy so I'm getting injected with what I'm allergic to. Body temperature will raise a few degrees), but it's a separate temperature from the outside and one necessary to prolong my life. Were my body temperature to plunge under the 90 F mark, something is wrong. So the body has regulatory mechanisms for temperature (and heart rate and respiration and transpiration and urination and...)
Do vampires have such things?
mandustries wrote:6. Half-check. Edward evolves through his love for Bella, but doesn't really change in the sense that he doesn't age.
Evolution is not measured in a single individual or even a single family. Evolution is the change in an entire population due to individual mutations that make the species better adapted to the environment and are then propagated through reproduction to future generations.
Take humans. The first human to stand on two legs, Homo Erectus, did so because the foramen magnum--the point where the spine joins the head--was higher. This meant, they could stretch out their spine more and hold their head high. Imagine that a small percentage of the population had this higher foramen magnum. Because they can hold up their head for a longer time, they can observe things farther away, among them food and enemies. This is incredibly advantageous to them. As such, they are far more successful in reproducing than those with a lower foramen magnum, so their genes become more highly propagated. Eventually, the population shows a high foramen magnum. Then, and only then, is it called evolution.
There is no evolution in individuals, or a single family, not in the true definition of the word.
ouisa wrote:As for evolution and adaption i think the Cullens have this one down in that they have found an acceptable alternative food source in animals instead of humans and are beating their bloodlust. No wonder Aro is quaking in his expensive italian boots. Change is frightening.
Humans can opt for a completely vegetarian diet and pass that on to their children. Are they evolving? Not really. A bodybuilder can have children who also grow up to be bodybuilders. Are they evolving? No. There is no gene being passed on labeled "vegetarian" or "bodybuilder". Those are acquired traits and acquired traits are not passed on because they are not genetic in nature. You learn them later, but they are not congenital. Feeding on animals is an acquired trait in vampires and so not an example of evolution.
mandustries wrote:5. Boo, no check. No little vampire babies running about. But, perhaps we can look at this in the sense that vampires reproduce through changing others into vampires? The newly changed are considered "newborn," after all ... Half-check?
ouisa wrote: the bite process as Meyer proposes it be considered DNA transfer? In other vampire mythologies a person is turned by consuming the blood of their sire....blood = DNA (in a way) Can venom be considered DNA transfer?
Is that really reproduction though? Let's say I have pneumonia and proceed to cough (accidentally, I assure you) all over ouisa. Ouisa may also develop pneumonia. We're both in the same boat, with the same symptoms, same problems. Does that mean I reproduced? (I bet ouisa right now is screaming "Ew, ew, ew, ew, ew, ew ,ew! HELL NO!")
To take a fictional example, in the movie, I Am Legend
, due to a virus, a portion of the human population is mutated by the symptoms. Hotter core temperatures, sensitivity to UV light, greater speed and strength. They haven't evolved, though. And, if they procreate, their children might have the disease as well, but it's not because of the parent's DNA that they're also abnormal. They're just sick. It's a separate entity that causes their symptoms.
The venom could be just like these pathogens. They cause certain mutations/differences/whatever you want to call them and can be propagated from person to person, but it does not mean the person is reproducing. The venom, just like deadly pathogens, can kill the host while it incubates (the three-day turning), but, if the host survives and adapts, it becomes a carrier. The pathogen doesn't kill him/her, but it can still be propagated to another. No actual reproduction from part of whoever has it.
Always_Hope wrote:While I appreciate the living checklist I see it as more objective than that, why can't the definition of life be as individual as the life itself? To me, I see the definition of living as being less about the state your body and more about what you are doing with yourself.
Sticking purely to the idea of vampires --
In my opinion, the vampires are generally viewed as dead because they aren't <i>living</i>. Not because they don't have to breathe or because they don't age but because they aren't really accomplishing anything, they aren't doing anything with their existence. Due to the limits of their sparkling bodies, or their never changing looks they can't really do much more than repeat basically the same actions. [...] It is this that makes them dead to me. They have this endless existence but what are they doing with it? What are they leaving behind to better the world? It is just like how we would tell any other human that they aren't 'really living' if they don't actually go out and <i>do</i> anything.
My dog looks forward eagerly to his next meal, mainly the slice of cheese I give him as a treat. That's his highlight in life. Does that mean he's dead? Plants don't exactly do
much of anything either. Are they dead? Viruses* are only considered living when they're inside a host reproducing. That's their genetic purpose. Are they dead?
Slightly related, slightly off-topic, can a spiritual/mental/whatever life be carried out without a corporeal life? The soul is non-living. If it doesn't die, how can it possibly live? It's neither, a different state entirely, as one state is necessary to give birth to the other. To die, one has to live and, to live, one has to die. The body, though, can
die so it can also live. Is the body living?
In the novel The Black Cloud, we have a cloud from outer space that can communicate. However, from the objective determine-if-body-is-alive viewpoint, it's not considered living. It talks to you (and not through use of AI). But it's not alive. It failed on one of the points, that of homeostasis. Poor baby.
*Viruses are made of awesome. They're considered non-living when outside a host and living when inside a host. The reason? They only present the characteristics of life when happily parasitizing some cell. I adore them.