It would not occur to anybody to attempt and describe a brick, a house which it is used to build, and the other things the house contains by the same definition and mark them off from all other things.
Impossible as it obviously is, that is what happens in the case of simple and complex living things, which are in a situation somewhat similar to that described above. They together are called by the same term of ‘living things’, and there are attempts to find a definition that describes them all and marks them off from all other things.
Instead of attempting to solve an unsolvable task, I am separating it into solvable parts.
As mentioned above, I will differentiate between simple and complex living things. These will be defined separately and the relation between them will be given.
1.1. SIMPLE LIVING THINGS
Such a set of molecules that is stored internally, is organized according to a pre-planned order, is self-preserving under certain conditions of the environment getting in contact with it, expands until reaching a certain size and separates into parts similar to itself when going beyond it.
1.2. COMPLEX LIVING THINGS
Such a set of simple living things that is stored internally, is organized according to a pre-planned order, is self-preserving under certain conditions of the environment getting in contact with it, expands until reaching a certain size and creates parts similar to itself when going beyond it.
2 THE NECESSARY AND SUFFICIENT ELEMENTS OF THE DEFINITIONS
It must be stated whether the preconditions given in the definitions are
necessary, that is in the case of any of them lacking the examined thing does not meet the definition;
sufficient, that is in case each precondition is met, the defined thing is given.
2.1 NECESSARY ELEMENTS
2.1.1 Simple living things
188.8.131.52. Stored internally
In case the system of preconditions for organization is not stored in it, it can exist only if the external storer is also with it. That is if this is lacking it will not be able to create the system Thus it would not be able to come into being in itself.
If it is not pre-planned, the plan of the system to be created is lacking, that is it is not certain that the living thing coming into being will be identical with the previous ones.
If it were not self-preserving under any conditions of the external environment getting in contact with it, it would not exist. If it were self-preserving only under a given condition, its existence would be put an end to even by the smallest change in that condition.
If it did not expand, its size would either be identical with that which it had when coming into being or would even decrease.
184.108.40.206. Separating into parts similar to itself
If the parts coming into being this way were not similar to their predecessors, immutability in time would not be certain.
2.1.2. Complex living things
Only the last precondition is different from that for simple living things, to be added to which is that in order to reduce the interfering effects of the external environment, each of the complex living things created an ‘external’ environment to be found in it, a so-called internal environment.
220.127.116.11. Creating parts similar to itself
It is not the whole complex living thing that separates into two identical parts, but only a particular part of it (the so-called gamete, either that coming into being by a union of the two kinds of gamete, or the part of the living thing which is able to be completed into a whole being), from which a whole living thing will be created. If the whole living thing separated, prior to that of each of its parts two would have to be created, and these would have to make a system that would have to cease to exist on separation, or on separation two half-system would come into being, which then would be completed into a whole.
I cannot refute this, but try to imagine an elephant with two heads, eight legs and two tails, or one with half a head, two legs and half a tail.
Dr. Endre Simony