There’s no consensus definition, but still the question teases us. It feels like it should be easy, something a fifth grader ought to be able to answer for science homework.“It does feel like it should be easy because we feel it,” Zimmer says. “Our brains are actually tuned to recognizing things like biological motion. We’re sort of hardwired for recognizing life. But that doesn’t actually mean that we know what it is.”But it still might be essential to answer. “Like imagine astronomers not agreeing on the definition of a star,” Zimmer says. “But this is even more fundamental. This is life.”The problem is, for every definition of life, there’s a creature or perplexing life-like entity that just sends us right back to the drawing board.
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