Today many scientists think viruses are alive while many scientists think viruses are not alive. With whom do you agree?

Asked by: MsBecker
  • Depending on the definition one uses for "alive"

    The use of the word "alive" predates the scientific definition of it. That scientists operationalized a definition of "life" to be used in science does not mean that anything and everything that fits the definition now used in science must also fit intuitive, older definitions of "life" nor does it mean that things that fit the older definitions must also fit the scientific definition.

    So in a sense viruses could be "alive". In the end it is just a label that fulfills different semantic purposes depending on the context in which it is used, just like all words.

  • By ponnai p

    I actually think it is alive because first of all cells are all alive so virus can also be alive and cells die when we don't take care of our body so therefore I think virus are certainly alive. Also, can be spread or not. So bye tell u somethings later!

  • Areeba Khan _

    I believe that viruses are living only when they are inside the cell. When outside of the cell, a virus can not sustain itself nor reproduce, evolve/mutate even pass on its heredity. It can only fit those characteristics of living things when inside a cell. Some claims state that living things have an orderly structure. Although the virus doesn't have much, the genetics and the protein capsule, it still has an orderly structure. Similarly, all living things evolve, metabolize, and produce offsprings. When inside a cell, a virus is able to do all of those things. After observing these characteristics of a virus, it is visual that a virus is only living when inside a cell.

  • The characteristics of life are just guidelines - Sarah Solomon

    The characteristics of life are arbitrary and relatively open to interpretation. Consequently, certain species that do not posses all the characteristics of life are considered alive. Viruses should be a member of this group, for they meet the most fundamental qualifications of life: the capacity to grow and develop and the means to pass on genetic information to continue their species. While viruses cannot produce offspring without the aid of a host cell, this is comparable to a male requiring a female gamete to reproduce sexually. Additionally, the species of bacteria chlamydia serves as an example of an organism that is unable to reproduce outside a host yet is considered living.

  • Srinivas Nityakalyanam's response

    The only reasons why viruses should be considered non- living is that they metabolize and reproduce differently from other organisms and that they are not composed of cells. However, with a genetic code and a means of injecting it, viruses do have a nearly consistent internal structure. As they do take energy and reproduce after hijacking host cells, they are still meeting these qualities.

  • I argue that viruses are not living.

    To be living, something must be able to metabolize energy and auto self replicate cells.

    Though viruses may metabolize energy, they cannot self replicate without a host cell. Therefore they are not living.

    But once they have a host cell, their behavior is indistinguishable from that of living things. Scary code changers in cells.

  • In my opinion...

    Nothing is alive. We are made out of cells, cells are made out of "dead" things and move because the laws of the universe. We are also made of atoms but atoms arent "alive" are they? Viruses don't have central nervous systems they just do "their" thing. There may be such thing as life, when the central nervous system captures memories and uses stimulus and then when you "die". In my opinion i dont think viruses are alive, like cells.

  • I, Lionel, believe that viruses aren't alive based on the characteristics of a living thing.

    Though viruses are able to fulfill most requirements to be labeled a living thing, they are not able to complete them alone. Viruses require host cells for reproduction and to metabolize energy. They also aren't made of cells and do not respond to environmental stimuli. It can be argued that an orderly structure is all that is required, not a cellular set up, but even then a viruses organization is so basic with so few components that calling it an orderly structure seems to be in the eye of the beholder. In short, viruses can not be considered alive because they do not fulfill the commonly excepted definition of a living thing.

  • Komal Prakash Honors Bio

    I think scientists dispute over whether or not viruses are alive because they share many characteristics of living things such as its general orderly structure and its ability to evolve. However, I do not believe viruses are alive because the only way in which they are able to reproduce and metabolize is by hijacking cells and using the cell's machinery. Since viruses need cells to help them fulfill some of the basic characteristics of living things (such as reproduction and metabolism) and they cannot do it on their own, viruses should not be considered living.

  • By Dennis Chau

    Viruses are not alive since they do not follow all 8 characteristics of life.
    Viruses can not reproduce by itself; it needs a host to reproduce. Also, viruses don't really metabolize and use energy. Viruses also cannot grow or develop without a host cell. They also do not respond to the environment like other living things do. Therefore, since viruses do not follow all 8 characteristics of life, they are not alive.

  • Kaisa H Jensen

    I don't think that viruses are living because they don't fulfill all the requirements to be considered alive. For example, in order to grow and develop, viruses require a host cell. Once inside the host cell, the virus can grow, and reproduce using the Lytic Cycle and Lysogenic Cycle. Also, viruses are not able to respond to the environment at all.

  • Amanda Kaplan: Nonliving

    I do not think that you can classify viruses as living.
    The only time that viruses display characteristics of life is when they invade a host cell. And, even then, it is not the cell's own genetic code, machinery, and properties that allow the virus to survive and reproduce. The virus depends completely on the cell.
    Outside of a host cell, viruses do not reproduce, do not metabolize, do not produce waste, do not grow or develop, and they do not respond to changes in their environment. Because viruses, separate from a host cell, do not display all the properties that scientists have agreed define life, I do not think that we can classify viruses as living.

  • Abigail Berish Honors Bio

    I believe viruses are not alive because they do not contain all characteristics of life. They are not made of cells, they do not respond to stimuli, they do not have a metabolism, they can not evolve, and they do not have homeostasis. Which leaves the only characteristic left being heredity which they do have. In some ways viruses can absorb energy and reproduce but only with the help of host cells.

  • Liron Feldman !

    I believe that viruses are not alive, because they do not satisfy most of the characteristics of life. Viruses have the ability to move, to evolve and even to reproduce, but these characteristics depend on other circumstances. Viruses may do all of that only if they use a host cell that they control and take energy from. In addition, even when the virus took over a cell, it still does not satisfy ALL of the characteristics. Thus, viruses are not alive, since they cannot satisfy the characteristics of life by their own.

  • Faythe Gomolka :)

    I don't think that viruses are alive because while they have the ability to adapt and evolve, they don't fulfill all requirements for living things. Viruses would be unable to survive on their own as they cannot reproduce or obtain energy (metabolize) without occupying a host cell and utilizing its machinery.

Leave a comment...
(Maximum 900 words)
No comments yet.