Friday, September 09, 2011

Quote of the Time Being: Vitalism

From puppygod: "The problem with vitalistic theories is that they are wrong. Demonstrably wrong. Thanks to modern biochemistry and physics we understand in quite fine details where the "life force" come from, how it is transformed and distributed. It comes from hydrogen fusion in the sun, plants capture photons energy in chemical bonds of hydrocarbons, we can move thanks to energy released from ATP hydrolysis etc. etc. Postulating some kind of metaphysical "life force" different from well-known biochemical reactions is ridiculously superfluous. It's as ridiculous as claiming that cars move thanks to motion spirits that dwell in the oil fields and are transferred via gasoline and willpower of the driver into cars and make the cars go. And adding half teaspoon of powdered cheetah bones to brakes fluid will repair windshield wipers of your car and make it go faster by making motion spirits happy. "

2 comments:

Don said...

This is something that bugged me about "Torchwood: Miracle Day." While I enjoyed the show overall (despite multiple references to Rupert Sheldrake and "morphic fields"), the idea that nobody dies no matter what happens to their bodies rests upon a theory of vitalism that just doesn't make sense at all. Especially when they are what the show called "Category 1," people who have no life signs, don't breathe, their hearts don't beat, their brains have no activity, and they are not getting better. In what sense are they then alive? It bugged me through the whole run of the show.

Rhoadan said...

My impression of the category ones is that they were basically three on the Glasgow Coma Scale, but that they otherwise showed metabolic activity. The problem of course, is that sometimes a 3 on the GCS will recover. The overflow camps aren't really allowing sufficient time to assess the likelihood of recovery in many cases.

The whole "morphic fields thing" also bugged me. I mean, even if such things exist, and the fourth Doctor references them when explaining to Leela why humans and Time Lords look the same which, AFAIC makes them canonical in universe, they need a template. Where are the conspirators getting the template? Jack can't be it because the rest of the world's seeming immortality doesn't match his pattern.