Meta Treks 63: Ugly Bags of Mostly Silicon / by Trek fm

The Definition of Life.

Running Time: 1 hour 36 minutes 40 seconds
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"To seek out new life...." Such is the mission statement of Federation starships, to discover and learn as much as possible about life in the universe. But given the diversity of life forms in the Star Trek universe, here on Earth in the real world, and possibly elsewhere in our own galaxy, how do you recognize a new lifeform as life when you first encounter it, especially exotic or non-carbon-based lifeforms?

In this episode of Meta Treks, hosts Zachary Fruhling and Mike Morrison discuss the philosophical and scientific challenges of determining a precise definition of "life," both inside and outside of the Star Trek universe. Is it possible to give a definition of "life" that is broad enough to include radically different forms such as silicon-based life (e.g., the Horta in Star Trek: The Original Series) and non-corporeal life (e.g., the wormhole aliens in Deep Space Nine), but also narrow enough to exclude nonliving entities that merely mimic signs of life?


Welcome to Episode 63 (00:01:07)
Dr. Crusher's Definition of Life (00:02:01)
Defining "Definition" (00:02:40)
Silicon-Based Lifeforms (00:47:30)
Non-Corporeal Lifeforms (01:12:09)
Other Fringe Lifeforms (01:19:30)
Closing (01:30:05)


Zachary Fruhling and Mike Morrison


Mike Morrison (Editor) Zachary Fruhling (Producer) Matthew Rushing (Executive Producer) Ken Tripp (Executive Producer) C Bryan Jones (Executive Producer) Patrick Devlin (Associate Producer) Kay Shaw (Associate Producer) Kit Loffstadt (Associate Producer) Richard Marquez (Production Manager) Brandon-Shea Mutala (Patreon Manager)