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Kills Cold & Flu Viruses

Discussion in 'Off Topic [BG]' started by Lonesomedave, Nov 6, 2013.


  1. I was in the bathroom tonight...uh...taking care of some urgent business...when my eyes alighted on a product my my wife had purchased...

    they were Lysol Disinfecting Wipes....

    on the tube was written "Kills Cold & Flu Viruses"

    now, i had been taught, all these years ago, that viruses did not rise to the level of being "alive"....sure, they have DNA, but that's the only attribute of life that they have...or, so i was told.

    are they alive or aren't they?....how can you KILL something that's not alive?

    i was just throwing this out for Bassybill, or some of our other resident experts in biology...but, i also welcome any and all philosophical thoughts....

    are there any such thoughts?

    davesignatureII-1.
     
  2. It's always interesting, technically they aren't living, as they don't respire, they are on the border between between biologically inert material and life.

    As for the kill part. That's probably just for simplification, though kill can be used to describe the destruction or stopping of non-living things. You can kill an engine or a computer program for instance.

    http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/kill
     
  3. BassyBill

    BassyBill The smooth moderator... Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 12, 2005
    West Midlands UK
    ^^^ Good points.

    There's no definitive answer as to whether viruses are living things or not. Overall, the modern consensus is that they can't be considered to be truly alive as they lack some features of unicellular organisms, in particular the ability to reproduce without a host cell, but it's really a semantic argument that depends on how you define the word "living".

    As for "killing" them, I agree that destroy might be a better term. And the wipes could only do that, of course, before actual infection had taken place, if the virus was on, say, a doorknob or other surface. Once a cell is infected, there's no way to destroy the virus without also killing the cell (as far as I know).

    This is a good read for anyone interested in finding out more.

    http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=are-viruses-alive-2004
     
  4. This is really what it all comes down to, how do we define it.

    The concept of what is alive and what is not seems to be almost built in, it seems obvious. But when it comes to putting the definition on paper, things become more complicated when we have particles which display some attributes but not all.

    We're all just chemistry anyway, and that's all just fields holding each other together. :D
     
  5. BassyBill

    BassyBill The smooth moderator... Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 12, 2005
    West Midlands UK
    Emergent complexity ftw. I've had some interesting discussions with my students on how chemistry emerges from physics and biology emerges from chemistry.
     
  6. It's something I'm really interetsted in too, the border regions (particularly biochemistry and biophysics). I like to think of it as a hierarchy of perspectives limited by complexity. I like that you get those discussions going with students, they sciences are too often taken as being completelly seperate from each other.

    The level of complexity with which you can look at a single atom, in physics, is fairly immense. Translating that complexity to even the simpler chemical reactions becomes computationally humongous. Likewise, applying the chemistry of reactions to the goings on in a single cell, becomes mindboggling! Though that is of course playing ignorant to macro physics and chemistry.
     
  7. Why? Because it wouldn't sell if it said "Thwarts Cold & Flu viruses".
     
  8. Tituscrow

    Tituscrow Banned

    Feb 14, 2011
    NW England
    Everything....and I mean EVERYTHING is fundamentally physics at its core. ;)

    As for viruses...the pirates of the microscopic seas.
     
  9. MartinG1957

    MartinG1957 You can never have too many bones....

    Aug 5, 2011
    Dublin, Ireland
    I make a living out of one the border areas with my biotech company - we have long since emancipated our virus slaves though - more into cell clones and dna sequences these days... I think as far as 99% of the public are concerned "killing" viruses does the job, I would even say that and I know the little sods aren't technically alive - though try telling me that when they get into my system :)
     
  10. Well, everything is essentially mathematics...and we all know that physicists are simply failed mathematicians :bag:
     
  11. BassyBill

    BassyBill The smooth moderator... Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 12, 2005
    West Midlands UK
    And both get pwned by philosophers. ;)
     
  12. Tituscrow

    Tituscrow Banned

    Feb 14, 2011
    NW England

    Physicists have to be competent mathematicians. Not necessarily true the other way around.

    Bill....put down the bong ;)
     
  13. MartinG1957

    MartinG1957 You can never have too many bones....

    Aug 5, 2011
    Dublin, Ireland
    S'easy when you don't have to actually prove or demonstrate any facts!:)
     
  14. 1958Bassman

    1958Bassman

    Oct 20, 2007
    If they're 'failed' mathematicians, how do they successfully determine the validity of their hypotheses & experiments? It would seem that mathematicians are more like someone who's contemplating their navel, IMO. :D
     
  15. As Martin points out - the point where they give up on evidence to support what the spout :bag:


    Don't know about that, ever met a theoretician? :D


    Well, they couldn't handle high level mathematics so they play about with easier things, like physics :bag:
     
  16. Perhaps they should say "Kills & Destroys" or "Inactivates" Bacteria & Viruses.

    I guess then this thread wouldn't exist.. :p
     
  17. Though again I come back to one of my original comments. The term kill doesn't have to apply to something which we deem to be alive, the definition of kill isn't limited to that.
     
  18. fdeck

    fdeck Supporting Member Commercial User

    Mar 20, 2004
    Madison WI
    HPF Technology LLC
    In my view, the debate over the difference between living and non-living matter ceased to be interesting after DNA was discovered.
     
  19. BassyBill

    BassyBill The smooth moderator... Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 12, 2005
    West Midlands UK
    Ah yes - the discovery that made biology go digital.
     
  20. BassyBill

    BassyBill The smooth moderator... Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 12, 2005
    West Midlands UK
    Remember that logic is a branch of philosophy. ;)
     

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