Nice textbook post, and it explains the mechanics of life, but not what was being discussed above.
I explained exactly the questions that were asked. How and why cells are alive and what forms of energy they contain.
I'm not trying to be pedantic here. But I am trying to follow ockham's razor, "do not suppose plurality without necessity". Until you can justify that there is some necessity to suppose there is an additional phenomena beyond those I've described and explained, there is no reason to debate the nature of this phenomena.
What I think we’re talking about is the life force, the soul, whatever you want to call it, and it massively predates the phlogiston and the luminiferous aether, existing in the beliefs of most civilizations and culture over recorded time.
Soul yes, life-force... not really. At least in my opinion. It wasn't really until the beginnings of chemistry that people started to wonder how humans and diamonds could be composed of the same atoms and yet somehow experience such a considerable difference in behaviour. This was answered mostly over the last century or so.
The conversation was definitely leaning towards life force, which is why I answered the way I did. If we're talking 'souls' then I'd have answered differently.
(Incidentally when it comes to souls... I don't really know. Maybe, maybe not. There are a lot of questions I'm still grappling with in the domain of consciousness. But not when it comes to basic biology and 'life force')
When you factor in those cases where someone dies despite their health being otherwise, or a case where the doctors say a patient is terminal and a lost cause, yet they pull through, something is missing.
In my opinion, that's like supposing the existence of air spirits because sometimes the weatherman gets their predictions wrong.
The human body is a complex system of myriad atoms. Predicting complex systems is the domain of statistics. Trying to determine a persons chances with statistics will provide you with the correct answer for most of the people, most of the time.
Doctors try to understand a person's outlook by measuring their heart-rate, taking a few X-rays and maybe a very very expensive lab test or two. It's pretty similar to trying to determine what's going on in every air cell in the atmosphere with a few barometers and a weather balloon.
Either those textbooks on the mechanics of biology are missing crucial lines, or there’s something more to life than we can currently perceive and quantify.
What otherwise inexplicable phenomena require some form of life force or soul to explain?
Factor in some of the cutting edge theories involving consciousness and cosmology, and there are hints that what we observe is linked to us. Lab experiments prove that results DO differ on whether anyone’s observing or not.
To the best of my knowledge these sorts of lab tests are regarding 'observation' and not 'human observation' if you understand my meaning. On the same level as heisenberg's uncertainty principle. I may well be wrong, my knowledge of the more quantum level phenomena is a bit lacking. If I am wrong can you point me towards a source for this?
There’s still a grand mystery here that needs unfolding…it’s more than a question of what life is, it comes down to what existence itself is.
Existence I totally agree. Life... less so. It's pretty clear what life is, at least in my opinion, and you have to push things pretty far to down into the atomic or astronomic levels before you really hit the grand mysteries.
As always, YMMV.