Why is a motor car not considered a living thing?
The best way to answer this question is to list out the characteristics of living things and then decide which of those characteristics an automobile doesn't have.
The six characteristics of living things are as follows:
- Living things are made of cells
- Living things have DNA
- Living things respond to their environment
- Living things obtain and use energy
- Living things can reproduce
- Living things...
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A motor car is not considered a living thing because of the definition that has been put in place for a 'living' organism. This definition is composed of seven criteria:
1. The organism maintains homeostasis, or a balance despite the change in the system around it. An example of homeostasis is the human body temperature. Despite outside changes, the human body temperature maintains at around 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit. A motor car does not maintain its temperature at all times.
2. The organism is composed of cells. A cell is a basic functional unit that makes up an organism. Motor cars do not have cells by the pure definition, but do have components.
3. The organism has a metabolism. This is a series of chemical transformations that allow an organism to function. It could be argued that a motor car does have a sort of metabolism because there is a transformation between liquid gasoline into exhaust that powers the car, but the car cannot obtain gasoline on its own or combust it on its own, preventing it from having a complete metabolism.
4. The organism can grow. Motor cars cannot grow in size or in shape unless actively modified by something else (say, a mechanic).
5. The organism can adapt to its environment. Motor cars are not capable of adapting to large changes in temperature, road conditions, daylight times or other environmental changes to operate better.
6. The organism can respond to stimuli. An example of an organism response to stimuli is the dilation of a pupil when light levels are low. Motor cars generally do not respond to stimuli.
7. The organism can reproduce. This means that the organism can create more of either itself or more of its DNA/genome/source code. Motor cars are not capable of creating more of themselves.
If a thing fails to meet any one of these criteria, it cannot be called a living organism by current definition.