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‘Vital signs’. ‘Signs of life’. What are they? How do we decide if something is living or not? We know living things grow, respire/metabolize, move, and are responsive to the environment. Perhaps the most important ‘sign of life’, however, is the ability to reproduce—the power a living thing has to make a living copy of itself. How can this happen? How do we produce a copy of something, living or not?Live a little, and read the rest of "Reproduction: the essential sign of life".
Suppose we saw a coffee table at someone’s house, and wanted to make one for our own house, exactly like it. What would we need? We would need to know the materials it is made of, the exact shape of every component, methods of producing these components, and the order for putting the parts together (including intermediate stages such as supporting structures while glue sets, etc.) In other words, we need information, and lots of it.