“Also there may be life in ways that we do not understand it . . . using non-organic metabolites and structures, with/out systems of respiration reproduction etc. different then we’d imagine. I’m not too sure about the little green men concept, but i do wonder if there were aliens, what they would be made of, look like, and would they bear any resemblance to life around here to an extent that we would even recognise it as life?”
CC is hitting on something important here. There’s a whole other universe out there and what we know as the basic building blocks of life could be radically altered somewhere else. I guess the question is that if we encounter such a thing, can be classify it as alive? Time will tell. I think what CC, was referring to about viruses being machines was no so much in a metaphorical sense (as animals being machines), but in the fact that viruses are unable to replicate without a host cell, and therefore are typically not considered living organisms.