163 It also is significant that the word "matter" captures but one aspect of a higher life form. As defined by the Oxford English Dictionary, supra, vol. IX, at p. 480, "matter" is a "[p]hysical or corporeal substance in general..., contradistinguished from immaterial or incorporeal substance (spirit, soul, mind), and from qualities, actions, or conditions". "Matière" is defined by the Grand Robert de la langue française, supra, vol. 4, p. 1260, as "[TRANSLATION] "corporeal substance `that is perceptible in space and has mechanical mass'". Although some in society may hold the view that higher life forms are mere "composition[s] of matter", the phrase does not fit well with common understandings of human and animal life. Higher life forms are generally regarded as possessing qualities and characteristics that transcend the particular genetic material of which they are composed. A person whose genetic make-up is modified by radiation does not cease to be him or herself. Likewise, the same mouse would exist absent the injection of the oncogene into the fertilized egg cell; it simply would not be predisposed to cancer. The fact that it has this predisposition to cancer that makes it valuable to humans does not mean that the mouse, along with other animal life forms, can be defined solely with reference to the genetic matter of which it is composed. The fact that animal life forms have numerous unique qualities that transcend the particular matter of which they are composed makes it difficult to conceptualize higher life forms as mere "composition[s] of matter". It is a phrase that seems inadequate as a description of a higher life form.
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