Questions and Answers
Is carbon found in all organic and inorganic matter?
The answer is yes and no. Yes, carbon IS found in all organic matter, but NOT in inorganic matter. Although there are many definitions of "organic," in the scientific disciplines, the basic definition comes from chemistry. In chemistry, organic means chemical compounds with carbon in them. In a more general sense, organic refers to living things. And this is connected to the idea of organic chemistry being based on carbon compounds. Organic (carbon-based) compounds are found in all living things. This is where the term "organic" originally came from. If you are thinking that carbon must be very important to life, you are correct. All life on earth can be thought of as "carbon-based." Just be careful about turning this around backwards. It is true that all living things contain carbon compounds... but the opposite is not true. Just because a certain material is referred to as organic does not mean it is or ever was alive.
Keith Welch, Radialogical Controls Group (Other answers by Keith Welch)