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(Natural) Death is Evolutionarily Absurd

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posted on Jun, 17 2016 @ 07:18 AM
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a reply to: mOjOm

a reply to: Astyanax



Far from being evolutionarily absurd, death is essential if natural selection is to occur. Death is actually fundamental to evolution.


We have to die off in order for another generation with different DNA mix to take our place. That's the point of Natural Selection.


Incorrect. Natural Selection is not dependent on lifespan, it is dependent on the ability to make offsprings with different DNA mix. As long as a specie is capable of producing new offsprings, Natural Selection will still occur regardless of the parent's lifespans. In fact, species with longer lifespan would actually be advantaged since they would be able to produce more offsprings and thus have more chances that one of its lineages turns out to be perfectly adapted to a given environment.

Also, do not confuse "death by old age" with "death via natural selection (such as being killed by falling in water or being killed by the claws of a predator)". In the OP I am specifically speaking about why death by old age is absurd, not death by environmental selection (which isn't absurd as has already been solved by evolution theories).


edit on 17-6-2016 by swanne because: (no reason given)




posted on Jun, 17 2016 @ 07:42 AM
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a reply to: schuyler




The bottom line here is that if science is to advance our understanding any further, it must reconcile itself with studying a very big part of reality that it now rejects as impossible.


All that dark matter, all that dark energy. Who knows what we will find if it actually exists.




posted on Jun, 17 2016 @ 09:41 AM
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a reply to: swanne

Many of the animals we see in nature with a long life span usually have huge gaps in their mating cycles either to raise young, or because the environment is very tough. Some animals ,like humans, just take a long time to raise into adulthood, relatively speaking of course.

The smarter and more advanced we become the longer it will take to fully raise a kid, it's already tough as hell.

I think the act of mating will loose pleasurable qualities in the way that it has now, in the next 500-1000 years, I hope
hehe



posted on Jun, 17 2016 @ 10:33 AM
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"But this last theory got me thinking. We already know that cancer is a cell which has been mutated to live and reproduce forever using available energy all around.
What if Nature IS actually attempting to defeat Death? What if cancer is nature's clumsy, blind shotgun way to try and create organisms that can live forever - at first succeeding with cells, but then having a bit of some troubles implementing it on a pluricellular level? "

That is an interesting way of thinking about cancer. I hadn't considered that line of thinking before.

I see nature has a knid of balance. If beings were inmmortal there would be no reason for giving birth to new beings. So maybe as we live longer and longer our sterility increases? We know this is the case at the moment, although that can be blamed on many things.



posted on Jun, 17 2016 @ 03:29 PM
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a reply to: swanne

That's true but you can't continue making new generations without the old one's being killed off because the need for space and resources would skyrocket. Even now with humanity dying off we're still over populating. Imagine if there was no old age death but only death by trauma. It would be too much for the planet to support.

So when I say it's needed for natural selection I don't mean directly as you said, as long as procreation can still happen it's fine which is true. But the population explosion couldn't be made stable so you have to die to make way for the new generations.

Your only options would be to not have more generations and keep living or make new generations and die off. Or to have unlimited space and resources.



posted on Jun, 17 2016 @ 10:39 PM
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a reply to: swanne

Interesting thread.

The one issue I see is that aging is mostly irrelevant in the evolutionary picture, especially later in life. Evolution is about passing down genes, not living super long lives. It's not that you "pay the price" later. It's just that evolution can't select for long term anti aging genes because the effects primarily apply to your later life. They may exist, but they are neutral in the evolutionary picture.

Also as far an entropy goes, you are right, humans are not a closed / isolated system. This is why entropy doesn't apply to us or other life on earth directly. It really just applies to the universe as a whole in the grand scheme of things. If the earth system is constantly receiving energy from the sun, then the effects of entropy are pretty much nullified or postponed until that stops, so I don't think that is the reason why we age.

I'm just hoping we solve the mystery of aging before I hit 50 lol.



posted on Jun, 18 2016 @ 12:35 AM
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a reply to: swanne


Incorrect. Natural Selection is not dependent on lifespan, it is dependent on the ability to make offsprings with different DNA mix.

Which part of ‘selection’ don’t you understand?



posted on Jun, 18 2016 @ 06:40 AM
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originally posted by: Astyanax
a reply to: swanne


Incorrect. Natural Selection is not dependent on lifespan, it is dependent on the ability to make offsprings with different DNA mix.

Which part of ‘selection’ don’t you understand?

I would ask you the same thing.

You seem to be assuming that living beings who are cured from senescence would somehow become invincible to any trauma from their environment.

Selection basically kills living beings based on the level of adaptation they have to their environment. Want to survive in the waters? Develop webbed feet and hands. Want to survive jumping from a tree to another? Develop wings or some flight organ. Want to run fast on any terrain? Develop hooves. All that happens regardless if the animal has defeated senescence or not. Even if it did defeat death by old age, it'll still get killed if it can't swim when needed, or fly when necessary, or run when it should.

You are confusing resistance against senescence with invincibility, and based on this confusion you complain that natural selection would stop if animals were invincible.

Resistance to senescence doesn't mean that the living being "can't ever die"; that's stupid and that's an assumption you made. Trees which live thousands of years can still nevertheless die from being burned or chopped!


edit on 18-6-2016 by swanne because: (no reason given)



posted on Jun, 18 2016 @ 07:08 AM
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a reply to: swanne

Gosh, you really don't understand. Only the existence of death makes evolution possible. And if life did not evolve, it would die out through inability to adapt to changes in the environment.

That's what happened to all the immortal organisms, save for a few kinds of hydra: they died out in exactly the process of attrition you describe. Natural selection discarded them in favour of life that dies.



posted on Jun, 18 2016 @ 08:42 AM
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originally posted by: BrianFlanders
So humanity is an aspiring tumor?


That sounds about right, minus the aspiring part.



posted on Jun, 18 2016 @ 12:59 PM
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a reply to: Astyanax



And you really don't understand that I am agreeing with you, it's just that you've misunderstand so much of my posts that I can't even get this message across.

I don't know how many times I have to repeat myself?

Of course evolution would stop if living beings were resistant to death by environment. That is NOT the topic of the OP. That is NOT the topic which is currently debated amongst evolutionary scientists. The topic being discussed here is Senescence .

Do you even read my posts?

I have already pointed out to you that trees which can live thousands of years (the closest thing we got to resistance to senescence here on Earth) are still vulnerable to death by burning or cutting . Resistance to senescence is not equal to invisibility , only you are making this assumption. If living beings were invincible, then yes, Evolution would stop, so please stop confusing the issue!


edit on 18-6-2016 by swanne because: (no reason given)



posted on Jun, 18 2016 @ 01:15 PM
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a reply to: mOjOm



That's true but you can't continue making new generations without the old one's being killed off because the need for space and resources would skyrocket.

This argument has its logic, but I see a flaw in it: it requires the existence of a premonition force. Living beings would be required to die so to avoid resource shortage, but then how can the species know what is the limit of resources if such a specie can never grow overpopulated enough to reach that limit? Evolution would need to be pre-programmed with some kind of foreknowledge of the World's resources (or even that of the Solar System, since some species rely on the Sun as a resource). Secondly, your argument implies that species cannot adapt and evolve upon reaching a resource crisis - which is contrary to observations. Finally, foreknowledge of resources limit is by itself a paradox, since the environment (source of all this "resource") is in a state of constant change.




posted on Jun, 18 2016 @ 10:57 PM
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a reply to: swanne

I am most certainly not agreeing with you.

Telomere end-replication problem and cell aging

Telomeres and human disease: ageing, cancer and beyond

Some specifics, picked more or less at random:

Telomeres shorten during ageing of human fibroblasts

Telomere reduction in human colorectal carcinoma and with ageing

Loss of telomeric DNA during aging of normal and trisomy 21 human lymphocytes

Study of Telomere Length Reveals Rapid Aging of Human Marrow Stromal Cells following In Vitro Expansion

Your ignorance of the pertinent research in biology has misled you. Death is built into the system by evolution. Prokaryotes, which emerged earlier than eukaryotes, don’t have telomere-shortening problems.


edit on 18/6/16 by Astyanax because: of link order.



posted on Jun, 18 2016 @ 11:25 PM
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originally posted by: swanne
Most people think of natural death (death by old age) as being fundamentally caused by the wearing out of the organism. After all, we all get some form of damage as we grow older, may it be at the molecular level with free radicals or on a more general scale as our body grows weaker. Disorder steps in with time, and things stop working as they should.


But this idea was discredited in the 19th century when the second law of thermodynamics was formalized. Entropy (disorder) must increase inevitably within a closed system, but living beings are not closed systems. It is a defining feature of life that it takes in free energy from the environment and unloads its entropy as waste. Living systems can even build themselves up from seed, and routinely repair themselves. There is no thermodynamic necessity for senescence.


Evolution of ageing

This is a very good point. The article goes on:


In addition, generic damage or "wear and tear" theories could not explain why biologically similar organisms (e.g. mammals) exhibited such dramatically different lifespans. Furthermore, this initial theory failed to explain why most organisms maintain themselves so efficiently until adulthood and then, after reproductive maturity, begin to succumb to age-related damage.


A possible answer is that living beings in nature are often killed (either by accident or by another living being) before they do get the chance to grow old. Since old age isn't an issue, nature neglects to develop strategies against old age, since most living beings don't get there in the first place. This is called the "Selection Shadow" argument.

But I have a problem with such an argument: many animals do reach old age. Predators on top of their food chain have but slim chances of being killed by small preys, and resistance to senescence would in their case actually assure that they stay fit and keep being on the top of their food chain.

So perhaps gene mutations accumulation is to blame? As pointed out by Medawar's Theory, surely mutations accumulate with time, and ultimately causes general breakdown of the organism?


Modern genetics science has disclosed a possible problem with the mutation accumulation concept in that it is now known that genes are typically expressed in specific tissues at specific times (see regulation of gene expression). Expression is controlled by some genetic "program" that activates different genes at different times in the normal growth, development, and day-to-day life of the organism. Defects in genes cause problems (genetic diseases) when they are not properly expressed when required. A problem late in life suggests that the genetic program called for expression of a gene only in late life and the mutational defect prevented proper expression. This implies existence of a program that called for different gene expression at that point in life.


So the mystery still stands.

George C. Williams proposed that Death is in itself the price to pay for beneficial genes.


In antagonistic pleiotropy, one of these effects is beneficial and another is detrimental. In essence, this refers to genes that offer benefits early in life, but exact a cost later on. If evolution is a race to have the most offspring the fastest, then enhanced early fertility could be selected even if it came with a price tag that included decline and death later on.


However this theory has been discredited by experiments. Fruit flies that lived twice as long were twice as fertile, directly falsifying Williams' assumption that fertility and age were mutually exclusive. Also, many ageing genes have no associated benefits, once again proving that there isn't really a link between the two.

The Disposable Soma Theory proposed that Death was caused by a shortage of Time; since living beings have but limited energy (food) access, then their organism spends this energy for reproduction instead of long age. But this theory was disproven when it was discovered that many living beings actually lived longer when they had access to LESS energy (food) than control.

Some theories say that Death is actually programmed as a defence against critical damage, such as cancer. I think this is actually a good point, however programmed death doesn't solve the crux of the issue: if programmed death is to avoid dying of cancer, then nature still isn't seeking to prolong life, it's only choosing between death methods. The reason why organisms cannot just live forever is still left unsolved.

But this last theory got me thinking. We already know that cancer is a cell which has been mutated to live and reproduce forever using available energy all around.
What if Nature IS actually attempting to defeat Death? What if cancer is nature's clumsy, blind shotgun way to try and create organisms that can live forever - at first succeeding with cells, but then having a bit of some troubles implementing it on a pluricellular level? In which case the answer to the question, "why doesn't nature work on eliminating natural death" would be, "she's actually working on it. "

Yet another simpler answer is that we simply don't die.



A bit like the Timelords in BBC's Doctor Who show, it could be that we living beings actually never die, we only change faces. This idea has roots in the oldest cultures, may it be the reincarnation concept of Hinduism, or the Soul concept of Biblical legends - even animist cultures have some sort of soul concept. It could be that we have a part of us which lives through the ages, a side of us which dwells in another realm and whose lifespan only ends once its Universe (the ultimate thermodynamic closed system) reaches total death; and that the only way for this "soul" to interact with the physical realm is by taking a physical form - living beings. An analogy would be that for you to read this post I have to use a computer and interact with you via the "realm" we call "Internet". Physical living beings would be only half the equation; they would simply serve as vehicles for the actual Life - the soul.

In which case the answer to "why do we die? " would simply be, "we don't".

Food for thoughts.



Evolution only deals with an organism living long enough to reproduce and pass it's version of genes along or not which in turn fails to do so. Old age means nothing.



posted on Jun, 19 2016 @ 07:07 AM
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a reply to: Astyanax

Oh my Gosh! The Mystery is solved! You are a genius - why are scientists still investigating evolutionary senescence when you, with your mind blowing intellect, has just parroted the answer: telomere shortening!

Oh wait, that's because telomere shortening doesn't solve the problem.


The death rates at extreme old ages start to slow down, which is the opposite of what would be expected if death by aging was programmed. From an individual-selection point of view, having genes that would not result in a programmed death by aging would displace genes that cause programmed death by aging, as individuals would produce more offspring in their longer lifespan and they could increase the survival of their offspring by providing longer parental support.

en.m.wikipedia.org...

Telomere shortening explains how the breakdown of the body. But not why evolution did not adapt a survival strategy against such a breakdown.



posted on Jun, 19 2016 @ 08:35 AM
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a reply to: swanne


But not why evolution did not adapt a survival strategy against such a breakdown.

That was explained earlier. Have a nice thread.



posted on Jun, 20 2016 @ 03:59 PM
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Does anybody really ever die from "natural causes", though? Usually it's something that directly kills them like a heart failure or a sickness that wreaks havok and the body can't handle it when it's that old. Old age itself doesn't seem to kill, it just makes the body weaker over time and more susceptible to other issues. I still maintain my original view, which is that aging is completely irrelevant to evolution because it has nothing to do with passing down genes. We are most fertile and sexual during our early years, so anything that goes on after the average person reproduces is unimportant in the evolutionary picture.

Remember, back before modern medicine people were lucky to live past 40 on average (obviously that varies based on location). So back then, most of the medical issues associated with being 50+ weren't known, so there is no way to select for something like that. If humans are going to conquer aging, they are going to do it via intelligence rather than natural evolution. Maybe humans are just living way too long because of our unnatural intervention with medicine and technology, so that's potentially why we notice those issues. "Natural" death is not evolutionarily absurd.
edit on 6 20 16 by Barcs because: (no reason given)



posted on Jun, 20 2016 @ 11:08 PM
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originally posted by: Barcs
a reply to: swanne


The one issue I see is that aging is mostly irrelevant in the evolutionary picture, especially later in life. Evolution is about passing down genes, not living super long lives. It's not that you "pay the price" later. It's just that evolution can't select for long term anti aging genes because the effects primarily apply to your later life. They may exist, but they are neutral in the evolutionary picture.



Precisely. Survival of the fittest (which isn't entirely correct as-is) only applies up until an organism reproduces. Once its genes have been passed on, everything else is evolutionarily meaningless. Eg. a gene mutation leading to faster sexual maturity and higher fertility will be selected for, even if it significantly shortens the post-reproduction lifespan. You can see examples of this (as well as examples of creatures literally breeding themselves to death) in a number of animal species, the best example of which is probably the mayfly. In its mature form, the mayfly exists solely to breed, not even being able to eat, with a lifespan of a day at most. But in that time, they lay thousands of eggs, ensuring the continuation of the species.



posted on Jun, 22 2016 @ 03:50 AM
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a reply to: swanne
The programmers of our illusion univerae, qutumn physics experiments people come on it blatantly points to a big switch on not a bang, prevent our cells living past a time, it written in code, a special code that allows variations but not to big ones. This is why the illuminatti bloodlines abduct children, not to sexually abuse like papers say, but to eat there alive bodies, or a tech we dnt kno of in public that can transfer new cells into a ageing body. Thus why the super rich look like there 60,but actually r 90.



posted on Jun, 25 2016 @ 06:38 AM
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Dbl
edit on 25-6-2016 by swanne because: (no reason given)




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