Re: SOCIOLOGY: On Betting on Aging

From: Technotranscendence (
Date: Sat Mar 17 2001 - 08:35:49 MST

On Thursday, March 15, 2001 10:55 PM Chris Rasch
quoting Douglas J. Wagenaar Ph.D.
> Aging and limited life spans1 are nature's way of ensuring steady
> rates of mutation and varied DNA
> combinations in order for life forms to advance through evolution. If
> life forms did not die, there
> would be less of an opportunity for favorable mutations to
> promulgate. This has worked pretty well up
> until now. A few decades ago there was concern that advances in
> medical science to extend the life
> spans of people with weaknesses or disease susceptibility was
> "anti-evolutionary," that survival of
> the weak is not natural. This is now an invalid concern, and what has
> changed in recent years is that
> the entire evolutionary, natural model is now obsolete, given our
> ongoing understanding of the genome.

I disagree. If you change the environment, then there's no reason to say
the weaker will survive. What might survive are organisms that wouldn't
survive under the previous environment. But since the new environment is
not the old one, such a comparison between them can't be used to indict the
survivors. What survives, survives. (Of course, this is not to say I agree
that Darwinian selection is the only factor in evolution. I just want to
point out what I believe to be a flawed bashing of it. Nor do I disagree
with Wagenaar's conclusions regarding aging.)


Daniel Ust

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