Re: Why are we allowed to age?

Eugene Leitl (
Thu, 12 Jun 1997 07:48:22 +0200 (MET DST)

On Wed, 11 Jun 1997, Hagbard Celine wrote:

> Engines of Creation suggests a likely route to nanotech by way of
> biochemistry. That is, engineering protein "machines" to put non-organic
> molecules together.

Show me a set of enzymes capable of building a cage just three atoms
across, and I'll believe that. Enzymes can't build nor break down
diamandoids, and the bigger the cages are, the harder it gets.

> Don't give up on your original trade just yet. :-)

The only way to design a protein is the darwinian one, either in vitro, or
in machina. The hard part is which sequence is right, after that it is
plain sailing, routine work for a graduate student. As far I can see,
a bioscientist taking up molecular modelling is making a great
contribution to the art of molecular manufacturing. Should machine-phase
chemistry be unattainable, we'd still have protein-based molecular
circuitry, and wet autoreplicators. A very substantial second prize, imo.


P.S. Conc. the original subject: each species as a whole has an optimal
individuum life time, where adaptation rate is at the maximum (no, this is
not a definition). After some primates had experienced a memetic takeover,
a gross disequilibrium in relation to lifetime had occured. Do not forget
that we already get exceptionally old, whether as a primate, or a mammal.
The new thing with us, we might be able to abandon discontinous Darwin for
the continous Lamarck quite soon, with added extras like rational design.
(Darwin is still firmly with us, though. You can't get rid of him.) No
event like that has ever happened on this planet.