Re: Why are we allowed to age?

Michael Lorrey (
Thu, 12 Jun 1997 20:55:34 -0400

Joao Pedro wrote:
> Hi!
> I'm glad to see there were so many replies to my message. Thank you all.
> First of all, I'm going to the U.S. East Coast in August. I'm new to
> this mailing list but I would sure like to meet some other extropians,
> is there any of you in the East Coast in August willing to meet me?
> After reading your replies, I couldn't still form a conclusive opinion
> (is there anybody who can?) but here's some of my thoughts and comments
> on your replies.
> I think we all agree that genes are selfish and care about us only to
> create more like them.
> One divergent opinion was weather a gene that codes for extra longevity
> is good or evil? (in terms of reproductive success)
> My opinion is that it is good. If one organism lives longer, it has a
> higher chance to produce more offspring and therefore it is a good gene.
> It's as simple as that.
> William Wiser wrote:
> > Most of human evolution took place when old age was not a common cause of death
> > so it really did not help a lot to have a long natural life span.
> You're making a mistake, you are assuming that aging is only the decayed
> state humans reach at their 70s, 80s, etc. This is not truth, the
> chances of a primitive human (or other mammal) to survive decrease due
> to aging after he reaches puberty (that is why primitive humans never
> died from the aging you name, they died at the first signs of aging).
> So, a non-aging primitive human should have an advantage.
> Anders Sandberg wrote this Medawar suggestion:
> > living longer would be a
> > slight disadvantage (competition of resources)
> The gene is selfish, it only cares about himself and it is not going to
> kill himself as an altruistic act to favour others. The gene will
> continually create more copies, that is his mission.
> Finally, Lee Daniel Crocker wrote:
> > Evolution is a pretty simple mathematical phenomenon once you
> > understand it. When applied to living organisms, it's quite
> > clear that immoratility serves no purpose to a gene's survival,
> > and in fact is detrimental in many cases. Once's you're done
> > reproducing, your body is no longer useful to your genes' further
> > replication, so no evolutionary pressure to continue is present.
> > Evolution serves the replicators (genes, roughly speaking),
> > not organisms.
> If aging is not present, reproduction is never done, the body is always
> useful to the genes and evolutionary preassure is always present.
> If, indeed, a gene that codes for extra longevity is an advantage, why
> isn't it present?
> I don't know. The species that do not endure aging are very primitive
> ones, perhaps in mammals it is much more complex and since with aging we
> can still reproduce, the species continues. Perhaps to stop aging is so
> complex that it will take millions or billions of years for aging to
> naturally stop (although the consequences would be disastrous). Let's
> see what we have to say about it.

I would say that the evolved average lifespan was arrived at by
offsetting the human reproductive rate against the death rate, such that
we naturally live long enough (counting disease, accidents, and
predation) only enough to allow a stable population under normal
circumstances. Too long a natural lifespan, and we would have seen in
prehistorical archeological times, periods of population explosion and
contraction similar to the deer/wolf population interaction. As we can
see in the present, by technologically changing this dynamic, we are
risking our species survival because we are all living too long, and too
many of our children are surviving to reproduce...

If we wanted to evolve longer natural lifespans, we would have to have a
lower rate of reproduction, possibly in a lower average sperm count, or
in a longer menstrual cycle, or in an earlier onset of menopause. A
later onset of puberty would not be useful, as it would allow the
accumulation of greater resources by individuals prior to reproducing,
thus ensuring greater probability of survival of the next generation.

			Michael Lorrey
------------------------------------------------------------		Inventor of the Lorrey Drive

Mikey's Animatronic Factory My Own Nuclear Espionage Agency (MONEA) MIKEYMAS(tm): The New Internet Holiday Transhumans of New Hampshire (>HNH) ------------------------------------------------------------ #!/usr/local/bin/perl-0777---export-a-crypto-system-sig-RC4-3-lines-PERL @k=unpack('C*',pack('H*',shift));for(@t=@s=0..255){$y=($k[$_%@k]+$s[$x=$_ ]+$y)%256;&S}$x=$y=0;for(unpack('C*',<>)){$x++;$y=($s[$x%=256]+$y)%256; &S;print pack(C,$_^=$s[($s[$x]+$s[$y])%256])}sub S{@s[$x,$y]=@s[$y,$x]}