Re: Why are we allowed to age?

Mark Grant (
Thu, 12 Jun 1997 22:26:30 +0000

On Tue, 10 Jun 1997, Eric Watt Forste wrote:

> The gene follows John K. Clark's theory of identity to a tee: one
> copy is as good as any other, and a copy in a young hale-and-hearty
> organism is a better bet for immortality than the copies in Mom
> and Pop.

This sounds like a circular argument to me; you're saying that genes let
us die because they'll live longer in a young body than an old one. In
practice a young body has a good chance of dying before it reaches
reproductive age whereas its parents could continue reproducing forever
were it not for the fact that our genes let us die.

I like Dawkins' explanation; fatal genes which kill us after the point
where reproduction stops but which have no detrimental effect before that
point will not be evolved out, which means that on average we won't live
too much longer than the upper reproductive age of human females.


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