Why haven't we evolved to be immortal?

Discussion in 'Biology & Genetics' started by 786, Oct 21, 2009.

  1. 786 Searching for Truth Valued Senior Member

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    Might sound stupid but I'm seriously wondering. Why haven't we evolved so that we don't die? Shouldn't all causes of death be selected against in the long history of evolution?

    Peace be unto you

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  3. codanblad a love of bridges Registered Senior Member

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    once you pass on your genes, natural selection doesn't give a shit what you do. that said, i'm about 90% sure i'm immortal.
     
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  5. Anti-Flag Pun intended Registered Senior Member

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    I don't know where to begin with this fallacy.
     
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  7. christa Frankly, I don't give a dam! Valued Senior Member

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    because the world would become over populated and you would have to live forever to see like..ur 500th grand child...
     
  8. baftan ******* Valued Senior Member

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    This question has a background perception about evolution process: A final result: “We have done, finished, got our last and final shape (naked apes), we have stopped all our mutations, we have isolated ourselves from every kind of environmental and physical dependencies, but still evolution did not make us immortal.” I am afraid it does not work like that. DNA has been evolving within an environment where everything transforms. Just as human technology, DNA produces solutions against environment, and each species are different interpretation. This catching-up and adaptation require mutations in organic cells. If you look at from the perspective of DNA, life on this planet is pretty durable, it has been occupying this space more than 3 billions of years. Individual species- like ourselves-, are fashions of this relatively long process. When we consider the age of universe as 13.7 Billions of years, 3 billion is a serious amount of time.

    It is obvious that DNA has been doing everything in its scope to stay longer on this planet, trying new organs: eye to capture light, ears for listening to environment, brain to redefine the collected information. Species born with a set of tools, and new generation develops better equipments, if conditions are suitable, or if necessities arise. Where are the first PCs of 1970s? Nowhere around; because it would have been a cumbersome task trying to fit new components inside their archaic cases. We produced new ones instead. But we used the knowledge we obtained from the previous generation: Our PCs have new components, but their keyboards, mouse, monitor and box (case) look like their grandmothers. Modifying the old is not an efficient option; that’s why every dynamic system (human technology, DNA, language, etc.) evolves, adapts through “new models”.

    Yet we know that if our planet’s gravitational cushion is disturbed and we start to fall into sun, or pushed away from the sun, or hit by an earth size heavenly body, all these 3 billion year of evolution will simply "be dead". The simplest answer for your question could be “we are mortal, because everything in this universe is mortal, and we are no way an exception to the rule, we have no priority over anything in this universe, we are not that special.” As long as we are in this universe we will never be. All we can do is gaining some time. Imagine if our consciousness would continue on non-organic material; let’s say if we could continue our existence using sub-atomic level interactions, we would survive longer. Make an exact working software replica of your brain and design it being able to perform on any group of atoms, save your existence in different parts of the galaxy and beyond. Live as long as galaxies, billions of years. Your existence is still bound to some sort of hardware, and it will not be “immortal”, just relatively durable. At the end, entire universe will collapse, get cold and be “dead” one day.

    Immortality, or having a bit more time in existence, should find its solution within this environment. So it should necessarily follow the surrounding rules first, and then produce new opportunities. There is no controller behind this operations, nobody or nothing (including evolution, life or DNA) decides on mortality or immortality. If there was a “decision maker” behind life, we could have asked to him/her/it that “why aren’t we immortal?” Now where are you going to ask this question? To a cell, to soil, or to atmosphere? They would probably answer like that: “You are not alone matey, get over!”

    That’s why we do not discuss our immortality, longevity issues with nature or with gods. We just try to do it within our own scope. Yet if we live millions of years without dying, our life in millionth year would have no sentimental relation with our life in 100th year for example. So many experience and modifications would make a totally unrecognisable –maybe traceable though- changes to our existence. “I was an ape a million year ago, now I am travelling around galaxy centre inside a giant star” What’s the existential relevance? Nothing. So everything necessarily dies, even if they are immortal. “I am going to keep my memories” Where are you going to store your experiences, on empty planets. You will give up one day. You will not be yourself anyway.

    And how do you know that we are not the part of evolution’s search (or options) for immortality? Process has never stopped in this universe, and it will continue until the end of time.
     
  9. Repo Man Valued Senior Member

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    4,955
    Precisely. Species live as long as they need to. For one example, look at annual killifish:
    http://www.killi.co.uk/AfricanAnnuals.php

    They hatch when the rains come, they live long enough to spawn, and they die when the pools dry up. Even when kept in perfect conditions in an aquarium, they generally only live a couple of years (noticeably shorter lived than most tropical fish). Longevity is not advantageous in their natural environment.
     
  10. S.A.M. uniquely dreadful Valued Senior Member

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    We have, its called reproduction. There is also cancer, but it appears some kinds of immortality are self destructive. Which is an incredible lesson in itself

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  11. madanthonywayne Morning in America Staff Member

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    The human body is designed to last just long enough for us to reach sexual maturity, mate, and raise our young. That process takes about forty years. After that, our genes have been passed on and any extra life we get is just a bonus. We're like one of those nasa space probes designed to last a few years that just keeps going.

    If we want immortality, or anything approaching it, we'll have to figure out a way to do it ourselves.

    PS Cancer cells are immortal, by the way. They just keep dividing and dividing.
     
  12. christa Frankly, I don't give a dam! Valued Senior Member

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    untill there are no cells left in the organism for them to takeover
     
  13. madanthonywayne Morning in America Staff Member

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    Or until there's nothing left for them to feed on. Some cancer cell lines have been kept alive for years by scientists, long after the death of the original host.
     
  14. Michael 歌舞伎 Valued Senior Member

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    What is the death of an organism to genes? They ARE eternal. Well, some genes are almost immortal - from species to species a few have hardly any change at all.

    In the next 100 years humans will probably have total control over the aging processes. That will be an interesting time.
     
  15. kurros Registered Senior Member

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    Aren't starfish essentially immortal? In the sense that their cells replicate perfectly, unlike ours. I may be making that up but I feel like someone told me that once. Also that if you cut off their legs they grow back. Perhaps we should be experimenting with starfish genes...
     
  16. ElectricFetus Sanity going, going, gone Valued Senior Member

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    Because it would take forever to do that with natural evolution, now throw in cybernetics and technology and it might be achievable in what could generally be describe as near term.
     
  17. codanblad a love of bridges Registered Senior Member

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    i'd say our best chance of immortality is if we become so interdependent we can't afford to lose a single person.
     
  18. one_raven God is a Chinese Whisper Valued Senior Member

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    What would be the benefit?
    It would be greatly detrimental to the species for the individuals to be immortal.

    If people were immortal we would either kill ourselves through over-population - loss of resources and disease or we woudl have to also evolve to no longer procreate.
    If we no longer procreate, we would no longer be able to adapt to changing environments, plus each death (through murder, accident or other means) would go unreplaced.
    Immortality is a death sentence.
     
  19. Dr Mabuse Percipient Thaumaturgist Registered Senior Member

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    Solar radiation and telomeres mainly.
     
  20. amark317 game developer-in-training Registered Senior Member

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    aside from the mating, natural selection, and overpopulation, you do have an interesting question. Now, considering that we've only recently been walking upright, and even more recently been using advanced medicine, I think it's just a matter of time.

    also, in the book 2001: A Space Odyssey (20x better than the movie, mainly because it <i>actually explains</i> the acid trip), the aliens have evolved beyond the point where they need flesh-and-blood bodies, and have also gotten past brains-in-a-robot bodies, and now have no need for a physical body whatsoever.
     
  21. codanblad a love of bridges Registered Senior Member

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    those were my first thoughts, but perhaps we'd acquire the knowledge to better manage our environment, expand beyond earth, use technology instead of evolution. living for ever is a lot of studying time, assuming we sort out mental deterioration.

    if the immortality jsut means the capability to live forever, as opposed to invincibility, natural selection would still be occurring via murders, natural disasters etc.
     
  22. thinking Banned Banned

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    1,504
    hasn't occured to any of you that we have been living longer

    there was a time when living to forty-fifty yrs old was dam good

    and now its sixity-seventy-eighty-ninety yrs old
     
  23. Michael 歌舞伎 Valued Senior Member

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    Homo eternicus - is Total Recall the next big step in human evolution?


    That aside, I also read something about heads-in-the freezer in good ole Michigan!

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    32K and you can be frozen stiff, stored for 1000 years ... ... or so, and maybe in the far off future your N2 container auctioned off-line and prized open for your ripe yet rare neural connections - you will be sold as a slave bitch to some cyber Ant overlord with a fetish for human prehistoric human mind-sex....

    anywho...
     

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