Why haven't we evolved to be immortal?

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

  1. mike47 Banned Banned

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    I find it difficult to debate those who think they are Gods, or immortal.....etc . So I try to emphasize my frustration .
    May common sense and logic be unto each and everyone of us !........

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  3. (Q) Encephaloid Martini Valued Senior Member

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    Almost as difficult as debating those who think there are gods?


    Common sense and logic hasn't produced gods.
     
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  5. spidergoat Valued Senior Member

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    Nope. The phenomenon of menopause itself is a mystery expect in light of an evolutionary pressure to select for longer living grandmothers.
     
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  7. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    No matter how big and strong you become, there's a cause of death lurking out there that's bigger and stronger than you are. We could hardly evolve the ability to survive being squashed by an asteroid, or vaporized by the inevitable expansion of our sun. Not to mention, we invent very effective ways of killing ourselves. How do you survive a nuclear bomb landing in your front yard?

    That said, to continue a little more closely (but only a little) in the spirit of your question, we have already done just what you suggest. These individual organisms called people have combined and now serve as the cells of a much larger organism called civilization. Our various technologies such as toolmaking and writing allow us to create things that support the survival and growth of civilization after we as individuals are long gone.

    It's not totally facetious to call civilization an organism, since it satisfies many of the definitions of "life," including growth, metabolism and response to external stimuli. It arguably even reproduces, since Rome and Greece were "offspring" of Mesopotamian civilization and countries like the USA and Brazil are the third or fourth generation in that bloodline.

    A physicist's (as opposed to a biologist's) pithy definition of life is "a local reversal of entropy," and civilization is certainly that.
    And stupidly, I've always maintained. It was a eulogy to the 1960s, explaining that the era had to end because our women grew up. We'd still be out there riding our motorcycles, getting high and sleeping in crash pads, but biology dragged the girls, kicking and screaming, into adulthood. Having it sung by a woman doesn't make sense; no American man ever left his girlfriend because she didn't want to settle down and have kids. (Janis of course lived up to the gender-bent lyric by opting out of the system entirely.)
     
  8. spidergoat Valued Senior Member

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    I predict we will invent the ability to eliminate death. Even though it would be a human invention, evolution did lead to it by evolving the brain.
     
  9. thinking Banned Banned

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    its all about understanding genetics people , thats all that is in the way and nutrition
     
  10. X-Man2 We're under no illusions. Registered Senior Member

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    I think we will conquer death and live forever.Some have mentioned overpopulation but think about it,by the time we become immortal we will have long ago moved to other planets,moons etc.Its to bad we cant go into a deep sleep then awakened at a pre-determined time,then if we dont like the time period we just go back to deep sleep and pre-arrange the next time we want to wake up again into the future.Repeat forever.

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  11. BenHartCampion Registered Member

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    The original question still stands. In 3 billion years of evolution the DNA of life has evolved through mutation and natural selection to create a myriad of life. Virtually everything has been tried & tested. Our cells are hard-wired from egg-meets-sperm to divide and multiply, creating all our organs from juvenile to adult. And then we are 'hard-wired' for our organs to decay. Why? There is no obvious reason why our regenerating cells throughout our body shouldn't continue to regenerate ad infinitum. And yet they stop. And not just for humans; quite obviously no life has ever evolved where it continues to replicate without decaying the core DNA.
    If we consider the history of life on our planet, and the improbability of it becoming complex in the first place, to have not made that evolutionary leap - accepting it would be a fallacious leap - is incredible in itself...
     
  12. Daecon Kiwi fruit Valued Senior Member

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    Evolution only cares if you reproduce. After you've had kids survive to adulthood, it doesn't care if you die or not. So there's never been any incentive to evolve immortality.
     
  13. BenHartCampion Registered Member

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    The 'Immortal Jellyfish' Turritopsis dohrnii http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biological_immortality is not what you or I would consider immortal. When stressed or old it has the ability to change from adult back to polyp form, continue cell replication and reproduce, before getting old again. It may be biologically immortal, but there would be no recall of its past adult phase, as it is reverting to plankton size then regrowing.
     
  14. wellwisher Banned Banned

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    The problem with human immortality would be human subjectivity, in the light of willpower and choice. Say humans could live forever, with the leaders of the human race, a group of violent and selfish tyrants, with unnatural subjective cravings, and the will and means to satisfy these urges. This immortal world would be messed up; hell, that never changes since the leaders could last forever, well consolidated.

    With finite life, subjective human problems only last a few decades, with hope for a better world around the corner for the next humans. The immortal jelly fish, renews its mind, to avoid this.

    If you look at people now, even with 80 years of life, many have a hard time finding joy in a basic life. Instead they need constant and stronger stimulation. If extrapolate such people to immortality, what happens if the stimulation tech peaks after 500 years, and now they are board but will live forever? Fear and death become the ultimate stimulants, to feel alive.

    The atheist would have a much more difficult time with immortality, because they build their philosophy around the assumption of a short life. They don't put off things beyond this perception of the future, like immediate gratification. The religious people train their mind with the goal of immortality in mind, albeit, in another realm. This practice, even if imaginary, or not, might well make it possible in terms of the attitude needed to make immortality useful and practical.
     
  15. Daecon Kiwi fruit Valued Senior Member

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    You're going to have to provide a citation for that last paragraph, because it's a crock of BS.
     
  16. wellwisher Banned Banned

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    Why does common sense need a citation? You prove my point. Think about it? If you practice for 10K road races, you will have a harder time running a marathon, than someone who trains for the marathon. This does not mean, it is impossible to run a marathon, by training short, but it will hurt much more.

    If you had cancer and will only live for 1 year, your pace of living will increase to try to get it all in that time. This pace would not be sustainable, if the doctor then says you are suddenly well and now have an extra 50 years to live. You will no longer burn the candle at both ends but the urge is to conserve and preserve.

    Abortion is more popular among atheists because people don't have the time and don't wish to miss the games of life. The religious don't see this as a sacrifice of their personal gratification, because there is plenty of time for that in paradise. They don't have the same philosophical cancer called death.

    I have met soldiers, who were in battle, with the risk of death, making them feel so alive. When they come back to civilian life, they feel empty, because the pace of life has to conform to longer time until death; they feel bored and lifeless. Many turn to drugs or place themselves in risky homeless places, to feel alive again; shorter time to death.

    Heaven and Hell are two ways to feel alive with immortality.
     
    Last edited: May 17, 2015
  17. BenHartCampion Registered Member

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    We can debate the philosophy & psychology of immortality as nauseum, but the original question was essentially a physical one. What physical - cellular - process has stopped life evolving immortality?

    No one yet has given an answer for this question.
     
  18. Yazata Valued Senior Member

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    Which suggests that life is already (potentially) immortal. It extends back, in an unbroken chain, through our parents and our ancestors, most of them not even human, to the mysterious origin of life.

    Because the fruiting bodies that we think of as ourselves have presumably already reproduced. Their biological reason for being has been fulfilled.

    So your question turns into another one: why does the underlying immortal life process produce the succession of fruiting bodies that we think of as individual living organisms, like beads on a temporal necklace? Why aren't those living organisms, horses, pine trees and our own bodies, as long-lived as the germ line that gave rise to them?

    I don't think that individual bodies becoming immortal would be an "evolutionary leap". It would seemingly make future evolution after the "leap" a lot more problematic. Evolution is all about replication, changes and natural selection. Preserving old individuals indefinitely wouldn't seem to have any biological advantage. They would just compete with their own offspring, and by continuing to have offspring, evolutionary change wouldn't compound in a population through the generations as it otherwise would.
     
  19. Yazata Valued Senior Member

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    This thread is six years old.

    I saw this old post that sums things up rather nicely:

     
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  20. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    In humans and other vertebrates, the problem seems to be that the organs do not have enough structural integrity to avoid the emergence of flaws as the organism ages. The heart, in particular, is often the cause of death as its electrical circuits degrade. I'm 71 and one of the triple-redundant circuits in my heart has already lost one connector and is now only double-redundant.

    Cancer is a big killer of humans and other mammals. This can be seen as either the result of an attack by external forces, or a design flaw that fails to fend off these forces.

    If we were going to design an animal, we would make it sturdier than the ones nature has designed, and we would give it a far more powerful immune system. However, it's impossible to predict the side effects of these improvements. It might be slower, more cumbersome, less intelligent, run at a higher temperature, require more food, or have other problems that would make it more vulnerable to death by attack or accident.
     
  21. Daecon Kiwi fruit Valued Senior Member

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    Fundies say the darndest things.
     
  22. TBodillia Registered Senior Member

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    As an atheist, I need some clarification on that because I have to call BS.

    Nope, abortion is more popular among the religious. Guttmacher Institute
    "More than seven in 10 U.S. women obtaining an abortion report a religious affiliation (37% protestant, 28% Catholic and 7% other), and 25% attend religious services at least once a month. The abortion rate for protestant women is 15 per 1,000 women, while Catholic women have a slightly higher rate, 22 per 1,000."

    28% report "no religion" and 72% report some religious affiliation, predominantly Christian.

    A UK study said only 9% of "religious" people support an all out ban. 18% are unsure.
     
  23. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    You're misinterpreting the statistics. Religious people outnumber atheists by at least six-to-one in the USA. And that doesn't count the people who do not follow any of the formal religions yet insist that they are not atheists.

    So if the rate of abortion among atheists is about the same as it is among religionists, a lot more of the abortions will be performed on the faithful than on the faithless.
     

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