10 thoughts on “Preventing Aging”

  1. Just look at the basic premises:

    By applying the concept of evolution

    We’re already done. So if we apply other principles than the concept of evolution (and we most likely will for any serious attack on aging), then we’re not even in the state space under consideration.

    1. Evolution cares only about success in passing on genes. Potential longevity doesn’t necessarily hep that, especially if something else tends to kill the individual off before old age, and requires metabolic expense that can work against passing on genes if acute scarcity is common.

      1. All things being equal, longer life means more opportunities to pass on the genes. But most of our ancestors, as you say, died of other things well before they reached ‘old age’, so those genes have never been evolved out of our DNA.

  2. Metformin? That’s a diabetes drug, for treatment of type2. It’s already taken by millions (one of whom is me) and has been around for decades. I sure hope the claims are true. 🙂

    As for mathematical inevitability of aging, that’s preposterous. Granted, there are major issues to confront, and for now the best we can probably hope for, near-term, is slowing it down, but to declare it “inevitable!” flies in the face of science itself (Just like “the Science is Settled! does) , especially considering that there are complex vertebrates (Greenland Sharks, to name just one) that outlive us by several fold.

  3. It’s hard to tell from the article, but it does feel like they’re barking up a tree that’s mostly orthogonal to reality.

    Aging exists because populations where older genes are removed via limited longevity are a tiny fraction better adapted than populations of immortals. They adapt to change a tiny bit quicker, and often this matters enough for one species to outcompete another.

    I think this is well understood in certain parts of the information theory and computer science communities. If you design a genetic algorithm and include longevity of an individual as a variable, generally a lifespan of less than infinity is chosen by the system.

    In order for aging not to be selected for, there needs to be some countervailing factor or group of factors, like:

    1) Individuals are so likely to die from something else that age never comes into the equation, and being healthy is a survival advantage.
    2) Individuals are so unlikely to meet other individuals to mate with that increased longevity helps.
    3) The environment is so stable that having old genes around makes no difference to the relative successes between this species and any other.
    4) Individuals are so unlikely to die, and competition so poor, that this population doesn’t need to compete with others. Maybe Galapagos tortoises are a good example?
    5) The mechanisms to fight off aging (extra DNA repair, etc) have a metabolic cost, and this cost must be irrelevant to survival of an individual when competing against others of the same species or different species.
    6) There has to be a chance of procreating if the individual’s life is extended. Think 85-year old billionaires. 🙂

    Basically, it’s easy to end up with aging by just not keeping up with repairs, and if that happens to make the population more adaptable, then many or most individuals will not make those repairs. Really, the environment needs to fight this a bit in order to stop it happening. This says nothing about our ability to get in there and fix things.

    Also, it’s a general rule that the probability of a gene existing in a population is proportional to the log of its suitability to the population’s survival. This means that there will be individuals with rare genes, good or bad, in the population. That includes some people that will age slowly.

    Their argument considers competition between cells rather than competition between individuals of the species, which strikes me as weird. Cells exist only in that they allow the entire organism to survive. The dynamics of competition between the cells are not really relevant, because they are subordinate to selection pressures on the entire organism and populations of organisms.

    Also, they assume that any changes have to use the existing mechanisms of competition and survival of cells, in order to make any changes. This is outright nonsense. We can make changes any way we like, including using knives, biochemistry, or not-yet-available nanotechnology.

    Am I only allowed to use wheels, spark plugs, and pistons when fixing my car? I can’t use, say, a screwdriver? I’m not impressed by their argument.

  4. “Aging exists because populations where older genes are removed via limited longevity are a tiny fraction better adapted than populations of immortals.”

    Aging exists because human DNA is a clusterf*ck of spaghetti code which has only been debugged up to around the age of forty, because we start having kids much younger than that, and women stop having kids soon after. All the current research seems to show that the mechanisms that keep us healthy when we’re young begin to break down as we age, because they work well enough and there’s been little evolutionary pressure to improve on that.

    Quite the opposite in recent years, actually, as we keep people alive to breeding age whose genes would have killed them a few centuries ago. I read an interesting take on the Mouse Utopia experiment a while back suggesting that the reason the mice died out was not stress from the high population density, but the rapid spread of bad genes from mice which would have been killed early in the wild, but were kept alive in the cage.

    Given the recent research on SJWs having defective brains, I can’t help but wonder whether we’re seeing the same thing happening today. A couple of centuries ago such people would have been culled from the gene pool early on, but today they live to adulthood.

    1. “Given the recent research on SJWs having defective brains”
      That sounds interesting. Link? Or do you just mean, a lot of recent news articles about SJWs doing very stupid things? I guess that’s research.

      1. I’ll see if I can find the links tonight, but studies of the part of the brain that processes threats have shown it’s underdeveloped in SJWs. Which explains a lot about their behaviour.

        In the old days, they’d have gone off skipping through the woods, decided to go and pet that pretty wolf, and got eaten. Today they encourage the wolves to eat everyone else.

        1. 2 relevant observations I’ve made:
          – Stupidity, absent deliberate measure otherwise, has a way of getting people killed, especially the idiot.
          – Modern leftists, such as SJWs, are very good at accepting what authority says is a threat, and very poor at accessing whats a real threat. And yes, such people would tend to get themselves killed, and shunned from polite society in the mean time, prior to the modern age.

          I’m note sure if people who depend on authority to define reality for them are more common, but groups forming round stupid authority seem to have much more success surviving than in the past.

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