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Author Topic: Why do we have a biology of self destruction?  (Read 1183 times)
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LordMortis
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« on: June 03, 2008, 07:02:29 PM »

(With spammish apologies to GT, in general.  I'd have stuck this in the "OO Offline" thread but it would appear that said thread has gone and righted itself and made itself all topical and everything.  Stupid right said thread.)

Do you suppose there is a speech impediment where you pronounce your ns as ms?  Sort of like a reverse vantriloquist where you get  your lingual palatte letters either becoming lingual glottal or lingual labial, which inspires me to get all Beavis and Butthead.

–adjective
1. of, pertaining to, or resembling a labium. 
2. of or pertaining to the lips. 
3. Phonetics. involving lip articulation, as p, v, m, w, or a rounded vowel. 
4. Music. having the tones produced by the impact of a stream of air on a sharp liplike edge, as in a flute or the flue pipes of an organ. 
–noun Phonetics. 5. any labial consonant, esp. a bilabial. 
6. any labial sound. 

Remind me to find an excuse to use labial in convesation more often.  Espeically I need to somehow remember to find an excuse to talk about to labial sounds.  Maybe the Raspberry specifically.  I imagine there is nothing quite like the labial production of the raspberry noise.  For some lipped species somewhere it's probably even a mating call.  A noise coming from deep in your genes that signifies the time preserve those genes.

Self preservation seems to be one of the strongest biological drives.  A will to live to but also something much deeper than a conscious will.  It would seem that a self preservation is layered so deep in biology that it's reduced to a logic of evolution and is a given.  It's what living things do.  Adapt to continue living, both individually and as a species.

So why do we self program to self destruct?  To wear down?  Is there a biology out there that doesn't self destruct?  That just keeps on keeping on until it is eliminated by enviornment?

Why would virii becoming bacteria becoming algea or whatever decide that getting old and dieing is a good thing and then pass this generic perfected trait of old age to virtually every life form to come?  Did evolution make it so?  Why?  What is the ultimate function of aging, when aging doesn't really have a structural necessity?  Or is aging somehow rooted in a structural necessity?  That there is some sort of short term game theory fuck up gain in self destruction?  Or is it really that hard, that fatiguing, to keep a biology together?

Sometimes I am the Scarecrow and wish I had a brain.  I'd learn a little bit about sceincy stuff and even remember some of it.  Studying proto life has to be the coolest thing ever.  Well, studying and understanding it, I suppose.  Well, studying it, understanding it, and then being able to point the way.  To talk about it.
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wonderpug
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« Reply #1 on: June 03, 2008, 07:14:57 PM »

Henrietta Lacks' cancer cells are immortal and have been living and duplicating since the early 50s.
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IkeVandergraaf
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« Reply #2 on: June 03, 2008, 07:39:25 PM »

I made a disappointing poop this morning.  frown
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Moliere
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« Reply #3 on: June 03, 2008, 07:42:11 PM »

Quote from: wonderpug on June 03, 2008, 07:14:57 PM

Henrietta Lacks' cancer cells are immortal and have been living and duplicating since the early 50s.

Living for 50 years is hardly immortal. Come back to me in 1000 years and we'll talk immortality.
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wonderpug
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« Reply #4 on: June 03, 2008, 07:49:39 PM »

Quote from: Moliere on June 03, 2008, 07:42:11 PM

Quote from: wonderpug on June 03, 2008, 07:14:57 PM

Henrietta Lacks' cancer cells are immortal and have been living and duplicating since the early 50s.

Living for 50 years is hardly immortal. Come back to me in 1000 years and we'll talk immortality.

[geek]So a 49 year old Tolkien elf isn't immortal until his thousandth birthday? slywink[/geek]
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Dan_Theman
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« Reply #5 on: June 03, 2008, 07:58:31 PM »

Just curious, but why do you ascribe choice to such a biological distinction?  Was I presented a choice in mates, one who is immortal and one who was anything but? Perhaps some deity weighed in on the subject, but we as beings certainly did not.  However, seeing as you're looking to find a reason, a personal investment in such a choice, I'll present you with this:

Quote
I saw which was the winning side but still I joined the other
And I'm in love with every strange unfolding day
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LordMortis
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« Reply #6 on: June 03, 2008, 08:22:00 PM »

Quote from: Dan_Theman on June 03, 2008, 07:58:31 PM

Just curious, but why do you ascribe choice to such a biological distinction?  Was I presented a choice in mates, one who is immortal and one who was anything but? Perhaps some deity weighed in on the subject, but we as beings certainly did not.  However, seeing as you're looking to find a reason, a personal investment in such a choice, I'll present you with this:

I made that ascription exactly once to anthropomorphize proto- and the most basic life and make it more familiar.  The truth is that I am both sloppy and deliberate with my language and I am fascinated by that which sits outside of the struggle between perceptions of chaos and order.  At the same time, the entire concept of will skirts the concept of choice.  But that's neither here nor there and is likely someplace else entirely.

But going back before to sacks of chemicals to a time a life of no choice a biology of action and reaction, we go back to a biology of structure and function.  Tissue decides moving molecules is done best with lots of surface area so tissue decides to become striated (is that the word?).  Structure becomes utility for function.  Function becomes possible by structure.  Aging is decrepitude is function of biological structure.  A function of biological structure is to age.  Or so it would seem.  Life chose to build itself around a basic model that dies of it's own accord.
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chaosraven
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« Reply #7 on: June 04, 2008, 12:26:42 AM »

Bilabial fricative

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CeeKay
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« Reply #8 on: June 04, 2008, 12:37:35 AM »

Quote from: IkeVandergraaf on June 03, 2008, 07:39:25 PM

I made a disappointing poop this morning.  frown

mine looked like oatmeal.
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« Reply #9 on: June 04, 2008, 02:40:25 AM »

Rather than put their energy into repairing their own somatic cells and living forever, organisms instead invest in keeping specialized reproductive cells isolated from the aging that affects the rest of their bodies. The purpose of an organism is to make new organisms, rather than to keep itself alive indefinitely.
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LordMortis
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« Reply #10 on: June 04, 2008, 02:51:56 AM »

Quote from: Ironrod on June 04, 2008, 02:40:25 AM

Rather than put their energy into repairing their own somatic cells and living forever, organisms instead invest in keeping specialized reproductive cells isolated from the aging that affects the rest of their bodies. The purpose of an organism is to make new organisms, rather than to keep itself alive indefinitely.

Do reproductive cells not age? Aren't we regenerating and building new cells all of the time?  Why stop?  When life came into being was purpose to replicate and then fall apart?  Was the part of the deal of reproduction?
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Geezer
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« Reply #11 on: June 04, 2008, 03:06:35 AM »

Quote from: Ironrod on June 04, 2008, 02:40:25 AM

Rather than put their energy into repairing their own somatic cells and living forever, organisms instead invest in keeping specialized reproductive cells isolated from the aging that affects the rest of their bodies. The purpose of an organism is to make new organisms, rather than to keep itself alive indefinitely.

well *that's* pretty stupid of us.
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Razgon
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« Reply #12 on: June 04, 2008, 06:38:16 AM »

That which makes life worth living, is the fact that you die.

Although, interestingly, all the books and movies I've perused on the subject, always deals with only ONE person who is immortal, thus making everything and everyone else around him fade to dust.

what IF we were ALL immortal, would be life still be boring because of its neverchanging state?

Fantasy books with immortal beings hint, and I'm not even sure its on purpose about this - the decline of elves, the disappearing of long lived people, the retreat of dwarves - all who love long or forever, is ultimately going away in the end anyways...perhaps its just so that we can feel better about our current state of living, but its still interesting to see fiction reflect the thoughts of the time on immortality.
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Victoria Raverna
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« Reply #13 on: June 04, 2008, 06:59:48 AM »

If life have two possible path, non aging but can't reproduce (or slow reproduce) or aging but fast reproduce, which one will win out in the natural selection process?

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Delraich
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« Reply #14 on: June 04, 2008, 08:18:45 AM »

Hi all,

As mentioned earlier, there seems to be a tradeoff between longevity/complexity and reproducibility. I think the key concept is that there cannot be life without reproducibility. If you look at every organism, from the simplest bacteria to humans, they are all capable of reproduction. This is necessary to preserve a variable gene pool, or whatever you wanna call it, to deal with changing life conditions etc.

This concept has actually been shown in experiments with fruit flies. In these, long living fruit flies were selected and crossed with other long living fruit flies for several generations. Result? Life expectancy doubled. However, the amount of offspring decreased and sterility became more frequent.

There is actually a great deal of research on longevity, because of our ageing western world. Most deal with finding genes that are correlated with increased life span, and indeed there are some that slightly increase the chance of getting older (mostly genes involved in metabolism). In "simple" organisms lifespan can be increased with relatively simple, artificial ways. As of yet, in mammals the only that has worked is caloric restriction, ie eating over 50% less than you would usually do. This has not been confirmed for humans though, so do not try at home!

Sorry for the long post, these things get me rambling...
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LordMortis
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« Reply #15 on: June 04, 2008, 12:39:03 PM »

Quote from: Razgon on June 04, 2008, 06:38:16 AM

That which makes life worth living, is the fact that you die.

Tell that to a bacteria.  I'm wondering about biology more than mankind.  Why life is self destructive.

Quote from: Victoria Raverna on June 04, 2008, 06:59:48 AM

If life have two possible path, non aging but can't reproduce (or slow reproduce) or aging but fast reproduce, which one will win out in the natural selection process?



But why would it be an either/or situation?  I can see a light burning twice as bright burns half as long thing as a possibility, but I don't know about to biology to see that this is the case.  We seem to not so much burn out but just have programmed shelf life.

Quote from: Delraich on June 04, 2008, 08:18:45 AM

As mentioned earlier, there seems to be a tradeoff between longevity/complexity and reproducibility.

But why?

Quote
This is necessary to preserve a variable gene pool, or whatever you wanna call it, to deal with changing life conditions etc.


That's a whole nother question.   icon_mrgreen

Quote
This concept has actually been shown in experiments with fruit flies. In these, long living fruit flies were selected and crossed with other long living fruit flies for several generations. Result? Life expectancy doubled. However, the amount of offspring decreased and sterility became more frequent.


Isn't a whole observation of breeding that goes along with this?  Type K breeders and Type some other letter breeders?  That contained in the nature of species is that they will have a lot of offspring is most are expected to die before themselves breeding and that they will have few offspring is most are expected to live.

Quote
Most deal with finding genes that are correlated with increased life span, and indeed there are some that slightly increase the chance of getting older (mostly genes involved in metabolism).

This is exactly what I wonder about.  Why the programmed timebomb dispositions?




On a sidenote, what are we going to do when wire hangers go away?
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rshetts2
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« Reply #16 on: June 04, 2008, 01:11:21 PM »

Because God made it that way.  You got a problem with that?!  Be careful he may just hit you with a bus or something.   ninja
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« Reply #17 on: June 04, 2008, 01:16:52 PM »

While I find the rest of the conversation fun and interesting, I just wanted to take a moment and recognize this:

Quote from: LordMortis on June 03, 2008, 07:02:29 PM

Remind me to find an excuse to use labial in convesation more often.  Espeically I need to somehow remember to find an excuse to talk about to labial sounds.  Maybe the Raspberry specifically.  I imagine there is nothing quite like the labial production of the raspberry noise.  For some lipped species somewhere it's probably even a mating call.  A noise coming from deep in your genes that signifies the time preserve those genes.

Literal LOL over here, LordMortis. Well played.
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Razgon
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« Reply #18 on: June 04, 2008, 01:18:39 PM »

Quote from: rshetts2 on June 04, 2008, 01:11:21 PM

Because God made it that way.  You got a problem with that?!  Be careful he may just hit you with a bus or something.   ninja

I've been hit by a bus...are you saying that was god?
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Delraich
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« Reply #19 on: June 04, 2008, 01:27:47 PM »

Quote

Quote from: Delraich on June 04, 2008, 08:18:45 AM

As mentioned earlier, there seems to be a tradeoff between longevity/complexity and reproducibility.

But why?

Well, this only holds true if you believe the evolutionary theories, the life of someone who has passed on their gene pool is worth nothing anymore on the big evolutionay scale. So in "normal", ie pre 20th century days, you see this in humans too. The average maximum age was somewhere between 30-40, right about when people start losing reproductive capacity. Now, with lethal infectious diseases mostly non-existent in modern western world, it appears that the natural degradation of the body occurs after the 40th year of life. Typical "modern" diseases, like cancer and Alzheimers, seem are good examples of this. Why? My guess would be that it is not worth it to invest in something that is worthless. Would you pay to rent a car for two weeks if you can reach your destination in one? It is hard to think like this on your own life, or any human life for that matter. These purely, hard biological explanations are hard to grasp, but are, in my opinion, the best one can come up with.
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