Stupid mutants.

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Lance Kennedy
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Stupid mutants.

Postby Lance Kennedy » Sat Jul 01, 2017 12:10 am

Reference : New Scientist, 24 June 2017, page 9

There has been a discrepancy on studies into human intelligence. Identical twin studies suggested that 50% to 80% of variations in intelligence were inherited. But genome studies suggested that only 30% of that was due to genes for high intelligence.

Now a much larger study (20,000 people) has shown that a big part of that discrepancy is genes for low intelligence. Basically, these are harmful mutations that cause intelligence to drop. Because the genome studies had not been looking for low intelligence genes, it appears the twin studies were closer to the truth.

Since lower intelligence is a result of defective genes, it may be possible to use some kind of gene therapy to correct the fault.

Are you a dumb mutant?

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Re: Stupid mutants.

Postby Gawdzilla Sama » Sat Jul 01, 2017 12:19 am

Lots of data on stupid people? Sounds like a gorgeous opportunity for study.
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Re: Stupid mutants.

Postby Nikki Nyx » Sat Jul 01, 2017 1:58 am

"Don't boink either your relatives or stupid people," is far too complicated for the human race, most of whom can't figure out how to navigate a traffic circle properly.
What are the facts? Again and again and again-what are the facts? Shun wishful thinking, ignore divine revelation, forget what “the stars foretell,” avoid opinion, care not what the neighbors think, never mind the unguessable “verdict of history”--what are the facts, and to how many decimal places? You pilot always into an unknown future; facts are your single clue. Get the facts!
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Re: Stupid mutants.

Postby scrmbldggs » Sat Jul 01, 2017 2:05 am

I think they're a hit. How else would I run into strangers?
Last edited by scrmbldggs on Sat Jul 01, 2017 2:09 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Stupid mutants.

Postby bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Sat Jul 01, 2017 2:05 am

So much in "biology" is not straight forward. As here..... so many things are controlled by traits in opposition with the "control" actually being applied on the opposing trait of interest. Like here: how smart you are is controlled by how many dumb genes are suppressed. Many attributes work that way. I wonder why? Seems inefficient.
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Re: Stupid mutants.

Postby Lance Kennedy » Sat Jul 01, 2017 2:20 am

To Bobbo

Evolution IS inefficient. It works by random mutations, and that is not a clever way to do things. Of course, since there is no guiding intelligence, 'clever' is not really a good way to describe it.

The human body is full of harmful mutations. That is inevitable, when you consider how evolution operates. Not just intelligence. For example, the ageing process is probably due to random harmful mutations.

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Re: Stupid mutants.

Postby bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Sat Jul 01, 2017 2:43 am

Evolution can be whatever it is but THAT does not explain why so many processes are actually controlled by controlling an "anti" process to the desired result. So common, there must be a reason for it?

Ageing, as far as I know, is not such an example but rather is engineered in as an advantage to the species? Or not........ why couldn't a body age to top condition and then stay at that level until picked off? Darwin would say that such an outcome is obviously not selected for in evolution. Aging out of the population leaving room for others thereby increasing genetic variability....... wins?

I would LOVE to stay around long enough to see what happens when money can buy you extra life credits. Every bad SyFy premise will be the new reality.
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Re: Stupid mutants.

Postby Lance Kennedy » Sat Jul 01, 2017 3:35 am

Bobbo

Those who study ageing as part of evolution tend not to think of it as adaptive.
Rather it is an accident based on the fact that, after an individual has done his or her reproducing, evolution has essentially finished with them, and so, at that age, an accumulation of harmful mutations is not selected against.

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Re: Stupid mutants.

Postby Gord » Sat Jul 01, 2017 7:15 pm

Nikki Nyx wrote:"Don't boink either your relatives or stupid people," is far too complicated for the human race, most of whom can't figure out how to navigate a traffic circle properly.

Just think of all the men who prefer blondes. :heh:

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Re: Stupid mutants.

Postby Nikki Nyx » Sat Jul 01, 2017 7:22 pm

Gord wrote:
Nikki Nyx wrote:"Don't boink either your relatives or stupid people," is far too complicated for the human race, most of whom can't figure out how to navigate a traffic circle properly.

Just think of all the men who prefer blondes. :heh:

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Re: Stupid mutants.

Postby bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Sat Jul 01, 2017 7:35 pm

Lance Kennedy wrote:Bobbo

Those who study ageing as part of evolution tend not to think of it as adaptive.
Rather it is an accident based on the fact that, after an individual has done his or her reproducing, evolution has essentially finished with them, and so, at that age, an accumulation of harmful mutations is not selected against.


I'm not expert on evolution, not even really casually read, but I have formed a notion that evolution/aka DNA is responsible for a whole lot more than generally given credit. Even when not true, its still a good exercise to go through. The accident theory is a good one...but doesn't explain anything. Given how prevalent ageing is...I could see it as an accident very early in the evolution of life that got established in the biome.....but then, why didn't some non-ageing speciies/variant develop and establish itself at least as a niche player?

Logically..................... Darwin rules. Doesn't mean that is right, but its more believable and pragmatic.
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Re: Stupid mutants.

Postby ElectricMonk » Mon Jul 03, 2017 9:07 am

Of course aging is adaptive: there is a clear trade-off between making a gene-carrier fit enough to survive to reproduce and keeping it alive after that, hogging resources for the next generation. There is a clear correlation between size and lifespan, for example, but then there are creatures that are for all intends and purposes amortal: if you are constraint by predators and lack of resources you don't need an in-built aging system. But if you are the biggest thing in the world, killing you at some point is a necessary part of your DNA-program to make way for the next generation.

Of course, it is evolutionarily advantageous to frequently reproduce and mutate, but there is no biological need for it.
The biggest reason in sexually reproducing organisms is to stay ahead of diseases via recombination of immo-systems : if you live too long, some strain of viruses or bacteria will adapt to slip past your defenses.
But medicine and/or living in Clean Rooms could remove that danger.
In theory, (sufficiently modified and treated) humans could live forever. But that would have dramatic genetic and social costs.
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Re: Stupid mutants.

Postby OlegTheBatty » Mon Jul 03, 2017 3:33 pm

bobbo_the_Pragmatist wrote:
Lance Kennedy wrote:Bobbo

Those who study ageing as part of evolution tend not to think of it as adaptive.
Rather it is an accident based on the fact that, after an individual has done his or her reproducing, evolution has essentially finished with them, and so, at that age, an accumulation of harmful mutations is not selected against.


I'm not expert on evolution, not even really casually read, but I have formed a notion that evolution/aka DNA is responsible for a whole lot more than generally given credit. Even when not true, its still a good exercise to go through. The accident theory is a good one...but doesn't explain anything. Given how prevalent ageing is...I could see it as an accident very early in the evolution of life that got established in the biome.....but then, why didn't some non-ageing speciies/variant develop and establish itself at least as a niche player?

Logically..................... Darwin rules. Doesn't mean that is right, but its more believable and pragmatic.

Age is not a criterion that is affected by natural selection, except in a negative way. Reproduction is. Once an organism has reproduced, as far a evolution is concerned, its life is redundant.

Longevity is useless to most organisms, from an evolutionary perspective, and tends to increase the probability that a population will outstrip available resources.

Survival of the fittest to reproduce, not survival of the fittest to live a long time.
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Re: Stupid mutants.

Postby Lance Kennedy » Mon Jul 03, 2017 8:19 pm

To EM
I used to think like you on this. But I have read several popular science articles on ageing, in which scientific experts are interviewed, and their comments recorded. It appears that the expert view is that ageing is not adaptive.

There are a number of harmful mutations which are age specific. Progeria, for example, is lethal and strikes at an early age. Huntington disease is caused by a lethal mutation which strikes later in life. Hemophilia, earlier. Researchers studying these mutations note that natural selection removes them from the population, but at varying rates. Progeria disappears in one generation , since the unfortunate people so afflicted die before reproducing. Hemophilia may take up to a dozen generations. Huntington may takes dozens of generations before the gene is removed, and there are long family histories of this disease. Ageing is considered to be harmful mutations that do not kick in and cause harm till a later stage in life, which means solution does not remove those genes.

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Re: Stupid mutants.

Postby scrmbldggs » Mon Jul 03, 2017 8:42 pm

So is modern medicine helping in keeping some of those things around (longer) instead of letting them follow their otherwise natural course? And is the apparent increase in couples' difficulties to conceive and/or bear children a natural "fighting back" by nature?

Or would it only seem that way because of increase in populations? And communication.
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Re: Stupid mutants.

Postby ElectricMonk » Mon Jul 03, 2017 8:56 pm

It's pretty easy to dramatically increase the life expectancy of lab mice and their offspring, so whatever you heard is wrong, Lance.
I've come up with a set of rules that describe our reactions to technologies:
Spoiler:
1. Anything that is in the world when you’re born is normal and ordinary and is just a natural part of the way the world works.
2. Anything that's invented between when you’re fifteen and thirty-five is new and exciting and revolutionary and you can probably get a career in it.
3. Anything invented after you're thirty-five is against the natural order of things.
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Re: Stupid mutants.

Postby ElectricMonk » Mon Jul 03, 2017 9:00 pm

scrmbldggs wrote:So is modern medicine helping in keeping some of those things around (longer) instead of letting them follow their otherwise natural course? And is the apparent increase in couples' difficulties to conceive and/or bear children a natural "fighting back" by nature?

Or would it only seem that way because of increase in populations? And communication.


Couples wait longer to have children, which naturally affects fertility - it's not more difficult for teens to become pregnant today than 400years ago.
And there have always been couples who can't conceive, which is why marriages would be annulled in the past to find better matches and/or Mistresses.
I've come up with a set of rules that describe our reactions to technologies:
Spoiler:
1. Anything that is in the world when you’re born is normal and ordinary and is just a natural part of the way the world works.
2. Anything that's invented between when you’re fifteen and thirty-five is new and exciting and revolutionary and you can probably get a career in it.
3. Anything invented after you're thirty-five is against the natural order of things.
- Douglas Adams

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Re: Stupid mutants.

Postby Lance Kennedy » Mon Jul 03, 2017 9:22 pm

In theory, scrambled, you are correct. Modern medicine would help people with harmful mutations survive and reproduce, and hence retain the harmful genes in the population. I am not worried, though, because that is a temporary phase. Within the next century, I suspect that gene modification methods will enable humanity to reverse this trend.

EM. You do realise, do you not, that your opposition to the idea of ageing not being adaptive, is not arguing against me, but the best experts on the subject? While appealing to authority can be a fallacy, I think in this case, your opposition says bad things about your ability to think rationally.

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Re: Stupid mutants.

Postby bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Mon Jul 03, 2017 9:31 pm

OlegTheBatty wrote: Longevity is useless to most organisms, from an evolutionary perspective, and tends to increase the probability that a population will outstrip available resources.

Survival of the fittest to reproduce, not survival of the fittest to live a long time.

I dunno. And I mean just that. I don't know. On the issue of ageing, are we dealing with an exception to a more general rule? Are we conflating various aspects of ageing under one label?

Longevity as seen UNAVOIDABLY in homo sapiens is required for those organisms that have extended childhoods....brought on by having a large brain that needs time to develop, as does the infant into adulthood. So...its not exactly reproducing that is the key for higher species but rather offspring that themselves survive to reproducing age. Why would ageing lead to a stripping of resources unless that population was highly successful? Something being mixed up here.

I have a "feeling" something important is being rooted around here, but we are all missing it. We need some kind of expert?

..............................yeah...........while I still don't know........I gotta go with Darwin. As ageing is present in almost all species, it must have some adaptive superiority. Not to individuals, but to the species genome? I think this is post-Darwin evolutionary theory. As intimated above, not about survival of individuals to reproduce, but survival of the species within the biome?

Interesting stuff. I don't want to live forever.......just longer than I will.
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Re: Stupid mutants.

Postby bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Mon Jul 03, 2017 9:33 pm

Lance Kennedy wrote: EM. You do realise, do you not, that your opposition to the idea of ageing not being adaptive, is not arguing against me, but the best experts on the subject?

I believe you have reached this statement by what you have read. Any links? Any disagreement from other experts?
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Re: Stupid mutants.

Postby Lance Kennedy » Mon Jul 03, 2017 10:25 pm

Links are a bit difficult. Both articles I read on the topic came in paper form (Scientific American and New Scientist). Since I do not bother keeping old issues, I would struggle to find those references.

To give EM a little credit, I have to admit that there is no clear answer to where ageing comes from. There are more theories than you can count. Some are political, like the oxidant theory used by food faddists (rationalise their food fads). Some are clear by observation , like the telomere theory, but the nature of cause and effect is unclear. Some are obsolete, like the wear and tear theory, but still fondly held by laypeople. The theory EM proposed was popular once, but from my reading, appears that the bulk of empirical evidence no longer supports it. We do know that damage to DNA accumulates over a life time and researchers have measured it. We also know from identical twin studies that the role of genes is vital. The question here is how it is that the human genome contains so many genes that cause harm, but only with greater age. EM thinks it is programmed by evolution, but most experts now disagree. There appears to be no real selective advantage to killing individuals.

The most widely accepted theory today is that mutations accumulate over millions, or billions of years, and if they do not stop the individual breeding, there is little selective pressure to eliminate them. As I pointed out, we know of a number of harmful mutations that appear in the human population and are eliminated over generations. The later in life this harm appears, the more the number of generations required to eliminate them from the gene pool. So the theory states that numerous harmful mutations which only kick in late in life have accumulated over eons, and those mutations are the main cause of ageing.

Hower, I guess I must accept that there is still room for doubt.

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Re: Stupid mutants.

Postby bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Mon Jul 03, 2017 10:45 pm

Excellent review. I still go with Darwin myself....just because I like the pragmatism of its application. Seems to me if ageing were not adaptive (a concept/phrasing I'm only aping for the first time) then why hasn't "not ageing" also sprung up as another non-pressure characteristic? And.... what does ageing but no not-aging tell us? Shirley: something? Take left or right brain dominance. Both exist because one or the other does not provide strong adaption. But ageing wins universally. Are we/experts refusing to see what is "obvious" even if we can't explain the mechanism?

I think so..........until a better explanation comes along. Experts not forming a consensus doesn't make me doubt Darwin: Things happen for a reason.......((which actually is not Darwinism which is: things are the way they are because that is what happened...... as provided by DNA interacting with the environment.))
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Re: Stupid mutants.

Postby ElectricMonk » Tue Jul 04, 2017 3:06 am

No links means no argument but your own. And it's an argument from authority only.

So what about lobsters or hydras?
The first doesn't age, the second can reverse aging.
I've come up with a set of rules that describe our reactions to technologies:
Spoiler:
1. Anything that is in the world when you’re born is normal and ordinary and is just a natural part of the way the world works.
2. Anything that's invented between when you’re fifteen and thirty-five is new and exciting and revolutionary and you can probably get a career in it.
3. Anything invented after you're thirty-five is against the natural order of things.
- Douglas Adams

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Re: Stupid mutants.

Postby bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Tue Jul 04, 2017 4:14 am

EM---are you looking at me?

No links because I'm not relying on authority of any kind. Just my own personal pleasures.

Lobsters certainly age. They get bigger with each molting. I have a dim memory of hydras. Caught some in my grammar school field trip. Lots of fun...... girls didn't like the mud.
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Re: Stupid mutants.

Postby Lance Kennedy » Tue Jul 04, 2017 4:29 am

I think EM was directing his criticism at me. For some strange reason (nothing to do with me calling him an idiot), EM has decided to oppose anything I write.

But, Bobbo, on the question of why no evolutionary selection to "not age ".

In fact there is. That is why humans live as long as we do. The general rule among mammals is that the bigger ones live longer. The bowhead whale has the record at 200 years. Elephants live a long time. But humans are escaping this rule. We should live no longer than 30 odd years, based on our size. Evolution, though, has worked a "not age " deal for humans. The usual explanation is related to teaching the young. Grandparents become assets in the tribe in order to assist with the young, who hang around for a long time before learning to be adults. So keeping humans from ageing for longer has a selective advantage.

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Re: Stupid mutants.

Postby bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Tue Jul 04, 2017 5:21 am

Lance Kennedy wrote:I think EM was directing his criticism at me. For some strange reason (nothing to do with me calling him an idiot), EM has decided to oppose anything I write.

You should know, but I haven't noticed such disagreement other than on the safety of Nukes. A constant force is easier to deal with.


Lance Kennedy wrote: The usual explanation is related to teaching the young. Grandparents become assets in the tribe in order to assist with the young, who hang around for a long time before learning to be adults. So keeping humans from ageing for longer has a selective advantage.
I thought your position was that ageing had no adaptive advantage? Hoomans can't be the only exception? I thought all that stuff was related to our larger testicles?
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Re: Stupid mutants.

Postby Lance Kennedy » Tue Jul 04, 2017 5:49 am

Ageing at a particular rate can be an advantage (or disadvantage) depending on the organism and the situation. What I claimed was that growing older was not selected FOR. There appears to be no selective advantage in killing off individuals, at whatever age. Ageing appears to be the result of harmful mutations that have accidentally entered the gene pool over a long period of time. Thee process of identifying these mutations is under way, and many are now known. In fact, we have known of harmful genes in the gene pool for a long time. We now know that some cause harm only as we get older.

However, evolution can alter the genetic basis of ageing if there is a specific advantage in doing so. Humans can slow ageing also, with good diet, exercise, stress management, rest and relaxation, avoiding carcinogens (like tobacco) and other toxins. There is even the possibility of medical treatments to slow ageing. There is nothing sacred about growing old and feeble.

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Re: Stupid mutants.

Postby bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Tue Jul 04, 2017 6:02 am

You don't notice talking out of both sides of your mouth? You do that more than sometimes. Not always. More than you should.

OF COURSE: growing older is SELECTED FOR in hoomans. you said it. You don't understand it.
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Re: Stupid mutants.

Postby ElectricMonk » Tue Jul 04, 2017 6:28 am

Lance, I'm directing my criticism at you because you make claims with no support or explanation whatsoever and get upset if people point that out. And you do that all the time, be it nukes, space or aging.

you stated that aging is not adaptive with no argument to support it besides "I read experts saying so". This is the definition of the fallacy of argument from authority.
Why don't you explain WHY it isn't adaptive?

I, on the other hand, made more than one argument why it is, including real-life examples.

So who is the idiot?
I've come up with a set of rules that describe our reactions to technologies:
Spoiler:
1. Anything that is in the world when you’re born is normal and ordinary and is just a natural part of the way the world works.
2. Anything that's invented between when you’re fifteen and thirty-five is new and exciting and revolutionary and you can probably get a career in it.
3. Anything invented after you're thirty-five is against the natural order of things.
- Douglas Adams

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Re: Stupid mutants.

Postby Lance Kennedy » Tue Jul 04, 2017 7:56 am

EM

I called you an idiot on another thread, where I gave you oodles of data and references, and you refused to change your stance, even though the scientific data was against your view, so very clearly. This discussion has not reached that point, and I hope it does not.

Your question here is why ageing is not adaptive. A better view would be say why should it be.
There is no survival advantage to growing old and dying. Evolution is about increasing the frequency in the gene pool of favored genes, and reducing the frequency of those not favored. The favoring is by natural selection. If an individual were not to age, that individual would continue to breed, and thus increase the frequency of the genes for not ageing. Thus, not ageing would be favored, and the genes involved would increase in frequency, which is what evolution is about.

New genes occur by mutation. Harmful mutations are selected against, and reduce in frequency. Useful mutations are selected for, and increase in frequency. But mutations that do not measurably harm by reducing breeding success simply remain, neither increasing or decreasing. They can stay in the gene pool for millions of generations.

The selection pressure against ageing gets less after breeding has already happened, since the genes will be increased in frequency anyway. It is this reduced selection pressure which permits not too harmful mutations to survive in the gene pool.

The end result is that genes for ageing retain a frequency which is a balance between the selection pressure for continued breeding, versus the reducing selection pressure after breeding has already happened, permitting lesser harmful mutations to survive. The gene for Huntingtons chorea may remain in the gene pool for 50 generations, because it does not kill until well after breeding has already happened. The selection pressure in this case is very weak, and consists of the reduced survival of grandchildren, not having the advantage of the grandparent who died.

The gene for hemophilia will die out in a few generations, since it reduces breeding success, meaning strong selection pressure against. A gene that did not kill for perhaps 60 years after first breeding would never be selected out, because there is not even the reduced value of a grandparent. This reduced selection against genes that do no harm till later in life is the reason for ageing.

So is ageing adaptive ?
No. Not ageing would be more adaptive, since it would permit continued breeding.
But, sadly for our mortality, evolution is not smart, and it is too weak to eliminate harmful mutations that do not kick in until after breeding has already occurred.

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Re: Stupid mutants.

Postby ElectricMonk » Tue Jul 04, 2017 10:09 am

Lance, it's obvious that you don't understand what "adaptive" means in this context.

The question is: given the right mutations, could human lifespan be increased dramatically ?
If the answer is yes, then lifespan is adaptive, regardless of whether we have the mutations now or not.
Only if there was some metabolic/entropic principle that would determine how long an organism of a specific size can exit would it not be adaptive.
But we know of turtles the size of men that can beat 250 years, so that is obviously not the case.
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Re: Stupid mutants.

Postby Lance Kennedy » Tue Jul 04, 2017 8:31 pm

Hmmm

I think I am arguing against a deaf post.

Life span is not adaptive, because it's limits are not determined by natural selection, but rather by a cumulative process of random harmful mutations.

There are ctenophores that have no age limit to how long they survive, but most do not live more than a season because of an abundance of predators. Their limited life span is not adaptive, either.

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Re: Stupid mutants.

Postby bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Tue Jul 04, 2017 9:07 pm

Ok Lance..........you obviously are thinking of something. Please explain how humans benefit from our oldsters passing on cultural knowledge and caring for the young is not a natural selection for longer life in our species.
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Re: Stupid mutants.

Postby Lance Kennedy » Wed Jul 05, 2017 12:56 am

It is.

I have already explained how human live far .longer than our size would suggest.

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Re: Stupid mutants.

Postby bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Wed Jul 05, 2017 1:06 am

Lance Kennedy wrote:It is.

I have already explained how human live far .longer than our size would suggest.

It is..........we agree. So how is that not a superlative adaptive characteristic that is selected for?

Which one of us has lost track of what the original issue was? Age not being selected for or adaptive? You said no, I said Yes........now you are saying yes as well?

How come I never win anything? THats not adaptive at all.
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Re: Stupid mutants.

Postby Matthew Ellard » Wed Jul 05, 2017 1:34 am

Human offspring traded off longer periods of not being able to look after themselves, for bigger brains. Their parents simultaneously had to live longer, after child birth, to accommodate that trade off.

Humans and apes live in social troops that share child rearing amongst non related adults. I would find it hard to believe that growing older in better health, for all members of the troop, was not an evolutionary advantage.
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Re: Stupid mutants.

Postby Lance Kennedy » Wed Jul 05, 2017 1:34 am

Bobbo

Our life span is adaptive. What is not adaptive is the process of ageing itself. Hope that settles the confusion.

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Re: Stupid mutants.

Postby bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Wed Jul 05, 2017 2:18 am

Lance: can you get old without ageing?
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Re: Stupid mutants.

Postby Lance Kennedy » Wed Jul 05, 2017 2:53 am

Is there a point to that question, Bobbo ?

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Re: Stupid mutants.

Postby JO 753 » Wed Jul 05, 2017 3:01 am

I recall sumthing about lifespan being fairly consistant across all speciez by counting hartbeats. In other wordz, a mouse and an elefant will hav the same number uv beats, but a mouse uzez them up in 4 yirz and an elefant 80. And I recall humanz not being far outside this count.

Sum birdz are exeptionz - parrots, for example.

I red this a long time ago and sum stuf thats popped up resently seemz to go agenst it or at least demote it to a loos rule-uv-thum, such az sum sharks turning out to be over 400 yirz old.
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