#1
Complete with an interesting video and an awesome beard.

http://www.ted.com/talks/view/id/39

ITT: Discuss why humans die. Why do we get old? What causes the perfect function of our bodily systems, to gradually slow? The circle of life and evolution has caused this ageing trait, but we can't see what actually makes it happen. Science still doesn't fully understand it. Theoretically there isn't much reason we couldn't be immortal. But for some reason we are here for a tragically short time.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evolution_of_ageing
#2
At a guess, I'd say nuclear radiation, or maybe something from the Sun. I have no evidence for this, it just sounds plausible to me.
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#4
telomeres. Its why Dolly died so young.
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#6
Something to do with our cell's centromeres, right? They eventually can't divide anymore and die?

Dunno, I can't be bothered to look it up.

EDIT: That's it, telomeres!
#7
Because God gave us death because we sinned j/k


Nothing can last forever....
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#8
In my opinion it's because out biological purpose is to be born, reproduce, then move over to make room for the next generation so that the species as a whole can go on. The body just shuts itself down and stops repairing itself. If we didn't age, too many humans would survive, we'd overpopulate and the species would wipe itself out. Immortality is a bad idea. Just another way that humanity will eventually destroy the planet and itself.
Quote by plucky duck
arnt scandinavians all albino or am i mistaken? apologies if i am

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logic is not always right
#9
I think free radicals are important in the ageing process. They occur naturally inthe body and will cause faults in protein synthesis over time thus reducing the efficiency of our body and eventually causing its destruction. That and external factors.


Edit: Forgot about the importance of telomeres.
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#10
Quote by Cathrag
In my opinion it's because out biological purpose is to be born, reproduce, then move over to make room for the next generation so that the species as a whole can go on. The body just shuts itself down and stops repairing itself. If we didn't age, too many humans would survive, we'd overpopulate and the species would wipe itself out. Immortality is a bad idea. Just another way that humanity will eventually destroy the planet and itself.

Exactly, but now we're advanced enough to interfere with our own evolution, we should be able to fix things.

I'd imagine a huge religious outcry, but just imagine how much more peaceful the world be, how much more precious life would be, if people were near immortal. Like Tolkein's elves, for example. We would realise how precious life is, we wouldn't war as often because the toll would be so great. If we didn't reproduce so quickly life would not be disposable.

Interestingly, cancer cells are immortal, too. They extracted cancer cells from a woman in the 80s that are still thriving today, and show no signs of ageing.
Last edited by Vermintide at May 26, 2008,
#11
because if we didnt die the stork would go out of business
Send me off to bed forevermore.
#12
Quote by daft
I think free radicals are important in the ageing process. They occur naturally inthe body and will cause faults in protein synthesis over time thus reducing the efficiency of our body and eventually causing its destruction. That and external factors.


Yeah, oxidative damage; superoxides, hydrogen peroxide, Hydroxyl radicals etc.
#13
It puts things in perspective for us. If we were immortal - no one would aspire to anything, we would easily grow bored, we would waste so much resources in every aspect of life and loose our sence of efficiency.
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#14
Quote by Vermintide
Exactly, but now we're advanced enough to interfere with our own evolution, we should be able to fix things.

I'd imagine a huge religious outcry, but just imagine how much more peaceful the world be, how much more precious life would be, if people were near immortal. Like Tolkein's elves, for example. We would realise how precious life is, we wouldn't war as often because the toll would be so great. If we didn't reproduce so quickly life would not be disposable.

Interestingly, cancer cells are immortal, too. They extracted cancer cells from a woman in the 80s that are still thriving today, and show no signs of ageing.


But think of the damage that one human life causes to the planet. It starts off minimal, as a baby. Then it rises, and reaches a peak at adulthood. Then, into old age, it peters out and stops with death. If we were immortal, it would rise to the maximum and never lower, resulting in huge damage. We've managed to reduce the damage to the environment over the years, but we can never reduce it to zero, purely because our nature means we use up resources.

Also, I agree with you about the value of life. But it could also have the opposite effect. If animals like deer became immortal, their population wouldn't get too high. More would be eaten by predators, or killed in accidents, or whatever. However, very few humans get eaten by predators, and nowadays the chance of accidents are reduced because of health and safety. To keep the population down to prevent huge numbers of deaths from starvation and disease, there'd have to be a cull or something. Ironic. Everyone lives forever, and many lives become near worthless.

Cancerous telomeres don't shorten during cell division, whereas normal ones do.

All in all I say immortality is a bad idea. It's a nice thought, but if we were to try and put it into effect it would do more harm than good.
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#15
Quote by Vermintide
Interestingly, cancer cells are immortal, too. They extracted cancer cells from a woman in the 80s that are still thriving today, and show no signs of ageing.



Yeah, cancer cells stimulate the enzyme telomerase which stops the shortening of telomeres, therefore stopping cancer cells under going apoptosis (natural cell death).


[/attempting to show off medical knowledge]

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#16
They did a study on this on mice. They removed an organ that releases hormones that tell the body to age, and the mice lived almost 2 times longer.

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science?_ob=ArticleURL&_udi=B6T31-4JTR8X7-1&_user=10&_rdoc=1&_fmt=&_orig=search&_sort=d&view=c&_acct=C000050221&_version=1&_urlVersion=0&_userid=10&md5=a8ad1bd69c5c11d339c864fc065f7edd

So I'm guess the pituatary gland helps in aging.
#17
Quote by daft
Yeah, cancer cells stimulate the enzyme telomerase which stops the shortening of telomeres, therefore stopping cancer cells under going apoptosis (natural cell death).


[/attempting to show off medical knowledge]


Then... Let's do that shit to humans

[/having less knowledge than other people in the thread]
#18
It would be cool if we could age, but your physical fitness could stay at like 20 or something. I dont want to live forever, its just growing old and not being able to do things because of the limits of my body that kinda scares me.
#19
Quote by metaldud536
They did a study on this on mice. They removed an organ that releases hormones that tell the body to age, and the mice lived almost 2 times longer.

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science?_ob=ArticleURL&_udi=B6T31-4JTR8X7-1&_user=10&_rdoc=1&_fmt=&_orig=search&_sort=d&view=c&_acct=C000050221&_version=1&_urlVersion=0&_userid=10&md5=a8ad1bd69c5c11d339c864fc065f7edd

So I'm guess the pituatary gland helps in aging.


Doesn't your pituitary gland release a bunch of important hormones, like growth hormone and FSH and whatever?

So if you removed it, you wouldn't be able to grow or reproduce.

That's kinda, a big price to pay for immortality.
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arnt scandinavians all albino or am i mistaken? apologies if i am

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logic is not always right
#20
Quote by Vermintide
Then... Let's do that shit to humans

[/having less knowledge than other people in the thread]





The problem is that apoptosis is a crucial process for normal living. If we got rid of it, we would just be a large mast of cells which would keep getting bigger.
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#21
Quote by Domino
telomeres. Its why Dolly died so young.


+1

And we don't need to live that long. Life is about reproducing, once you've done that, it doesn't really matter how long you live afterwards (assuming you raise your kids etc). So there's never been an evolutionary need for people to live forever.

Quote by Vermintide
Interestingly, cancer cells are immortal, too. They extracted cancer cells from a woman in the 80s that are still thriving today, and show no signs of ageing.


They reactivate the genes that produce enzymes that regenerate your telomeres. Or something. I think lobsters have them active too...
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#22
Immortal lobsters. Sweet.
Quote by plucky duck
arnt scandinavians all albino or am i mistaken? apologies if i am

Quote by cocodrilo83
logic is not always right
#23
Quote by The Spoon
It would be cool if we could age, but your physical fitness could stay at like 20 or something. I dont want to live forever, its just growing old and not being able to do things because of the limits of my body that kinda scares me.



Well yes but if we didn't phisically degrade we'd just have to kill everyone at eighty?
Military use of children?

Infantry.
#25
because the population would be fecking insane if we didn't... and who wants to know their great great granddad/monkey.
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#26
Quote by Cathrag
Doesn't your pituitary gland release a bunch of important hormones, like growth hormone and FSH and whatever?

So if you removed it, you wouldn't be able to grow or reproduce.

That's kinda, a big price to pay for immortality.


Hey it aids in research. Of course people need to know more before they start doing that.
#27
Quote by chrisatgrace
because the population would be fecking insane if we didn't... and who wants to know their great great granddad/monkey.

Nope, once again. I'd imagine our reproduction cycles would be much longer.

As it is now, you have kids at like 20-30, right? Then you settle down and wait to die.

But if you had 800 years ahead of you, you wouldn't be in quite such a rush to pass on your DNA. People would be like "Woah, you're only 120!!! You have your whole life ahead of you!!!"

Quote by CoreysMonster

And Tolkien's Elves didn't live forever, just very, very long. /nerd

I know, I know It's just a good example. And realistically, we can't expect to acheive true immortality, just very prolonged life.
Last edited by Vermintide at May 26, 2008,
#28
I suppose that we are simply still imperfect beings, that mutation hasn't given us the design to live forever, because very few animals died of old age. Same thing went for Humans until about 200 years ago. So, getting very very old was never really possible amongst a large number of beings until today. Maybe if we continue surviving and reaching old ages, we'll eventually mutate so we can live longer and longer.

And Tolkien's Elves didn't live forever, just very, very long. /nerd
#29
We are energy, nothing more. Think of hitting a ball with a bat, the power from the bat thrusts the ball forward, it may land back in the pitcher's glove, or it might be hit out of the park; however, it loses energy and lands. Like a sun... merh

I like how Aubrey looks like father time himself. haha
#30
Quote by -Bloo
We are energy, nothing more. Think of hitting a ball with a bat, the power from the bat thrusts the ball forward, it may land back in the pitcher's glove, or it might be hit out of the park; however, it loses energy and lands. Like a sun... merh

I like how Aubrey looks like father time himself. haha

Thermodynamics etc. Entropy in closed system... We are not a closed system. We take in energy all the time.
#32
Quote by watchingmefall
You are not aging, you are rotting while being alive. Think about this.

...only not.

Rotting refers to the decomposition of a previously living organism into simpler forms of matter. Neither of which really applies.
#33
Quote by Kneusje
Well yes but if we didn't phisically degrade we'd just have to kill everyone at eighty?

Well I mean you could still die or whatever...

Bah i dont know...im jsut day dreaming.