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Antiaging Research Priorities [was Re: Major Criticisms of

Brian Manning Delaney bmdelaney at notarealaddr.ess
Fri Sep 18 13:07:00 EST 1998

Thomas Mahoney wrote:
> In article <36021FF5.2CF95D48 at notarealaddr.ess>,
> bmdelaney at notarealaddr.ess says...
>> Thomas Mahoney/ Excelife wrote:

>>> Quite correct.  Mice in the wild undoubtedly
>>> encounter periods where food is  scarce and the
>>> effects seen in CR are likely an adaptive
>>> response to these  conditions.  Thus the actual
>>> life span of the mice is that seen in CR.
>>I'm not sure how this way of looking at it is helpful.


>>Take another example. Say we had evolved a mechanism whereby
>>eating a certain substance found in a now rare plant turns
>>on telomerase in enough cells, in the right way, to slow
>>aging. No one has been known to eat the substnce because our
>>dietary habits over the last few centuries have precluded
>>its consumption. But suddenly we discover it, and people
>>start taking it and living to be 140 years old. Since this
>>ability to age slowly under the conditions of the presence
>>of this substance is an evolutionary adaptive response,
>>would you say people living to 140 by means of this
>>substance aren't extending their life span?

> Here you changed the premise.  By stating that
> they lived to 140 you have, by  definition,
> increased the maximum life span in humans.

I don't get it. You seem to be operating with two
definitions of maximum life span: 1) the longest an animal
(of a particular species) can live under conditions like any
of those which originally selected for an adaptive
anti-aging response (see your quote, above); and 2) the
longest any member of a species has lived.

If we adopt (1), then you are wrong that I've changed the
premise. The point of  the example was to show just that.

As for (2), I can't see how this definition ever would be
useful. If I invent a drug that lets people live to 180,
then, under this definition, I can't say that the drug
extends human maximum life span after the first person has
taken it. Doesn't seem helpful. Wouldn't we want to say the
second and third people taking it are also living beyond the
human maximum life span? The second and third aren't
BREAKING RECORDS, sure, but that's something different.

Brian Manning Delaney
My email address is here:
[Wrists: "Leave unambiguous typos."]
Note: All statements in this article are in jest; they
are not statements of fact.
"Mein Genie ist in meinen Nuestern." -Nietzsche.
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