Evolutionary necessity of senescence?

Timothy Freeman tsf at CS.CMU.EDU
Mon Feb 15 15:19:22 EST 1993

In article <1219 at rc1.vub.ac.be> Francis Heylighen <fheyligh at vnet3.vub.ac.be> writes:

   Of course, these theories of aging are still very hypothetical. But the
   "selfish gene" view seems to preclude any argument that would make
   mortality necessary. 

I believe that arguments about biological evolution are useful to
explain our present situation, but I don't think that they
are useful for reasoning about the long term consequences of our

The "selfish gene" view will only be meaningful for as long as radical
genetic engineering is not popular.  Once it becomes popular, culture
will be driving the genetic evolution in a very straightforward way.
I can't imagine that happening later than three or four human generations
from now.  Thus the amount of human genetic evolution by natural
selection that will happen in the future is very limited.  The present
human genome is only important insofar as it allows us to get from
here to place where we can rewrite the genome.
Tim Freeman <tsf at cs.cmu.edu>    
When they took the fourth amendment, I was silent because I don't deal drugs.
When they took the sixth amendment, I kept quiet because I know I'm innocent.
When they took the second amendment, I said nothing because I don't own a gun.
Now they've come for the first amendment, and I can't say anything at all.

More information about the Mol-evol mailing list

Send comments to us at biosci-help [At] net.bio.net