The Evolution of Aging

The Evolution of Aging

by Theodore Goldsmith

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Overview

From the publisher of The Evolution of Aging by Theodore C. Goldsmith, ISBN 0978870905.
Aging appears to be a radically different phenomenon depending on one’s point of view. For physicians, medical researchers, and others very familiar with human aging, the overwhelming impression is that aging results from a fundamental deteriorative process. Members of this group tend to believe in aging theories that involve entropy, accumulation of molecular damage, or other processes similar to those that cause aging in mechanical or chemical systems. They also consequently tend to believe that aging, per se, is unalterable. We can devise treatments for individual manifestations of aging but there is no possible generic “anti-aging” treatment because of the fundamental nature of aging.
For a much smaller group consisting of zoologists and other science-adept people highly familiar with life-cycle characteristics of many non-human species, the overwhelming impression is that organisms are designed to have a limited and species-specific life span. Believers in aging-by-design tend to be much more optimistic regarding the possibility of anti-aging medicine. After all, most pharmaceuticals are intended to alter or compensate for some aspect of human design. However, there is a major problem that appeared in 1859: The mechanics aspect of Darwin’s evolution theory (survival of the fittest) is incompatible with evolution of a design feature that limits life span. Efforts spanning nearly 150 years have been unsuccessful in developing a theory of aging that successfully explains the multi-species observations within Darwin’s mechanics.
Goldsmith, trained as a digital systems engineer and therefore an outsider to both theory groups, chronicles the development of the competing theories and presents extensive evidence suggesting that aging-by-design is the most credible. The book also catalogs other observed discrepancies with Darwinian mechanics as well as various evolution concepts that have been developed to adjust Darwinism to accommodate them (including aging-by-design).
Goldsmith’s scientific interest is in using modern digital data theory to analyze the evolutionary implications of the digital nature of inheritance. (Genetic codes and the duplication and transfer of digital genetic data during inheritance must follow the general rules pertaining to any digital system.) This work has exposed some additional discrepancies with traditional evolution theory and therefore indirectly strengthened the case for aging-by-design.

Product Details

BN ID: 2940012061270
Publisher: Azinet Press
Publication date: 12/18/2006
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 200
File size: 7 MB

Customer Reviews

The Evolution of Aging 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a very interesting book, especially if you are in the older half of the population, enjoy scientific mysteries, or are otherwise interested in theories of biological aging. The book makes a pretty good logical case that aging is a potentially highly treatable condition and that therefore we, specifically the U.S. Government National Institutes of Health, should be spending a lot more money on anti-aging research. The author thinks a fifty-percent improvement in human life span is a reasonably short-term possibility. In this case the scientific quandary, (the dilemma of the title), is whether or not aging is an evolved characteristic in the same way that eyes, claws, and fangs are the result of evolution. There is a lot of circumstantial evidence that aging is evolved but Darwin¿s theory of evolution says aging can¿t be an evolved characteristic because it is adverse to survival and therefore counter to survival-of-the-fittest. This has resulted in two scientific camps. The larger camp goes with Darwin¿s theory and has produced at least three different theories in which aging is not evolved but is some sort of defect or fundamental unchangeable property of life. The smaller camp, (including the author), has developed at least three different theories that say that aging is evolved and that Darwin¿s 143 year old theory needs at least some minor adjustments to accommodate aging and some other similarly incompatible characteristics of animals. According to the book, Darwin himself thought aging was evolved, despite his theory! Why should we care? The people in the non-evolved camp tend to believe that aging is inescapable and that therefore anti-aging research is a waste of time and money. The people in the evolved camp tend to think the chance for major medical intervention in aging is much better. Depending on theories, researchers will look in different places for answers. One thing seemed clear to me: The scientific justification for the idea that aging is an unalterable fact of life is rather weak. This is significant considering that, (according to the author), about 80 percent of the public and a probably larger percentage of health professionals think that major improvements in life span are either impossible or very unlikely. Along the way to these conclusions, the book provides a lot of interesting factoids about human mortality, miscellaneous bizarre aging and life span characteristics of various animals and other organisms, summaries of all the theories including Darwin¿s theory of natural selection, and results of a survey on public opinions about aging. The author maintains a web site that provides one-click access to on-line resources cited in the book. This book is relatively free of scientific jargon.