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Thoughts?
 

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To an individual it's the consequence of a defect. To the species it's a survival advantage because it frees up resources for future generations, which will hopefully will be better adapted to the environment.

...except if nothing was dying I suppose that would mean that the species was already perfectly suited to the environment and not need to evolve. Never mind, I need to think about this.

It's pretty much inevitable for vertebrates though, because of the Hayflick limit if nothing else.
 

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To an individual it's the consequence of a defect. To the species it's a survival advantage because it frees up resources for future generations, which will hopefully will be better adapted to the environment.

...except if nothing was dying I suppose that would mean that the species was already perfectly suited to the environment and not need to evolve. Never mind, I need to think about this.

It's pretty much inevitable for vertebrates though, because of the Hayflick limit if nothing else.
I think the other way around. It's a defect to the species, but a survival advantage for an individual lifeform of whatever species because, like you said, it frees up natural resources.

...though you could look at eternal life as a defect for nature's web. :um Unless that lifeform is a productive part of the circle of life.

Idk. Haha.

This is hard.
 

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I'd say death is better suited to be defined by the ones who don't experience it. Simply because once you do, you don't matter. And until you do, you can't speak knowledgeably on the subject, but they would at least be the most active observer left.
 

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I think death is an advantage to a species the way it is right now--that is, I don't know of any species that can alter the way its representatives learn and adapt... after a while, humans have trouble forming new habits, abandoning old ones, basically they fall out of step with the world as it changes. Death is an advantage in that sense or we'd never establish new ways of social living, and we'd go extinct. I personally believe that's why we've evolved this lifespan.

Now, give me a sci-fi universe where we can tinker with our memories, where learning isn't an essentially repetitive and intensive process that can take years, and where habits are not such a drag to reform... under those conditions, death is unnecessary and even a disadvantage. I hope that's where humanity is going in general. (I wish I lived in that world now.)
 

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Death is the inevitable result of entropy. Everything wears out. Human bodies acquire more and more flaws as our cells continue to replace themselves.
 

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Death is necessary for evolution. Evolution is necessary for the long-term survival of life on the planet. Looking at the big picture, death is a survival advantage. We as a species, with our weirdly huge brains, would never have evolved if our ancestors hadn't done exactly the right amount of dying.

On the other hand, I'm pretty sure that many plants and a few animals (lobsters come to mind) don't die on a schedule like we do. They seem to be able to get away with that because they don't need to evolve. They're durable enough to stand up to small changes in their current environment as they are. In the long run, I think that kind of evolutionary standstill comes back to bite you. You're not going to see lobsters or bristlecone pines rise up and conquer the Earth anytime soon.

ETA: The second law of thermodynamics shouldn't be applied to living organisms, because they take in and release energy and matter all the time. Entropy only necessarily increases in isolated systems.
 

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Death and aging is a natural mechanism against evolutionairy stagnation of a species and to combat overpopulation. Ofcourse mankind has messed up the natural balance a long time ago and is a plague now due to us living longer and longer and longer. Nowadays the life estimate of someone in his/her 20's is that they will become at least 120 years old. That means overpopulation will be the biggest issue. I think the solution is a borrowed time law that if you live on mechanic organs and you become 75 the doctor should say that you have enough fun and that it is time to unplug it.
 

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Doesn't matter so much what evolutiong says because our future is not written in stone. As anybody would know if they examined hte present day world, humans really could care less what evolution says on most matters. For example, if a person falls and breaks a bone, we have two choices:
a) Leave it to nature and the person may die from infection or lose mobility
b) Send the person to a hospital, clean the wound, put a splint in, etc

There're lots of examples where evolution simply cannot do it. For example, try jumping into the ocean and swimming to the bottom. I bet you can't do it without using technology, can you? That right there should tell you evolution doesn't have the final say. And what of a person who's in pain from a curable disease? Should you just let them die because that's more natural?

We've been braking the house rules since we lit our first campfire.

I'm not saying extending life or even allowing for some people to live indefinitely won't have negative consequences, but I'm not going to deny it as a possibility. We just don't know for sure what the limitations are. We've only sent humans to one astral object in the whole universe. There're many billions of stars in our galaxy and billions of planets and many more billions of moons and comets and rogue planets and protoplanets, ALL unexplored by us. If an image of our galaxy were overlayed with the area of our radio transmissions since the beginning of the modern age it'd constitute only a small fraction of its total area. We can see other stars and yet we also know so little about what's really out there. Perhaps just learning a little scant bit has inflated our egos to enormous undeserved proportions.

Earth calling… but not very far: The tiny yellow dot in our galaxy that shows the (comparatively small) distance radio broadcasts have travelled in a century of reaching out to aliens:
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencet...stance-radio-broadcasts-aliens-travelled.html
 

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The longer an organism lives, the higher the chance that it will be killed. Either by predation, an accident or a disease (including those caused by mutations in its genome, like cancer). It would necessarily have to reproduce, otherwise its genome would eventually be wiped out. Also, the older the organism is, the more mutations it will have in its genome, meaning older organisms have a higher chance of producing less 'fit' offspring. So evolutionary pressures tend to cause species to carry out any reproduction at relatively young ages. There would be little to no evolutionary pressure for an organism to evolve infinite longevity.

It might be possible for an organism to evolve a functionally 'perfect' DNA repair mechanism to avoid mutations. But without mutations its lineage wouldn't be able to adapt to changing environments.

In practice, what we see in nature is a trade-off between longevity, reproduction and survivability (its ability to find food/escape from predators).

When it comes to evolution, as long as a species is able to survive long enough to reach reproductive maturity - to quote the Borg - "Death is irrelevant". It is neither an advantage nor a disadvantage, it just is.
 
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