Cell death, human death, and evolution
"The quest for eternal life, or at least prolonged youthfulness, has now migrated from the outer fringes of alternative medicine to the halls of Harvard Medical School" ... Quest for a long life gains scientific respect
I wonder if the involved researchers at the Harvard Medical School and elsewhere are paying any attention to the broader implications of related research
"as we get older, our cells lose their cannibalistic prowess. The decline of autophagy may be an important factor in the rise of cancer, Alzheimer’s disease and other disorders that become common in old age. Unable to clear away the cellular garbage, our bodies start to fail." ... Self-destructive behavior in cells may hold key to a longer life
Let's think about this. Humans are a complex assembly of cells and cell death/replacement is an essential mechanism to keep humans from falling apart. Cultures/societies are a complex assembly of humans, and so .... ? Perhaps individual death is an essential mechanism to keep cultures/societies from falling apart? Along these lines, its worth noting that biological evolution, a particular good researcher, has by and large not favored immortality.
Maybe we need to do some serious rethinking about the likely consequences of research aimed at "prolonged youthfulness"? And perhaps more generally about our culture's distaste for death. Maybe death plays an important role at all levels of biological organization, and should be appropriately valued rather than unquestionably resisted.