Debate and discussion of any biological questions not pertaining to a particular topic.
hello all! i've got a very interesting question which has bothered me since i was a kid. it's basically why and how do we die? anyone care to discuss this in both phisolophical or biological meanS? i would be most glad to share my points and ideas too! i am really looking forward to a scientic and fruitful discussion on this.
My No. 50 post!
I'm no expert in a biological sense, but I have studied enough philosophy to be dangerous.
I've come to the conclusion that we die because we have not acheived the perfect state of being. This includes (among other things) diet, exercise and most importantly, purpose.
As in any mechanical system, parts which outlive their usefulness will "die", while the parts which persist at maximum efficiency will continue to "live".
In biological perspective...
Last year, National Geographic published a great article called "Secrets of Long Life". In it, they studied three human populations whose life expectancy exceeded the norm. At the top of the list are the Okinawans (Japan) who live 10-15 years longer than the avg. human. When you read about these people you immediately realize that they operate much more efficiently and consume far fewer resources than the average human. For one, they're vegetarians whose daily caloric intake is only about 1500. Secondly, they remain very active even in old age with a fierce dedication to purpose.
Now take the converse. Imagine a bacon-slurping glutton who consumes far too much, who has no purpose in life other than self-maintenance, who essentially is a "faulty cog" in the machine. This person will likely die early.
And in a sense, I believe we all die early, because we suffer from the same inefficiencies.
Now let's take the opposite extreme of the glutton. A tree. The tree consumes only what it needs; it operates at maximum efficiency (no laziness!). This is essentially the perfect organism. It is no wonder that certain trees live thousands of years.
Philosophically it makes sense to me.
We die because we fail at life.
The biological death may be caused due to process of telomere shortening:DNA polymerase is not able of replicating the whole chromosome (certain parts at the end are not replicated) and this happends each time our chromosomes replicate. That's why at the end of each chromosome there is a region of repetetive DNA that serves no purpose, but to be lost (instead of useful DNA). There is an enzyme (Telomerase) that adds this repetetive DNA to the ends of chromosomes after each division. However, as people get older, this process is less and less efficient.As a result, telomeres become too short which is detected by the cell as a damage in its genetic material and it stops to grow (or even undergoes apoptosis).
fluktuacia!!! u hit the spot! i heard abt this telomere thing a few days ago during genetics lecture! but i would like to know more abt this! if it's just telomere concentration getting lesser, then why dun we just add telomeres? as in manufacture them if possible and inject into us.
as for the philosophical part, thanks for the wonderful definition! but sometimes philosophy confuses me cos it contradicts science. can anyone possibly link philosophy and biology meaning of death together? maybe we can have a better explanation of death.
i dun mind dying. but i wan to know why! at least!
Yeah, the philosophy can get pretty messy.
But science only answers "how", so philosophy has to answer "why".
The telomere explanation sounds good to explain the process of dying, but then we need to turn to philosophy to ask "why is the whole telomere thing built into the system in the first place?"
Sorta like we build disposable systems that are designed to fail at a specific time (example: lightbulbs). Why?
Wow, this discussion makes me want to watch Bladerunner again. If you haven't seen it, SEE IT NOW.
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