backtop


Print 95 comment(s) - last by porkpie.. on Mar 24 at 11:29 PM


A boy in England has received the first organ transplant that will grow inside the patient's body using their own stem cells.   (Source: PA)
The era of replaceable organs is drawing near





Comments     Threshold


This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled

RE: Medicine or de-evolution of our species?
By porkpie on 3/22/2010 4:46:37 PM , Rating: 3
"since, being the first species to have such evolutionary pressure removed, we couldn't possibly know"

But Spoofe, we do know. The only thing that keeps random mutations from eventually destroying the viability of a genome is the continual weeding out of deleterious mutations. This is basic biology. You can't hammer on a swiss watch forever and expect to to keep working.

We can forever debate semantics about the meaning of "better", "worse", and "evolve" vs. "devolve". But the situation can be put into more concrete terms. Medical treatment requires a certain amount of labor and resources. Over time, the amount the average individual consumes of those resources will increase, and the number of individuals who are not able to produce meaningful quantities of labor or other resources will also increase.

At some point, the expectation value of resources consumed will therefore exceed that of resources produced. At that point, society will be unable to support its citizens, and it will collapse from its own weight.

This conclusion is inescapable, irrefutable...and can only be prevented if we either develop the means to artificially remove genes we deem deleterious, or we reinstitute survival pressure of some sort, even if its only through a form of healthcare rationing.


RE: Medicine or de-evolution of our species?
By SPOOFE on 3/22/2010 6:56:20 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
But Spoofe, we do know. The only thing that keeps random mutations from eventually destroying the viability of a genome is the continual weeding out of deleterious mutations.

Ah, so you agree with me! Yes, this is indeed what I am saying: That we can manipulate our genes faster than our environment can.

quote:
We can forever debate semantics about the meaning of "better", "worse", and "evolve" vs. "devolve".

Just like we can debate forever about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin. That won't change the fact that "devolve", in this context, is a nonsensical term. It implies "the opposite of evolution", but there is no opposite: Whether an organism adapts for the better or worse, whether a mutation allows that species to thrive or causes it to go extinct, whether it's adapting to its environment or stagnating and dwindling to nothingness, it's still covered under the umbrella of "evolution".

quote:
Over time, the amount the average individual consumes of those resources will increase, and the number of individuals who are not able to produce meaningful quantities of labor or other resources will also increase.

Except even a casual look at history demonstrates the opposite: The number of individuals required for meaningful labor has dropped precipitously. I think your concern in this one regard is baseless.


By porkpie on 3/22/2010 7:54:43 PM , Rating: 3
"Ah, so you agree with me! "

Don't be coy. I've been very clear from my very first post. Either we turn to intentional manipulation of our genetic code -- eugenics, by a loose definition -- or we will eventually have to ration health care, or deal with social collapse.

"Except even a casual look at history demonstrates the opposite: The number of individuals required for meaningful labor has dropped precipitously"

Look, this really isn't that difficult to understand. Throughout most of past history, our ability to consume resources was --in the words of the Nobel Prize winning economist Milton Friedman-- "limited by the size of our stomachs". Agricultural advances reduced the amount of labor needed for us to simply survive ...everything beyond that was a luxury.

Medicine is the game changer, however. With advanced medical technology, a person needs more than just free air and a bowl of raman noodles to survive. They can require enormous amounts of highly complex machines, expensive drugs, and countless hours of highly skilled labor.

Every single year for the past 60, the amount of resources devoted to "keeping us alive" medically has increased. Every year. And as medicine improves, the situation gets worse, not better. New advances mean that much MORE that can be done to keep us alive.

Trying to apply lessons from the preindustrial age to era of high-tech medicine are far off base. Surely you can see that.


"We are going to continue to work with them to make sure they understand the reality of the Internet.  A lot of these people don't have Ph.Ds, and they don't have a degree in computer science." -- RIM co-CEO Michael Lazaridis










botimage
Copyright 2016 DailyTech LLC. - RSS Feed | Advertise | About Us | Ethics | FAQ | Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information | Kristopher Kubicki