Is death a product of evolution?

Thaluikhain

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bad rider said:
For example, a species whos life span is of a great length has little reason to reproduce. This is because it would strain the resources of their natural environment and result in mass death as a result of starvation/overpopulation. Whereas a species that has a short life span is encouraged to reproduce to be able to maintain their environment.
That depends on the resources available, whether the creautre is fully exploiting them and also whether the older creatures are useful in ensuring the survival of the group.

Short lived creatures evolve faster because each generation takes less time to produce the next.
 

DEAD34345

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Actually, death is a product of evolution (kind of), because it takes more resources to continually repair the body enough to be immortal than it does to keep it running for a long while (i.e. until we die of old age). In the past, being immortal would be mostly pointless because the chance we would ever live long enough to die of old age would be incredibly slim anyway, so the extra resources it would take to be immortal weren't worth it. That's what some science magazine I read a few months ago said, anyway.

Also, we as a species don't really need to adapt to our environment any more. We have pretty much evolved the ultimate tool to combat that, we alter our environment to adapt to us.
 

spartandude

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lunncal said:
Actually, death is a product of evolution (kind of), because it takes more resources to continually repair the body enough to be immortal than it does to keep it running for a long while (i.e. until we die of old age). In the past, being immortal would be mostly pointless because the chance we would ever live long enough to die of old age would be incredibly slim anyway, so the extra resources it would take to be immortal weren't worth it. That's what some science magazine I read a few months ago said, anyway.

Also, we as a species don't really need to adapt to our environment any more. We have pretty much evolved the ultimate tool to combat that, we alter our environment to adapt to us.

Evolution isnt a conscious thing, its random mutation and if it works it allows the being to pass it on, its doesnt decide what to evolve or how to, it just does, whether it needs to or not!
 

Yopaz

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gigastrike said:
You have to remember that evolution doesn't occure due to a need, or for any intelligent reason. It's totally random, and if the trait increases the chance of the creature surviving it gets passed on. Since aging gives no immediate advantage that would help a creature survive (quite the opposite actually), it's unlikely that it would be passed on.

You also have to consider that aging is an inherent by-product of our cell's designs. It would be almost impossible for creatures who have cells that are similar to our own at even the most basic level to not age.
Actually need is exactly why evolution occurs. A cuckoo will lay its eggs in a nest of one specific species of bird. If the bird realizes that the egg it got in its nest is not of its own species it wont put any effort into hatching the egg. Is it random that the cuckoo got mimicry that makes the egg look as much like the egg of its victim?
Take the fly orchid. It resembles a female fly to the point of having pheromones to attract male flies to pollinate it. I don't think that's something that just happen to occur by chance. The flower even blossoms before the female flies of that species are ready to mate so the male flies will try to mate with the flower because there is no female flies at all to mate with. There's a need and it evolved to it.

Sure, mutations are random and you can't predict them, but if a mutation isn't beneficial or if it's downright a negative thing it's not evolution. It's a character that will most likely disappear. A peacock is a product of evolution. An albino peacock is a random mutation.
 

PureIrony

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That...makes no sense. Evolution is a product of genetic variation, where the best variations live and the worst die. If we didn't die, there never would have been a point at which we needed to evolve.

That's kind of like asking if we developed fire extinguishers before we discovered fire.
 

DEAD34345

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spartandude said:
lunncal said:
Actually, death is a product of evolution (kind of), because it takes more resources to continually repair the body enough to be immortal than it does to keep it running for a long while (i.e. until we die of old age). In the past, being immortal would be mostly pointless because the chance we would ever live long enough to die of old age would be incredibly slim anyway, so the extra resources it would take to be immortal weren't worth it. That's what some science magazine I read a few months ago said, anyway.

Also, we as a species don't really need to adapt to our environment any more. We have pretty much evolved the ultimate tool to combat that, we alter our environment to adapt to us.

Evolution isnt a conscious thing, its random mutation and if it works it allows the being to pass it on, its doesnt decide what to evolve or how to, it just does, whether it needs to or not!
Yes, I know. Random mutations happen all the time, and ones that result in more offspring tend to be the ones that stick, this process is called evolution/natural selection. We didn't evolve immortality because it would have been detrimental overall.

Not sure what else to say...

*Edit* Wait, are you saying evolution is just random? Because that's not true at all. Mutations are random, but species evolve because the helpful mutations tend to stick. Evolution isn't a guided process, but it does generally head towards increased species survivability due to natural selection.
 

Bvenged

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Death prevents overpopulation.
If there was no death, there would be no need for breeding[footnote]Should breeding occur with an eternally young organism, it would only restore numbers lost by alternative death[/footnote]: Therefore, there would be no occurrence of natural selection thus no evolution.[footnote]Although one breed of jellyfish is speculated to never grow old via tissue regeneration, but it can still die by external means. It does this as a product of natural selection due to its environment and way of life.[/footnote]

Wow, smart sounding sentence that makes sense AND is correct!
 

gim73

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Bvenged said:
Death prevents overpopulation.
If there was no death, there would be no need for breeding: Therefore, there would be no occurance of natural selection thus no evolution.[footnote]Although one breed of jellyfish is speculated to never grow old via tissue regeneration, but it can still die by external means. It does this a product of natural selection due to its environment and way of life.[/footnote]

Wow, smart sounding sentence that makes sense AND is correct!
That is like saying 'War is a direct product of overpopulation. As human populations increase without limits our genetic code is programmed to murder larger and larger percentages of the population to stabilize the environment.' Such a statement fails on so many levels it's beyond measure. With humanities history it might seem like this trend works on some time scales, but it's pure nonsense.

As for your comment... In the absense of death, breeding would not become un-needed. Human nature would dictate the need for breeding. Even in an overpopulated world heading for a disaster, people feel the need to breed. I'm not even going to get into the whole religious topic of the need to breed, but family pressure to breed has always been a factor. We've lived in a world with low infant mortality for some time now, yet people still feel the need to toss out seven or eight children per couple. People get married multiple times and feel the need to have a child to 'seal the deal' for each marriage.

Although I'm a believer that eventually science will allow us to cheat death, I'm certain that cheat will never be for all of humanity. The planet could not support seven billion immortal people intent on dragging it down and increasing their numbers without bound. Religions would start murdering people in the streets and in their homes. Resources would disappear faster than they could be found and civilization would go away fast. We are still some time away from that day, so death is here to stay.
 

Batou667

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Is death a product of evolution?
Yes and no, I think.

On the one hand, death is unavoidable. As I understand it, human cells have abuilt-in lifespan or maximum number of times they can reproduce. Also, females of most species are born with all the eggs they will ever produce (and there are limits to male fertility too, albeit several decades later), so from the species' viewpoint, what's the use of individuals who can't reproduce?

And on the other hand, in most situations, eventual death is preferable - if only to keep a lid on population size and to keep competition for resources manageable.
 

Batou667

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gim73 said:
That is like saying 'War is a direct product of overpopulation. As human populations increase without limits our genetic code is programmed to murder larger and larger percentages of the population to stabilize the environment.' Such a statement fails on so many levels it's beyond measure. With humanities history it might seem like this trend works on some time scales, but it's pure nonsense.
You sure it's such nonsense? What reason would humans have to declare war, if not for the purpose of controlling land and resources? And what puts a strain on living space and resources, if not overpopulation?

I've long held the vague notion that humans aren't really designed to interact with populations much larger than at tribe-level, and that we're almost hard-wired to find tribalism, division and conflict when presented with any scenario other than a straight-up struggle for survival.
 

Fieldy409_v1legacy

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Batou667 said:
gim73 said:
That is like saying 'War is a direct product of overpopulation. As human populations increase without limits our genetic code is programmed to murder larger and larger percentages of the population to stabilize the environment.' Such a statement fails on so many levels it's beyond measure. With humanities history it might seem like this trend works on some time scales, but it's pure nonsense.
You sure it's such nonsense? What reason would humans have to declare war, if not for the purpose of controlling land and resources? And what puts a strain on living space and resources, if not overpopulation?

I've long held the vague notion that humans aren't really designed to interact with populations much larger than at tribe-level, and that we're almost hard-wired to find tribalism, division and conflict when presented with any scenario other than a straight-up struggle for survival.
Sounds like your talking about the monkeysphere. Go look it up on cracked.com.
 

Robert Ewing

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Evolution doesn't cater toward needs or intelligent design. Evolution tends to follow trends that is as follows.

Whoever impregnates the female, wins. Bonus points if you just passed on a gene that will help your future lines in the long run. I have faith in my escapists to know how evolution works...

So no OP I don't think something evolves to help along the evolution of another creature. It may coincidentally, but they have no control over evolution.
 

Acting like a FOOL

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the problem is that your whole premise is wrong. because overall, evolution is a product of death(not vice versa).
remember that evolution roots all life to a single origin. original life. meaning it was capable of dying and yet it had not evolved yet. it was only through death that some genes were eliminated and others survived.

if no individual of any species never failed at life, the change of that species into a another over time would never occur because adapting to survive wouldn't be necessary.the failing genes wouldn't be eliminated and the surviving genes wouldn't arise. as a matter of fact they wouldn't be differentiated from one another.
 

everythingbeeps

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People make it sound like immortality came first. Death exists because it's always existed. Life spans have only gone up.
 

Sarah Frazier

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To directly answer the title of the thread: I don't think that death is a product of evolution. In fact, I'd be more likely to believe that those species that are in some way immune to age have found a way to evolve it.

Evolution is more or less random with environmental factors guiding the general direction. Whatever mutations benefit the species and aren't detrimental to getting a mate have a better chance at being passed on until they become more of a norm than an anomaly. Humans are a bit of an exception where detrimental mutations are passed on to future generations thanks to medicine and technology that can mask its existence. That and the lack of predators and the amazing ability for humans to ignore the lizard-brain's revulsion.
 

Logiclul

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Interesting title, but no.

Evolution is a product of death, and that answer should be obvious. The fact that things die, and risk dying off, forces a species to evolve. Evolution would not, could not, exist without death.
 

spartandude

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Yopaz said:
gigastrike said:
You have to remember that evolution doesn't occure due to a need, or for any intelligent reason. It's totally random, and if the trait increases the chance of the creature surviving it gets passed on. Since aging gives no immediate advantage that would help a creature survive (quite the opposite actually), it's unlikely that it would be passed on.

You also have to consider that aging is an inherent by-product of our cell's designs. It would be almost impossible for creatures who have cells that are similar to our own at even the most basic level to not age.
Actually need is exactly why evolution occurs. A cuckoo will lay its eggs in a nest of one specific species of bird. If the bird realizes that the egg it got in its nest is not of its own species it wont put any effort into hatching the egg. Is it random that the cuckoo got mimicry that makes the egg look as much like the egg of its victim?
Take the fly orchid. It resembles a female fly to the point of having pheromones to attract male flies to pollinate it. I don't think that's something that just happen to occur by chance. The flower even blossoms before the female flies of that species are ready to mate so the male flies will try to mate with the flower because there is no female flies at all to mate with. There's a need and it evolved to it.

Sure, mutations are random and you can't predict them, but if a mutation isn't beneficial or if it's downright a negative thing it's not evolution. It's a character that will most likely disappear. A peacock is a product of evolution. An albino peacock is a random mutation.
its not need, and what you just said doesnt prove it at all, infact im not sure how your trying to prove you're point

its just random mutation, if it works then there is a good chance it will get passed on, simple as that, eventually the things with the new traits succeed very well and the ones without it die off

and if its not beneficial its not evolution? take a single celled organism, its just one cell but it has mutations every time it reproduces and the one cell still dies, now take one of your skin cells, every time you reproduce there is a chance your child's skin my have some better quality, however you skin cell, along with any cell in your body will die and be replaced
considering that cells die, and most of the time the cells in your body dont last that much longer than microbes anyway, is there any "benefit" for that single cell organism to turn into a multicellular organism? not really but it was still evolution
 

spartandude

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saying that immortality doesnt happen becuase we'd have no need to reproduce and therefore evolution doesnt occur, so evolution prevents it impplies that evolution is a conscious process which it is not.

again as ive said many times, evolution is random mutation that happens during reproduction which gives the offspring new traits, if said trait proves to be useful the organism will likely live ling enough to reproduce, eventually the organisms with the new trait will prove too much competition for the those without this trait and the "less evolved" ones will not live long enough to reproduce



now also in this argument we must be clear on our definition of immortality.
is it?
A. never dying of old age
B. being invincible, from old age, injury, illness etc

some people in this thread have talked about how resorces would be an issue in terms of evolution and heres how they would play a part

if its B then resorces are not any problem for this organism as it cant die and could simply spread all over the galaxy but thats rather scifi isnt it

however with option A, remember this trait only has to help the organism survive long enough to reproduce, immortality wouldnt realy play a part in in that. now lets also take in the environment, it is likely that (depending on what over traits this immortal organism has) eventually other organisms will get new traits to deal with this, such as herbivores becoming better at foraging, providing too much competition for food and water, to predatores being better at hunting. pathogens (which have massive mutations when reproducing) could also kill off these organisms
however as evolution is RANDOM and does NOT come out of need yes there is a chance resorces could potentially become and issure and life could simply die it in the wake of an immortal organism
 

Doom-Slayer

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bad rider said:
You make a good point, but the basic assumption I think is sort of off. Your idea that death and life expectancy being a trait like blue eyes or being tall is kin dof where it falls down. As far as Im aware the definition of death is the result of a build up of lessened/weakened/inaffective cells, that when they accumulate enough they result in the malfunction of the lifeform.c Due to the massive number of times the cells must reproduce, since they are not perfect they cannot reporduce exactly right every time and nagtive qualities get picked up with each cycle, and due to how complex and how large our bodies are, this decides our lifespan. I do like the idea of evolution controlling lifespan to cycle faster, but I cant see how any changes could modify our lifespan significantly longer or shorter when our overall makeup, size and body structuve remain very similar.(Ignoring increased lifespan as a result of increased intellegence, sticking with biological here)
 

Yopaz

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spartandude said:
Yopaz said:
gigastrike said:
You have to remember that evolution doesn't occure due to a need, or for any intelligent reason. It's totally random, and if the trait increases the chance of the creature surviving it gets passed on. Since aging gives no immediate advantage that would help a creature survive (quite the opposite actually), it's unlikely that it would be passed on.

You also have to consider that aging is an inherent by-product of our cell's designs. It would be almost impossible for creatures who have cells that are similar to our own at even the most basic level to not age.
Actually need is exactly why evolution occurs. A cuckoo will lay its eggs in a nest of one specific species of bird. If the bird realizes that the egg it got in its nest is not of its own species it wont put any effort into hatching the egg. Is it random that the cuckoo got mimicry that makes the egg look as much like the egg of its victim?
Take the fly orchid. It resembles a female fly to the point of having pheromones to attract male flies to pollinate it. I don't think that's something that just happen to occur by chance. The flower even blossoms before the female flies of that species are ready to mate so the male flies will try to mate with the flower because there is no female flies at all to mate with. There's a need and it evolved to it.

Sure, mutations are random and you can't predict them, but if a mutation isn't beneficial or if it's downright a negative thing it's not evolution. It's a character that will most likely disappear. A peacock is a product of evolution. An albino peacock is a random mutation.
its not need, and what you just said doesnt prove it at all, infact im not sure how your trying to prove you're point

its just random mutation, if it works then there is a good chance it will get passed on, simple as that, eventually the things with the new traits succeed very well and the ones without it die off

and if its not beneficial its not evolution? take a single celled organism, its just one cell but it has mutations every time it reproduces and the one cell still dies, now take one of your skin cells, every time you reproduce there is a chance your child's skin my have some better quality, however you skin cell, along with any cell in your body will die and be replaced
considering that cells die, and most of the time the cells in your body dont last that much longer than microbes anyway, is there any "benefit" for that single cell organism to turn into a multicellular organism? not really but it was still evolution
So there's a gene in cats that make cats white and in many cases the same gene makes them deaf. They do not survive in the wild because they lack one of their most important characters. They do not reproudece and create offspring that is deaf which goes towards creating a new species because being deaf is bad. This is a random mutation that's negative. Do you honestly think it will survive and create a deaf population?

Read my entire post and you will see that I said evolution is a product of random mutations, but random muttions are not evolution. Evolution affects more than one individual. More than one line. Evolution is the process of adapting to the environment. Do you think that it is by chance that the polar bear is white or do you think that those with different colours weren't fit to live there? Evolution is both the process of mutations and the process of picking out what is beneficial. The ones that don't adapt will have a lower fitness and their genes will dwindle in the gene pool.