All according to plan: as a theory of the aging process the second century survives without evidence

Death in the name of speed

“Children are our future”, “all best — to children” and other slogans appeal to the conscience of the older generation for a reason: in the conflict of fathers and children fathers will always be stronger. Over their shoulders — even if we’re not talking about the person with a complex social structure — experience and immunity. Accumulated over many years of life conditioned reflexes and immunological memory give the older generation a survival advantage, which is Junior to compete not on the shoulder. However, despite its solid head start, fathers always lose. In the conflict interferes with something else.

The programmed theory of aging suggests that at some point in the body of the fathers is included the mechanism of dying, which weakens their relative children. In populations where age individuals would lose viability and fertility, children would have to wait for too long until they released niche. To give way to the young, we need an aging program, which will take fathers out of the game.

From the point of view of each individual separately purchasing such a program seems crazy — why to stop multiplying and start dying, if you can produce more offspring? However, as claim the followers of the theory, the aging program works to benefit the population as a whole. Accelerating the change of generations, they say, the program accelerates and evolution, giving organisms a chance to adapt quickly to changing environmental conditions.

This idea is almost 130 years old — one of the first it sounded a zoologist August Weismann in 1891. Since then, against the theory of programmed aging are found in a number of arguments. So, one of its weaknesses is that the theory relies on group selection, which some scientists consider to be less significant than the individual, and some doubt that it exists. Besides, it is not very clear what are the advantages for the population would be at the beginning of the inception of such a program, because to die will be the most adapted individuals — those that were able to reach old age.

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