Thesis #29 – Species with fully symmetrical fission as the sole means of reproduction do not have a declining force of natural selection acting on survival, and they do not evolve aging phases in which all individuals show declining survival.
I have already mentioned that there are organisms that show no signs of aging, not even when they are carefully maintained in scientific laboratories. Some of these are multicellular animals that have eukaryotic cells very similar to our own. Yet, no aging. Ergo, aging cannot be due to features of cell biology that are common among animals.
It is not trivial which animal species evolve to be free from aging. These are all species in which the Forces of Natural Selection do not decline, as is to be expected in the evolutionary theory of aging.
Under what conditions is such decline prevented? As already mentioned, non-aging species reproduce by splitting into similar offspring, only. Coelenterates that reproduce in this fissile manner only do not usually show aging. Other coelenterates that do not have any type of fissile reproduction do undergo aging.
The fundamental determinant of aging is whether the Forces of Natural Selection decline with adult age or not, rather than the biological details. If an organism develops to the point of reproduction, and then reproduction leads to two symmetrical “newborns,” there is no opportunity for the Forces of Natural Selection to fall, because there is no adult organism at all. There are only juveniles.
As the Methuselah Flies also suggest, the straightforward evolutionary explanation of the existence of non-aging animals brutally demonstrates the vacuity and irrelevance of the cell-molecular approach to aging, the overwhelmingly dominant biomedical research paradigm in aging and biomedical research.
More generally, it also suggests the vacuity and impotence of the cell-molecular paradigm for systematic progress in addressing most of the key chronic diseases which are devastating millions of people in industrial countries. Cell and molecular biologists will certainly generate many publications as they study such chronic diseases. And they will award each other numerous research grants, get their protégés good tenured faculty jobs, etc. But millions of patients will suffer and die for the scientific and technological inadequacy of the prevailing cell-molecular dogmas. This seems like a high price to pay for continuing to support a biomedical priesthood that chooses to overlook the limits to their knowledge, sometimes willfully.
If Martin Luther was so outraged by the excesses of the Catholic hierarchy that he posted 95 theses on a cathedral door, my 55 theses reflect a still greater outrage over the millions that are now suffering and dying in order that the present-day complacency of the biomedical establishment, and its allies in the pharmaceutical industry, be maintained without challenge.