Cake
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    • I'm going to suggest that cancerous killer T cells give an evolutionary advantage to the genes inside an organism that has it. How could getting cancer be an evolutionary advantage to a gene you say? Well if an organism lives too long then evolution and hence adaptation within a species is reduced or slowed down. Even if you don't accept evolution at the organism or species level it would still make sense that an organism that lives too long, especially beyond the age it can procreate, would be a disadvantage. One of the challenges with thinking about evolution however is the ease with which we can come up with just-so stories.

      How is the size of organisms related to their lifespan? Smaller organisms usually have faster metabolisms and hence shorter lifespans but is there somewhat of a universal scale of this? Large organisms that live too short wouldn't be very evolutionary advantageous... Small organisms that live in extremely variable environments that lived for long periods would also seem to me to be an evolutionary disadvantage. What do you think? Cancer aids the survival of genes? The selfish gene...or cancer our saviour?

    • If I understand you, I would tend to agree. One of the reasons I think moral arguments are flawed and unresolvable in terms of being able to be objectively settled is the same reason I think we need to look at the nature of biological relationships with a more nuanced systemic lens.

      I think constructive or destructive is a more apt and useful description of any given behavior or thing. Good and bad, right and wrong or any other moralistic spectrum tends to cause us to falsely bifurcate things into either or categories. This either or categorization is irrelevant to understand the dynamics of systems which are the principle economy of our biology and our reality.

      When constructive and destructive are used as a lens, from my perspective, it opens up the possibility to see that something could be both at the same time, or neither, or anywhere in between and change based on context, and that each aspect is always relative to a given system; meaning it could be constructive to one, or to all within a specified set, or destructive to one or all or a mixed bag etc.

      It also opens up the verbal categorical aperture to see that fruitful relationships are those that are more constructive than destructive on the whole, which is exactly how nature thinks. Nature seeks equilibrium by finding the choice between bloody and bloodier, not between perfect and imperfect.

    • I agree and would also add that people too often also think of evolution making things more complex when that also isn't always the case. Evolution has so many crazy connections and strategies that it can be naive to think we've nailed it down. Just when you think it's harmful it helps. A web of continuums.