Friday, 16 May 2014

Do we need sciences of longevity and fidelity?

I wrote recently about repology - the proposed science of copying. However heredity famously involves other things besides copying. Famously, it is 'fecundity, fidelity and longevity' - not just 'fecundity'.

So, where does science stand regarding longevity and fidelity. The situation with longevity seems a bit better. For one thing there's a science of longevity, featuring evolutionary theories affecting senescence - such as the 'disposable soma', 'mutation accumulation' and 'antagonistic pleiotropy' theories of aging - and things like 'the reliability theory of aging' - which is a non-evolutionary theories of aging.

Then there's stability theory. Stability isn't quite the same thing as longevity - but the ideas are closely related. Catastrophe theory is another related area of mathematics.

How about fidelity? 'Fidelity' is perhaps not quite the right word. We want a term to cover avoiding mutation during copying and avoiding mutation at other times. There are engineering sciences of error correction and detection that deal with high fidelity copying and transmission. I haven't really heard too much about a science of robustness - or staying the same. However, those who make computer memory chips are sophisticated students of this topic. Perhaps any lack in this area is not too important. Repology and the science of copying seems to be a much more significant missing piece.

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