(urth) An Evil Guest science errors

James Wynn crushtv at gmail.com
Mon Jan 4 08:28:19 PST 2010

Perhaps Chase is using different variables based on empirical data in other 
non-aging cultures. Perhaps un-aging cultures tend toward more violence and 
risk. And for self-slaughter, we're talking suicide. We simply cannot know 
the rates of suicide in cultures where life goes on and on.

From: "Gwern Branwen" <gwern0 at gmail.com>
Sent: Monday, January 04, 2010 10:07 AM
To: "The Urth Mailing List" <urth at lists.urth.net>
Subject: (urth) An Evil Guest science errors

> I forgot to include this in my tone email, but another thing that
> bothered me coming from an engineer is the apparent sloppiness with
> his scientific assertions.
> Reis claims that even if humans didn't age, we'd still only get 2 or
> 300 years because of accidents and murders and self-slaughter. This is
> a classically conservative argument against being interested in curing
> aging - you're going to die anyway, and soon - but as far as I can
> tell, his numbers are just wrong.
> I have seen statistics to the effect that a 12 year old who stopped
> aging could expect a median lifespan of >1000 years before disease or
> something else finally got her. But the mortality rates for young
> people in general are low enough that 2 or 300 years is ridiculously
> too little, and we can see this very easily,
> http://gravityandlevity.wordpress.com/2009/07/08/your-body-wasnt-built-to-last-a-lesson-from-human-mortality-rates/
> mentions that 1/3000 or 0.03% of 25 year-olds will die age 25. (Seems
> reasonable to me.)
> If we assume a cohort of 10x people, and each year 0.03% of them die,
> then 1000 years from now, 7.4x will still be alive. 300 years from
> now, 9.15x will still be alive, and 200 years will see 9.42x. It's a
> low death rate!
> Even a little basic figuring would have show 2-300 years to be absurd.
> And we can't make the excuse that Wolfe was estimating from the
> mid-40s ages of the protagonists, since the mortality rate cited for
> 42 year-olds is 1/750 or 0.13%. Plug in the 1/750 to the formula and
> ask for 300 years from now, and 6.7x are still alive. Heck, 2.6x are
> still alive 1000 years from now. 7/10ths or 3/10ths odds are not
> grounds for despair and dismissal.
> I'm calculating this in a Haskell REPL, GHCi, using this expression
> for 100 years: 'take 100 $ iterate (\x -> x - (x * 0.0003)) 10'
> You can see that each step is a year, and each step subtracts 0.03% of
> the previous year's population-total:
> [10.0,9.997,9.9940009,9.99100269973,9.98800539892008,9.985008997300405,9.982013494601215,9.979018890552835,9.97602518488567,9.973032377330204,9.970040467617006,9.96704945547672,9.964059340640077,9.961070122837885,9.958081801801034,9.955094377260494,9.952107848947316,9.949122216592631,9.946137479927653,9.943153638683675,9.940170692592071,9.937188641384294,9.934207484791878,9.931227222546442,9.928247854379677,9.925269380023364,9.922291799209358,9.919315111669595,9.916339317136094,9.913364415340952,9.91039040601635,9.907417288894546,9.904445063707877,9.901473730188766,9.898503288069708,9.895533737083287,9.892565076962162,9.889597307439074,9.886630428246841,9.883664439118366,9.88069933978663,9.877735129984694,9.874771809445699,9.871809377902865,9.868847835089495,9.865887180738968,9.862927414584746,9.859968536360372,9.857010545799463,9.854053442635724,9.851097226602933,9.848141897434953,9.845187454865723,9.842233898629264,9.839281228459674,9.836329444091136,9.83337854525791,9.8304
> 28531694333,9.827479403134824,9.824531159313883,9.821583799966088,9.8186373248261,9.815691733628652,9.812747026108564,9.809803202000731,9.80686026104013,9.803918202961817,9.80097702750093,9.79803673439268,9.795097323372362,9.79215879417535,9.789221146537097,9.786284380193136,9.783348494879078,9.780413490330615,9.777479366283515,9.77454612247363,9.771613758636889,9.768682274509297,9.765751669826944,9.762821944325996,9.759893097742697,9.756965129813375,9.75403804027443,9.751111828862348,9.74818649531369,9.745262039365095,9.742338460753285,9.739415759215058,9.736493934487294,9.733572986306948,9.730652914411056,9.727733718536733,9.724815398421171,9.721897953801644,9.718981384415503,9.716065690000178,9.713150870293179,9.71023692503209,9.70732385395458]
> -- 
> gwern
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