No more Vance.........

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No more Vance.........

by Goodbook on Fri Nov 09, 2018 01:12 PM

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Over the centuries philosophers have likewise attempted to answer the question, Why does man die? In the fourth century B.C.E., the Greek philosopher Aristotle taught that the continuation of a person’s life hinged on the body’s ability to balance heat and cold. He said: “It is always to some lack of heat that death is due.” Plato, on the other hand, taught that man has an immortal soul that survives the death of the body. Today, despite the amazing advances of modern science, biologists’ questions about why we grow old and die remain largely unanswered. Said The Guardian Weekly of London: “One of the great mysteries of medical science has been not why people die of cardiovascular disease or cancer: it was why they die even when there is nothing wrong at all. If human cells divide, and go on renewing themselves by division for 70 years or so, why should they suddenly stop replicating all at once?” In their quest to understand the aging process, geneticists and molecular biologists have turned their attention to the cell. Many scientists feel that within these microscopic units, the key to longer life can be found. Some, for instance, predict that genetic engineering will soon allow scientists to conquer cancer and heart disease. But how close is science to fulfilling mankind’s dream of living forever? Unlocking Secrets of the Cell Previous generations of scientists attempted to unlock secrets of the cell, but they lacked the necessary tools to do so. It has only been within the last century that scientists have had the ability to peer inside a cell and observe many of its basic components. What have they found? “The cell,” says science writer Rick Gore, “has turned out to be a microuniverse.” To get some idea of the enormous complexity of a cell, consider that each one is made up of trillions of much smaller units called molecules. Yet, when scientists observe the structure of a cell, they find tremendous order and evidence of design. Philip Hanawalt, assistant professor of genetics and molecular biology at Stanford University, says: “The normal growth of even the simplest living cell requires that tens of thousands of chemical reactions occur in coordinated fashion.” He also states: “The programmed accomplishments of these tiny chemical factories go far beyond the capabilities of the scientist in his laboratory.” Imagine, then, the daunting task of trying to extend the human life span through biological means. It would require not only a deep understanding of the basic building blocks of life but also the ability to manipulate those building blocks! Let us take a brief look inside a human cell to illustrate the challenge facing biologists.
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