The Institute's Approach (Cont'd)
The fact that the Institute utilized the scientific method in developing the Hypothesis would not appear to be all that noteworthy. That’s how all natural sciences work. Except that, to a great extent, that is not how the life sciences work as they relate to the aging process.
The purpose of the scientific method is to create a conceptual framework, or theory, that explains not just what happens, but why it happens. That framework or theory can then be used to predict what will happen in the future. Take the apocryphal example of Newton developing the Theory of Gravitation based upon the observation that an apple falls from a tree. The observation is useful, and it can be repeated endlessly with the same result. But the important thing is that Newton was able to determine why the apple fell to the ground. The Theory of Gravity explains why the apple falls rather than rises. Thus one can state with confidence that the next apple will also fall. We’re not just relying on the observations; we are relying on the Theory.
There is no generally accepted theory that explains why we age. All we have are observations. To a great extent, the life sciences rely on data rather than theory. We believe that all older people are going to suffer the infirmities of aging because that’s what has been observed. In making that prediction, we’re relying on the observations rather than a theory that tells us why that is going to happen.
,When an observation is different from what the theory would expect, it is called an anomaly. In other fields of natural science, anomalies can cause scientists to reconsider the underlying theory. Since there is no generally accepted theory of aging, it is easy for life scientists to simply dismiss anomalies. The life sciences paradigm is to rely on statistics and data rather than focusing on why events occur. The approach is that since other people generally get weaker and less healthy as they age, that is what will happen to the founder. When that doesn’t happen in the founder’s case, life scientists dismiss it as an anomaly. “Humans are complicated.” “He’ll probably get sick and die next year.”
The Institute takes a different approach. Exercise is the universal anomaly when it comes to hypotheses relating to the aging process. No one has been able to come up with a scientific mechanism that explains why exercise reduces the risk of substantially all chronic degenerative disorders. No one has been able to come up with an explanation as to why humans suffer the infirmities of aging, which include all of the chronic degenerative disorders.
The life sciences are a natural science. That means that there is an answer. There is a conceptual framework that explains why there is an aging process. But such a framework or theory must take into account the universal anomaly. Especially since that anomaly – periodic intense exercise – reduces the risk of all chronic degenerative diseases and is the evolutionary default mode. The simple way to reformulate all of the anomalies is to state that humans who don’t engage in intense exercise are going to suffer from FDS. And all of the pre-existing hypotheses are nothing more than descriptions of symptoms of FDS.