Posted by: BibleScienceGuy | July 29, 2020

Kepler Ponders Senescence

(5 Minute Read. 29Jul2020)

Kepler ponders his senior years

Woof! Woof!
This is Kepler, Master’s Jack Russell terrier, writing another article for Master’s Bible-Science Guy Blog.

Recently as I have been growing older, I have been contemplating how I will spend my “golden years” with Master and Missus.

Will they outlive me or will I outlive them?

If they outlive me, who will guard their campsites? Who will control the rodents in their backyard? What will they do with my water guns?

If I outlive them, who will feed me? Nowadays Master gives me delicious meals every day — not quite as much as I would like, but enough to keep me nourished and energized at a healthy weight.

I need to plan for what to do if I live longer than Master and Missus. I saw what happened with my late buddy Henry when he outlived care-taking by Master’s aunt. He was going to be sent to a short-term shelter if Master had not adopted him. I shuddered when Master explained what “short-term” meant. I do not want that to happen to me!

I asked Master why everyone eventually dies. Why do bodies wear out and die? Why can’t we just keep on living?

Master said the curse of death came because of his mega-great-grandfather Adam’s sin in the Garden of Eden 6,000 years ago. Death began when Adam ate the God-forbidden fruit from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Death entered through Adam’s sin and spread throughout creation.
And to Adam God said, “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife and have eaten of the tree of which I commanded you, ‘You shall not eat of it,’ cursed is the ground because of you; in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life; thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you; and you shall eat the plants of the field. By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” (Genesis 3:17-19 ESV)
Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned. (Romans 5:12)
For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now.
(Romans 8:20-22)

I was so glad to learn that Adam’s dog did not have anything to do with causing the curse of death. People have asked me what kind of dog Adam had in Eden. I am not certain of the answer, but I’m pretty sure it was a type of Jack Russell terrier — because Jack Russells are the best dogs, and Adam would have had the best dog in Eden.

Master said there’s no getting around death, for him and for Missus and for me. No matter how hard we try to stay healthy through diet and exercise, we will eventually die unless the Savior returns first.
It is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment.
(Hebrews 9:27)

Lifespan Comparison

Part of my analysis and planning for the possibility of outliving Master requires an accurate estimate of my lifespan compared with that of my humans.

There’s an old and simple formula for converting dog years to human years. To convert dog years to human years, multiply dog years by seven. That is, if a dog is 5 years old, he’s comparable in life span to a 7 x 5 = 35-year-old human.

But this simple formula has obvious deficiencies. For example, a 9-month-old dog can have puppies. But a human aged 7 x 3/4 years = 5 1/4 years can’t yet bear children.

Master told me about a recent peer-reviewed article, Quantitative Translation of Dog-to-Human Aging by Conserved Remodeling of the DNA Methylome, in the journal Cell Systems. That article proposed a more complex conversion formula.

Based on a research study of over 100 Labrador Retrievers spanning a 16-year age range, scientists at the University of California San Diego School of Medicine proposed this formula for comparing dog ages with human ages:
Human Years = 16 x ln(Dog Years) + 31
where “ln” is the natural logarithm function.

The researchers used a method to determine the age of cells using chemical marks in DNA (methylation marks) that change with age. They based their formula on the results obtained from Labradors.

I was born in March 2014, so my current dog age is 6.33 years. According to this new logarithm formula, I’m comparable to a 60-year old human.

But I have seen many 60-year-old humans hobbling around at campgrounds, and I am far more spry than all of them. So based on my own anecdotal experience, I question the validity of this new formula. Using the old 7-year formula, my human year age is 44. While more reasonable, this still seems a little old to me.

Master as well critiqued the new logarithm formula. Since it was developed through research with Labrador Retrievers, he said it may not apply to dogs with different life spans. The average life span for a Labrador Retriever is about 12 years, but the average life span for a Jack Russell terrier is about 16 years.

Assuming the logarithm formula is correct for Labs, it should be adjusted for Jack Russell terriers by the ratio of 12/16 = 3/4:
Human Years = (3/4) x (16 x ln(Dog Years) + 31)
where “ln” is the natural logarithm function.

Using this adjusted logarithm formula, my current human-year-age would be 45 which in my opinion is much more reasonable than 60. Anyway, I trust Master’s math much more than the people who wrote the journal article.

Secondly, Master questioned using the natural log function for the entire range of a dog’s life. He said that dogs mature rapidly when young as evidenced by their ability to reproduce at 9 months of age. They age gradually during their middle years, but often they decline rapidly near the end. For example, my buddy Henry was spry, athletic, and active until his last week or so when he rapidly declined and died. Thus the natural logarithm function works well for young and middle-aged dogs but not for the end of life.

Master suggested that a better function to use might be a tangent function or a hyperbolic sine function, sinh(x) = [e^{x} – e^{-x}] / 2. These functions have steep increases at the extremes and a more gradual increase in the middle. Functions of the form
A tan(Bx + C) + D
A sinh(Bx + C) + D
where the constants A, B, C, D are empirically determined through methylation studies might be better dog-to-human lifespan conversion models. Different dog breeds with different lifespans would have different sets of constants.

I’m running for President in 2020

I am not a mathematician like Master. So I still have no idea whether I’ll have to say goodbye to Master and Missus, or if they’ll have to say goodbye to me. I guess I should listen to Missus. She says all the time, “Don’t worry. It’s in God’s hands.”

As many of Master’s readers know, I am running for President this year. Regardless of which of the age conversion formulas is used, I’m certainly old enough in human years to be President since the Constitution specifies the President must be at least 35 in human years. (See Kepler for President for my campaign announcement and for links to posts outlining my positions on the issues.)

So that’s how things look from my Dog House!

Till next time, this is Kepler signing off. Woof! Woof!

Question Mark Cufflinks

Questions to Ponder

1. Do you know a better formula for comparing a dog’s lifespan with a human’s lifespan?
2. What perplexing concern do you need to release into God’s wise and loving hands?

Share your thoughts on these questions in the comments below. It could encourage or help another reader.

For Christ and His Kingdom. Soli Deo Gloria. Alere Flammam Veritatis.

This is the 43rd article in a series of blog posts on a precocious Jack Russell terrier named Kepler. Numbers 1-8 are by Kepler’s master, the BibleScienceGuy. Numbers 9-44 are by Kepler himself.
Read the prequels:
1. Why I Named Our Puppy “Kepler”
2. Kepler’s Kind
3. Kepler’s Lopsided Trade
4. Kepler’s Amazing Nose
5. Kepler’s Business Card
6. Kepler & the Psycho Squirrel
(with video)
7. Taunting Kepler
8. Adam and Puppies

The following prequels are by Kepler:
9. Who Taught Kepler?
10. Kepler Gets a Buddy
(with video)
11. Kepler Chases a Squirrel (with video)
12. Kepler’s Complaint
13. Kepler’s To-Do List
14. Kepler and the Football Weekend
15. Kepler’s Favorite Store
16. Kepler at a Truck Stop
17. Kepler & Henry Catch a Squirrel
18. Kepler Finds Killdeer Eggs
19. Kepler Finds Robin Eggs
20. Kepler Lives to Tell the Tale
21. Kepler, Bears, & Raccoons
22. Kepler Mentors Henry
23. Kepler Gets a Bear
24. Kepler Finds Strange Eggs
25. Kepler Finds Duck Eggs
26. Kepler Gives Thanks
27. Kepler’s Newest Enemy
28. Kepler Loves Bulldogs
29. Kepler Ponders Snow
30. Kepler Wants to Move to Australia
31. Kepler’s Dating Profile
32. Kepler Meets Skunk
33. Kepler Wants to Be Good
34. Kepler on Guard
35. Kepler Chews On Grammar
36. Kepler for President
37. Kepler for President: Grins & Growls #1
38. Kepler for President: Grins & Growls #2
39. Kepler’s Water Guns
40. Kepler Remembers Henry
(with video)
41. Kepler Gives a Virus Briefing
42. Kepler’s Campaign Advice

Read the sequel:
44. Kepler’s AK-47

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©William T. Pelletier, Ph.D.
“contending earnestly for the faith”
“destroying speculations against the knowledge of God”
“for the defense of the gospel”
(Jude 1:3; 2 Cor 10:5; Phil 1:16)
Wednesday July 29, 2020 A.D.

But now ask the beasts, and let them teach you;
And the birds of the heavens, and let them tell you.
Or speak to the earth, and let it teach you;
And let the fish of the sea declare to you.
Who among all these does not know
That the hand of the LORD has done this,
In whose hand is the life of every living thing,
And the breath of all mankind?
(Job 12:7-10)

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