Attitudes to life extension via genetic engineering
okx at extro
Tue Feb 14 09:47:40 EST 1995
Joseph J. Strout (strout at helmholtz) wrote:
: On Sun, 12 Feb 1995, Patrick O'Neil wrote:
: > Conversely, I have considered the wideer ramifications of such
: > manipulations and capabilities and have come to the conclusion that
: > significant life extension in general would be disastrous. The worl
: > population is already booming and there is concern about the environment
: > and available resources for the ever-growing minions.
: > ...
: > Unless there is another planet sitting around for us to expand onto, or
: > unless everyone will accept strict population control methods, then it
: > cannot work. The problems are the same, to varying lessor extents if you
: > are only considering minor life extensions.
: I think your analysis is essentially correct. Humanity's gestation is
: nearly over; the difficulty is making sure that Mother Earth does not die
: due to complications of childbirth.
: The only long-term solution, of course, is to expand from Earth. As you
: pointed out, long lives would be benificial given ample room and
: resources. Fortunately, there are resources aplenty in our home solar
: system. The gas giants, especially, are rich in energy and raw
This is a nice idea but apparently just science fiction (unless some new
technology is developed to get large numbers of people off the planet
cheaply - in terms of energy).
: Of course, the original question was about life extension
: through biological means, and it is doubtful that such methods will
: enable people to live on other worlds except in enclosed structures, and
: this will limit the rate of expansion.
: Of course, it would take an extremely aggressive emmigration program to
: counter the growth rate; births will have to be legally restricted, most
: likely, as they are in China already. The combination of emmigration and
: birth restriction may succeed in saving Earth -- despite an extended
Like I said above - it just ain't possible - parts of a solution are:
drastic population reduction (over a couple of centuries), drastic cuts in
the consumption of scarce resources, fanatical conservation of species
diversity and huge increases in recycling.
Ideally, I think a world population of ~1 billion is a good idea - with
disease, poverty and war elliminated - at least that's what we should be
aiming for - BEFORE we worry about going to other planets and stars.
Shifting a few people off earth cannot solve the problems. (BTW I am a SF
fan and I would be on the next shuttle if given half a chance - it's just
that hi-tech space solutions to the world's problems are a fantasy).
[Lecture mode off]
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