Population Fears About Life Extension

Don Ashley dashley at TENET.EDU
Thu Feb 16 09:39:49 EST 1995


It is unlikely that a scientist on the verge of perpetuating cell 
division will stop at his lab and say

	 'Hey, hey, hey. Wait a minute, 
	here. If I could provide 200 year lifespans we might get crowded. I think 
	I'll just deposit this culture of telomerase in the trash.  Poohey on the 
	$10,000,000,000 windfall that will come to this laboratory.'



On Tue, 14 Feb 1995, Philip Rhoades wrote:

> 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 
> : materials.  
> 
> 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 
> : lifespan.
> 
> 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]
> 
> Phil.
> 
> --
> Philip Rhoades
> Pricom Pty Limited
> E-mail:	okx at extro.ucc.su.OZ.AU
> Phone :	+61 2 963-2246
> Fax   :	+61 2 569-5329
> S-mail:	GPO Box 3411 Sydney NSW 2001 Australia
> 
> 




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