Genetic Research stops aging...

William R. Penrose wpenrose at interaccess.com
Sun Oct 20 15:19:38 EST 1996


In article <32698507.6BC8 at noname.net> Human <noone at noname.net> writes:

>> The key here is to understand the link between life extension and
>> youth extension (the vitality and health of 20-30 year olds).
>> The first is unappealing without the other.  Who would want to
>> spend 60+ years enfeebled?  I have done some musing on this
>> topic.

The alternative to staying alive is being dead.  That's a powerful marketing 
tool to sell the research and the results, if successful.  None of the 
considerations below matter in the slightest by comparison.  (The one above 
(enfeebled), well, that's different.  Five hundred years in Depends isn't very 
appetizing.)

>> Consider:
>>         - Do you really want to be married to the same man/woman
>> for a century or more?

You bet.  Mayve a millenium or two.  (Maybe I am luckier than most.)

>>         - Just how long will you wait for your next promotion?

I can wait longer if I'm not going to die.

>>         - How much burden on the Earth's carrying capacity will
>> be created when it's not 3 1/2 generations alive at once but 6 to
>> 8 generations?

K. Eric Drexler, the nanotechnology man, claims in Engines of Creation that 
one of the possible outcomes of the new science is endless, healthy life, with 
death caused only by accidents and violence.  He then imagines that this would 
make people very very cautious about their lifestyles.  It's one thing to risk 
death in traffic or bungee jumping with forty years of life and a slow, 
miserable decline and death ahead of you, he supposes, but a much different 
thing if you can look forward to millenia of healthy life.

In turn, this means that populations that had the technology would be 
disinclined to make war, even in defense against disadvantaged nations 
that wanted also to achieve immortality.  The types of conflicts that 
would occur might resemble the barbarians vs. the fat and complacent 
Romans at the beginning of the Dark Ages.

Bill



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