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Attitudes to life extension via genetic engineering

Patrick O'Neil patrick at corona
Wed Feb 15 18:35:07 EST 1995

On 14 Feb 1995, Vincenzo Nardi-Dei wrote:

> First get life exstension and reduce the ageing illnesses; just
> for this goal we will need many decades yet. then get a REAL
> life exstension (and get the technology on how to do it); maybe
> all of us will be already died by that time. Then start THINKING
> about immortality

Immortality can be forgotten about...wont happen BUT real significant 
life extension is NOT a capacity that is that far off.  It is too late to 
consider ramifications once you already start to conduct procedures.  All 
too often we as a species acts first, waits for signs of a consequence, 
THEN tries to dow something about it but only after much hand waving and 
argument, while all that time the consequences proceed to get worse.

> Ageing research, at this time, is focused to reasonably extend the
> average human life span, and, mostly, to relief the deseases that
> occur when people become old, in order to allow elderly people
> to have a more enjoyble and fruitfull late part of the life.

I have no problem with treatments or research into making the lives we
have more disease free and productive up until the time of death, but the
discussion has been addressing biotechnological means of increasing
lifespan well beyond normal or average.  Again, such a capacity is not all
that far off.  A researcher at the Univ. of Boulder, in Colorado stated in
a Life magazine article devoted to life extension and research on ageing
some three or four years ago that he thought they could produce a drug
that would increase lifespan by some 40 years in about 15 to 20 years
(based upon his then-current research)...  I believe his name was Tom
Johnson, but I cannot quite recall.  Even that modest an increase WOULD
have population effects. 

On another note, do not mistake a reasoned interest in maintaining a 
sustainable and enjoyable population size to being a recluse or 
otherwise.  Just because someone would prefer NOT to have people piled up 
all over the place does not make them antisocial.  The quality of our 
life is not increased with quantity.  As a matter of fact, why, do you 
suppose, that so many people flee high-density cities in such numbers, 
seeking nice rural locations if tons of human bodies walking about is 
soooooo desireable?  It is not simply economic nor crime-related...it is an 
entire quality of life issue.  


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