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What is the goal of ageing research?

John de Rivaz John at longevb.demon.co.uk
Fri Feb 17 02:36:48 EST 1995

In article: <Pine.SOL.3.91.950214164531.16166C-100000 at corona>  Patrick 
O'Neil <patrick at corona> writes:
> On 14 Feb 1995 LITVAK at VMS.HUJI.AC.IL wrote:
> > 
> > I've been reading this newsgroup for several months and this is my first
> > posting. I'd like to relate to the latest discussion about life 
> > via genetic engineering and ask more general question. I think, 
> > arguments against life extension are very persuasive. Right now even 
> > changes in human lifespan would cause a demographic  disaster.
> Though I do not necessarily agree with all you wrote, it is nice to read 
> a post concerning all this that is actually thought out rather than pure, 
> emotionalistic-based self interest to the exclusion of all else.
> With all I have said, I nevertheless realize that knowledge ALWAYS gets 
> used.  Since research into the biology of aging is ongoing, and I could 
> NEVER accept a muzzle on scientific wanderings, one day there will be 
> treatments that would lead to an extended life, though NEVER immortality 
> (there are aspects of biology and biochemistry that cannot support 
> this).  This being so, the harm WILL be done (the demographic bomb - nice 
> phrase, by the way - WILL go off) and in the end, it will be 
> self-correcting in spite of our efforts.  Famine and disease are a 
> natural consequence of overpopulation, or more accurately, too high a 
> population density, and war is a social control.  All will happen in 
> result.  Nature is far better at engineering, via evolution, nasty 
> viruses, fungi, and bacterial strains than we are, and in the end, nature 
> always wins.  All I dislike about all this is that it wont be just us 
> that we take down.  We will take down many, many other species with us on 
> the road to our own self destruction.  It is THAT that I cannot blithely 
> accept.  If we do ourselves in, then we only deserve it, but the same 
> cannot be said for those other creatures we take with us.
> If it were possible to disconnect our damaging ways from the rest of the 
> biosphere, then I would say, "Go ahead and beat the crap out of 
> ourselves.  No sweat."  But this is not possible.
> Another point:  old age is NOT a disease.  It can be plagued with 
> disease, certainly, but in and of itself, it is a natural, evolutionarily 
> conserved (ABSOLUTELY conserved) fact of life.  It is no error.
> Patrick
Natural facts of life include the fact that  that if we don't wear clothes 
we can only live in equatorial zones. Should we therefor not wear clothes 
and confine ourselves to living in these areas?

Extending lifespan and making death voluntary are only expansions into time 
in the same way our use of clothes have enabled us to expand in space. So 
far this expansion is on most of the surface of our planet. A diving suit 
extends this to much of the hydrosphere, and a space suit is really merely a 
progression along this line which extends this to the rest of the universe.
Sincerely,     ****************************************       
               * Publisher of        Longevity Report *
John de Rivaz  *                     Fractal Report   *
               *          details on request          *
**** What is the point of life if it ends in death? ****

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