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Attitudes to life extension via genetic engineering

Rick Abrams ricka at praline.no.NeoSoft.com
Wed Feb 22 17:00:30 EST 1995

In article <Pine.SUN.3.90.950215092616.856A-100000 at cajal>,
Joseph J. Strout <strout at cajal> wrote:
>On Tue, 14 Feb 1995, Philip Rhoades wrote:
>> : 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).
>I skimmed the argument that transpired in rec.arts.sf.science some time 
>ago about this topic.  I was convinced that emmigration ALONE would not 
>solve the problem.  But, neither will population control, IF we assume 
>very long lifetimes, unless we are willing to virtually stop having 
>children.  Me, I like kids, and I dislike dying, so space it must be.  As 
>for "cheap", this is a relative term.  Our energy production (and usage) 
>*per capita* has been increasing exponentially (I believe); there is no 
>reason to suppose that we can't emmigrate faster than we reproduce.  My 
>home town produces a few thousand babies a year.  Could we lift more than 
>a few thousand people in a year?  Sure (assuming space travel becomes as 
>*relatively* cheap as, say, jet travel today).  In other places, the 
>situation is worse -- more babies and less resources -- and there we need 
>to curb growth as well.
>> 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. 
>Er, if you eliminate disease, poverty, and war, and disallow emmigration, 
>then what happens to the other 4 billion people "over the course of a 
>couple centuries"?  Euthanasia would work, I suppose, and may be best for 
>the planet and species in the long run, but I certainly would support 
>I'm a middle-of-the-road-ist; I think Drexler may be a bit 
>overenthusiastic (and yes, I've read Nanosystems), but I also think we 
>mustn't be too short-sighted.  Futurists tend to be too optimistic in the 
>short run, and too pessimistic (or underimaginative) in the long run.  
>We'd all *have* flying cars by now, if we had needed them, but we 
>didn't.  A handful of shared flying vehicles, we found, was more 
>economical.  Likewise, if we really *need* to get off the planet, we will 
>do so; but until the need outweighs the cost, we will sit.
>Phil, I would enjoy haggling over these issues with you some more, but 
>we're straying rather far from the charter of this group.  Perhaps we 
>should continue by email?

I, for one, disagree about this discussion being 'far from the 
charter". I think there's too little debate about the impact 
of cryonics. Let's continue to examine outcomes publicly.


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