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Non Scientific Opinions About Ageing

Don Ashley dashley at TENET.EDU
Wed Feb 22 19:01:41 EST 1995

On 22 Feb 1995, Rick Abrams wrote:

> 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 
> >it.
> >
> >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.
> -- 
> rha

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