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Attitudes to life extension via genetic engineering

John de Rivaz John at longevb.demon.co.uk
Fri Feb 24 02:38:23 EST 1995


In article: <pete.793424973 at extro>  Peter Merel <pete at extro.su.oz.au> 
writes:
> A couple of years ago I proposed a scheme to prevent _all_ existing viral 
> diseases from using humans as a vector. The idea is fairly simple; we 
encrypt
> human DNA with a computationally inexpensive cipher, and build the 
decryption
> algorithm into the ribosome. Since viral DNA will not be replicated by 
such
> a ribosome we should be able to give ourselves several million years 
breathing
> space until new viruses are able to evolve.
> 
> How difficult would it be to introduce such a ribosomeinto the existing 
human
> population? Whether it will be delivered by virus or by nanomachine, I 
can't
> imagine why it should take longer than fifty years to implement. Can you?

That seems a really good idea. I hope it is practical, and that the 
do-gooders and god-botherers don't slow down its introduction.


> 
> >[flames and rhetoric deleted]
> 
> If you and Perry want to carry on like this, take it to a different
> thread, or better, to a different group.

I'd prefer it on another thread too, please, although I do feel that 
debating and flaming these views is relevant to how humanity in general 
thinks about the issues. 

Someone once wrote (Richard Dawkins?) that the contents of mass-circulation 
popular "newspapers" is the nearest thing we have to the thoughts of the 
beings-using-humans-as-cells we call governments. I regard these being as 
one of the major threats to immortality research, as they may decide that it 
is contro to their evolutionary abilities if humans have an indefinite 
lifespan. I and others have said that there are advantages to governments of 
unlimited lifespan in humans, such as
 
Reduced education costs per period working creating wealth. (due to Roy 
Walford I think, in "Maximum Lifespan")

Increased individual responsibility to the environment (GB Shaw, "Back to 
Methusalah")

Reluctance to be involved in crime because the longer you live the more 
likely you are to be found out. (Maybe my idea, but I probably read it 
somewhere!)

However as organisms made of cells, we depend on the mortality of individual 
cells to survive as long as they can be replaced accurately. Immortal cells 
are cancer cells!  We get very upset if we have any immortal cells, and even 
pay for parts of our bodies containing them to be hacked off so that they 
don't survive, at the expense of an impaired life afterwards. This an 
analogous to governments exterminating people (or ridiculing them or 
shutting them up) who try for immortality even if the governments are 
depriving themselves of the benefits of their creative expertise.


> 
-- 
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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