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Eternal Life - Pros & Cons. If not, why not?

Discussion in 'General Chat' started by Meadow337, Jan 9, 2014.

  1. Dmitri Dmitriev

    Dmitri Dmitriev Member

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    Oh, I was afraid of that :(. And here I was thinking that I was a bona-fide fantasy nut.
     
  2. Meadow337

    Meadow337 Former Moderator

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    naah lol see all us fantasy readers went with blissful visions of eternal youth :p
     
  3. Conscious Bob

    Conscious Bob Well-Known Member

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    Old school. Uploading consciousness in a rapture stylee is where it's currently at.
     
  4. DATo

    DATo Active Member

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    This is sort of an all-inclusive post to address the topic in which I will attempt to posit my views in the broadest sense.

    It is a bit windy ... please bear with me.


    The current best estimate of the age of the universe is thought to be approximately 13.5 billion years old. Our solar system is thought to be about 4 - 5 billion years old and man (from the time of homo habilis) has existed for about 1.5 million years. Modern man, defined as Cro-Magnon, appeared during the period of 50,000 to 10,000 BC. Now consider the advancement in mankind's technology since the year 0 (birth of Jesus), 2014 years ago.

    When one considers that it has taken man 80,000 years to advance from the period when he first domesticated animals to the year 0 and only another 1969 years to put a man on the moon it becomes rather obvious that technology is not expanding arithmetically, but rather, exponentially.

    It is estimated that there are perhaps 100,000,000,000 (one hundred billion or 10^11) stars in a galaxy; it is further estimated that there are about 100,000,000,000 galaxies in the universe. There is a reasonable probability that there are at least as many planets as stars which would mean that there are probably 10^11 (number of galaxies) TIMES 10^11 (number of stars per galaxy) or 10^22 planets ... that's 10 billion trillion planets in the universe. ***

    Now consider how long the universe has had to create planets, and how many planets there are, and on these planets how short a period of time (relatively speaking) it takes to evolve an intelligent life form capable of creating a technology which can explore space. It is hardly beyond the ability of even the most sceptic mind to understand that we are probably not alone. The overwhelming dictates of probability suggest that there are other civilizations in the universe in various states of evolution.

    What is evolution? The classic definition states that it is an adaptation to the environment which furthers and insures survivability of the organism in the most efficient manner possible. Do organisms stop evolving when the means to overcome stress are established? The alligator is an example of a remnant of the dinosaur age which survived relatively unchanged throughout the epochs of time because, one would suppose, it is perfectly adapted to its tropical environment. But human beings show signs of physical change. The appendix is an organ which has degraded in use to the point of obsolescence, and it is believed that human feet are becoming more narrow now that man is not required to travel long distances by foot - that indeed the small toe is in fact disappearing. There is in fact no longer such a thing as natural selection in its purest sense where man is concerned. Science, medicine, and man's modern lifestyle have drastically changed the "natural" dictates of survival as well as to a certain extent man's physical attributes. Our canine teeth were once meant to kill, and our tailbones were once tails, and at one time science did not save the physically frail nor his political systems protect the physically weak. Man's technology has impacted his evolution to as great an extent as the natural changes created by the environment itself.

    Now I will make a giant leap in conjecture. If we project an extension of man's use of science to alter his survivability assets is it possible that mankind itself will engineer its future evolution - a controlled evolution? Our technology stands at the threshold of acquiring an ability to engineer human attributes through the use of DNA manipulation, cloning and bionics. Is this an unnatural, or to say, "evil" exploitation of the powers of science? Science is, and has always been, a tool to further assure mankind's survivability by accelerating, if not actually enhancing, his adaptability to his environment. It may be considered that such manipulation, much the same as the ability to create fire, which was once unnatural to use by hominids but was adapted to man's behavior to help insure survivability qualifies as natural tropistic behavior. The ethical attacks to manipulation of genetics are predictable, as I'm sure the protests of some primordial men were toward the use of fire.

    Would perfection suggest immortality of the organism - the arresting of the aging/debilitation process? But man would still be subject to detriment induced by trauma such as falling from a great height. Will science ultimately create an inclusive system of self-regeneration or repair of traumatized living tissue by the organism itself? Remember, we are talking about "ultimate perfection", or put another way, the ultimate end to which evolution strives - PERFECT adaptation to survival within the given environment. An alligator cannot extend his survivability, adaptability and perfectibility assets ... but man can.

    It was either Dawkins or Sagan (I forget which) who once suggested that in time, life might slip the chains of physical matter and become pure intelligence - living matter which has become "living" energy - pure cognizance.

    I think Sagan's alien in the movie Contact was meant to depict precisely what I described above - a life form which has evolved beyond matter to a state of pure energy. Given the head start many galactic civilizations have had to advance before us, and given the speed with which technology has demonstrated it can advance, the intriguing question is ... have other life forms actually achieved such a state of pure being and perfection? And if so would they attempt to communicate with us? Do we attempt to communicate with amoebas ?

    I know Sagan was very interested in the practical aspects of the science displayed in this movie. In his book, 'Broca's Brain', Sagan mentions briefly the concept of the huge machine used in 'Contact' though the following pertains to time travel :

    "I do not know if time travel into the past is possible. The causality problems it would imply make me very skeptical. But there are those who are thinking about it. What are called closed time-like lines - routes in space-time permitting unrestricted time travel - appear in some solutions to the general relativistic field equations. A recent claim, perhaps mistaken, is that closed time-like lines appear in the vicinity of a large rapidly rotating cylinder." - Carl Sagan You may recall a large, rotating, device in Sagan's movie which served as a transporter.

    The great trap to which we are all prone to succumb is that we tend to think in terms of our own technology. At the turn of the last century the greatest minds were asked what the world would be like in the year 2000. One person replied that there would be a land bridge between the USA and Europe for ... are you ready for this ... horse drawn trollies. Another said that there would be skyscrapers of 10 - 25 stories and that mass transport would be by means of dirigibles. They were unable to think outside their current technology and we tend to do the same thing. We think of aliens appearing in vehicles (spacecraft), or making contact using radio communication, when the real contact perhaps will be made telepathically. Scientists today scoff at concepts such as telepathy but do not hesitate to spend billions in government funding for radio communications technology which they admit has as little chance of communication with an advanced space civilization as finding a needle in a haystack. Perhaps they should open their minds ... both figuratively and literally speaking.

    ***
    To get some idea of what ONE trillion is go to the following website and follow the penny trail. And remember ... when you find out just how many a 'trillion' is, that there are 10 BILLION TRILLION planets in the universe. Then ask yourself how slim would be the odds that we are the only "penny" with intelligent life on it.
    ... The MegaPenny Project | One Penny
     
  5. Dmitri Dmitriev

    Dmitri Dmitriev Member

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    It's pretty difficult to open your mind when your thoughts and imagination are limited by what you know... Opening your mind further really requires you to stand on your head and turn things inside-out and side-ways (and slant-ways and long-ways and back-ways)... At which point people say, "Is that even feasible?"

    Is ultimate perfection possible? Science itself (and it's many applications) is a tool we can use to survive nearly anywhere. It can be used (and has been used) to stop death from age, disease, and wounds... But as soon as we lose access to science and technology, we become so frail.
    Science (and the pursuit of knowledge), is really a privilege of the wealthy. If eternal life is accompanied by science... then we get a whole new debate on the social, economic, political (etc.) implications of... it.

    If eternal life requires us to dispose of (separate/slip away from, however you want to say it) our physical bodies and become "'living' energy -- pure cognizance," then can we still be considered alive?

    Consider the basic definition of life we all learn in biology class:
    "Life must exhibit all or most of the following traits: homeostasis, composed of cells, metabolism, growth, adaptation, response to stimuli, and reproduction."
    At what point do we stop becoming living things?
     
  6. DATo

    DATo Active Member

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    Hi Dmitri,
    "Opening one's mind" in this context is meant to imply a willingness to examine all possible paths to the truth and not be limited by prejudicial assumptions. You and I may not be having this discussion today if Edward Jenner had not opened his mind to the idea of injecting a disease into a patient to save his life which lit the path for Louis Pasteur to eventually follow. Jenner did something which was obviously contrary to common sense but the results changed medical science forevermore. The very idea of paranormal studies is anathema to modern science, and while I must agree with the lack of evidence thus far I think this should not limit mankind from investigating the possibilities. For a scientist to write a paper today on let us say ESP for instance would be to commit professional suicide. It takes tremendous courage to march against the tide in affairs of science. Peer reviews can be hazardous to one's professional health *LOL*

    Addressing your second point while borrowing my previous statement: I think we already have an example of what appears to be "ultimate living perfection" in the form of viruses which seem to evolve and mutate faster than all the power of our present day science can bring to bear to eradicate them. So if it is possible in one life form why not another?

    Regarding your third statement: I must agree with you on your point of syntax. Human "Life", as we know it, is contained in vessels comprised of flesh and blood. The concept of life existing as pure energy which is not dependent upon matter to survive is thinking WAY outside the box. We may be talking eons of technologically enhanced evolution for living matter to achieve such a state. By that time we would no longer be human beings anyway I would imagine but will have evolved several species forward. Personally, I do not think this will happen because I do not think mankind (or what he may become) will survive on this planet that long. But by so stating I may be guilty of what I mocked those turn-of-the-century pundits of doing i.e. failing to realize that my perspective is limited to my own experience of the current state of the world, humanity and its technology.
     
  7. Meadow337

    Meadow337 Former Moderator

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    Actually we already know exactly what ages us, and the steps to give an extended vastly slowed aging process is really not that far off. On the ends of our chromosomes are little extensions called telomeres. Every time a cell divides its telomeres get shorter, when they get too short the cell is unable to divide and dies. All the symptoms we call aging is because of the increasing number of cells in our body with short telomeres. From your skin to your internal organs as the cells age the organs 'age' and show increasing signs of degeneration. At some point a critical mass is reached and we die.

    Certain foods such as Vitamin B12, Zinc, Vitamin D, Omega-3, Vitamin C, and Vitamin E have all been proven to lengthen telomeres. Of course it isn't just a simple as popping a few multi-vitamin tabs (although tests have shown it does have a positive effect) and that is where current research is aimed at. We could see a significant breakthrough within the next few years.

    And I stand by what I said right in the beginning. Extended life is needed to change man's view point on violence. At the moment we have too short a life and death is too present a companion still for us to truly overcome a 'so what' attitude to other people dying. It is as we have lived longer that we have stopped feeling quite so blasé about our own death. Think how short and violent people's lives were in say the Dark Ages. Death was so present people didn't care about dying. They knew it would happen at any moment and their focus was to die nobly, gloriously, doing something 'grand' like dying in battle (especially as not dying in battle probably meant a horrible death from disease) and so wars were common place. But as we have lived longer, invested more in our own lives, the less inclined we have become to view dying gloriously as noble. We still have some way to go on this growth towards a more 'evolved' psychological make-up in which peace would be a goal we actively pursued to the point of not seeing war as any kind of solution to problems and some form of longevity is necessary.


    ******************

    To just challenge one point in Dato's post - the appendix is not a vestigial organ (sorry evolutionists but your own science made a hole in another one of your 'proofs' ). Recent research has shown that the appendix is a perfectly functioning and necessary organ just the way it is where the beneficial bacteria in your gut hang out and reproduce.

    Now what was that about being limited by the expectations of our knowledge? You hit the nail on the head with that one Dato!
     
  8. Sparhawk

    Sparhawk Active Member

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    I wish to comment on the comment about our feet being slimmer because we walk less. I think the shape of our feet has a lot more to do with modern shoes than the amount that we walk. Until a hundred years or so ago most people went barefoot or wore saddles that didn't have anything in the way or support, so yes feet left to there own devices were broader than our feet today that are confined to narrow and tight shoes that have support and all the other modern improvements.
     
  9. DATo

    DATo Active Member

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    Meadow,

    Thank you so much for putting me straight on the function of the appendix. I had here-to-fore thought that it was in fact an obsolete organ which was at one time used for the production of enzymes to help break down chlorophyll for digestion dating to the time men consumed leaves like the great apes.

    "Now what was that about being limited by the expectations of our knowledge? You hit the nail on the head with that one Dato!"

    Now, now .... I am only limited by not being as well read as you are on biology *LOL*

    Thanks again [;- )
     
  10. Meadow337

    Meadow337 Former Moderator

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  11. Dmitri Dmitriev

    Dmitri Dmitriev Member

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    DATo, it's debatable whether viruses are actually living or not... and I wouldn't call an organism that relies on living host cells to control it's metabolism and reproduction as being perfect either (but it is an excellent example of natural selection and adaptation)... but that's a moot point.

    It took over a century for humans to eradicate small pox (so we know it's not impossible, (hello Mr. Jenner, good to see you're back from the grave)), but it's not the purpose of science (or humanity, contrary to some specific observations) to eradicate life off the face of the planet...
     
  12. Conscious Bob

    Conscious Bob Well-Known Member

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    There is no scientific proof of telepathy, the inclusion of psuedo science is also a great trap with regard to future technology.
     
  13. Meadow337

    Meadow337 Former Moderator

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    Just to be devil's advocate at one time there was no proof of gravity, germs, and people believed the earth was the center of the universe. perhaps it is possible that the experiments just aren't testing for the right things?
     
  14. Dmitri Dmitriev

    Dmitri Dmitriev Member

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    Of course! The purpose of experiment is to falsify the things we think are true!
     
  15. Sparhawk

    Sparhawk Active Member

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    Something that scientists (and most people) tend to forget when they announce that the latest discovery is the final say on a subject, people (and the scientists of the time to) used to believe that the earth was flat and would have said, if asked, that it was an absolute truth and the final say on the subject.
     
  16. Conscious Bob

    Conscious Bob Well-Known Member

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    Falling is proof of gravity, without knowing what gravity is there was a clearly observable phenomenon which eventually led to the theory. Illness and decomposition is proof of germs again clearly observable phenomenon which eventually led to their discovery. The Earth was once considered to be the centre of the universe but it was scientific observation and subsequent theory that led to our universal model being revised over hundreds of years that led to our current understanding of the universe.

    These three different examples you've chosen have been subject to scientific enquiry and method based on the fact there was something to see in the first instance.

    Telepathy cannot be observed, there is no evidence, there is no theory and there is no reliable experiment or technique to prove it's existence. It's psuedo science.
     
  17. Meadow337

    Meadow337 Former Moderator

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    With all due respect but by direct observation the sun does appear to orbit the earth and the stars observably wheel across the sky with the earth at the center of the rotation. We needed to devise entirely new methods of observation before the 'evidence' our eyes was refuted. Without either endorsing or condemning ESP, just based on the history of science I have to allow for the possibility that we have not yet devised a suitable method of observing a phenomenon many people believe to be real, just as observing the true rotation of the earth was not possible prior to the invention of telescopes.

    In fact without a telescope and certain kinds of measurements my eyes still tell me the sun and stars move and I don't.

    And technically one can not observe the sub-atomic particles within the nucleus of an atom either.

    Subatomic particles can never be directly visualized. First, the wavelengths that would interact with same are FAR too energetic, so you could never work with radiation of that wavelength. Second, since the smallest "tip" you can have in a microscopy type of technique is an atom, you cannot use that type of approach to visualize something smaller than an atom (and even the easy subatomic particles, such as protons, neutrons, and electrons, are millions of times smaller than whole atoms). However, since most subatomic particles are extremely energetic, they interact with matter in predictable ways. The classic way that they were indirectly visualized was with cloud chambers--atoms would be smashed together in gas, and when they would essentially explode you'd see lines and curves of bubbles forming in the gas in ways that could be mathematically predicted based on the knowledge of the particles. Many subatomic particles were also discovered in such ways, because people saw lines and curves in the bubble chambers that they couldn't explain, so they realized a new particle must exist.
     
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2014
  18. Conscious Bob

    Conscious Bob Well-Known Member

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    When Copernicus devised his Heliocentric Theory he did so without a telescope because telescopes hadn't been invented. A couple of the instruments he used, the Quadrant and the Triquetrum, had been around from at least Roman times.

    I appreciate many people believe ESP to be real, many people also believe sleeping with virgins is a cure for AIDS the point being that belief is no substitute for scientific method.
     
  19. Meadow337

    Meadow337 Former Moderator

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    I think the point is that observation (or lack thereof) isn't an infallible method of proof. At best one can only ever say, 'with our current ability this is what we can observe' and any scientist who believes (as some did at the turn of the century) that what we believe we observe can't be turned upside down and inside out at some point when we know more and observe better is as much a fool as those 19th C scientists who believed that everything that could be discovered had been discovered.

    I think this conflict is at the heart of the creation vs evolution debate. Fundamentally creationists say 'there is more in the world than can be observed' while science says 'there is not, that everything can be observed and anything that can not does not exist.'

    Hmm interesting thought ... one wonders if 'science' through observation has changed the nature of the natural world? After all all matter is merely atoms and the innermost workings of an atom change the moment you observe them. Does anything exist until it is observed?

    Did the sun revolve around the earth when that was the only observation we had? LOL I'm being silly now but it's a thought.

    The fault of science is that it believes it's right and fails to learn the fundamental lesson of its own history. Existing theories may 'work' in terms of current knowledge but may, just may be overturned entirely tomorrow consigning it to the history books.

    I know we are getting completely off-topic but this point is relevant to the discussion in terms of what is and isn't possible.

    At one time DESPITE THE EASILY OBSERVED PHENOMENON OF A SHIP DISAPPEARING OVER THE HORIZON - every one believed the earth to be flat. Early sailors hugged coastlines, not just because they didn't have reliable ways to navigate out of sight of land, but also because they feared sailing off the edge of the world. They drew maps with water pouring off the edge. Belief in the 'science' of the day prevented them from seeing and interpreting an observable phenomenon. It took some one or several some one's to think outside the limitations of scientific belief and to observe in a new way to change that theory.

    Why is it any different now? Science is as hampered by the limitations of its own belief structures as it ever was because people are people and are prone to being blind to things outside of their own beliefs.

    Whether its the possibility of time travel, ESP or eternal life (or evolution) at any moment some one who can break through the barrier of the disbelief of belief can turn all we know on its head, as has happened so many times in the past.
     
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2014
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  20. Conscious Bob

    Conscious Bob Well-Known Member

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    Science is not infallible that's the whole point. Observations are made, theories are proposed based upon observation and experiments are devised to test the theories. When the experiments don't work or produce unexpected results the theories are superceded by new theories and tested with new experiments.

    It doesn't require belief, it's method, when you say 'with our current ability this is what we can observe' that is very true of science in general. Science doesn't have to correspond with ancient unchanging books of myth and doctrine, what is observed is the basis of scientific enquiry, nothing more, nothing less.

    Telepathy is a myth, there are people that believe in it but that isn't backed up by observation, no observation, no dice.
     

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