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rhinoceros
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My point is ...

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Re:Immortality?
« Reply #15 on: 2002-12-30 18:19:07 »
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[rhinoceros 1]
The first issue is a technical one. Specifically, whether or not we are well on our way to seeing it soon. I'll just say I am sceptical about that for now.

[Jake Sapiens 2]
We already have achieved technical capacity in human cloning, which is just one of many paths to immortality of some sort which I expect we will attain in this generation . . .

[rhinoceros 4]
Yes, human cloning seems to be on the way, although we still have to wait and see how the first attempts come out. More importantly, we'll also have to see how that is going to make physical immortality technically possible.


[BJKlein 3]
In the short term it will be Biotech and Nanotech...
take a look, we're already on our way.


http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/296/5570/1029/DC1

[rhinoceros 4]
Interesting article. The diagram shows a steady increase in live expectancy by 4.5 (males) to 5 (females) years every 20 years. That means 22 to 25 years per century. Of course, it is an empirical diagram, not a law of nature or something.


[BJKlein 3]
1. Technological Problems.
For the long, long run, we'll have to figure out a way around Heat Death.  While thie is probably my greatest fear, theories have already been put forth that could answer this problem.  Basically, it has to do with the conservation of energy played out to an infinite degree and the a possible jump into a new big bang.  But this is quite a few (billions) of years away.

[rhinoceros 4]
I have the feeling that this is beyond scientific discussion. What is "conservation of energy played out to an infinite degree". And what kind of big bang could preserve immortal humans -- I would think not even atoms could survive a big bang.



[rhinoceros 1]
The second issue is an evolutionary one -- physical survival of the fittest genes. Although it has been argued that science and technology have already made the evolutionary process obsolete by facilitating the lives of handicapped people, an evolutionary process for the survival of the genes most fit to our current technological/social environment seems to be still in place.

[Jake Sapiens 2]
eliminating selection on one level, encourages selection on other levels.  Those people who might have otherwise lacked resources for immortality due to their physical condition may yet achieve immortality due to their mental prowess, at least those that have that to fall back on, like say the Stephen Hawking's of the world.

[rhinoceros 4]
True. In any case, evolution is based on physical death and on the reproducive handicaps of the carriers of genes which are not fit for the current environment. What are the selection criteria in the case of immortality? Is evolution going to proceed based on the ability of someone to buy immortality?


[BJKlein 3]
2. Survival of the Fittest?
Remember this is not a law.  We don't need biological evolution in order to keep progressing.  We already have survival of the fittest in the arena of ideas... it's called Science.

[rhinoceros 4]
Maybe things would be much simpler for everyone if that was sufficient and true. Not better or worse. Just simpler than they really are.



[rhinoceros 1]
The third issue, for which I'll argue at some more length, is a social one.

Who gets to be immortal? When the technology is eventually developed, it may permit immortality for everyone or for just some people. In the first case, we will have problems of contention for resources. In the second case, we will have inequality/authority problems. In both cases, we will have social instability problems; in fact, a matter of life and death.

[Jake Sapiens 2]
Hasn't it always been this way though?  Are not rich people destined to become the lab animals of tomorrow?  And isn't this better (volunteers with resources that is) than animals who lack even the capacity to value the research that we subject them too?  And in time after they have worked out the problems of this new frontier, won't we all, at least those who care enough to amass resources devoted to immortality, have essentially the same opportunities in time to pursue the same dream?

[rhinoceros 4]
Pardon me for not caring much about the lab animals ;P

I was talking about the limited available resources for supporting an ever increasing population of "immortals", the choices that would have to be made, and the extremely low tolerance for those choices by the people who would consider it literally a matter of life and death.


[rhinoceros 1]
Also, who would be more likely to develop the technology some day? A quick answer is that a hi-tech corporation would. Taking into account the above as well as the importance of the issue and the way wealth and power work in society, in what way would such a corporation make the technology available? And how would other centers of pawer -- corporations, governments, trade unions etc react to that?

Also, imagine a society run by "experienced" 200-year-olds who know that they have the option of never stepping down from a position of power. Among other things, it could seriously hinder social evolutionary change through renewal.

[Jake Sapiens 2]
Now here is a real issue . . . but perhaps to outweigh the usual social change that death imposes, do you think that the condition of immortality, once realized and integrated by those achieving a slice of it, will work its own brands of social reforms that death did in the past.  People who know that they will die within a "normal" time, might have less commitment to social reform than those individuals who know and expect to live to regret and/or embrace the longer term consequences of their actions?

[rhinoceros 4]
I would prefer to see this in a more practical way. First, a couple of corporations develop a technology for immortality. Humans have not been immortalized yet, so our current patterns of behavior still apply. The corporations want to make maximum profit. People don't want to die, so when their rich neighbor buys immortality they go berserk. Economists make predictions about future demographics and employment -- hell, even today, unemployment is a serious problem at many places. Governments have to act on all that by imposing restrictions, and at the same time they use immortality banning as a powerful political weapon. Unfriendly governments act accordingly. Well, I am not really a prophet but I am sure it will not be a piece of cake.

Now, would the people who live normal lifespans be less commited to social evolution than the "immortals" who will eventually face the consequences of their actions themselves? I am not sure... At least in the speculative fictions books that I have read, a society of "immortals" usually tends to be static... Do the decision makers really know what is good for the future and they just don't do it? Or do they just need to step down when their time is over.

There are some questions of human psychology which cannot be answered with confidence before we see a real society of immortals. In the society we know, a man is not as flexible as required during his lifetime. So, the way social evolutions proceeds is that someone steps down and someone else takes the position. This scheme is also compatible with the expectations of ambitious persons for social ascend. In a society of "immortals", some of these things are going to change.



[BJKlein 3]
3.  Social.
The problem of who will have access.... in the short term, this will be a real problem.  Wealthier people will live longer.  But can the rich really bottle up immortality?  It's likely they'd not succeed, nor would they even try.

Quite the opposite, wealthy individuals will invest their money to promote anti-aging products in the hopes of making even more money.  And because of well understood market forces and economies of scale, people will benefit accordingly.

[rhinoceros 4]
If we are talking about a few years more, you are probably right, plus the demographic issues, available resources and employment problems that I mentioned. For any substantial increase of lifespan, those problems will explode, besides that it will be a matter of life and death for the "mortals".

What do I suggest? We should take these issues seriously -- not push them aside. The problem of immortality should be closely associated either with a solution that does not require a lot of resources (could it be "uploading"?), or with a solution agressively seeking new resources (space colonization perhaps?).

« Last Edit: 2002-12-30 18:29:33 by rhinoceros » Report to moderator   Logged
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Re:Immortality?
« Reply #16 on: 2002-12-31 07:49:01 »
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Re:Immortality?
« Reply #17 on: 2002-12-31 12:33:24 »
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Quote from: BJKlein_com on 2002-12-31 07:49:01   

The strongest argument thus far, in my mind, against immortality is the question of infinite universe and heat death.  The evidence is mounting that the universe does not indeed have to end in a whimper.  Human born intelligence may give rise to super efficiencies as we have much time to work out the problem.

Interesting, but I would think the heat death of the universe is literally the least of our worries.
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Re:Immortality?
« Reply #18 on: 2002-12-31 13:23:39 »
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Re:Immortality?
« Reply #19 on: 2002-12-31 15:53:24 »
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[rhinoceros 1] The first issue is a technical one. Specifically, whether or not we are well on our way to seeing it soon. I'll just say I am sceptical about that for now.

[Jake Sapiens 2] We already have achieved technical capacity in human cloning, which is just one of many paths to immortality of some sort which I expect we will attain in this generation . . .

[rhinoceros 4] Yes, human cloning seems to be on the way, although we still have to wait and see how the first attempts come out. More importantly, we'll also have to see how that is going to make physical immortality technically possible

[Jake Sapiens 5] Perhaps some of the details still need working out, but we can discern the important aspects of how this would happen .  Using only cloning technology I think it quite possible to achieve some degree of immortality.  The same techniques used to reproductively clone make therapuetic cloning all the more possible.  An individual with some of his/her DNA and some egg cells create a small population of embryonic clones, stored in an arrested state as is already possible via IVF technology.  As the individual experiences health issues related to aging, one embryo can be grown and stem cells harvested from the embryo to replace older non-dividing and otherwise damaged cell in the original adult.  In the mean time, at some point convenient to the individual, he/she can make arrangements for the creation of another clone reproductively.  The person can  raise and socialize this child to reflect the memetic qualities/stage-of-developement of the adult at that point in time.  This ensures that should some unexpected calamnity claim the adult, he/she would still  maintain a genetic and memetic lineage.

[JS5] In theory a reproductive clone is not strictly necessary, but it does provide some important insurance that make this plan much more workable.  Also, as desirable potential genetic modifications become apparent and accumulate, at some point the individual may decide to better implement these improvements by starting development over with a new organism.  This also makes the reproductive clone a valuable ingredient to the plan.

[JS5] Obviously we can expect that other technologies will develop and intervene to make this process work more efficiently, but I think it of considerable imminent importance that we can visualize and begin this process with technologies already available and under further development.  That is, assuming slow or almost no further advance in technology (not likely), we find ourselves at the starting point and probably even capable of several "lifetimes" along a journey of immortality, using only technology currently available.  The only step remaining  some one or some people gathering and organizing resources make it happen.

These are interesting times to be alive.
Love,
Jake
« Last Edit: 2003-01-01 16:55:48 by Jake Sapiens » Report to moderator   Logged

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Re:Immortality?
« Reply #20 on: 2003-01-01 14:36:58 »
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Quote from: BJKlein_com on 2002-12-31 13:23:39   

Yeh David it probably is.. the last of our worries.

However, from a purely physics perspective, Heat Death it's the only unresolved problem in my mind.  Or rather the biggest wild card.  If Heat Death is inevitable.. it's all for nothing in my mind.  Let's find a way around Heat Death.

I find this a somewhat baffling attitude.  Why all or nothing?  Even if you don't achieve absolute immortality, wouldn't you still find it worth keeping ourselves viable for thousands of years?  I would find it hard to believe you wouldn't, but you almost seem to imply something like that here.  Just prodding a little.  :-)

Love,

-Jake
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My point is ...

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Re:Immortality?
« Reply #21 on: 2003-01-10 09:49:29 »
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[Jake Sapiens]
In the mean time, at some point convenient to the individual, he/she can make arrangements for the creation of another clone reproductively.  The person can  raise and socialize this child to reflect the memetic qualities/stage-of-developement of the adult at that point in time.  This ensures that should some unexpected calamnity claim the adult, he/she would still  maintain a genetic and memetic lineage.


[rhinoceros]
Of course we are digressing but, speaking for myself, I am not so sure that preservation of my own generic/memetic lineage would be any good for my offsprings. Not for me either...

Besides, even if we assume that raising and socializing a child to reflect one's memetic qualities is desirable, we would also have to assume that it can be feasible in our wild world...
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Re:Immortality?
« Reply #22 on: 2003-01-10 13:06:05 »
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Re:Immortality?
« Reply #23 on: 2003-01-10 13:17:33 »
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Quote from: rhinoceros on 2003-01-10 09:49:29   

[Jake Sapiens]
In the mean time, at some point convenient to the individual, he/she can make arrangements for the creation of another clone reproductively.  The person can  raise and socialize this child to reflect the memetic qualities/stage-of-developement of the adult at that point in time.  This ensures that should some unexpected calamnity claim the adult, he/she would still  maintain a genetic and memetic lineage.


[rhinoceros]
Of course we are digressing but, speaking for myself, I am not so sure that preservation of my own generic/memetic lineage would be any good for my offsprings. Not for me either...

Besides, even if we assume that raising and socializing a child to reflect one's memetic qualities is desirable, we would also have to assume that it can be feasible in our wild world...


[Jake2]  Certainly you can make your own decisions about this in light of your circumstances and personal values.  In any case, the day shall probably come and probably within your first lifetime, when any genetic problems you feel you may have and do not wish to carry on can get corrected or changed.

As far as raising a child to reflect one's memetic qualities, don't parents already do that with current childrearing to a significant degree?

-Jake
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Re:Immortality?
« Reply #24 on: 2003-01-21 13:40:24 »
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Quote from: BJKlein_com on 2003-01-10 13:06:05   


  Jake Said: 

Quote:
I find this a somewhat baffling attitude.  Why all or nothing?  Even if you don't achieve absolute immortality,


  Bruce Says:   
To talk about the future strength of the gene pool is great.  I support the future well being of your children and the children of all other humans.

However, that does not preclude us from wanting the best for ourselves as well.  Our grandfathers and grandmothers may have resigned themselves to die, but we don't have to also. 

The point i'd like to make is that if one believes there is nothing after death, then death should be avoided at all cost. 

Hmmm, this is an interesting dillemma.  I believe there is nothing after death also, and yet for some reason I don't feel like Death is something to be avoided at ALL costs.  Obviously atheists have emotionally survived in times when physical immortality seemed as impossible as a supernatural afterlife.


Quote:
If one believes that oblivion is the result of the loss of information and connections within the brain, then one should get  cryonics policy and avoid flying.

Well, I haven't seriously considered a cryonics policy yet, but I would think immortality ought not to serve as an excuse to avoid living.  Living an enjoyable life generally entails a certain amount of risk.  Yes we may engineer and manage some of the risks, but unintended consequences will still materialize.  As I told a few people after 9/11/01 I am willing to live in a world where a few madmen can kill thousands.  Not that I want that to happen, but I feel willing to take those risks.


Quote:
If one believes that religion is a myth and there is no God to take care of us after death, one should embrace heaven on earth and strive for immortality.

I agree that we should strive for heaven on earth, and that we should embrace longevity as a practical goal.  But to me these conclusions do not have anything significant to do with there not being a God, or religion being a myth.

I think immortality can provide an ideal, and from a memetic PoV it helps to have ideals, but I think Longevity makes for more practical discussions.  Besides we will never really know when we have actually achieved immortality since it requires that we live forever in order to fulfill it.  We can think we have achieved immortality after a few hundred years only to get wiped out with the rest of humanity by the next asteroid collision.  Perhaps we can talk about  more practical kinds of immortality.  For example if a person lives to be 400 years old, we can say that person has practically achieved a certain kind of immortality, in that he or she will not actually belong to some particular historical time the way that we think of nomal humans, even particularly old ones.

Sometimes I think spending to much time concentrating on things like overcoming the heat death of the universe, can make one's ideas sound impractically radical.  Perhaps it can make a good armchair discussion for those already converted to the idea of Longevity/immortality.  As far as the universe's end, however, as much as I appreciate the heat death scenario, it doesn't make for a practical point of concern, except in our ongoing efforts to figure out how the universe works.  By the time we get it all figured out, we may be looking at an entirely different scientific escatology.

-Jake
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Re:Immortality?
« Reply #25 on: 2003-01-21 19:04:27 »
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Re:Immortality?
« Reply #26 on: 2009-05-08 11:08:09 »
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This is a very brief view of one PoV of Mystical-Atheistism on Immortality.


An Introduction to Immortality



Every person is composed of a multitude of different parts, and this has nothing to with the biological structure of the body. Because so often I talk of concepts which have never before been publicly known, I must either invent new words to describe them or must use an existing word in a new context. These "parts" I will call "cells" but it must be understood that I am not referring to the physical body. These cells cannot be identified by any scientific apparatus.



The cells which make up the individual are, on his death, returned to a central store or pool. They are energy, and energy cannot be created or destroyed, merely changed. As each baby is born, sufficient cells are scooped out of the pool to make up that baby, and that same number of cells will be with him for all of his life. The "scooping" is entirely indiscriminate, so you are composed of a mixture of cells from many different lives. Sometimes you become aware of one or more of these cells, and it is this which has given rise to the belief in reincarnation. A strong empathy with a certain era or events is a good indication that one or more of your cells lives at that time. You as an individual were not there, because the mixture of cells which makes up you, has never been brought together before. The memory is real, but it applies only to part of you.



The first step is to become aware of all your cells, all the different parts which have come together to make up this being who is now living. Identifying the first few may be easy, but there are many which do not make their presence felt, and you must know them all. Without this knowledge, you will not be able to keep all your cells together, when, under normal circumstances, they should be returned to the pool, that is, when you die.



By keeping all your cells together into the next life, returning via birth as a whole being instead of splitting into many unconnected parts, you retain all the knowledge and abilities acquired during the previous life, in fact, during all the lives since you became able to retain control of your own parts or "cells". This is the reality of Immortality, and is the path of the Adept.



Anonymous article taken from the Dark Lily Journal No 2, Society of Dark Lily (London 1987).



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Re:Immortality?
« Reply #27 on: 2009-05-09 13:33:28 »
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Quote from: Tas6 on 2009-05-08 11:08:09   


Every person is composed of a multitude of different parts, and this has nothing to with the biological structure of the body. Because so often I talk of concepts which have never before been publicly known, I must either invent new words to describe them or must use an existing word in a new context. These "parts" I will call "cells" but it must be understood that I am not referring to the physical body. These cells cannot be identified by any scientific apparatus.
 

I think you will find a highly skeptical audience here at the CoV. What is meant by "cannot be identified by any scientific apparatus"? Cannot be observed or detected by any means?
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Re:Immortality?
« Reply #28 on: 2009-05-09 14:04:23 »
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I expected that much. I only put it here to present a different PoV as food for thought. (and as that it seemed to work). Plus this was written in 87 and have things changed sense then? (I like to think so  )) .
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Re:Immortality?
« Reply #29 on: 2009-05-09 15:40:23 »
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I wrote a long reply and lost it, so here is a shorter one, focussing not on Lucifer's question, but on something else.

Arguing to the ridiculous, the idea that you are operated under remote control by fairies that live in the long grass by the stream may well be better supported than the suggestion you have copied here, given that some people report seeing such creatures (even if such reporters are typically psychotic; under the influence of psychoactive chemicals or under conditions strongly suggestive of fraud); remote controls do actually exist (and even if not generally available for people, are available for people and the people being controlled are unaware of the control being exercised); and the mechanism proposed, while not being well understood and not being amenable to mensuration, might not actually contradict existing laws of physics (no matter how unlikely this may seem).

Even if we stipulate the "cells" not being "identifiable" by "any scientific apparatus", it is this last issue, the "non-conflicting requirement"  that moves your suggestion from the mere harebrained (a theory must be founded on an observation, propose a mechanism and be testable - which yours seems not to be) into the realms of the addlepated (a theory must not contradict observation and cannot contradict other theories without proposing a testable explanation for such a contradiction - and yours seems to).

We understand energy and how to measure it. We understand the energy processes of the human in incredibly fine detail and know that energy is not organization, but rather that energy is required to sustain organization. We know that memory is a function of the combination of adapted structures and stored charges. We know the amount of energy needed to affect human memories and how to induce change using inserted electrodes or surrounding magnetic arrays. We know that the energy to power memory requires carbohydrates and oxygen and that in the absence of these, that nerve tissue dies and its organization is irrevocably lost. We even understand that deja vu is a function of desynchronization of the signals arriving at the brain stem, resulting in your realizing "I've dealt with this before" being recognized before, "I have something for you to experience" registers. None of this offers even the slightest scintilla of a possibility that anything described in your post could possibly exist outside of over feverish imaginations.




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With or without religion, you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion. - Steven Weinberg, 1999
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