SENS: Immortality, here we come?

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SENS: Immortality, here we come?

Postby Dracofrost » Wed May 09, 2007 8:13 am

SENS is a detailed plan for curing human aging. SENS is an engineering project, recognising that aging is a medical condition and that medicine is a branch of engineering. Aging is a set of progressive changes in body composition, at the molecular and cellular level, which are side-effects of essential metabolic processes. Many of these changes are eventually bad for us -- they are an accumulation of damage, which becomes pathogenic above a certain threshold of abundance.


http://www.sens.org/

So, what do y'all think of this? 'Who wants to live forever? Who wants to live foreveeeeer?'
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Postby TerraFrost » Wed May 09, 2007 12:49 pm

There's a wikipedia article about it here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Senescence

Anyway, reading your post reminds me of this:

Young Earth creationist Carl Wieland alternatively speculates that the decline in lifespan is because of the drastic reduction in population due to the Flood, causing a genetic bottleneck in which the genes that coded for longevity were lost.

source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Methuselah

Of course, if there was such a bottleneck, you'd think we'd have been able to find it, since we found such a bottleneck in Cheetah's:

The cheetah has unusually low genetic variability and a very low sperm count, which also suffers from low motility and deformed flagellae[5]. Skin grafts between non-related cheetahs illustrate this point in that there is no rejection of the donor skin. It is thought that it went through a prolonged period of inbreeding following a genetic bottleneck during the last ice age.

source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cheetah#Ge ... sification
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Postby Dracofrost » Wed May 09, 2007 8:59 pm

Well, young earth creationists can generally be relied upon to produce ridiculous unbacked claims that violate all but a few carefully selected pieces of evidence. >.>

Fortunately, SENS seems to make a lot more sense than that, and include actual scientific backing and reason. W00t.
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Postby TerraFrost » Wed May 09, 2007 9:26 pm

Dracofrost wrote:Fortunately, SENS seems to make a lot more sense than that, and include actual scientific backing and reason. W00t.

Yup - I agree. It seems to me to be a field in its infancy. Whether or not it'll result in immortality seems to me to be kinda like wondering if computer science will ever result in a self-aware artificial intelligence. ie. I think we have a lot of work ahead of us, still, but the advances they make will make for good posting material, heh :)
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Postby Drazo » Wed May 09, 2007 10:39 pm

But would't this create an over-population problem? Because most deaths are eventual old age death....unless everyone eventually stops breeding.
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Postby Dracofrost » Thu May 10, 2007 2:04 am

That's apparently a pretty common question, since they have a response to it right on the site in plain sight.

http://www.sens.org/concerns.htm#opop
Curing aging would cause terrible overpopulation

Perhaps you're expecting me to propose a solution that society should and thus "obviously will" adopt. Actually I'm not. I have two answers that say nothing about what specific steps society will take, one concerning past precedent and one concerning human rights. Then I'll survey some of the issues concerning what solutions we might choose, and possibly allay some concerns, but don't forget that I'm not saying what I think society will actually do.

First let's look at past precedent. Put yourself in the position of someone powerful -- the prime minister of France, for example -- in, say, 1870 or so, when Pasteur was going around saying that hygiene could almost entirely prevent infant deaths from infections and death in childbirth. In your position, you have some influence over how quickly this knowledge gets out -- and, thus, how quickly lives start being saved. But you realise that the sooner people start adhering to these principles and washing their hands and so on, the sooner the population will start exploding on account of all those children not dying. What would you have done? -- got the information out as soon as possible, or held it back as best you could in order to delay the population crisis? I have yet to meet anyone who says they would have done the latter. With curing aging, there is no difference. None. So, specifically: sure, there may well be some sort of population explosion, just as there was following the elimination of all those deaths -- and we may respond by reducing birth rate as quickly as we did then, or we may take longer -- but the first priority is to end the slaughter. Everything else is detail.
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Postby Drazo » Thu May 10, 2007 11:49 am

In any case I would recommend....human disposal by blasting them off to space towards the sun to supply extra fuel to burn. :p
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Postby Dracofrost » Thu May 10, 2007 8:08 pm

Considering the energy expenditure to get them that, that would be rather... counterproductive. Especially considering that once you get them into space, biologically useful organic volatiles are so much rarer than mere sunlight. I mean, if you're going to do stupid shit like that you might as well at least grind them up and compost them into the life support system.
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Postby Drazo » Thu May 10, 2007 9:38 pm

Dracofrost wrote:I mean, if you're going to do stupid shit like that you might as well at least grind them up and compost them into the life support system.


Or at least grind them up and turn them into compost full stop. ;)
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Postby TerraFrost » Sat May 12, 2007 3:48 am

Rereading this thread reminds me of this:

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/12/12/scien ... bd&ei=5090

“Turtles don’t really die of old age,” Dr. Raxworthy said. In fact, if turtles didn’t get eaten, crushed by an automobile or fall prey to a disease, he said, they might just live indefinitely.


I'm also reminded of this:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/4003063.stm

If you are a reasonably risk-aware teenager today in an affluent, non-violent neighbourhood, you have a risk of dying in the next year of well under one in 1,000, which means that if you stayed that way forever you would have a 50/50 chance of living to over 1,000.
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