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Do We Want Science to Re-design Human Aging?


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#1 Bruce Klein

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Posted 26 August 2003 - 05:31 PM


Do We Want Science to Re-design Human Aging?
Dr. Gregory Stock, author of Redesigning HUMANS: Our Inevitable Genetic Future takes on environmentalist Bill McKibbon, who’s newest book, a critique of human genetic engineering and other emerging technologies, titled Enough, will be published by Times Books in April.

Both McKibben and Stock talk at length about Physical Immortality:

Overview...

Posted Image
McKibben:
1. We'd loose meaning with immortality
2. Immortality = Selfish
3. The 115 year lifespan is fine
4. Is this a path we really want to go down?
5. we should 'rectangularize' the curve.. push lifespan as far out as we can.. then die

Posted Image
Stock:
1. Immortality is helpful to think about, but it's a long way off.
2. 'We don't even understand the human lifespan problem'
3. Even if we could stop aging, there would still be accidents
4. Fear of Immortality will slow research and harm many people that may have lived longer.
5. If you stop germ line engineering then you'll have to stop everything (in vitro fertilization, etc) there's no defining line in enhancement technology.
6. to 'rectangularize' the curve is philosphy/abstract.. and not helpful to science in the 'trenches'

TRANSCRIPT:
http://imminst.org/w...ckDebateMar2003

VIDEO:
part 1: http://easylink.play...Aging/Sage4.wvx
part 2: http://easylink.play...Aging/Sage5.wvx
part 3: http://easylink.play...Aging/Sage6.wvx

Full Link: http://www.sagecross...sts_archive.cfm



About Bill McKibben:
Bill McKibben is a former staff writer for The New Yorker.

His books include Hundred Dollar Holiday, Maybe One, The End of Nature, The Age of Missing Information and Hope, Human and Wild.
The End of Nature, published in 1989, sounded one of the earliest alarms about global warming; the decade of science since has proved his prescience. In Maybe One, he took on the most controversial of environmental problems-- population.

The father of a single child himself, McKibben maintains that bringing one, and no more than one, child into this world will hurt neither your family nor our nation--indeed, it can be an optimistic step toward the future. Now, in Hundred Dollar Holiday, he makes a cse for a more joyful Christmas. McKibben contends we can have a far more meaningful and satisfying holiday by sharply reducing the amount of money we spend on it.

By setting an informal target budget for gifts -- and substituting homemade presents and gifts of time for playstations, camcorders, and five irons -- we can begin to recover the things that really matter: family togetherness, community, faith and fun. McKibben is a frequent contributor to a wide variety of publications, including The New York Review of Books, Outside, and The New York Times.

McKibben lives with his wife and daughter in the Adirondack Mountains of New York, where he is a Sunday school superintendent of the local Methodist church.
http://www.annonline.../biography.html



About Gregory Stock:
Gregory Stock has explored the larger evolutionary significance of humanity’s recent technological progress for many years, and he examined the subject at length in his 1993 book, Metaman: The Merging of Humans and Machines into a Global Superorganism (Simon & Schuster). Following its publication, he spent a year at Princeton’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs looking specifically at the implications of recent breakthroughs in molecular genetics. It was as an outgrowth of that work that he teamed up with John Campbell to organize this conference, the first ever on human germline engineering. Currently Dr. Stock is directing the Program on Science, Technology, and Society at UCLA and is a visiting senior fellow at the Center for the Study of Evolution and the Origin of Life.
Stock received a Ph.D in biophysics from Johns Hopkins University and an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School. He has published research papers on developmental biology, limb regeneration, and laser light scattering, and has designed computer software for electronic banking networks. He has appeared on hundreds of radio and television shows from Larry King to Good Morning Australia to discuss various aspects of technology and human values, and is the author of four books besides Metaman. His exploration of values, The Book of Questions, was a NY Times bestseller that has now sold over 2 million copies and been translated into 15 languages.
email: gstock@ess.ucla.edu
http://www.ess.ucla....ge/gregory.html
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#2 Lazarus Long

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Posted 26 August 2003 - 06:13 PM

McKibben:
1. We'd loose meaning with immortality
2. Immortality = Selfish
3. The 115 year lifespan is fine
4. Is this a path we really want to go down?
5. we should 'rectangularize' the curve.. push lifespan as far out as we can.. then die


answers:

1. Meaning in life is not derived through death this is a false contrast of paradigms. Meaning in life is derived through action; in other words what we do while alive.

This is more about humanity being afraid but not about a rational argument opposed to life. It is much more llikely that the longer we live the GREATER the meaning of life.

2: Expecting the death of individuals as a "social obligation is selfish" and tantamount to a continued practice of primitive human sacrifice.

3. This is a red herring and irrelevant. It not only happens to be true but so what?

Some of us will always determine some risks to be worth taking no matter how long we live and with risk comes loss.

This is the judgment call of the individual first and not the state, church, family, or society in general to make. Hence not an "con" argument.

4. Yes, and it is completely consistent with personal and social growth. This is not some lightning strike out of the blue.

This is the product of millennium of social and biological evolution in form of both memetics and genetics. Again the onus is on the state and society in general to show grounds for interfering with the individual pursuit of this goal but the individual need to show any more than "Good Faith" established by our works.

5. This is an example of a blind a priori judgment call with no logical validity (faith in fear and fear as a form of faith).

It is equivalent to saying we understand all there is to know about quantum mechanics without discovering the body of knowledge, let alone studying it.


***************************************
These points are not based on logic but a mounting panic among people that they are facing something they do not understand. This instinctive fear of the unknown is making them grab at straws. But never forget the vast majority has always been all too willing to burn witches first and then blame the victims.

Later they lick their self inflicted wounds of pride and spirit, confess their sins and make martyrs out the "lessons," twisted into meaningless manipulation for mass behavior.
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