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Transhumanism and Biological Immortality

Enter here to explore ethical issues and discuss the meaning and source of morality.
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Compassionist
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Joined: July 14th, 2007, 8:38 am

Re: Transhumanism and Biological Immortality

#41 Postby Compassionist » May 13th, 2012, 11:57 am

Latest post of the previous page:

Dave B wrote:
What if we could all be 21 forever?
If you mean "in every respect", including attitude, emotional balance etc. - no bloody thanks! I remember me at 21 (my birthday, standing on a table in the bar in Bahrain, holding a pint glass of almost neat white rum and reciting "Eskimo Nell").

No, that's not what I mean. You would obviously change mentally as you gain more experiences and grow wiser. I am saying, 'What if senescence stopped at 21?' I am exploring the answer in my story. Telomeres would stop getting shorter at 21 and people will stop ageing physically. Obviously, you would still get older with time.

Cathy
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Re: Transhumanism and Biological Immortality

#42 Postby Cathy » May 13th, 2012, 9:44 pm

Alan C. wrote:
Cathy.
No, I would not pay to live forever. One lifetime is more than enough.
So do you not believe in re-incarnation?
It's difficult to see where you stand on some issues.


Reincarnation is not a Christian belief, so, no, I don't believe in it. I would be horrified if offered another turn, as anyone or anything. Once is enough.

Before my former husband died he gradually faded away over many years, and was kept alive by modern medicine long past the time when it would have been kinder to have let him go.
So what's your stance on euthanasia (assisted suicide)?


I have sympathy for those who are unwell who want to die, but I do not have sympathy with them asking me to help them do it. Suicide is lawful (although dreadful, if a person is driven to it), murder is not. I would not want to create a grey area between the two, in case vulnerable people were put at risk by it.

I saw my h fade away over many years. I never did anything whatever to hasten his end by as much as a day; it would not have been right. When he finally died it was a great mercy to him, but still immensely difficult for me and our daughter to cope with. I could have hastened his end easily enough, but it would never have been the right thing to do.

Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa.

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Dave B
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Re: Transhumanism and Biological Immortality

#43 Postby Dave B » May 13th, 2012, 10:03 pm

This is getting way :offtopic: again, but I seem remember a case, decades ago, where a woman had a nerve disorder where almost any physical stimulus, even a draught, no matter how gentle, caused her incredible pain. They maintained her on a just-not-quite-lethal dose of pain killers - which did little good - but could never cure it.

I think a relative finally gave into her constant cries for death and smothered her. I sincerely hope they got off any murder charge against them.

I thought that there was something against, "the officious maintenance of life beyond reason" or something but cannot find it in the Hippocratic Oath - ancient or modern versions
"Look forward; yesterday was a lesson, if you did not learn from it you wasted it."
Me, 2015

Lord Muck oGentry
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Re: Transhumanism and Biological Immortality

#44 Postby Lord Muck oGentry » May 13th, 2012, 11:30 pm

Dave B wrote:I thought that there was something against, "the officious maintenance of life beyond reason" or something but cannot find it in the Hippocratic Oath - ancient or modern versions



I wonder whether you might not have been thinking of this:
http://www.theotherpages.org/poems/clough01.html

Originally ironical, it is now almost always quoted " straight".
What we can't say, we can't say and we can't whistle it either. — Frank Ramsey

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Alan H
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Re: Transhumanism and Biological Immortality

#45 Postby Alan H » May 13th, 2012, 11:45 pm

Cathy wrote:I have sympathy for those who are unwell who want to die, but I do not have sympathy with them asking me to help them do it.
I don't understand what you mean about not having sympathy with them for asking you. I assume you mean that you would not help them, but why should your feelings towards them change just because they ask you? Even if you wouldn't raise a finger to help someone end their suffering, do you think others should be allowed to, with appropriate and stringent controls in place?

Suicide is lawful (although dreadful, if a person is driven to it), murder is not.
What is dreadful about helping someone end what might be excruciating suffering?

I would not want to create a grey area between the two, in case vulnerable people were put at risk by it.
Calls for changes to the law to allow physician assisted suicide have nothing to do with vulnerable people being put at risk. We are usually talking about people who are of sound mind who have made a conscious decision about what they want to happen to their own bodies under clearly defined situations.

I saw my h fade away over many years. I never did anything whatever to hasten his end by as much as a day; it would not have been right. When he finally died it was a great mercy to him, but still immensely difficult for me and our daughter to cope with. I could have hastened his end easily enough, but it would never have been the right thing to do.
I assume you are well aware that some pain relief can have a side effect of hastening death?

If I find myself with a terminal illness with the only prospect being that pain will increase to become utterly unbearable, then I know what the 'right' thing to do for me will be. Note I said the right thing for me. It is my life and no one else's and it is for me to decide how it should end and I see no reason - religious or otherwise - why suffering should be unnecessarily imposed on me.
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

Cathy
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Re: Transhumanism and Biological Immortality

#46 Postby Cathy » May 14th, 2012, 12:12 am

Alan H wrote:
I saw my h fade away over many years. I never did anything whatever to hasten his end by as much as a day; it would not have been right. When he finally died it was a great mercy to him, but still immensely difficult for me and our daughter to cope with. I could have hastened his end easily enough, but it would never have been the right thing to do.
I assume you are well aware that some pain relief can have a side effect of hastening death?


Thanks for the empathy; most touching.

Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa.

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Alan H
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Re: Transhumanism and Biological Immortality

#47 Postby Alan H » May 14th, 2012, 12:17 am

Cathy wrote:
Alan H wrote:
I saw my h fade away over many years. I never did anything whatever to hasten his end by as much as a day; it would not have been right. When he finally died it was a great mercy to him, but still immensely difficult for me and our daughter to cope with. I could have hastened his end easily enough, but it would never have been the right thing to do.
I assume you are well aware that some pain relief can have a side effect of hastening death?


Thanks for the empathy; most touching.
It was not a comment on the circumstances of you or your husband. My point was only that some pain relief, given by doctors, whilst if makes pain more bearable, can have a side-effect of hastening death.
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

Cathy
Posts: 192
Joined: May 1st, 2012, 9:18 am

Re: Transhumanism and Biological Immortality

#48 Postby Cathy » May 14th, 2012, 12:19 am

Dave B wrote:I thought that there was something against, "the officious maintenance of life beyond reason" or something but cannot find it in the Hippocratic Oath - ancient or modern versions


The problem seems to be not hastening death but the opposite; a kind of complicit denial between doctor and patient that death is going to be inevitable, at some point. Rather than accepting that and making a reasoned judgement about when to move to palliative care, far too often aggressive procedures are continued for too long.

But perhaps it is easier to say this from the outside. Perhaps we would all want to take the chance of having a few more months or years, however slim our chances.

Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa.

Cathy
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Re: Transhumanism and Biological Immortality

#49 Postby Cathy » May 14th, 2012, 12:23 am

Alan H wrote:
Thanks for the empathy; most touching.
It was not a comment on the circumstances of you or your husband.


Yes, I noticed.

Thanks.

My point was only that some pain relief, given by doctors, whilst if makes pain more bearable, can have a side-effect of hastening death.


Indeed it can. Jolly good.

I don't know anyone who would advocate depriving someone in extremis of pain relief, in order to prolong their life by a couple of hours or days. There may be such people, of course. But I don't know any.

Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa.

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animist
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Re: Transhumanism and Biological Immortality

#50 Postby animist » May 14th, 2012, 12:53 am

Lord Muck oGentry wrote:
Dave B wrote:I thought that there was something against, "the officious maintenance of life beyond reason" or something but cannot find it in the Hippocratic Oath - ancient or modern versions



I wonder whether you might not have been thinking of this:
http://www.theotherpages.org/poems/clough01.html

Originally ironical, it is now almost always quoted " straight".

excellent Clough stuff, Lord M - what about the God poem, was that ironical?

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Dave B
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Re: Transhumanism and Biological Immortality

#51 Postby Dave B » May 14th, 2012, 9:31 am

Lord Muck oGentry wrote:
Dave B wrote:I thought that there was something against, "the officious maintenance of life beyond reason" or something but cannot find it in the Hippocratic Oath - ancient or modern versions



I wonder whether you might not have been thinking of this:
http://www.theotherpages.org/poems/clough01.html

Originally ironical, it is now almost always quoted " straight".
Interesting pieces, Lord M, but am I thick? I cannot relate anything on that page to that which I remember a doctor saying about practising palliative medicine and the "officious" word that he used.
"Look forward; yesterday was a lesson, if you did not learn from it you wasted it."
Me, 2015

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Alan H
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Re: Transhumanism and Biological Immortality

#52 Postby Alan H » May 14th, 2012, 10:08 am

Cathy wrote:
Alan H wrote:
Thanks for the empathy; most touching.
It was not a comment on the circumstances of you or your husband.


Yes, I noticed.

Thanks.

My point was only that some pain relief, given by doctors, whilst if makes pain more bearable, can have a side-effect of hastening death.


Indeed it can. Jolly good.

I don't know anyone who would advocate depriving someone in extremis of pain relief, in order to prolong their life by a couple of hours or days. There may be such people, of course. But I don't know any.
I'm still not convinced you understood my point, but never mind.
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

Cathy
Posts: 192
Joined: May 1st, 2012, 9:18 am

Re: Transhumanism and Biological Immortality

#53 Postby Cathy » May 14th, 2012, 3:42 pm

Alan H wrote:I'm still not convinced you understood my point, but never mind.


You said some pain relief hastens death. I did not dispute that; I said jolly good. As long as it is not me killing someone, if modern medicine happens to do it, in the interests of pain relief, then I have no problem with that, because it is not euthenasia. The primary aim is to relieve pain, not to kill.

The point I was trying to make is that sometimes it is better to accept death than to keep on denying that it is going to happen.

Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa.

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Alan H
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Re: Transhumanism and Biological Immortality

#54 Postby Alan H » May 14th, 2012, 4:19 pm

Cathy wrote:
The point I was trying to make is that sometimes it is better to accept death than to keep on denying that it is going to happen.
I'm not sure who you think is denying death as inevitable.
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

Lord Muck oGentry
Posts: 622
Joined: September 1st, 2007, 3:48 pm

Re: Transhumanism and Biological Immortality

#55 Postby Lord Muck oGentry » May 14th, 2012, 8:48 pm

Dave B wrote:
Lord Muck oGentry wrote:
Dave B wrote:I thought that there was something against, "the officious maintenance of life beyond reason" or something but cannot find it in the Hippocratic Oath - ancient or modern versions



I wonder whether you might not have been thinking of this:
http://www.theotherpages.org/poems/clough01.html

Originally ironical, it is now almost always quoted " straight".
Interesting pieces, Lord M, but am I thick? I cannot relate anything on that page to that which I remember a doctor saying about practising palliative medicine and the "officious" word that he used.


Sorry, Dave. Entirely my fault for not referring specifically to The Last Decalogue and:
Thou shalt not kill; but needst not strive
Officiously to keep alive
What we can't say, we can't say and we can't whistle it either. — Frank Ramsey

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Dave B
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Re: Transhumanism and Biological Immortality

#56 Postby Dave B » May 14th, 2012, 9:39 pm

Sorry, Dave. Entirely my fault for not referring specifically to The Last Decalogue and:
Quote:
Thou shalt not kill; but needst not strive
Officiously to keep alive


Bugger! I need to change my specs or learn to read again or something! I do seem to have become rather sloppy with my reading in the last year or five - but I actually did a search on that page for "officious" !

That is probably what the doctor quoting from, or something using it.

Thanks, Lord M.

Later: just realised that the Control+F search is very fussy, including being case sensitive . . .
"Look forward; yesterday was a lesson, if you did not learn from it you wasted it."
Me, 2015

oberg
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Re: Transhumanism and Biological Immortality

#57 Postby oberg » May 15th, 2012, 8:40 pm

Alan C. wrote:
Compo
What if we could genetically engineer us to be able to photosynthesise like plants? We would not need to eat then.
As a keen horticulturalist of 50+ years, I can assure you that plants cant live on sunshine alone, but need food and water.


We have a hanging lichen which grows independently of the tree it hangs in. That is, it doesn't take sustenance from its host, only nitrogen and C02 from the air, water from the atmosphere and sunlight for photosynthesis. Spot on Alan. They seem to grow on light alone, but their wonderful adaptations have allowed them to "transcend" their cousins rooted in one place.

I too am curious about why any one would NOT want to live as long as possible?
"It does not matter who you are...or how many of you there are, and...not how many papers your side has published, if your prediction is wrong then your hypothesis is wrong. Period." Richard Feynman, Nobel Laureate in Physics

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Alan C.
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Re: Transhumanism and Biological Immortality

#58 Postby Alan C. » May 15th, 2012, 9:51 pm

oberg
I too am curious about why any one would NOT want to live as long as possible?
There is a difference between wanting to live as long as is (humanly) possible and immortality/everlasting life that Compo seems to favour.
Abstinence Makes the Church Grow Fondlers.

Helio Centric
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Re: Transhumanism and Biological Immortality

#59 Postby Helio Centric » May 15th, 2012, 10:31 pm

Compassionist wrote:
Dave B wrote:I have no problem with being more comfortable - less aches and pains - in old age (got enough already thanks!) but the artificial extension of life is another matter IMO. Resources are finite and to extend life must mean to reduce the resources available to new members of the race.

Some resources are finite (e.g. land, water, food, etc.) but other resources are less finite (e.g. sunlight, wind, waves, etc.). What if people could harness solar energy much more effectively? What if we could emigrate to other planets or live on generation starships? Evidence indicates that the universe is ever-expanding. Wouldn't such a universe allow eternal living for all members? What if we could generate universes using quantum mechanics? I know there are lots of 'what ifs' but I am just wondering about all the possibilities opened up by living forever.

An expanding universe does not necessarily mean a universe with infinite matter. It means a universe in which a finite amount of matter which is moving away from itself at an increasing speed. The further away something is from us in the universe the faster it is, apparently, moving away from us. As for 'living forever' I'm with Einstein when he states that time is not absolute and is relative to the person experiencing it. Spend a hour with a pretty girl and it seems like a minute. Place your hand on a hot stove and it seems like an hour - that's relativity. To paraphrase the great man. Therefore I would not like to wish any more life on a person than they wish to endure!
Man will never be free until the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest. - Denis Diderot

oberg
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Re: Transhumanism and Biological Immortality

#60 Postby oberg » May 16th, 2012, 11:09 pm

Alan C. wrote:
oberg
I too am curious about why any one would NOT want to live as long as possible?
There is a difference between wanting to live as long as is (humanly) possible and immortality/everlasting life that Compo seems to favour.


Is there really?

I don't understand the distinction between humanly and I assume, inhumanly, possible.

If living as long as possible ultimately leads to immortality, rather than "as long as (humanly possible)", which implicitly is not immortality in your context, does that not then become "humanly" possible?
"It does not matter who you are...or how many of you there are, and...not how many papers your side has published, if your prediction is wrong then your hypothesis is wrong. Period." Richard Feynman, Nobel Laureate in Physics

oberg
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Re: Transhumanism and Biological Immortality

#61 Postby oberg » May 16th, 2012, 11:39 pm

Helio Centric wrote:An expanding universe does not necessarily mean a universe with infinite matter. It means a universe in which a finite amount of matter which is moving away from itself at an increasing speed. The further away something is from us in the universe the faster it is, apparently, moving away from us. As for 'living forever' I'm with Einstein when he states that time is not absolute and is relative to the person experiencing it. Spend a hour with a pretty girl and it seems like a minute. Place your hand on a hot stove and it seems like an hour - that's relativity. To paraphrase the great man.


The earth is not a closed system as it absorbs energy from our sun. An open system, by definition, may not be finite in nature as it takes input from other systems. If all its input systems are finite, then it ultimately becomes finite. Closed systems are finite. The earth is not a closed system, so the resources available to the earth are not finite, assuming that the universe is not finite. If the universe if finite, though, the actually quantity may be more than we can ever think of using, even if we are immortal (or at least living as long as want).

Our universe may be a closed system...nobody knows yet. It certainly looks like it is leading to the great shredding. What happens after every particle is reduced to nothingness. Does this lack of something lead to another big bang? I have often wondered, as have the physicists who support this theory, what it would be like to sit on those last systems where they can see nothing else in the universe as it all too far away? Will they think about immortality too?

Living forever, or being immortal, would also suggest a transcendence of the great shredding. Perhaps that is much more than the orginial poster intended.
Therefore I would not like to wish any more life on a person than they wish to endure!

If we feel we are just enduring our lives, perhaps we should make changes that increase our well-being. Life is all we, as a race, have. As an individual, we have one single shot as experiencing all we can and passing that on to our progeny, in the hope that it improves their chances of survival.
"It does not matter who you are...or how many of you there are, and...not how many papers your side has published, if your prediction is wrong then your hypothesis is wrong. Period." Richard Feynman, Nobel Laureate in Physics


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