Discussion in 'Biology & Genetics' started by Saint, Jan 17, 2020.
Can modern biology and medicine make us immortal?
Any anti-aging drugs possible?
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I don't know. I think there are limits on cell division. Does uploading your consciousness to a computer count?
Not in the way you are thinking. There are a great many causes of aging; no one drug, procedure or treatment will stop or reverse all the causes.
immortality is a lack of time reference
there is no current scientific definition of an example of immortality
immortality is generally crack cocaine ideology sold to religious followers.
you are asking if science could conveniently solve Religions problem about not being able to prove eternal life.
Did Charles Darwin believe in eternal life ?
Short answers: Not yet, and yes.
Life is already immortal. (Or effectively so.) It began at some unknown point more than 3 1/2 billion years ago and is still going strong today.
What isn't immortal is us. Our human bodies, our identities. So why do seemingly immortal cell-lines periodically produce these huge multicellular organisms, billions of cells strong, seemingly as the cell lines' fruiting bodies? Nobody really knows. Again, it's part of the mystery surrounding the initial appearance of multicellular organisms back in the Ediacaran (or whenever it was).
Maybe what we think of as ourselves, as us, are to the immortal cell line that might really comprise mammals what toad-stools are to fungi...
(Bacteria have been around since the beginning too, and they don't do it. Only some of the eukaryotes.)
There are obviously questions in the philosophy of biology regarding how we define biological individuals and what biological individuals even are, that arise here. And that in turn has implications for questions of personal identity. What are we, really?
I'm inclined to agree with James, except that I'd change his 'yes' to a very tentative 'perhaps'. Some time in the distant future, perhaps.
I think that a lot more needs to be known about this stuff, as well as the unanticipated side-effects of changing any of it, before anti-aging treatments that effectively turn all of our body cells and their chain of descendants into immortal cell lines can be attempted.
I can imagine that the results of some of the early experiments in creating an immortality serum might be pretty horrible, science fiction movie stuff.
In a way it already happens. All of the cells in our bodies, apart from the sperm and eggs we produce, are ultimately headed towards death. They aren't endlessly reproducing cell-lines. They have a built in clock, so to speak.
But cancer cells appear to be immortal and just reproduce over and over without becoming senescent.
So one way to render us immortal might be to turn all of our cells into cancer cells. Obvious downside to that...
If our serum resets all our cells by inducing them into being pluripotent stem cells, like we see at the very beginnings of fetal development, then each cell in our body might grow into cyst-like tumors everywhere in a test-subject's body containing skin, hair, bone, teeth and even eyes. Experimental subjects would die horribly.
(not yet-----maybe never)
120 year max?
stem cell research?
There is promising research in this area going on right now. The lifespans of mice have already been considerably lengthened. Trials on other animals and humans are in the pipeline.
No. The human lifespan can - in theory - be doubled; say, 140-160 years.
But, unless you're constantly replacing organs (and where would you get young organs?) and pumping in hormones, most functions slow down and shut down. The biggest single problem, of course, is the brain. If you replace that, you're somebody else. OTH, it does not regenerate well. Over time, it shrinks, develops lacunae; the myelin erodes and you get synaptic short-circuits... you spend the last forty years scratching at invisible bugs, crying over an ice-cream cone you dropped 120 years ago and searching for your car keys.
That, of course, is only if medical science continues uninterrupted by climate change, mass migrations, 80% unemployment, military coup and economic collapse.
I agree. But I think that we are discussing two different things.
Saint asked "can modern biology and medicine make us immortal?" I don't think so, and tried to suggest why. But I don't think that the idea of human immortality is a totally outlandish idea, since life is already immortal. The challenge would be to enable our human organisms to participate in that immortality, which is currently only enjoyed by the germ-line that connects us to our ancestors and descendants.
You seem to be addressing the second half of Saint's question: "any anti-aging drugs possible"?
The answer is likely 'yes', if we don't read the question in the context of immortality. Certainly a variety of life-extension technologies are likely to appear in the very near future. The goal there would be to reduce or eliminate the degenerative problems of aging, to remain more youthful throughout the lifespan. Perhaps even to extend the lifespan a bit. But I suspect that there would be an upper limit that's far short of immortality.
Otherwise we would be talking about turning all the cells in the human body into immortal cell-lines that just continue to reproduce forever. And I really suspect that there would be all kinds of currently unsuspected problems with doing that.
Immortality might indeed be possible in the future, but I don't think that we are close today.
Achieving an infinitely long or endless sequence of different/changing, "classified as living" body states is probably impossible.
But if you want to be immortal with respect to your entire (finite) life persisting... Then just give up the common belief of philosophical presentism and its hypostatization of your subjective moment as the objective standard for an ephemeral, global now that (magically?) replaced and destroyed an antecedent state of the whole universe. (Repeat.)
I think that certain things will always be impossible to achieve and so will forever remain in the realm of human imagination or science fiction.
Immortality is one of those things I believe. Manned faster than light space travel is another.
We will probably never be able to travel faster than light or bring dead love ones back from the dead. We probably won't even be able to communicate with our dead relatives.
Immortality is probably impossible to achieve and so is manned interstellar/intergalactic/faster than light space travel.
Perhaps, going down the road of anti-aging or immortality is not a good one when it comes to evolution as it may tend to steer the human species to sterility considering our world will become so over populated that we'd be forced to more stringent birth control.
At last! A wise answer.
The question I would pose is, would someone truly want to be immortal? Think about it.
On the question itself re that possibility...immortal? forever? for all eternity? I doubt it.
Thanks, but I personally would love to be immortal and watch what happens to the world in the future. I think that we should first colonize other planets before considering immortality or anti-aging. Then, at the very least, it might be more sustainable.
I believe that's made the rounds a couple of times.
I'd go for it - but not in a human body, and certainly not this old, unreliable one.
Might consider reincarnation as various life-forms, preferably on various planets; would consider a non-corporeal form - but only if I always retained the option of exit.
That's assuming we all stay on Earth.
Reincarnation I like! The mind boggles if one could choose who to come back as!!
You never get that choice. For one thing, it's all in the future: brand new lives; nobody's happened yet to choose from. For another, the next available birth may be a meerkat or vulture.
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