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Biological Immortality

Immortal
Posts: 350
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2/20/2010 12:48:02 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
"Biological immortality is the absence of a sustained increase in rate of mortality as a function of chronological age. A cell or organism that does not experience, or at some future point will cease, aging, is biologically immortal. Any real living object enjoying biological immortality would still be able to die, for example, upon receiving sufficient injury or otherwise having its body destroyed or diseased."— Wikipedia

Thoughts?

Hypothetically-speaking, if scientists have succeeded in achieving biological immortality and distributed it, would you accept the chance to live forever, barring injury, disease, destruction, and etc. or choose death and why?
Mirza
Posts: 16,992
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2/20/2010 1:00:38 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
Scientists will not, and definitely cannot, find any way of making us live forever.

But for the sake of argument, let's say it happens, and would I choose death or everlasting life? Since I am young and have yet to experience the adventure of life, I cannot come with a perfect decision right now, if I should make one. But if you think about how hard life can be mentally, even though you're not ill, I don't think I'd choose an everlasting life here. Some things that become a part of you might vanish while you're still alive, and think about if it happens all the time. It's not worth it.

And surviving a nuclear war would be a bit sad too.
I-am-a-panda
Posts: 15,380
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2/20/2010 1:01:39 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
Immortality. I can live for as long as I want, and if I want to die, I can do so. The roly problem is scientists would have to make really good contraceptives or neuter 99% of the population.
Pizza. I have enormous respect for Pizza.
Ore_Ele
Posts: 25,980
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2/20/2010 1:04:16 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
It's not immortality. It means not aging to death. You could still get shot and killed, or get a disease that could kill you.

I don't think it would be possible for humans. While you could, theoretically make us that way, our diets and habits would likely alter them back. The only thing I can think of that may be possible would be to use it on the brain to prevent Alzheimer's or memory decay with ago.
"Wanting Red Rhino Pill to have gender"
Immortal
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2/20/2010 1:12:42 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 2/20/2010 1:00:38 PM, Mirza wrote:
Scientists will not, and definitely cannot, find any way of making us live forever.

I would not be too sure. Biological immortality just means to be immune to aging. If we do not age, we have the possibility of living forever.

For example, lobsters do not give any signs of aging. They only seem to die by external causes. They have not been observed with any internal decline as they get older. The reason for this indefinite longevity is said to be due to telomerase which repairs telomeres, the caps that prevent our cells from damage.
Immortal
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2/20/2010 1:15:00 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 2/20/2010 1:04:16 PM, OreEle wrote:
It's not immortality. It means not aging to death. You could still get shot and killed, or get a disease that could kill you.

That's why it's called "biological" immortality, not "inviolable" immortality.
Immortal
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2/20/2010 1:19:06 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 2/20/2010 1:01:39 PM, I-am-a-panda wrote:
Immortality. I can live for as long as I want, and if I want to die, I can do so. The roly problem is scientists would have to make really good contraceptives or neuter 99% of the population.

That's only if people wanted to have kids because there would no be needed to "continue the generation". If you cannot age, you probably will not be outlived by your family. Then again, we could always use vasectomy.
Mirza
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2/20/2010 1:20:46 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 2/20/2010 1:12:42 PM, Immortal wrote:
For example, lobsters do not give any signs of aging. They only seem to die by external causes. They have not been observed with any internal decline as they get older. The reason for this indefinite longevity is said to be due to telomerase which repairs telomeres, the caps that prevent our cells from damage.
Lobsters and humans have a fairly different body system. Whatever the case for lobsters longevity is, humans will always die at a certain age, and there won't be any biotechnology to prevent that.
Ore_Ele
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2/20/2010 1:24:10 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 2/20/2010 1:15:00 PM, Immortal wrote:
At 2/20/2010 1:04:16 PM, OreEle wrote:
It's not immortality. It means not aging to death. You could still get shot and killed, or get a disease that could kill you.

That's why it's called "biological" immortality, not "inviolable" immortality.

I know, I was only correcting the post that I quoted and not the actual OP.
"Wanting Red Rhino Pill to have gender"
mattrodstrom
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2/20/2010 1:42:38 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
I had heard aging was in large part due to corruption of cells when they get copied.

Each cell dies in a few weeks or whatever, and gets replaced by a copy.

Every thousand copies or so is corrupted, and can leave a bunch of new slightly corrupted cells in it's wake. Over time more and more and more are corrupted.

Also perhaps why old people get cancer b/c I've heard that all that is is bad mutations/corruptions.

......

I'd definitely choose to remain forever youthful... the odds would prolly eventually catch up with you, and you'd get hit by a bus or something.
"He who does not know how to put his will into things at least puts a meaning into them: that is, he believes there is a will in them already."

Metaphysics:
"The science.. which deals with the fundamental errors of mankind - but as if they were the fundamental truths."
Ore_Ele
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2/20/2010 1:51:06 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 2/20/2010 1:42:38 PM, mattrodstrom wrote:
I had heard aging was in large part due to corruption of cells when they get copied.

Each cell dies in a few weeks or whatever, and gets replaced by a copy.

Every thousand copies or so is corrupted, and can leave a bunch of new slightly corrupted cells in it's wake. Over time more and more and more are corrupted.

Also perhaps why old people get cancer b/c I've heard that all that is is bad mutations/corruptions.

......

I'd definitely choose to remain forever youthful... the odds would prolly eventually catch up with you, and you'd get hit by a bus or something.

But braincells don't copy hardly ever, so that would imply that the brain is immune from corruption.

However, while that is somewhat true, I think it is more like as an individual cell ages it gets less effective (like any motorized piece of equipment). So let's say it goes from 100% down to 70% then is copied, but the fresh copy only starts at 99% then goes to 69% then copies and works its way down. That way with braincells, rather then coping, they simply wear out. Not sure, just a thought.
"Wanting Red Rhino Pill to have gender"
Immortal
Posts: 350
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2/20/2010 2:07:10 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 2/20/2010 1:42:38 PM, mattrodstrom wrote:
I had heard aging was in large part due to corruption of cells when they get copied.

Each cell dies in a few weeks or whatever, and gets replaced by a copy.

Every thousand copies or so is corrupted, and can leave a bunch of new slightly corrupted cells in it's wake. Over time more and more and more are corrupted.

Also perhaps why old people get cancer b/c I've heard that all that is is bad mutations/corruptions.

Interesting theory. What I heard was that the reason that cancer is associated with old people is that cancerous cells have increased telomerase production. Since cells may "refuse" to die, they can turn immortal which turns into cancer. This is why HeLa cells are immortal.

Of course, if corruption of cells were part of the causes of aging, we can use technology to repair the cells and be biological immortal that way.
TheSkeptic
Posts: 1,362
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2/20/2010 5:47:17 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 2/20/2010 1:20:46 PM, Mirza wrote:
At 2/20/2010 1:12:42 PM, Immortal wrote:
For example, lobsters do not give any signs of aging. They only seem to die by external causes. They have not been observed with any internal decline as they get older. The reason for this indefinite longevity is said to be due to telomerase which repairs telomeres, the caps that prevent our cells from damage.
Lobsters and humans have a fairly different body system. Whatever the case for lobsters longevity is, humans will always die at a certain age, and there won't be any biotechnology to prevent that.

That's just scientifically naive.
Mirza
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2/20/2010 6:01:07 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 2/20/2010 5:47:17 PM, TheSkeptic wrote:
That's just scientifically naive.
No it's not. I'd like to see if this ever becomes possible.

And perhaps you could become a scientist and try to create life? Maybe a single living algae? You'll never be successful in that either. Scientists have tried to form some kind of life using various methods, and they've always failed. Now they expect to create life in about 10 years. Let's see how close to a fact that theory will be.
Immortal
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2/20/2010 6:11:31 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 2/20/2010 6:01:07 PM, Mirza wrote:
At 2/20/2010 5:47:17 PM, TheSkeptic wrote:
That's just scientifically naive.
No it's not. I'd like to see if this ever becomes possible.

If you lived in the Shakespearean age, you would probably call cars and long-distance communication in seconds impossible. But that does not mean they are.

And perhaps you could become a scientist and try to create life? Maybe a single living algae? You'll never be successful in that either. Scientists have tried to form some kind of life using various methods, and they've always failed. Now they expect to create life in about 10 years. Let's see how close to a fact that theory will be.

You're saying as if you are so sure. Is there any evidence behind that reasoning or just merely wishful thinking?
Mirza
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2/20/2010 6:17:33 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 2/20/2010 6:11:31 PM, Immortal wrote:
If you lived in the Shakespearean age, you would probably call cars and long-distance communication in seconds impossible. But that does not mean they are.
Technology is not the same as biology. With regards to technology, it is possible to think of something that may be 500 years in the future. With regards to biology, its much more complicated because things are already systematic, it's not under the control of humans.

Technology is just something we come up with. Making something out of material. Biological beings are far more advanced.

You're saying as if you are so sure. Is there any evidence behind that reasoning or just merely wishful thinking?
As I said, biology is something very complicated, and one mistake can ruin an entire system of a being. Creating something would require extreme knowledge, one which humans can never posses, including methods used for creating something. Combinations of chemicals etc. and making something living out of it is impossible. But let's see if the 10 year promise from some scientists is going to be a successful one. I say it's not.
belle
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2/20/2010 10:51:19 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 2/20/2010 2:07:10 PM, Immortal wrote:
At 2/20/2010 1:42:38 PM, mattrodstrom wrote:
I had heard aging was in large part due to corruption of cells when they get copied.

Each cell dies in a few weeks or whatever, and gets replaced by a copy.

Every thousand copies or so is corrupted, and can leave a bunch of new slightly corrupted cells in it's wake. Over time more and more and more are corrupted.

Also perhaps why old people get cancer b/c I've heard that all that is is bad mutations/corruptions.

Interesting theory. What I heard was that the reason that cancer is associated with old people is that cancerous cells have increased telomerase production. Since cells may "refuse" to die, they can turn immortal which turns into cancer. This is why HeLa cells are immortal.

while that may be true (and HeLa cells are really cool hehe) the issue with old people and cancer is that more mutations have had the chance to build up. most cancers are caused by 7 or 8. not only that, but the mutations have to be to do with growth and reproduction of the cells. theres redundancy built into the system so several different genes work to keep the cell from dividing out of control. in an older person, their cells having gone through more divisions, it is more likely that mutations have occurred in enough of them for the growth restricting functions to fail.

i am not sure why telomerase function would increase at old age, esp since shortening telomeres are implicated in aging... but i can see how enhanced telomerase function would contribute to cancer.

as for immortality i can't imagine anyone *wouldn't* take the chance. since you can still die and opt out when you get bored but without the pesky side effects of getting old/having your body wear down. i would be more worried about the changes not being worth the expense since its still relatively easy to die from things other than aging...
evidently i only come to ddo to avoid doing homework...
Korashk
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2/20/2010 11:10:09 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 2/20/2010 6:17:33 PM, Mirza wrote:
As I said, biology is something very complicated, and one mistake can ruin an entire system of a being. Creating something would require extreme knowledge, one which humans can never posses, including methods used for creating something. Combinations of chemicals etc. and making something living out of it is impossible. But let's see if the 10 year promise from some scientists is going to be a successful one. I say it's not.

You may find this article interesting:
http://blogs.discovermagazine.com...
When large numbers of otherwise-law abiding people break specific laws en masse, it's usually a fault that lies with the law. - Unknown
belle
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2/20/2010 11:20:01 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 2/20/2010 11:10:09 PM, Korashk wrote:
You may find this article interesting:
http://blogs.discovermagazine.com...

lol craig venter is the overbearing playboy of biology.

he's done some amazing things though (or at least put his name on them :P )
evidently i only come to ddo to avoid doing homework...
Immortal
Posts: 350
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2/21/2010 10:54:57 AM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 2/20/2010 6:17:33 PM, Mirza wrote:
At 2/20/2010 6:11:31 PM, Immortal wrote:
If you lived in the Shakespearean age, you would probably call cars and long-distance communication in seconds impossible. But that does not mean they are.
Technology is not the same as biology. With regards to technology, it is possible to think of something that may be 500 years in the future. With regards to biology, its much more complicated because things are already systematic, it's not under the control of humans.

Is medicine technology? What about cloning? Vaccines? Humans are able to manipulate the human body for their benefits against diseases. Isn't that why scientists are using laboratory rats to learn their biology and then compare it to humans? Is artificial life a combination of technology and biology?

http://science.howstuffworks.com...

Technology is just something we come up with. Making something out of material. Biological beings are far more advanced.

You're saying as if you are so sure. Is there any evidence behind that reasoning or just merely wishful thinking?
As I said, biology is something very complicated, and one mistake can ruin an entire system of a being. Creating something would require extreme knowledge, one which humans can never posses, including methods used for creating something. Combinations of chemicals etc. and making something living out of it is impossible. But let's see if the 10 year promise from some scientists is going to be a successful one. I say it's not.

Of course biology is complicated, but humans can learn it. I bet there won't be just one trial. Creating something like cars or airplane require knowledge that humans have already the capability to possess. Combination of chemicals to make life is not shown to be theoretically impossible. The Earth already did it by abiogenesis. I think that humans can emulate that process too.
Immortal
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2/21/2010 11:12:55 AM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 2/20/2010 10:51:19 PM, belle wrote:
At 2/20/2010 2:07:10 PM, Immortal wrote:
At 2/20/2010 1:42:38 PM, mattrodstrom wrote:
I had heard aging was in large part due to corruption of cells when they get copied.

Each cell dies in a few weeks or whatever, and gets replaced by a copy.

Every thousand copies or so is corrupted, and can leave a bunch of new slightly corrupted cells in it's wake. Over time more and more and more are corrupted.

Also perhaps why old people get cancer b/c I've heard that all that is is bad mutations/corruptions.

Interesting theory. What I heard was that the reason that cancer is associated with old people is that cancerous cells have increased telomerase production. Since cells may "refuse" to die, they can turn immortal which turns into cancer. This is why HeLa cells are immortal.

while that may be true (and HeLa cells are really cool hehe) the issue with old people and cancer is that more mutations have had the chance to build up. most cancers are caused by 7 or 8. not only that, but the mutations have to be to do with growth and reproduction of the cells. theres redundancy built into the system so several different genes work to keep the cell from dividing out of control. in an older person, their cells having gone through more divisions, it is more likely that mutations have occurred in enough of them for the growth restricting functions to fail.

i am not sure why telomerase function would increase at old age, esp since shortening telomeres are implicated in aging... but i can see how enhanced telomerase function would contribute to cancer.

as for immortality i can't imagine anyone *wouldn't* take the chance. since you can still die and opt out when you get bored but without the pesky side effects of getting old/having your body wear down. i would be more worried about the changes not being worth the expense since its still relatively easy to die from things other than aging...

Scientists have found that increased telomerase production can lengthen life and increase immune function by observing the long lives of turtles, whales, clams, lobsters, etc.

It has been found that 90 percent of human tumors exhibit more telomerase activity such as HeLa cells. In fact, some scientists propose decreasing telomerase production as a means of fighting cancer. Therefore, telomere shrinkage may have actually evolved as a means to repress tumor growth.

As cells get older, they divide more often and their telomeres become shorter. If their telomeres get too short, the cells may die. A cell can escape this fate by becoming a cancer cell and activating an enzyme called telomerase, which prevents the telomeres from getting even shorter.

Telomerase is the natural enzyme which promotes telomere repair. It is however not active in most cells. It is active in stem cells, germ cells, hair follicles and in 90 percent of cancer cells. As a result of this telomerase activity, these cells seem to possess a kind of immortality.

Sources: http://en.wikipedia.org...
http://science.howstuffworks.com...

Well, the body won't get weaker right? As a result of biological immortality, the body does age so you won't see the diseases associated with old age since old people have limited regenerative abilities and are more prone to disease, syndromes, and sickness than other adults.
belle
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2/21/2010 11:35:17 AM
Posted: 6 years ago
^^true enough, but you don't get increased telomerase production from being old (at least not directly) which is what confused me. thanks for clearing it up though
evidently i only come to ddo to avoid doing homework...
Immortal
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2/21/2010 11:54:22 AM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 2/21/2010 11:35:17 AM, belle wrote:
^^true enough, but you don't get increased telomerase production from being old (at least not directly) which is what confused me. thanks for clearing it up though

"A bird known as Leach's storm petrel fits into a human hand yet lives more than 30 years. They're also the only known animal in which telomeres grow longer with age."
Source: http://animals.howstuffworks.com...

I'm not sure if you get increased telomerase production by age. If we do, then I'm sure that's why we get cancer. Our telomeres shorten so cells increased telomerase production which causes cancer to avoid the Hayflick limit which is about 120 years for humans.

Telomerase production is not present in every human cell like lobsters if that's what you're asking. There is probably not one cause for aging though. I think that animals that have a longer lifespan than us do not get cancer and die like we do. If we can somehow boost telomerase production in all of our cells yet prevent those cells from being cancerous, then we can achieve biological immortality. That's why I believe that scientists are testing telomerase production in cells and testing it to see if it divides out of control and how to prevent it from being cancerous.
belle
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2/21/2010 12:11:31 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 2/21/2010 11:54:22 AM, Immortal wrote:
At 2/21/2010 11:35:17 AM, belle wrote:
^^true enough, but you don't get increased telomerase production from being old (at least not directly) which is what confused me. thanks for clearing it up though

"A bird known as Leach's storm petrel fits into a human hand yet lives more than 30 years. They're also the only known animal in which telomeres grow longer with age."
Source: http://animals.howstuffworks.com...

I'm not sure if you get increased telomerase production by age. If we do, then I'm sure that's why we get cancer. Our telomeres shorten so cells increased telomerase production which causes cancer to avoid the Hayflick limit which is about 120 years for humans.

Telomerase production is not present in every human cell like lobsters if that's what you're asking. There is probably not one cause for aging though. I think that animals that have a longer lifespan than us do not get cancer and die like we do. If we can somehow boost telomerase production in all of our cells yet prevent those cells from being cancerous, then we can achieve biological immortality. That's why I believe that scientists are testing telomerase production in cells and testing it to see if it divides out of control and how to prevent it from being cancerous.

telomerase is active in cancer cells i get that. but being old (at least for humans!) doesn't cause an increase in telomerase production directly- some kind of mutation does.

and yeah, if we could control that function of it then we might have some form of immortality, just without the invulnerability to accidents and disease. probably overall less diseases though, being young and spry our whole lives.

and another example i came across, hehe

http://www.environmentalgraffiti.com...
evidently i only come to ddo to avoid doing homework...
Immortal
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2/21/2010 12:21:01 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 2/21/2010 12:11:31 PM, belle wrote:

telomerase is active in cancer cells i get that. but being old (at least for humans!) doesn't cause an increase in telomerase production directly- some kind of mutation does.

You mean telomerase production in cells that tries to avoid inevitable death by resorting to immortality or telomerase production in general as the humans age. I don't recall that humans increase their telomerase except in the case when cancer develops. Is their an example you could give?

and yeah, if we could control that function of it then we might have some form of immortality, just without the invulnerability to accidents and disease. probably overall less diseases though, being young and spry our whole lives.

and another example i came across, hehe

http://www.environmentalgraffiti.com...

Yeah, but I don't think jellyfishes are the most sophisticated animals on the planet that could be compared to humans. There is no need for us to resume to an "immature" state. I don't think we could ever do what jellyfishes does.

However, we could just not age at all like lobsters: http://animals.howstuffworks.com...

Jellyfishes aren't even the only biological immortal animals.
We have: lobsters, Hydras, and turtles...although lobsters and turtles may be disputed because we aren't sure how long they can actually live...
belle
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2/21/2010 12:32:09 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 2/21/2010 12:21:01 PM, Immortal wrote:

You mean telomerase production in cells that tries to avoid inevitable death by resorting to immortality or telomerase production in general as the humans age. I don't recall that humans increase their telomerase except in the case when cancer develops. Is their an example you could give?

nor do i, but you implied that increased telomerase production happens naturally as we age and this is why cancer develops. in fact, increased telomerase production is a factor in cancer because it allows the cells to divide repeatedly without dying. it enables cancer without directly causing it since other cellular mechanisms also need to be broken. aaaaaaaand it doesn't "just happen" as we get older because we are getting older like it does in lobsters. thats my point here.
evidently i only come to ddo to avoid doing homework...
Immortal
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2/21/2010 12:43:14 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 2/21/2010 12:32:09 PM, belle wrote:
At 2/21/2010 12:21:01 PM, Immortal wrote:

You mean telomerase production in cells that tries to avoid inevitable death by resorting to immortality or telomerase production in general as the humans age. I don't recall that humans increase their telomerase except in the case when cancer develops. Is their an example you could give?

nor do i, but you implied that increased telomerase production happens naturally as we age and this is why cancer develops. in fact, increased telomerase production is a factor in cancer because it allows the cells to divide repeatedly without dying. it enables cancer without directly causing it since other cellular mechanisms also need to be broken. aaaaaaaand it doesn't "just happen" as we get older because we are getting older like it does in lobsters. thats my point here.

I'm not aware that I implied it. I think (although I'm not sure) I stated that cells can avoid their destruction by becoming a cancer cell by activating an enzyme called telomerase, which prevents the telomeres from getting even shorter. So I don't think telomerase production happens as we age, it just happens if the cells choose it or not. Not all old people develop cancer and that may be because their cells haven't "chosen" to activate telomerase. All of our cells have telomerase in them. It's just not active in all of them. That is why we can study it, replicated it, and extract it and why people are trying to figure out what to do with them.
Immortal
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2/21/2010 4:19:39 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
Hypothetically-speaking, if scientists have succeeded in achieving biological immortality and distributed it, would you accept the chance to live forever, barring injury, disease, destruction, and etc. or choose death and why?

I'll answer my own question:

"I would accept biological immortality. Under atheism, there's no
afterlife. Therefore, since I enjoy my life, it makes sense to extend
it. If I can maintain immortality, cool. And if that opinion ever
changed and I wanted to die for whatever reason, I could always kill
myself (I'm sure that's still an option)."

The reason I'm asking everyone this is because I would want to see how humanity would react to biological immortality. This is one of the things I want to achieve. However, even if I could achieve it, humans would take a long time to adapt to it because they have different opinions of immortality. So if I asked the question early, I would be prepared in the future the possibility of responding to potential problems such as overpopulation.
tkubok
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2/22/2010 6:35:46 AM
Posted: 6 years ago
Short answer, no with a but.

Long answer, yes with a qualifier.

I would like to live as long as i possibly could, maybe even hundreds of years. However, i will probably reach a point in my life where the life i have no longer amuses me and therefore, the only thing left for me is to die.
Ragnar_Rahl
Posts: 19,297
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2/22/2010 9:00:47 AM
Posted: 6 years ago
Why is there even a question? Sign me up.
It came to be at its height. It was commanded to command. It was a capital before its first stone was laid. It was a monument to the spirit of man.