Round 1. Whatukno vs LordBucket: The Fountain of Incredibly Old

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posted on Oct, 27 2010 @ 02:41 AM
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The topic for this debate is "Medical technology which makes human life expectancy potentially unlimited should not be developed.”

Whatukno will be arguing the "Pro" position and begin the debate.
LordBucket will be arguing the "Con" position.

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edit on Wed 27 Oct 2010 by The Vagabond because: Change of participants.




posted on Oct, 27 2010 @ 08:26 AM
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Thank you The Vagabond and thank you Romantic_Rebel.


And the LORD said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also [is] flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years.
(1)

According to Christianity, our spirit is the lord's and our bodies can not take that spirit beyond 120 years. Whether or not that is just written words in a book or divine inspiration is a debate for a different time, I am using this quote to show that man even in ancient times knew that there is a natural time when one must accept fate and to die naturally. And according to them, against the will of God.

Medical technology has improved the quality and length of life for many in the industrialized world. But can it go to far? In this debate, I will show that it indeed can.

Immortality has been a dream of mankind ever since we have learned that one day we will die. We know that some day our life will end. It is the natural order of things, and while medical technology has done many things, disrupting that natural order is not one that should be achieved.

As we get older, our mortal bodies wear out, organs begin to work less efficiently, and eventually fail. The end result in the best of circumstances is failure of one or more vital system resulting in death. It is a natural part of the human condition and one shared with absolutely every other living organism on this planet.

There is the question of what form this indefinite human life expectancy technology will be.

Will it be the augmentation of our own biological systems with technological replacement parts? If so, at what point do we cease to be human? How many replacements until we are no longer considered a biological entity, but a technological one? And would that still be considered being alive? What of maintenance, replacement, and upgrades? If we learn the ability to replace the brain with an artificial organ, can we still call ourselves human? Are we the sum of our parts, or are we an intangible soul? Will that soul still remain if all organic components are replaced by technological ones?

If this mechanical technology is developed via nanotechnology, wouldn't there be a risk of compromised code that would alter us in unforeseen ways? Altering us in ways we never thought of or even overcoming our own sense of free will to another person's who is in control when machines made by others invade every aspect of our biological body?

Will it be in the form of replacement parts from cloned humans? Copies of ourselves developed for the expressed purpose of maintaining an unlimited supply of perfect replacement parts for our own systems? The moral dilemma of breeding a slave race the existence of is for the singular purpose of organ harvesting, is this not murder?

Will it be through the use of embryonic stem cells which can be augmented to existing cells to repair damaged organs? This brings up the obvious moral dilemma of using a fertilized human embryo and harvesting the stem cells for use in others, thus ending a potential life.

Will it be through genetic manipulation eliminating imperfections in our DNA or augmenting our code in order to create a perfect cell that would not be damaged during mitosis? Genetic manipulation also comes with a moral cost, would it be right to manipulate our genetic code bringing about not only immortality but a genetic “master race”? Bringing with it of course the social problems of people who are not genetically enhanced perhaps being reduced to a lower class of society. Or even being looked upon as inferior and eventual genocide of what is deemed by the genetically enhanced humans as a sub species.

As you can see, while medical technology is a boon to the quality of life, there is a limit morally where we should take that technology. After all, while the body may be enhanced to the point that it will never break down, how long can the human spirit last in this mortal plane?

I put forth the proposition that eventually, the soul will wish for whatever is beyond this realm and it must in fact give up the body. Therefore, we shouldn't develop the technology to extend the human life span indefinitely. To do so can potentially trap that soul in this form.

Also I propose the proposition that while longevity can be eventually achieved to the point of immortality, the quality of life to that end must inevitably suffer as a result. The truism of be careful what you wish for, you just might get it comes to mind.

This all of course leads one to speculate about the inevitable population control which must be considered in a society of nigh immortals. If no one needs to die due to natural causes, how will that effect the human population as a whole? Human males can breed up until their death. Potentially this could lead to one male creating an infinite number of offspring from several generations of females. Thus compacting the gene pool and making accidental inbreeding a stronger possibility. Currently female humans develop all the eggs they will ever have during gestation and they typically upon puberty will only have roughly 400 eggs that are viable for impregnation.(2)

Given the realistic reproductive time a woman is given between puberty and menopause, a mating pair of nigh immortal humans can create 15 or more children. None of which would have to die because of old age. Overpopulation becomes then a realistic nightmare not only for having to raise that many children. But the sustainability of this one habitable planet to host that many humans comes into stark reality. That is potentially 140.3(3) million people born every single year with 0 deaths due to natural causes.

Obviously the Earth could not possibly sustain that amount of humans living on the planet for an indefinite period of time without serious population controls that would make China's population restrictions look like a free for all orgy. Food, water, shelter, energy, economics in a world of nigh immortals becomes an ever increasing potential failure point risking the entire species to impoverishment or even extinction.

I will further expand on the above problems I see with medical technology advancing to the point where life expectancy could be unlimited should not be developed.

I thank you.



posted on Oct, 28 2010 @ 07:26 AM
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"Medical technology which makes human
life expectancy potentially unlimited

Throughout history, the human race has always used technology to overcome limitation. From the clothes we're wearing right now to the computers we're using to communicate...

...that's technology.

So let's estabish what sort of technology we're talking about here. Medical technology that allows us to overcome death is not a magic genie trying to corrupt a wish through clever interpretation of phrasing. This is not the twilight zone and we're not in one of Grimm's fairy tales. Nobody is going to be doomed to an eternity of being unable to die. What we're talking about is simply technology that overcomes the limitations of the aging process, overcomes the mechanical breakdown of our bodies, and allows us to live as long and healthy as we choose.

Pretty much everything in our society is built around this idea of using technology to overcome limitation. If we wish to communicate with people beyond the range of our voices, we build telephones and computer networks so that we may communicate with them. If we wish to travel distances farther and faster than we can walk, we build cars and planes to take us where we want to go. We use medical technology in the same way: If we have poor vision, we correct it. If a child is born with a cleft palate, we fix it. Overcoming a limited lifespan is no different than overcoming any other limitation.

Are there potential risks? Of course. Just as there were risks involved with developing flight, risks involved with going into space, and every other technological feat of humanity. Possibility of misfortune is no reason to deny progress.

Could such technology possibly bring unintended consequences? Of course. Just like the invention of the automobile has brought us traffic and the invention of computers and the internet have brought us thousands of bad youtube videos. But these are problems we can cope with. There will be no soylent green overpopulation apocalypse unless we delude ourselves into thinking it's "natural" that we should have problems and use that delusion as an excuse to stop ourselves from solving those problems.

The solution to problems is...to fix them. Not to bury our heads in the sand and hide from progress because "Oh no!" something bad might happen. Bad things are what we use technology to overcome. It makes no sense to allow fear that something bad might happen to prevent us from stopping something bad from happening. And being condemned to wither away while we watch our bodies fall apart from old age, and death is very obviously a bad thing just begging for some technology to come along and fix it.

We've already made excellent progress. Through superior health and sanitation, improved medical and public-health efforts, and decreased infant mortaity rates (read: better technology) the average human ife expectancy has roughly doubled in the past 100 years. This is well and proper and good, and no catastrophe has resulted from it.

As early as the 1700's, people like Thomas Robert Malthus have warned of the possible risks of overpopulation. And yet we've gained roughly six billion people since then and famine is not particularly more common today than it was 300 years ago.

Why?

Because of technology.

Improved fertilizers, plant breeding, pesticides, mechanization...between 1950 and 1984 alone, world grain production increased by 250%. Are you worried about space? Build skyscrapers. Build underground. Build beautiful aquarium houses at the bottom of the ocean. Or dare I say...in space?

There is a saying that "The meek shall inherit the earth." But for the bold, their destiny is the stars. That is human destiny: to live, to grow, to expand into the stars. And we will...provided we don't allow petty fears of "what might happen" to hold us back.

With the will and the willingness to solve problems, we will overcome. Someday the human race will look back on silly things like aging and death and give them no more thought than we give now to cleft palates or nearsightedness. Whatever adversity we face, we will find solutions for. Whatever insignificant troubles arise from our solutions, we will overcome. We are the human race.

We are awesome.



posted on Oct, 29 2010 @ 02:50 AM
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I appreciate your participation in this debate LordBucket, thank you for taking over.

While I may be debating against medical procedures that could someday increase the longevity of life for humans indefinitely, please do not mistake my point. Increasing quality of life is never a bad thing, giving humans an opportunity to live a high quality of life for a long period of time would be a wonderful thing. The ultimate elimination of services like hospice care and assisted living facilities would be a wonderful achievement for everyone.

But while the above is true, one must consider, when does the Quantity of life overtake the Quality of life? What happens when the quantity of life actually diminishes the quality of life?

Take for example replacement organs if cloning was available, sure they would be perfect replacement parts, you wouldn't need immune system suppression therapy in order to stave off rejection, however besides the moral dilemma of hacking up a person in order to harvest those perfect organs for when your organs fail, eventually you would end up looking like Frankenstein's monster.

Another example is of course technological augmentation, the replacement of body parts and organs with prosthetic limbs and organs. When does it end? When we look like this?



Will that our fate be, to eventually loose our humanity to machines both within and without our physical bodies, once again, where is the line drawn before we can no longer describe ourselves as human?

What happens when we become so technologically dependent, we no longer have fear of organic viruses but have to be treated for a computer virus? When nanotechnology is incorporated within our bloodstream, whats to stop a malicious code being introduced to change what those tiny machines do? What happens when machines that were once designed to be beneficial become harmful?

What about embryonic stem cells? Already controversial, what happens if there is no way to enhance adult stem cells and the only real alternative is embryonic stem cells. Sure, they are a potential miracle for all sorts of ailments, but the moral issue of ending one life to save another still remains.

One life should not be needlessly sacrificed for the benefit of another.

My opponent is correct in a sense, technology has indeed benefited mankind in many ways, made our lives easier. But has limited us in other unforeseen ways. And not all technology has been beneficial, ask the former residents of Chernobyl about the miracle of nuclear power for instance. Ask Ford about the Edsel.

Technology has indeed made some impressive things for humanity, on the other hand, it has also created some of the most devastating things known to man. The nuclear bomb, Zyklon B (for those that aren't aware, that was the chemical that the Nazi's used to murder concentration camp victims.)

Every single innovation comes with a cost, as they say, there is no such thing as a free lunch. What do you think that nigh immortality would cost in the end?

Say for instance, we find some way to stop the aging process. Say through genetic manipulation, and outside of a trauma we won't die. How long can a person want to live? Eventually wouldn’t you want to die? Then comes the issue of euthanasia, which is controversial enough for the terminally ill, Imagine the controversy for someone in perfect health?

Then again, the issue of overpopulation comes into focus, in a world where people cease to age after a certain point, with a planet that has a finite amount of arable land, how do we as a species keep our numbers in check and not deplete all resources available to us?

For that matter, if genetic manipulation is used to cease the aging process, what will that do to our children? Would our children be born infants and remain infants never having the ability to grow up? Basically genetic manipulation may be a Pandora’s box that once we open we may never get shut again.

Altering our DNA may have all sorts of unintended and unforeseen consequences, new incurable diseases may develop, or even if all goes well, society itself could change where genetically modified humans become a class of society that look down on others who are naturally born and do not have the same genetic modifications they do.

Reminiscent of Nazi Germany people trying to create a perfect race of humans, doesn't seem like that would end well. Certainly didn't the last time they tried eugenics.



posted on Oct, 29 2010 @ 02:10 PM
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Frankenstein's monster
ask the former residents of Chernobyl
The nuclear bomb
chemical that the Nazi's used
Reminiscent of Nazi Germany

So in one single post, whatukno has shown a picture of the borg from Star Trek, and then invoked a fictional novel, a nuclear reactor accident, Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the Holocaust and nazi germany. If the best he can do is say "Oh! Well, your position is bad because it would be like these other bad things" then I think this debate is pretty much over.

I kindly ask whatukno to please discuss the debate topic rather than listing off every bad thing he can think of, both real and fictional. I applaud him for remembering that "Frankenstein" was the doctor and not the monster, but by invoking Dr. Frankenstein's "monster" surely he should also have remembered that the monster himself was a kind and gentle soul who wanted simply to be loved, and that he was killed by ruthless, small-minded villagers who couldn't see past his exterior to view the precious and beautiful heart within. And unfortunately, whatukno is identifying with the villagers when he shows pictures of the borg and implies that "Oh no! Having mechanical replacement parts would be ugly, so it must be bad!" Try telling that to anyone with a pacemaker or a prosthetic leg. Or, if we really must invoke the borg, try telling that to seven of nine:



Yeah. If only we should be so lucky as to be as ugly as that.


So let us now respond to his post. Which is a very curious thing, because he basically opens by arguing our side for us. To quote his second paragraph, he states that:



Increasing quality of life is never a bad thing, giving humans an opportunity to
live a high quality of life for a long period of time would be a wonderful thing.

Well...yeah. I agree. These are wonderful things. And apparently he's arguing against them. Unfortunately his only arguments other than "oh, well that would be like the borg and the nazis" essentially break down to making up ridiculous "what if" scenarios. For example:



What happens when we become so technologically dependent,
we no longer have fear of organic viruses but have to be
treated for a computer virus?

We're talking about extending human life, not building cyborgs. What possible reason is there to assume that extending life would necessarily involve purely mechanical replacement parts? But to answer his question anyway, we already have people with artificial and mechanical replacement parts like heart pacemakers and prosthetic limbs. I don't recall anyone ever having been hospitalized for a computer virus in their prosthesis. Why? Because it just doesn't work that way. So long as we have doctors and scientists working on this instead of hollywood script writers, it will all turn out ok.



What about embryonic stem cells? Already controversial, what happens
if there is no way to enhance adult stem cells and the only real
alternative is embryonic stem cells. Sure, they are a potential
miracle for all sorts of ailments, but the moral issue of ending
one life to save another still remains.

This shows that he did not do the research. Ending what life to save another? Nobody is being killed to harvest stem cells, and increasingly it's no longer even necessary to use human embryos to create stem cells. Stem cell creation of both adult and embryonic types has already been accomplished through a variety of means. A simple google search for "create stem cell" generates over a million results. To quote a few:

"June 7, 2007
scientists said yesterday they had coaxed ordinary mouse skin cells to become what are effectively embryonic stem cells without creating or destroying embryos in the process"


"Aug 22
scientists said Friday they had derived stem cells from wisdom teeth, opening another way to study deadly diseases without the ethical controversy of using embryos."


"Oct 4th 2010
Scientists have developed adult stem cells that can continue to grow in a laboratory culture without aging or losing their ability to multiply."


So, it's already been done. The only reasons treatments of this sort aren't already available in this country is because of funding and legal issues, and that some people are so emotionally attached to the "shock value" of the idea that most of our research is being done with animal rather than human cells.

In any case, the basic thrust of his argument here seems to be "what if there's no way to do it?" which is completely an invalid response to the actual debate topic. Which is: whether or not "medical technology which makes human life expectancy potentially unlimited" should be developed. What...is he seriously suggesting that we shouldn't research this because we might not succeed?



if genetic manipulation is used to cease the aging process, what will
that do to our children? Would our children be born infants and remain
infants never having the ability to grow up?

Yet another "what if" scenario. Easily addressed by simply not doing it that way. He may as well suggest that cars should never have been invented because "what if" they had been made in such a way as to require human blood to fuel them. The debate topic is whether technology to extend human life indefinitely should be developed. Obviously we have choice in the direction of research. Sure, it might be possible to extend human life by doing horribly stupid and self destructive things, but there's no reason to choose to do it that way.



How long can a person want to live? Eventually wouldn’t you
want to die? Then comes the issue of euthanasia, which is
controversial enough for the terminally ill, Imagine the
controversy for someone in perfect health?

I'm not prepared to condemn the entire human race to unnecessary aging and death simply because of whatukno's concern that self-administered euthanasia might be controversial. It seems an ironic thing for him to suggest...that it might somehow be "wrong" for people who choose not to live forever to be allowed to die...when apparently he's willing to consign the whole of humanity to dying anyway.

Socratic question
How is dying at a time and manner of one's choosing while remaining healthy into an advanced numerical age, "morally superior" to dying before you want to in a hospital bed after many years of degeneration and decay?



posted on Oct, 30 2010 @ 07:52 AM
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Socratic question 
How is dying at a time and manner of one's choosing while remaining healthy into an advanced numerical age, "morally superior" to dying before you want to in a hospital bed after many years of degeneration and decay?


The point of this debate is this, is it morally superior to not die at all, rather than to eventually do what every other organism on this planet has ever done. The superiority is not in the quality of the life lived. That is a point I cannot argue with. The point is the quantity of life, and the method used to end that life.

When quantity of life surpasses quality of life, one must concede that life has no more usefulness, and therefore must end. Cheating death is not the natural order no matter what form it comes in. Eventually all living things must die, it's a universal truth. No one escapes the reaper.

The degeneration and decay you mention doesn't have to be physical. It can be psychological as well. That psychological decay, could manifest itself over time, the person, while physically strong, may suffer psychological damage from centuries or even millennia living in a world that continues to change and evolve around them.

Can you imagine living long enough to where you are a living fossil? To where people have actually evolved past what you are to something new? Your nigh immortality suddenly becomes a prison to you and others like you, who no longer age, but you gain memories that span the ages. Eventually it would be like if a neanderthal was given immortality and lived among humans without being accosted, eventually his species of people would no longer exist and the homo sapien took over the world. People you love dying ages ago, civilizations rising and falling and having to deal with the chaos in between.

See, my opponent seems to misunderstand my side of this debate, my side of this debate is not that it's immoral to live a long time with a high quality of life, my point in this debate is that it's simply immoral to never die. After you have done everything, what is there to live for? And you simply cannot cheat death.

Imagine, where you are right now in life, you will never get older, you will never get sick, and barring some unfortunate accident, you will never die. Seems enchanting at first doesn't it? Would you feel the same a century later? Two? Five? How long would it take for you to have seen it all, and done it all? How long before immortality no longer holds your interest and living is no longer livable?

It just goes against the natural order of the universe.

Each and every new generation evolves our DNA, what happens when that natural evolutionary process is suddenly interrupted with individuals that can live forever? What happens when that individual starts breeding with younger generations, introducing outdated and altered DNA into the Gene pool? What consequences would that have on the next generations? Would it slow down our evolution as a species? Would it have adverse side effects when altered DNA mixes with unaltered DNA?

And is it right to do? The crux of this debate. I believe that cheating death, and altering humans into either genetically perfect specimens, some sort of pseudo cyborg, or even a Frankenstein's Monster is unethical immoral and should not happen. Because not only does it fundamentally change who we are as a species on this planet, there are too many variables that can go wrong.

SQ1: Is suicide morally justifiable, when there is no terminal illness involved?
SQ2: How much of the body can be replaced before a person can no longer be considered human?
SQ3: Is it justifiable to create a life, in order to harvest from that life organs to save the life of another?



posted on Oct, 30 2010 @ 05:09 PM
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When quantity of life surpasses quality of life, one must
concede that life has no more usefulness, and therefore must end.

So end it. What's the problem? How many people right now are kept alive by life support? Kidney dialysis? Medication? And if those people choose to unplug the dialysis machine, or stop taking the pills, what's the problem?

As I pointed out in my opening post, this is not some magic genie we're talking about. Nobody is going to be condemned to live forever. The debate topic clearly reflects that in its phrasing of making "human life expectancy potentially unlimited." As in, we want to use medical means, not magical means, to remove the aging barrier to life expectancy. Biological systems have the ability to self-repair. The human liver, for example, can regenerate itself from as little as 25% of its tissue. But, the human repair and cell replication process is imperfect. If the human body could continue to replace cells as precisely as it made them in the first place, there would be no reason for people to age or die from aging. Their lifespan would be "potentially" unlimited. You'd still be able to die by other causes.

Begin lengthy technical dissertation
You mentioned stem cells earlier. That's how they work. They can self-replicate indefinitely without losing the telomeres at the ends of the their chromosomes. Compare to regular "mature" cells, in which telomerase is inactive, and consequently are unable to synthesize replacement telomeres.

Since I don't really expect anyone to read through those links, to summarize, chromosomes contain redundant "protective" structures at their ends which slowly shorten with succesive cell divisions. Except in stem cells, which are able to "replace" those structures. Stem cells don't age, and they're not differentiated into different cell types. e.g. "liver cells" "heart cells" "skin cells" etc. Rather, they're simply "stem cells" which are able to form any other type. This is how your body is able to grow from a single zygote into an entire body composed of trillions of cells of various types.

This, incidentally, is the primary difference between embryonic stem cells and adult stem cells: both are able to replace lost telomeres, but the embryonic stem cells are ultimately able to differentiate into any cell type, whereas adult stem cells generally aren't. Adult stem cells are already differentiated. An adult olfactory stem cell, for example, will generally only replicate more olfactory cells. But for our purposes, this distinction is unimportant. You're not a zygote anymore. You don't need to grow an entire body. If all the various parts of your body could continue replacing cells as efficiently as stem cells, there would be no chromosome degeneration, and theoretically, no aging. However, in a fully grown human body, very few cells are stem cells, and when non-stem cells replicate, each successive generation gradually loses the protective telomeres in its chromosomes, and thus more "degenerated" cells are introduced into the body.

Agelessness and functional immortality might simply be a matter of inducing all cells in your body to properly synthesize replacement telomeres like your adult stem cells do. No borg implants required.
End lengthy technical dissertation



my point in this debate is that it's simply immoral to never die.

Is that really the extent of your point? Because even if I were to agree, as has been mentioned repeatedly, it's totaly irrelevant. We're not talking about rubbing a magic lamp, wishing for immortality and being locked in a statis box while a laughing genie returns to the city of brass. We're talking about removing biological limits on lifespan via medical technology. People who jump out of an airplane but forget to pull their ripcord are still going to die. Nobody is going to be forever "locked" into this.

However, since you've made the assertion...

Socratic question #1
Why is it immoral to never die?



Cheating death is not the natural order no matter what form it comes in.

Really? No matter the form? If someone has corrective heart surgury for a condition that would otherwise be fatal, wouldn't that constitute "unnaturally" cheating death? But does it being "unnatural" make it "immoral" or "wrong" in any way? Because if you say yes to that then a massive house of cards is going to totally collapse. Office buildings and cars are also "not natural." Are office buildings and cars therefore immoral? How far do you take that? Even if you just stick to the medical field, then by your reasoning anyone who is alive today because of any medical intervention, surgury, or pharmaceuticals of any kind is "violating" your natural order. Do you really want to go there? And if not...why are you even bringing it up? Being unnatural is no reason to not do something, and if you really believe it is, then take off your unnatural clothes, stop driving your unnatural car and go find a nice tree to live in.

Socratic question #2
Are you seriously suggesting that things like cars and houses and medical procedures that save lives are somehow "immoral" simply because they're "not natural?"

Responses to Socratic questions


SQ1: Is suicide morally justifiable, when there
is no terminal illness involved?

In a situation where people are potentially living forever, I think it's resonable for people to choose to put a stop to it. I would differentiate, for example, between a lovesick teenager who throws themselves off a bridge in a fit of angst, and a person who has lived several thousand years, feels they've lived a full and complete life, and chooses to reunite with God. Or if you prefer a non-religious example, wouldn't it have been more graceful for Brett Favre to have retired while he was still in his prime, rather than continuing to play year after year? Wouldn't you rather remember a still healthy and vital Elvis than the fat, balding, dying Elvis?

There is more dignity in choosing to stop than in being compelled to stop through inability to continue. The only reason we don't apply this to human death is that human life is too short. It is perceived as wasteful for a teenager to throw away decades of life because of a moment of heartfelt tragedy. But if everybody could live as long as they wanted, then we could all have graceful and dignified deaths. I don't want to die slowly in a hospital bed, watching my family and friends grieve over my imminent death. I don't want them to feel guilty over having to choose whether to stay by my bedside or live their own lives. And I don't want to lay there helpless, regretting all the things I never got around to doing. I would much rather have the time to do anything and everything I want in life, remain vital and healthy through all those years and end it when I'm good and ready to end it, by throwing a farewell party and saying goodbye to everyone on my own terms.

And if some people decide to live for thousands of years before they reach that point, or for millions of years, or forever...I have no problem with that. "Potentially forever", not "magic genie against your wishes forever"...but potentially forever sounds awesome to me. Potentially forever means "until you choose to stop."

Sign me up.



SQ2: How much of the body can be replaced before a
person can no longer be considered human?

If you're replacing human cells with humans cells, all of it. The human body is constantly replacing cells as it is. Interfering to make the replication process more accurate would no more make someone inhuman than a child conceived by artificial insemination would be inhuman. Either way there's "artificiality" involved in the origin of cells but the results are still human.

If you're replacing human cells with "borg implants" it's probably a bit more subjective. But as mentioned several times in this discussion, we already have people with mechanical replacement hearts and limbs, and I don't see anyone suggesting that those people aren't human.

If you want to entertain an extreme example, say...uploading your memories into a computer and destroying the body...I think it would be reasonable to think of such a person as no longer human. But it would also be pretty reasonable to think of them as no longer alive, so I don't think a procedure like that would qualify as people potentially living forever.



SQ3: Is it justifiable to create a life, in order to
harvest from that life organs to save the life of another?

If you mean create a brain-dead clone and keep it in a vat for spare parts, personally I'd be uncomfortable with that.

But if you mean take a skin sample and use it to grow a replacement organ for transplant into the original donor so there is no tissue rejection, I think that would be far preferable to asking relatives to give up and donate their organs, or harvesting parts from people who die in car crashes, like we do now. Remember being asked if you wanted to be an organ donor when you first got your driver's license? That's why they ask.

Socratic question #3
You've posed the question of organ replacement. So let's turn it around. If you needed a replacement liver and you had the choice of waiting around for someone to die so their liver could be cut from their dead body and put into you...or using a sponge to take a skin scraping from the inside of your cheeks and growing a replacement liver from those cells...which would you prefer?



Moderator note: 9561 characters in post preview according to character count, not including this sentence.



posted on Oct, 31 2010 @ 09:21 AM
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I am going to require my 24 hour extension at this time.



posted on Nov, 1 2010 @ 12:47 AM
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Ladies and gentlemen, my opponent through this debate has tried to show you why Nigh Immortality should be developed. I am here to explain why it shouldn't. There are many reasons why this is morally unethical to do, and I believe that so far I have explained my points very succinctly. I will tell you now that it is difficult to say that mankind should not advance itself if it has the means, but my opinion in this debate is that this may be a Pandora's box, that once opened can never be shut again.

I have also shown other examples of technology that when developed was said to be beneficial, and yet has caused countless deaths and destruction.

Now, I would like for a moment to bring you a hypothetical scenario if this technology is developed, as having the ability to live indefinitely at this point is itself hypothetical, I believe this is appropriate and germane to the topic.

Edward Smith is a serial killer, he is very good at his chosen hobby, he stalks the streets for prostitutes to murder. Edward prides himself as the new Jack the Ripper. Evading detection by the police, Edward moves from city to city, stalking his prey and striking without remorse.

Eddie learns of this new treatment that can keep him young and extend his life indefinitely, and he takes this treatment, and so, unlike Jack, who time had eventually ended his rein of terror. Edward doesn't have fear of death, and he is free to stalk and murder his victims forever, just getting more proficient with each and every kill.


A Nigh Immortal Serial killer, just one of many types of criminals that could potentially use this treatment or technology to extend their criminal careers indefinitely.

What of the megalomaniacs of the world, people who want total control and power? What ATS members usually describe as the New World Order? Certainly they would be interested in Nigh Immortality, certainly they would love to never loose the empire they want to create because of the inconvenience of their death. History has shown that even the largest empires controlled by one individual tend to collapse after the death of that individual. Genghis Khan, Alexander the Great, after these great men conquered much of the known world, when they died, their empires collapsed with their deaths. A person like Khan or Alexander, who did not have to die would be a tremendous force indeed. Wouldn't it be wise to deny such a person the gift of nigh immortality?

Yes, nigh immortality would be a boon to the leaders of the N.WO. wouldnt it? Giving them all the time in the world to completely destroy our individual liberties and enslave the human race under a corporate oligarchy.

LordBucket, it was odd that you would choose to answer your first Socratic question to me in this post yourself instead of waiting for my reply. However...


Why is it immoral to never die?


Humans are not machines, we are biological life forms, and that “Life” itself must someday end. Changing the fundamental nature of what we are is an immoral act, because it artificially and against nature disrupts the natural process of human evolution.


Are you seriously suggesting that things like cars and houses and medical procedures that save lives are somehow "immoral" simply because they're "not natural?"


Of course not, cars, houses and medical procedures are a part of our natural evolution, these things above do not fundamentally change us as a species. With each of these things, we are still born, we still age, and we still die, the natural order of life is not artificially upset.

However, when we fundamentally change what we are by artificially removing aging as a factor in our natural development it becomes a moral issue because it robs us of the life lessons learned by growing old and dying a natural death as nature dictates.


And if some people decide to live for thousands of years before they reach that point, or for millions of years, or forever...I have no problem with that. "Potentially forever", not "magic genie against your wishes forever"...but potentially forever sounds awesome to me. Potentially forever means "until you choose to stop." 


And thus the crux of the morality issue is at hand, and why this should not be developed. “Until you choose to stop” Doesn't that mean suicide? And a suicide by your own hand is of course immoral, and in many places, in fact illegal.

I of course don't have to remind you of Jack Kevorkian and what he did for people? Even Kevorkian knew that suicide for the healthy was wrong in any situation. He carefully chose clients based on need and severity of their ailments and denied most people his help.

Aubrey de Grey is a software engineer in Cambridge England, and this is what he says on the subject...


I should declare here that I have no desire to live beyond the life span that nature has granted to our species. For reasons that are pragmatic, scientific, demographic, economic, political, social, emotional, and secularly spiritual, I am committed to the notion that both individual fulfillment and the ecological balance of life on this planet are best served by dying when our inherent biology decrees that we do.


Do You Want to Live Forever?

I bet right now you are confused as all hell about why you should care what Aubrey de Grey has to say on this subject. Well, it turns out that Aubrey de Grey, while being a mild mannered software engineer at Cambridge by day, has taken it upon himself to solve the secret of aging and has said that he believes that it is possible for humans to live indefinitely through what he describes as “The seven types of aging damage”

You would think that me posting this mans work would be counterproductive to my argument as this man is leading the research into anti aging techniques and is formulating therapies to combat aging. Well, normally it would, except that the person that is in question here would not take that therapy himself because of the reasons listed above. This shows that while it is possible, even the man that is working on it knows that it is ethically and morally wrong to live beyond what nature has proscribed for this species.

Just because you can do something, doesn't necessarily mean you should.


Edited by The Vagabond to Insert whatukno's Answer to Socratic Question 3:


If you needed a replacement liver and you had the choice of waiting around for someone to die so their liver could be cut from their dead body and put into you...or using a sponge to take a skin scraping from the inside of your cheeks and growing a replacement liver from those cells...which would you prefer?


I would wait for the organ donation from the person, because that has been done many times before, it's not experimental, and it's a person that already has died and donated his organ for that expressed purpose. The replacement liver from cells grown on a sponge to me sounds more like the "Frankenstein's Monster" route than actual science.
edit on Mon 1 Nov 2010 by The Vagabond because: Edit to insert answer to SQ 3



posted on Nov, 1 2010 @ 06:10 AM
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By mutual agreement of the competitors, the answer to the Socratic Question that was inadvertently skipped has been inserted. LordBucket will have 24 hours from the time stamp on this post to reply.



posted on Nov, 1 2010 @ 10:01 PM
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I have also shown other examples of technology that when developed was
said to be beneficial, and yet has caused countless deaths and destruction.

Yes, and you can do it again now, and you can repeat it in your closing statement, but it won't change the fact that possibility of misuse is an awful reason to not create something. Nor will it make the analogy any more relevant to this discussion. What is the "misuse" you're warning of us of in regards to life extension? How is "countless death and destruction?" relevant to life extension? It isn't. The only "countless deaths" likely to result from the decision are the billions of people who are alive today will die if we don't develop these technologies.

We do agree on this, yes? If life extension technology is not developed, then everybody alive today will die. If it is developed, and if it's developed to allow "potentially unlimited" life, then everyone alive today will be able to live forever. "Countless death" will only result if this technology is not developed. If you're really concerned about "countless death and destruction" then supporting development of these technologies is exactly what you should be doing.



What of the megalomaniacs of the world
Certainly they would be interested in Nigh Immortality

"Possibility of misuse" again?

Yes, megalomaniacs would surely like to live forever. And so would people who aren't megalomaniacs. Just because something would also be useful to bad people doesn't mean it shouldn't be available to anyone else. With that kind of thinking you may as well suggest that regular people shouldn't have access to steak knives, because it's possible some crazy person might use them to stab people.



I would wait for the organ donation from the person, because that has been done many times
before, it's not experimental, and it's a person that already has died and donated his organ
for that expressed purpose. The replacement liver from cells grown on a sponge to me sounds
more like the "Frankenstein's Monster" route than actual science.

Ironic, given that Frankenstein's monster is generally depicted as having been sewn together
from the parts of dead corpses. Yet you would rather have pieces cut out of dead corpses and
put into you, because that's less like Frankenstein's monster? I don't think you understand your own source material.

And nowhere is that better demonstrated than by your choice to bring Aubrey de Grey into the debate:



Aubrey de Grey
You would think that me posting this mans work
would be counterproductive to my argument

Yes. Yes I would. And after doing some reading, your buddy Aubrey is just about the last person in the world you should be citing as agreeing with you. He does not.

Unfortunately the site you've linked only shows two paragraphs of the article and requires registration to read any more. So I had to do my own web searching. And wow is this guy totally on my side of this debate. Did you even check out who this guy was before you cited him as being opposed to it? Did you even read your own article? Let me quote it for you:

"Aubrey de Grey is a man of ideas, and he has set himself toward
the goal of transforming the basis of what it means to be human."


That's from your source, second paragraph. So this guy that the bottom third of your post is talking about is very specifically and deliberately trying to accomplish exactly what you're so concerned about when you said:



Changing the fundamental nature of what we are is an immoral act, because
it artificially and against nature disrupts the natural process of human evolution.

I don't know, whatukno...but I have a hard time agreeing with you when your own sources disagree with you. Allow me to copy and paste a link from your post and quote what wikipedia has to say about Aubrey de Grey:

"De Grey's research focuses on whether regenerative medicine can thwart the aging process. He works on the development of what he calls "Strategies for Engineered Negligible Senescence" (SENS), a tissue-repair strategy intended to rejuvenate the human body and allow an indefinite lifespan."

He's also the author of a book titled Ending Aging. I will quote from the summary at that link as well:

"Ending Aging describes de Grey's proposal for eliminating aging as a cause of debilitation and death in humans, and restoring the body to an indefinitely youthful state"

Oh, and incidentally here's a youtube video of de Grey himself. Watch the video. It's 41 seconds long, and this is what the man says in the first 20 seconds of the video:

"My name is Aubrey de Grey. I'm the chariman and chief science officer of the Methuseleh Foundation, which is a US registered charity that seeks to defeat the aging process and keep us biologically young indefinitely."

Doesn't get much more clear than that. So yeah...I don't understand what you were thinking when you brought this guy into the discussion. He obviously wants exactly the same things I do.



posted on Nov, 2 2010 @ 10:36 AM
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Ladies and gentlemen, in my closing statement I would like to wrap everything up in a neat little package. Insofar this debate I have shown you bits an pieces of a puzzle, one that ultimately concludes that in the end, we as a species should not develop medical technology that would make human life expectancy potentially unlimited.

But now, I leave you with 8 specific reasons why Nigh Immortality is wrong and should not be developed.

pragmatic,

Even if everything went smoothly, you didn't go completely insane from living for thousands or millions or even billions of years, eventually the sun will burn out and either go supernova, or turn into a black hole and kill you anyway. And so, it's really all for naught.

Would it really work? Or would it work for a while, then nature would try and play catch up? Say that Mr de Grey's idea works, wouldn't that mean massive psoriasis? A massive buildup of skin cells because after all wouldn't it be a cure for aging cells? Well, if your body keeps making cells, and no cells die, that could be a problem.

It didn't work for Ponce De Leone. I doubt it will work now. There's always ALWAYS a cost involved in something like this. Sometimes that cost is too high.

scientific,

Which path to immortality would it be? Would it be the one proposed by Aubrey de Grey? A procedure he is working on that he himself would refuse to undergo Citing each of these reasons? Basically while solving the secret of aging, knowing himself that it is wrong to do? Knowing that you would be the same age forever.

Would it be the path of nanomachines, technological augmentation, surgical procedures, over time swapping out your human parts for those of a machine, eventually turning you into a Borg? And what then? Would you really be human? And what is to stop someone from reprogramming your newly acquired positronic cerebral implants to strip you of your will entirely? In effect turning you into a mindless minion of some diabolical corporation or government.

And even if you weren't taken over by some evil corporation or government, there are upgrades, and software, and endless trips to... I guess the “garage” for replacement components. Gives the “blue screen of death” a whole new meaning.

Would it be through the cloning of your own tissue, cranking out copy after copy after copy of yourself just so that you have spare parts to work with. Eventually turning you into Frankenstein's monster. A patchwork of cloned and copied parts and pieces, stitched together by surgeons. Your genetic flaws copied from clone to clone knowing that you have to return to “the shop” for repairs every so often? Or even worse, what if for instance we ended up like the Vidiians and a company decided that organ harvesting was more economical. Instead of growing your own clones for you to replace your worn out components with, they started stealing other people's parts against their wills just to keep up with demand?

demographic,

And if everyone were made nigh immortal? Obvious overpopulation of the planet, all those births, no natural deaths, certainly the government would have to step in and force people to be sterilized and a lottery of who can have a child and who can't would be implemented. Your base biological need to procreate and to propagate the species in the hands of bureaucrats who would more than likely be corrupt and only the privileged would have the right to have children.

economic,

How much would it cost to begin with? Would it be so cost prohibitive that it only be a privilege of the rich? And even if it was available to all, with no retirements and no natural deaths how many jobs would there be to go around? Economically it wouldn't be viable at all! Companies would have enormous pensions to pay out if someone finally got sick of what they were doing and retired after say a few hundred years. It would instantly bankrupt companies.

Feeding and clothing and housing the influx of nigh immortals, fueling cars, the environment cannot sustain an immortal species. As humans we do horrendous damage to the planet already, what would the earth look like after a few thousand years of immortals overpopulating and stripping every last natural resource this planet has to offer?

political,

Would the nigh immortal have to be granted special rights and treatments? What of the possibility of a immortal congressman being elected year after year after year into office?

And again the megalomaniacs of the world being immortal? An immortal Genghis Khan? Pillaging and plundering his way through the centuries? The entirety of the human race enslaved to an immortal madman, protected by his closest immortal guards.

social,

What if a few had this procedure done, and your family wasn't a part of it? Would you be willing to watch your children and grandchildren and great grandchildren grow old and die? Everyone and everything you know and love in the world dying around you as the ages pass. Could you make friends eternally knowing that you will outlive them? Knowing that you will stay the same age and they would grow old and die? What about other immortals? Could you stand eternity with anyone? Wouldn't you get sick of them and they of you after a while?

emotional,

I don't think that the human mind at this point in it's evolution can truly grasp the concept of living forever. You would probably go mad from the stress of it all. The psychological pressure would be extreme. I am sure that at first it would be exciting, all the things you could learn, all the places you could go, but seriously, once you have seen it all, and done it all? What then?

And what if you got tired of immortality? What then? Suicide? You would have to be mentally unbalanced to commit suicide if you didn't have a terminal illness. So what would your fate be? Madness? Or self inflicted death? Both certainly grim choices if you took nature out of the equation.

secularly spiritual,

And what does God have to say in all of this? What about Death itself? If there is a God, don't you think that he might just be a little miffed that we have taken it upon ourselves to play god and be nearly immortal? This is the same being that tale be told scrambled our brains because we tried to build a sky scraper once upon a time!

And death by suicide? In some religions that's a sure fire way to hell, in others it's not too pleasant an afterlife either, I don't think that they have an asterisk denoting whether or not you are really really old as a viable excuse to kill yourself.

And postponing death forever may be postponing something better beyond this life. There are lessons that we all learn in life along the way, even growing old and frail teaches us about life, any of the above possibilities takes away that learning experience.

At the end of it all, there is a natural order in the universe for everything, you are born, you live, and you die, taking out the last part doesn't save you anything. Death comes for everyone eventually.

I say live and let die, this is one of those dreams of man that man should let die. Don't stop increasing quality of life, don't diminish that quality of life with quantity of life.



posted on Nov, 3 2010 @ 02:49 AM
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Reading back over the thread, it seems that this debate has essentially been a competition between the motivations and methods of "seeking the good" vs. "avoiding the bad." Are you more motivated by fear of what "might" happen? Are you terrified of becoming Frankenstein's monster with borg implants, and is your solution to avoid any possibility of these things happening? Or are you more motivated by the possibility of eternal youth, remaining beautiful and healthy forever, and are you willing to risk and overcome possible misfortune in order to attain it?

It's ironic that whatukno's position has been to to try to motivate you with fear, to avoid pain...since his solution for your fears is to give both you and the entire human race premature aging and certain death.

So, for those motivated by fear, for those who wish to avoid pain, I offer this simple perspective: while it's possible that some of these things whatukno has warned about might come to pass if the technology we speak of is developed, it's quite certain that you definitely will grow old and die if it is not. So, which is more terrifying, the possibility that something bad might happen, or the absolutely certainty of death? If you truly wish to avoid the misery of aging and death, if you truly wish to avoid watching your body slowly fall apart until you can no longer function and finally fall apart and die...then supporting the development of technology that will put an end to all of that is the obvious answer.

For those who are motivated by possibility, for those who wish to seek out beautiful and wonderful things...imagine a society in which everyone is young, vital and healthy. Imagine being strong and healthy your entire life. Imagine being able to look into the eyes of your lover a hundred years from now and see that she is still the beautiful girl you fell in love with. Ladies, imagine being that beautiful girl, forever. The technology I'm proposing will give you that.

It's been asked in this debate whether such technologies might make us no longer human. So let us ask: what does it mean to be human? Who was more human? Frankenstein's monster, who in the original novel played with daisies and rescued a little girl from drowning, or the "humans" who abandoned him, taunted him and eventually drove him to suicide? Or, as in the film version, burned him alive?

I would ask, what sort of human do we want to be? Do we want to be the sort of human motivated by fear, terrified of what we perceive as ugly, scared away from growth and advancement in favor of hiding under a rock because that's more "natural?"

Or do we want to be the sort of human with the strength of character to choose for ourselves what it means to be human? Personally, if a mad scientist were to put a human heart in a box and give it a computer-synthesized voice, and if that creation looked at me with a mangled, half-sewn on eyeball and asked me to please, please accept it as human, I would cuddle its box and accept it as human.

Why? Because that's what makes us human. Not outward appearances, but our spirit. Our soul. And that can never be taken away.

Our future is to become more than what we were yesterday. Let us embrace that. For thousands of years we've built tools and technologies to enhance our environment. From the stone spears and clothing of thousands of years ago to the houses and cars of yesterday. But today, it's time to turn our ingenuity inwards to enhance not merely our environment, but also ourselves.

Let us develop medical technology to overcome death, to overcome aging, and together we can begin our journey into the adventure of tomorrow...knowing that it will last forever.

Thank you.



posted on Nov, 12 2010 @ 12:08 AM
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LordBucket has won and will advance to Round 2.

Judges comments:


Lord Bucket wins. Whatuknow's style in this debate is weak; he brings up anecdotes but never connects them logically and never defines many critical terms (such as "what is moral"), bringing to the debate ground his perceptions which aren't backed by much in the way of fact (The Bible does indeed count as a legitimate source, but even his Biblically based comments are simply comments and not the foundation of a true debate.) Lord Bucket's rebuttals are stronger than Whatuknow's propositons.





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