I thought I'd point out a blog essay on radical life extension that I stumbled across earlier today. The author is somewhat out of shape on the science and who is doing what, but can't be faulted for enthusiasm - the community could certainly do with more people with this sort of mindset. Advocacy is powered as much by enthusiasm as by anything else, after all. Some choice quotes, which I have hyperlinked for reference purposes:
The life extension field is haunted by pessimists who are hung up on the Greek myth of Tiphonius who asked the Gods for eternal life, but was doomed to become decrepid because he forgot to specify eternal youth. I would argue that one of the main goals of medicine is to help people live as healthy as possible for as long as possible. Getting the impaired, repaired
It seems that curing the diseases of old age is now more of an engineering problem than a scientific mystery. The Methuselah M-prize has been started by the people who got private industry into space with the Ansuri X-prize. The M-prize goes to the people who get mice to live significantly longer, in ways that may be applied to people.
If you can just survive to the next medical breakthrough technology, you might be able to survive a few years more, until the next little development, which might give you even more years. This way, if you're very lucky you may get climb a sort of "stairway to heaven" and leapfrog from one medical engineering discovery to the next. Imagine what the medical technology of 2150 might be able to do for us?
When talking about immortality its fascinating that some people get angry when you propose living forever. The audience for the panel were split between the "dyers" or "terminators" and the people who believed that life is worth living. One correspondent spoke to me about about living longer being a selfish use of Earth's limited resources. This ignores the fact that RIGHT NOW Paul and the many people who agree with him, are making selfish use of Earth's limited resources, and by the same argument that condemns old people to die in the future, they are condemning themselves to die right now. I asked himl if he was offering to suicide to give up his use of Earth's resources right now, but he declined. They've decided on a particular number that is "natural", and not only have they decided to die at that age, but they insist that EVERYBODY should be forced to go without whatever medical treatment might become available, and commit suicide at their favourite number. The dyers, with my correspondent as their spokesperson decided that most of them would like to die at age eight-five, which is about a ten year extension of the average life expectancy of seventy-five. This requires life extension technology not yet available. What right does anybody have to tell other people to commit suicide?
American writer Ronald Bailey wrote about the emotional battle between the pessimists and the optimists: "Future generations will look back at the beginning of the 21st century and marvel that intelligent people actually tried to stop biomedical progress just to protect their cramped and limited vision of human nature."
The hoary old Malthusian arguments (professions of faith, really) on the topic of resources and overpopulation just never seem to go away, no matter how well refuted or disproven. Longer, healthier lives will not lead to any challenge greater than that imposed on us by the ongoing tide of death and suffering that is aging. Challenges can be overcome - and far greater ones have been in the past century - but only if we are alive and healthy, capable of action.