Monday, January 10, 2011

One Big Idea: Can Our Genes Stop Aging?

Can We Live Longer?
Some food for thought. If there is a gene that can be switched on, enhanced or synthesized in order to sustain metabolism and extend life for a considerable increase in overall longevity, who gets it? Who will be denied? What if this research got into the wrong hands and a group developed a virus that affected this gene so as to grant longevity to those it didn't kill from flu-like symptoms?
Consider a plague that could make you live for more than a century, if it didn't kill you outright.

From Big Think


  1. I am skeptical of life extending medicine. It's certainly good plot material to imagine a planet of immortals, or even those that live for centuries, but there are heavy prices to be paid for that.

    If medicine had a way to double the human life expectency, what of the economic impact? The U.S. economy is (at least) five times larger (relatively) than that of the Roman empire - but I doubt it could sustain such a sudden and massive jump in how long people live.

    Given that so much of health/wellness deals with genetics and just raw chemistry, what kind of 'eugenic prejudice' would emerge (Gattica comes to mind)

    Given that a virus like AIDS cripples the immune system, is medicine approaching a terrible turning point? Will researchers and authorities have to face a cure for a terrible epidemic that could cripple most of the world's economies in the long run? Handing immune system health to those not suffering would certainly extend the average life span tremendously.

    Is science charged with saving lives, or finding truth? Who gets saved, or why?

  2. @Scottsz: First off, thank you for reading the blog and for such incredibly thoughtful comments! We really appreciate it!

    We are very, very skeptical of the claims--notice how those last couple of posts were tagged: 'Historical Conjecture.'

    The Toxic Age came crashing to a riotous close partly for the very reasons you point out--economics as they were laughingly referred to back then were really not much better than political apologists and dehumane mathalatrists--they worshipped statistics over humanity and sacrificed everything for ideologies and agendas. This just did not work.

    With your permission, we'd like to lift a quote or two from your comment and address them more fully in a post--please do let us know if that is okay with you. It would be a very good step towards developing the dialogue we've been hoping to spark...

  3. Take all you want, but eat all you take!

    Feel free to expand on anything I mention. Let me know if I can assist.

  4. My Grandfather taught me how to shoot as a young boy. One shot--one kill, or else you go hungry. He was brought-up during the first (little) Depression and served in WWII. He also raised us to only kill what you can use or eat, unless in self defense.

    Thanks for the permission. We'll be addressing your comments/observations/questions shortly...

  5. We may be the last generation for whom the phrase 'for the table' has a deeper meaning...

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