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Thread: Why do we die?

  1. #81
    Protocol Droid Athenian200's Avatar
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    Jul 2007


    Quote Originally Posted by Feops View Post
    So if we stop having children we've taken the first step to becoming immortal.


    How does that make any sense at all?
    Eh, it's not that simple... I don't mean just physically stop having children. It was a metaphor. I mean literally physically/genetically redesign ourselves to be immortal and non-reproducing beings that constantly self-improve, rather than relying on natural selection to do it for us. Perhaps even add qualities like advanced tissue regeneration, cybernetic enhancements, etc. Basically, perhaps tending towards being Borg-like, except retaining our individuality and not seeking to add new members. The idea of being a Borg actually sounds great except for the lack of individuality.

    We can't do this yet, but technology will eventually allow it at some point, and I hope a clever scientist takes full advantage of it when we can do it.

  2. #82
    Senior Member durentu's Avatar
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    Mar 2008


    Some of this will sound long winded and stupid. I'm basically doing a brain dump in hopes to provide a perspective.

    Quote Originally Posted by JocktheMotie View Post
    All opinions and reasons are welcome, even the spiritual, all viewpoints should be considered. Iíd just rather not this devolve into God vs Science. Also, I'm fully prepared for somebody to completely prove me wrong, but I couldn't find anything in my reading to answer this question.
    Death exists because it's a function of change. There's only a finite amount of energy and matter in our universe (as far as I know/heard) and within this universe system, the natural state is chaos. The fundamental forces in our universe is dumb. Electro magnetic, nuclear weak/strong and gravity are all dumb forces that will interact with whatever is about there. In my view, this is the source of chaos and since the majority if not the entire universe has these unintelligent forces, change is constant.

    This change is what makes life happen, but also it's what allows death to happen. These days, we have the knowledge to extend our lives well into the 300-500 year mark. If you had the right abilities to get that longevity knowledge into your life/body, you'd be able to live, starting today, well into 300+ years old. There is a great amount of research into it these days: one of which produced something called resveratrol (french paradox and okinawa kelp). There's nanobots, DNA elixirs etc all in research today. Google is ur buddy also has some vids.

    While this is only delaying death, let's consider removing death from the equation altogether (let's say achieved via technology). Once a life is created, it doesn't get destroyed (ruling out accidents homicide etc). Since humans will only propagate in greater numbers, it can have some interesting effects.

    1) Over a great many years (affix some exponential population function), the entire amount of matter and energy in the universe will be contained within humans. (forgetting about the stuff that is needed to support humans). So we will eventually use up every atom in the universe and turn it into human form. As a result, nothing will be left except human bodies. no plants, stars, planets, comets, nebuli, etc

    2) With death removed, our bodies will be removed from the cycle of life. Basically, this will remove human food supply. If there's no death, someone will eat your pets. After the pets are gone, we'll eat dirt. Then our own poo. Then each other. Then voluntary deaths etc etc.

    3) If human death was removed, you'd have multi species of humans living at the same time. It'll be as if we'd have caveman pets or something. A word smith can help me craft the word to label the event of producing offspring with a previous or older species of human.

    4) As for the capacity of our minds, I'm not sure. the brain is a very expensive piece of equipment and it may shrink without death. As the food supply gets smaller, the brain will first suffer, then our own bodies will shrink. Just a hunch, but there will be physiological changes. A philosophical question is, is life was in infinite abundance, would you be more or less motivated? If you couldn't die and you lived your life till the end of time, did everything, learned everything absolutely nothing in the universe left to do, wouldn't you just commit suicide just to stop being bored ?


    Let's say that we cannot escape biological immortality, we can presumably be immortal through a technological existence. Today, we have the technology to simulate small brains. And with tech, it gets faster, bigger and cheaper. If we can make a machine brain, it surpass our brain. Ray Kurtweil makes a good point. When the machine brain passes human brains (he estimates year 2023), we have a few choices. We can integrate, merge or reject the new species.

    Integrate: upload our brain and leave behind our bodies. (movie lawnmower man in our lifetime)

    Merge: cyborgs, half bio, half machine. or a machine assisted brain. We're already here folks. mechanical exoskeletons from japan, cochlear implants, and other fancy devices for the disabled. I even saw a brain scan enabled twitter posting thing. Wear the funny cap, thing the message and it'll post it on titter.

    Reject: humans will be viewed upon as pets or species of the animal kingdom. Dethroning us from human arrogance and sharing space with the apes.

    Definitely an interesting time.

    This is the end of the general stuff, I'll reply to the specific parts.
    The question then arises, if ďsurvival of the fittestĒ is the general way to go, why doesn't evolution support a being that will never die a natural death.
    Within the context of evolution, "survival of the fittest" and immortality are completely opposing ideas. Here's why. If you have immortal humans, it's like keeping every piece of junk you ever made or bought. It's like supporting every piece of legacy software the world has ever created. It's just a lot of junk. And in essence, immortality is the act of removing the "fitness" function of "survival of the fittest". In this context, fitness requires failure, and that failure is in the form of death.

    From the cycle of life perspective, the ones that did survive need to weak the weak ones that died. Yes, it's horrific that you probably ate atoms from your ancestors, but that's what the cycle of life is all about.

    So far, immortality is not in the interest of human evolution. I'm not smart enough to answer exactly why; only to give speculation.

    What is the evolutionary, biological advantage to the chemicals released that begin the aging process? Why donít our bodies try to maintain our physical and sexual peak?
    There's a preconception that I'd like you to consider. Human evolution hasn't stopped. In fact, human evolution has been accelerated. There are numerous papers about how the human gene/DNA are changing more rapidly. One of the results is that females are MUCH more attractive today than a few generations ago (no mention of the affects of interracial offspring and the effects of averageness). There's also an article mentioning that mammalian DNA, including humans are still pretty messy. We are still in the process of cleaning up unnecessary DNA material. Insects are just about the final version and are mature DNA codes. Reptiles and birds are next in line for maturity iirc. (did you know that we eat dinosaurs today? one example is chicken). Then the mammalian DNA, the messiest of them all (humans messier still), because we are still interbreeding and mixing until our final version could possibly be beige and have camouflage ability (skin tanning from albino white to darker than night in under a minute, rather than lots of generations)

    Another thing to consider is that Steven hawking and others have considered. Bugs birds and pets don't have books dvs and things. All the knowledge memes and stuff are things that cannot be contained in our DNA. DNA/evolution is just not fast enough, nor does it have the capacity to retain all that info. Computers can be born with all that knowledge, but we're not there yet. When thinking about human genetic code, we must also add the knowledge that we have. Humans = DNA + memes (books, paintings, buildings, guitar hero, tv shows etc).

    The human formula is still being worked out by nature. No idea how much longer it'll take and if we will have immortality then.

    I can think of philosophical or psychological reasons as to why death is something incorporated into life in general, however none that are biological [although Iím sure some would argue psychological is biological in terms of neuroscience]. Iíd rather get otherís opinions on the topic, but to set us in a direction, a psychological reason as to why death exists may be because a consciousness may not be able to handle the concept of never dying. Think of how death is such a part of our lives, if that makes sense. Could a conscious being be able to handle the fact that they will never die of old age. That if they are healthy and take their flu shots and look both ways all the time, they will not die. They will exist forever. Maybe evolution has already tried this approach, and the organisms couldnít handle it, because they were never afraid of death enough to resist it.
    We have to realize that we are the most modern version of the human software today. Even if our version is like 1.1.5 instead of the insects at like version 50.8.

    Perhaps the price of immortality is flexibility. In a way, reincarnation is the right idea. We may find that eliminating death is just not possible at all. But we can have another look at the "survival of the fittest" formula. If we are to live forever, we may have to give up our human form. By uploading our brains into the future consciousness bank and then downloaded into another form, like a lion, beetle, the opposite sex, a different sex, whatever your imagination can come up with. Perhaps a creature of your own design. Modify genetic code, make a new body that can handle immortality, and then copy yourself into that body. Try it out for a whole life time, upload back, then make changes and whatever. Maybe as a vacation, have the life of a dove or a whale or something.

    If you think about it, the precursor or the conditions of death is biological failure. If the biology is matured in the future and still cannot sustain immortality, then, we must consider other forms of life, like the tehcnological or becoming coalescing energy forms or something whacky.


    my 2 lead pennies.

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