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Biotech Science

Live to be 1000 Years Old? 1120

An anonymous reader writes "The BBC has a long article by wonderfully be-whiskered Aubrey de Grey of SENS (Strategies for Engineered Negligible Senescence) on how we may all live to be 1,000 years old... as this is the balanced BBC they are also running the opposing view."
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Live to be 1000 Years Old?

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 03, 2004 @02:16PM (#10988903)
    Accident probability is Poisson Distributed. Poisson distributions have no memory. Your probability of being in an accident doesn't increase with time. Strange, but true.
  • by Country_hacker ( 639557 ) <> on Friday December 03, 2004 @02:41PM (#10989311)
    ...Reference, please? I haven't found that.
    In Genesis 9:3, right after Noah et al get off the ark, God says "Every moving thing that liveth shall be meat for you; even as the green herb have I given you all things." Up till then all they'd eaten was plants, and some believe that applied to the animals until then too. Can't quite imagine T-rex eating watermelons, but I happen to believe the Bible, so it must have been something like that. :-)
  • by FlimFlamboyant ( 804293 ) on Friday December 03, 2004 @02:46PM (#10989378) Homepage

    ... Humans were *not* allowed to eat animals until after the flood... Reference, please? I haven't found that.

    While there is no direct commandment forbidding man from eating animals prior to the flood, we do have the initial instruction God gave to Adam concerning his diet:

    (Gen 1:29) And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.

    It's not until Genesis 9 that what would *appear* to be new instructions are handed down:

    (Gen 9:3) Every moving thing that liveth shall be meat for you; even as the green herb have I given you all things.

    I personally don't think an increase in sin had anything to do with the gradual decay of man's average lifespan. I find it more likely that the massive geophysical changes that the flood brought on is the culprit.

  • by cephyn ( 461066 ) on Friday December 03, 2004 @02:48PM (#10989422) Homepage
    True, but a Poisson model is incorrect for the discussion at hand. Consider:
    The poisson distribution can also be used to study how 'accidents' or 'malfunctions' or the chance of winning the lottery never, once or more than once, are distributed on the level of a population. If having one 'accident' has no influence on the chance of having another accident, the victim is 'put back into the population' immediately after an 'event', people may have one, two, three, or more accidents during a certain period of time. The Poisson distribution tells you how these chances are distributed.

    The accidents the parent is talking about are not the kind you can have more than once. We're assuming the non-existence of undead and miraculous recoveries here, so once you're dead, you're dead.

    So, given that you have a .0000002 (assume) chance of dying on a given day due to accident, over time, the odds that you won't die due to an accident add up. However, it IS true that on your 1000th birthday you still only have a .000002 chance of having a fatal accident. It's just that you are one of the VERY lucky few to have not had one yet. Think of it as a die. Having an accident is rolling a 1. Keep rolling. How long can you go without rolling a 1? Your chance each time is 1/6. But the odds of rolling no ones in 1000 rolls is very low. It can be done, but its low. Realistically, you are going to roll a one, and it is equally likely to happen at any given time.
  • Re:Not a good idea (Score:3, Informative)

    by deego ( 587575 ) on Friday December 03, 2004 @02:55PM (#10989539)
    That is not quite true, though it does express the idea quite well: A very large fraction of people who have ever lived are alive today.

    Today, there are about 7 billion people.

    The number of people that have ever lived is 78 billion. The power of exponential growth is such that this figure wouldn't be altered much even if you alter the choice of where in our evolutionary history do you start calling the mammal a human and start counting..
  • by giantsfan89 ( 536448 ) <> on Friday December 03, 2004 @03:02PM (#10989645) Homepage Journal
    • ... Humans were *not* allowed to eat animals until after the flood...

      Reference, please? I haven't found that.


    Gen 2:15-17: "The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. And the LORD God commanded the man, "You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die."


    Gen 9:1-5: "Then God blessed Noah and his sons, saying to them, "Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the earth. The fear and dread of you will fall upon all the beasts of the earth and all the birds of the air, upon every creature that moves along the ground, and upon all the fish of the sea; they are given into your hands. Everything that lives and moves will be food for you. Just as I gave you the green plants, I now give you everything. But you must not eat meat that has its lifeblood still in it. And for your lifeblood I will surely demand an accounting. I will demand an accounting from every animal. And from each man, too, I will demand an accounting for the life of his fellow man."
  • Re:Biblical Errors (Score:2, Informative)

    by FlimFlamboyant ( 804293 ) on Friday December 03, 2004 @03:05PM (#10989667) Homepage

    The Bible is a huge, HUGE book, written by many people over a period of several thousand years. While I'm not going to claim perfection (it's been copied and translated many times, and that *always* introduces some margin of error), you might want to double-check your sources before you repeat them. For example:

    We are told the Bible has no scientific errors, yet it says the batis a bird (Lev. 11:13,19)

    Who's to say that it's *not* a bird? I mean, really. There was no Audubon society at the time, and no so-called "scientists" who think they're more qualified to classify these creatures than the God who created them.

    and insects (Lev. 11:22-23) have four legs

    (Lev 11:21) Yet these may ye eat of every flying creeping thing that goeth upon all four, which have legs above their feet, to leap withal upon the earth;

    That's 4 to walk on, 2 to leap with. Last time I checked, 4 + 2 = 6. But of course, your source conveniently left verse 21 out of his critique.

    People with an agenda tend to make very poor critics.

  • by droolfool ( 235314 ) on Friday December 03, 2004 @03:17PM (#10989853)
    I guess you should study the Bible a bit more. I know, there are many Biblical fundamentalists, and they are extremely boring.
    The Bible should be read carefully, because it's not just a simple book, it's no a Sidney Sheldon best-seller.
    Take the Revelations book, for example. It's very beautiful, if you understand it was written to be purely metaphorical. It's terrible, if you don't understand it.

    Even many of the numbers have meanings.
    7 = perfection
    6 = imperfection (almost 7)
    3 = whole
    So, 3x6 = the imperfection as a whole = 666

    Food for thought: If you write something like: "This will take just a couple of minutes", in 2000 years, it may be understood as "I will do this in exactly two minutes". The same thing happens with the Bible.
  • by cnelzie ( 451984 ) on Friday December 03, 2004 @03:26PM (#10989972) Homepage
    The article explained that the potential technology would allow you to exist at your current state of physical and mental well-being and in fact reverse the physical and mental age of existing older people until you died due to unforseen circumstances, such as getting hit by a speeding truck.

    I don't see why you would rather live a full life, up to 50, without pills and such, instead of living that same full life for, on average, 1000 years of life with pills and such...

    Kids these days, always speaking before they know what they are speaking about.
  • by WilliamGeorge ( 816305 ) on Friday December 03, 2004 @03:43PM (#10990214)
    Quote: "I don't understand why God made an earth that is so clearly billions of years old, and made it around 6,000 years ago."

    And why, if I may ask, do you think the Earth is "clearly billions of years old"? I think it looks rather young, personally... ho wold.asp

    Although, I guess one could very well say that 6,000+ years is pretty darn old ;)
  • by Idarubicin ( 579475 ) on Friday December 03, 2004 @04:12PM (#10990609) Journal
    Even if you could offer people a constant youthful physique and extreme longevity, how many of us are really going to make it to even 200? Unless you live your entire life underground in a room with little windows, never venturing forth into the world, something's going to get you.

    Here's an interesting tabulation of your risks of death due to injury [].

    Your odds are slightly worse than one in eighteen hundred of dying in any given year due to injury. (About 1 in 2800 of accidental injury; the rest is due to self-inflicted injury or deliberate assault.)

    Assuming that figure remains constant throughout your lifetime, your odds of surviving to various ages would be

    100 - 94.5%

    500 - 75.5%
    1000 - 57.0%
    1235 - 50.0%
    2000 - 32.5%
    5300 - 5%
    8200 - 1%
    The distribution of actual injury risk vs. age is more U-shaped in reality. We're prone to accidental injuries while we're very young (getting dropped, falling, sticking fingers in electrical sockets) and while we're older (poorer reflexes, vision, balance, less ability to heal). Obviously our accident risk is going to depend on how well this treatment arrests the aging process, and at what stage.

    There's also the possibility that individuals who want to live 'forever' might make a conscious effort not to do so many stupid things, and therefore lower their own risks.

  • by robertjw ( 728654 ) on Friday December 03, 2004 @04:39PM (#10990917) Homepage
    Given that, why do so many christians believe that evolution contradicts the bible?
    Most Christians don't really know much about their faith.

    Personally, I would disagree.

    For me, and many Christians, the creation of the human race by a supreme being is central to our faith. Without the creation there were no Adam and Eve, without Adam and Eve there was no fall from grace, without a fall from grace there was no need for a reedemer - a messiah to reconcile us back with the creator.

    The validity and historical accuracy of the Old Testament can be challenged - and with good cause. All of the issues you list are absolutely true. Personally I believe the Old Testament is devinely inspired, and true, and will continue to do so until there is irrefutable evidence to the contrary, which there may never be due to the remoteness of time. That aside, I also belive that much of the Bible is misunderstood by modern society - both due to translations and societal context. The authors of the Old Testament lived as far away from modern American culture as possible, how can we possibly comprehend what their original intent and thought processes were.
  • by Colonel Cholling ( 715787 ) on Friday December 03, 2004 @05:10PM (#10991307)
    Rodney Brooks, in Flesh and Machines, briefly discusses various people (I remember Raymond Kurzweil with his "spiritual machines" concept among them) who have predicted that Real Soon Now we'll have technology which can make people virtually immortal. He cited a study of various thinkers through the years who have made this claim, which found that most of them predicted such technological innovations would come about roughly at the time they were entering old age. Brooks concluded that most of these predictions were fueled more by the desire for personal longevity than by a serious attempt to predict the likely progress of science.
  • by ahodgson ( 74077 ) on Friday December 03, 2004 @05:51PM (#10991779)
    Most Christian celebrations exist solely to coincide with (and hence usurp) pre-existing traditions or "pagan" celebrations. Christmas, placed at the time of the traditional winter solstice, is no exception.

    Actually, many Christian fables are adaptations of older stories. Consider Mithras, for example, a Persian God sent by Zoroathrus to be man's saviour. He was born of a virgin mother and in some traditions would sometimes shut himself in a cave and emerge a year later, born anew.

    It's pretty hard to take any of it seriously.
  • by arminw ( 717974 ) on Friday December 03, 2004 @06:39PM (#10992283)
    ...christians believe that evolution contradicts the bible?....

    You forget that evolution is a THEORY. There is not a single scientific FACT that contradicts the Bible. There are numerous statements in the Bible about things science did not discover until about 3 or fourhundred years ago.
  • by DaoudaW ( 533025 ) on Friday December 03, 2004 @07:28PM (#10992759)
    That only seems scary in our generation-challenged world. In actuality, you only share 2^-8 of your genes with with your great^6 grandmother. This is not all that different from the baseline relationship coefficient in many populations.

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