• Witchhaven87
    2
    I just want to hear people's take on telomeres. Instead of creating the coronavirus why aren't we creating a solution to stop our DNA from dissolving. This is proof that we actually can live forever if we wanted to. People love to say other people are lazy but look at us as a society, we won't have try our hardest to live forever, we rather just give up and chunk it up to God or, "Hey, that's life." That's weak, no offense to anyone who sounds like that. All I'm saying is, we gotta do better as a people. This is really bullshit. I'm 29 years old. I'm not gonna die because people can get it together.

  • MarcheskAccepted Answer
    3.6k
    I'm not gonna die because people can get it together.Witchhaven87

    You're going to die for one reason or another, no matter what medical and technological breakthroughs happen during your life. Only question is how long and how healthy will your life be.
  • Witchhaven87
    2


    I get your reply all the time when I talk about this. You think the wright brothers listened to people when they told them they couldn't fly? Ok then. So you can't tell me that's a fact we're all gonna die. It's highly and most likely we will yes but you're not god so don't act like you know for certain that it is predetermined I'm gonna die as well as you. Like I said, your mindset is why we're gonna keep dying if people is just gonna stand down and get shot willingly instead of fighting to live.
  • Benkei
    3.3k
    You're not talking about immortality but longevity. The latter is not going to protect you from deadly viral or bacterial infections, so yeah, you gonna die. That's also the reason we better continue to cure "regular" diseases because otherwise longevity research will just be a waste as nobody can enjoy its full potential otherwise. Not that I'm looking forward to people who had a 1000 years to practice their cynicism.
  • Frank Apisa
    2k
    I'm 83. The last thing in the world I want is to live forever. Perhaps that is a thing one loses when one ages...but the only time I remember wanting to live forever was when I was still a practicing Catholic. I suspect, though, that even back then the desire was motivated by indoctrination. My religion almost dictated that I WANTED to live forever...that it was the motivation for the religion.

    Don't get me wrong. I am in exceptional shape and I have no desire to die. I live a very content and happy life...and look forward to the rewards of each day I live. But FOREVER?

    Nah.

    Your (apparent) desire to live forever may change as you get older.
  • MisterPhanax
    3
    While the benefits of high-tech cures for rare diseases are often met with a shrug by most people, the kind of immortality that now exists is very likely to be small. As Carl Zimmer puts it, "Are you born to die?" the answer, for most people, is no. But if you could cheat death, there are a few other things you could do that would presumably be better for you and your family.
  • Echarmion
    1.5k
    I just want to hear people's take on telomeres. Instead of creating the coronavirus why aren't we creating a solution to stop our DNA from dissolving.Witchhaven87

    There is plenty of research ongoing, but there isn't a single button to stop you from aging. In fact, the biggest problem is that we haven't yet figured out what aging is, exactly.

    I'm 29 years old. I'm not gonna die because people can get it together.Witchhaven87

    I'd put our odds of figuring out aging in the next 50 years as 50/50. So you actually stand a decent chance.
  • Artemis
    1.9k


    From a selfish personal kind of perspective, I'm with you. I'm of the type, I'm ready to get my brain transferred to an android body. Death has no benefits, but life always has possibilities.

    But when I think about the consequences of unlocking immortality (or just really really long life), I guess it becomes less obvious.

    There's the problem of who would even have access to this technology? Probably just the rich for a while and maybe some upper middle class.... It's ripe for capitalist exploitation though. Who wouldn't be willing to take out unfeasible loans in order to live longer?

    Then you'd have issues with population and climate change and earth's resources... That's already problematic, and while I do believe we could solve it, we probably should solve that first before we have more humans living exponentially longer.

    I'm sure some sci-fi author must've taken this up somewhere already?
  • Echarmion
    1.5k
    I'm sure some sci-fi author must've taken this up somewhere already?Artemis

    Altered Carbon is on Netflix, though I did not really like the plot.
  • Marchesk
    3.6k
    You think the wright brothers listened to people when they told them they couldn't fly?Witchhaven87

    Flying was possible, and birds already showed that to be the case, while living forever is not, and there is nothing immortal.

    It's highly and most likely we will yes but you're not god so don't act like you know for certain that it is predetermined I'm gonna die as well as you.Witchhaven87

    It's 100% absolutely certain you will die at some point. No technological breakthrough will change that, ever. At the every extreme end of what's possible, entropy and the heat death of the universe will make sure of it. But before then, all sorts of things will kill you first.

    What you're asking for is the equivalent of a perpetual motion machine. It's not thermodynamically possible. But we don't have to go that far, since statistics would make it 99.999999999999999999999% likely you die of one of a billion other things even if aging is cured during our lifetimes. You're more likely to walk through a solid wall.
  • Marchesk
    3.6k
    Altered Carbon is on Netflix, though I did not really like the plot.Echarmion

    And people can be killed for good on that show. You just have to destroy the technology that stores people's minds, which happens. Even that super rich dude with a dedicated backup satellite and bunch of clones isn't immune to someone taking him out.

    And of course Earth isn't immune to the sun expanding to a red giant, or someone dropping a big rock on it.
  • Marchesk
    3.6k
    That's also the reason we better continue to cure "regular" diseases because otherwise longevity research will just be a waste as nobody can enjoy its full potential otherwise.Benkei

    Also because cancer will kill everyone eventually if lifespans are extended enough (assuming something else doesn't first).
  • Pfhorrest
    2.8k
    Flying was possible, and birds already showed that to be the case, while living forever is not, and there is nothing immortal.Marchesk

    Tardigrades, immortal jellyfish, flatforms, possibly lobsters and turtles...

    Also, just nothing had ever been to space (well... tardigrades again, maybe), but then we did that.

    And of course Earth isn't immune to the sun expanding to a red giant, or someone dropping a big rock on it.Marchesk

    Someone dropping a big rock on the earth is far more survivable than living on another planet, and there doesn't seem to be a lot of doubt that the latter will eventually (if not soon) be possible.

    And the Earth can be moved, and the sun can be changed. You're looking at things through the primitive lens of a Type 0 civilization.

    At the every extreme end of what's possible, entropy and the heat death of the universe will make sure of it.Marchesk

    Heat death of the universe is not guaranteed if it is not a closed system, which dark energy suggests it is not. (The second law may be iron clad, but the first law apparently is not, as there is new energy being created all the time across the depths of space). Harnessing that to do anything useful may be tricky, but it's our current best explanation for how all the useful energy gradients we currently see came to be in the first place.
  • Marchesk
    3.6k
    Tardigrades, immortal jellyfish, flatforms, possibly lobsters and turtles...Pfhorrest

    All those organisms die. They just don't do so from aging. There's no such thing as immortality. Something always kills you.

    Someone dropping a big rock on the earth is far more survivable than living on another planet, and there doesn't seem to be a lot of doubt that the latter will eventually (if not soon) be possible.Pfhorrest

    But if it's dropped with the purpose of knocking out the "immortality" technology, then there goes living "forever", or whatever takes out the backup body facility. A space rock is just an extreme example of blowing it up, or releasing some flesh eating nanobots.

    And the Earth can be moved, and the sun can be changed. You're looking at things through the primitive lens of a Type 0 civilization.Pfhorrest

    That's all science fiction, but even if doable someday, none of it grants individuals immortality. If nothing else, we can kill each other just fine with all that fancy future tech.

    Heat death of the universe is not guaranteed if it is not a closed system, which dark energy suggests it is not.Pfhorrest

    Pretty sure it is. At the very least, everything will expand until there's nothing left to harness. If you want to believe in immortality, just have faith in whatever deity grants it rather than hoping some extreme scifi scenario will get you there.

    At any rate, research into telomeres isn't going to make you invincible or give you everlasting access to energy.
  • 180 Proof
    1.5k
    Many die too late and some die too early. Still the doctrine sounds strange: ‘Die at the right time.’… Die at the right time: thus Zarathustra teaches.

    [ ... ]

    I commend to you my sort of death ... voluntary death that comes to me because I wish it. And when shall I wish it? – He who has a goal and an heir wants death at the time most favorable to his goal and his heir. And out of reverence for his goal and his heir he will hang up no more withered wreaths in the sanctuary of life.
    — ‘Of Voluntary Death’, Thus Spoke Zarathustra (1883)
    Suicide is the persistent illusion of choosing to "die at the right time", that is, when, for whatever reasons or passions, one cannot go on. (Beckett) But it's only an illusion; all we have and have always had - but not all we will ever have, is it? To live until one wears oneself out is, for me, the minimum - I strive for more than that minimum, well into middle age I'm nowhere near done feasting on the marrow of things - everything - or reveling in the ordinary "immensity of the particular" (G. Steiner) or  delights of the "negligible and insignificant" (J. Miller) - no, to quote my favorite android: "I want more life, fucker."

    But should I? Should we? And how?

    I don't want to achieve immortality through my work; I want to achieve immortality through not dying. I don't want to live on in the hearts of my countrymen; I want to live on in my apartment. — Woody Allen
    :chin:

    But how? What does the problem consist in, at least in principle? Well, mindful of the OP, I simplistically break down "not dying" as follows:


    3. By life span I understand the species limit to how long an organism (Human) can live. [FOREST]

    2. By brain span I understand how long an organism's (Human's) brain (CNS) can optimally function and perform. [BRANCHES]

    1. By youth span I understand how long an organism's (Human's) body can optimally function and perform. [TRUNK]

    0. By health span I understand how long an organism (Human) can live without irreparable dysfunction due to contracting chronic illnesses or diseases. [ROOTS]

    Extending health span is, it seems to me, the key driver to extending the rest, maybe even including life span, with the ideal being, I suppose, also extending youth & brain spans as close to 100% of an extended life span as possible. (No point living 200 years, for instance, if decrepit and senile for half that span.) So the actual, most reasonable, goal is immorbidity and not "immortality" (which only could be a property of synthetic, or non-perishable non-biological, sapient systems (i.e. AGI), which, in the end, nonetheless - as already mentioned - would also be, like stones and stars and galaxies, ravaged by the 2nd law of thermodynamics).

    What are the prospects of technically effective, even trivially easy, immorbidity treatments (via clinical therapy or germline genengineering)? I suspect one of any number of man-made extinction-level events to occur before any cohort of us are living centuries la vida loca.

    Arboreal or [Health Span [Youth Span [Brain Span [Life Span]]]] or whatever hierarchical bottom-up metaphor ... my point is flourishing longevity begins with 'health span extension'.

    :death:

    That said, I favor a (not so) wildly speculative proposal for, what I call, "neuroprosthetic hemisphere replacement replication" - whereby after a hemispherectomy (as in the cases of acute, chronic grand mal epilepsy), and using a molecular/genetic/nano-engineered 'hemisphere-analogue' to replace the one removed and merge via corpus callosum with the remaining hemisphere in order to replicate its finest micro-structures, connectome and cognitive functions and yet remain completely functional and thereby maintain 'personality-continuity' (subjective phenomenal self-awareness) after the organic, irreparable, brain-death of the 'host' organism. This functional connectome replica (i.e. "Replicant") can then 'interface' with other cognitive systems to e.g. remotely drive robot-avatars or be implanted in - swapped in & out of - (customized) 'synthetic living' bodies, in effect, manifesting 'personal immortality'.

    (I'm planning on some sort of chemical brain preservation process rather than tissue-cellular destroying "cryonics" to hopefully keep my brain 'viable' after I die until the technology is (if it's ever) ready for prime time.)

    Yes, quite a few ontological and epistemological assumptions to cross-examine ... but I'll chill now, have a few sips, and allow this already too damn long post ripen a bit.

    :flower:
  • leo
    831
    Pretty sure it is. At the very least, everything will expand until there's nothing left to harness.Marchesk

    You can be pretty sure and wrong. First of all problem of induction, you can’t know what the laws of physics will be in the future. Then if there is a continued creation of energy there is no heat death. If the universe is a closed shape and not too big then there is no heat death. If the redshift of distant galaxies has been wrongly assumed to be caused by their receding motion then maybe the universe isn’t even expanding. So no, heat death is pretty much not guaranteed at all.

    The second law may be iron cladPfhorrest

    Actually it isn’t either even for an isolated system. Let’s say an isolated system can be in N different possible states (where a state is defined by the set of positions and velocities of all the things within the system). There are many more states in which all these positions and velocities are spread out approximately evenly, than there are states where some position and velocities are very much different from the others. And as things interact with one another they tend to evolve towards the more likely states, but it does happen that some interactions lead temporarily to a less likely state (entropy decrease).

    When you think about it the “second law” doesn’t dictate how things move deep down, it isn’t an additional force that attracts or repels things, it is a statistical observation that works on average.

    Life sometimes appear as a struggle because we have to struggle against all the forces that move towards destroying us, but that’s the physical view, the underlying reality may be that we are eternal beings and this all is some sort of game, or lesson.

    I like the idea of seeing the whole of this existence as a game because, when you think about it, we wouldn’t be so immersed in it if we were aware of it. A game can be truly good when you forget you’re playing one and you find yourself within it, as a character within a world. Also there can’t be a game without rules, and there are rules we have to play by here (the fundamental laws of physics, well maybe these laws can be broken and we haven’t found the true underlying rules yet). And in a game there are different sides with different objectives, here we have the good side and the bad side.

    One might say when you’re suffering immensely it’s not a game anymore, but when it becomes too hard for us there is a way out, we can give up. But then maybe we wake up outside the game and realize that we’ve lost it, that we have made it harder for our team, that we should have kept playing because we have let the other side beat us. And then maybe we decide to go back in the game under a different character, who knows :)

    But again a fundamental part of this game is not knowing it is one, so I also like to forget about it and go back to play ... ;)
  • Pfhorrest
    2.8k
    When you think about it the “second law” doesn’t dictate how things move deep down, it isn’t an additional force that attracts or repels things, it is a statistical observation that works on average.leo

    That's actually what makes it so iron clad, in the way I meant. You're absolutely right that small local temporary reductions of entropy are possible (and happen all the time, at the really submicroscopic scale), it's just that statistically over long time scales large complex systems tend toward increased entropy. What I mean by "iron clad" though is precisely that that doesn't depend on any actual physical force, it's just a purely mathematical thing. Any universe with any physical laws would still obey the same mathematics, and so still be bound to that purely mathematical statistical tendency.

    That still doesn't guarantee the heat death of the universe, though, if the universe is not a closed system but rather has a continuous influx of new energy, which current models say it does, and say is the explanation for how we have all this structure that we currently have and not an already-heat-dead universe instead.
  • Douglas Alan
    161

    nstead of creating the coronavirus why aren't we creating a solution to stop our DNA from dissolving.Witchhaven87

    What makes you think that people aren't studying this??? Here's an article about a Nature-published article on what happened when they made mice with telomeres that were twice as long:

    https://www.sciencealert.com/researchers-have-made-long-lived-mice-with-extended-chromosomes-inside-all-of-their-cells

    TLDR: They lived 24% longer, but not twice as long.

    |>ouglas

    P.S. I found this answer in 30 seconds with Google.
  • Pfhorrest
    2.8k
    I can't find it at the moment, but I recently saw something about a different strain of anti-aging research, that claims that all or at least most animals (including humans) have cells with basically two modes, a grow-and-reproduce mode and a repair-and-protect mode. The repair-and-protect mode is triggered by hardships like starvation and extreme cold, and is supposedly responsible for the observed correlation between restricted-calorie diets and longevity and health in old age. (It was particularly a lack of protein that was responsible for triggering the repair-and-protect mode, interestingly). The research I saw was looking into other ways of artificially triggering the repair-and-protect mode in cells, without having to starve or freeze; they had supposedly artificially triggered that mode in the eye cells of mice who had gone blind with old age, whose eyes then returned to a youthful, functional state. Right now it's a really painstaking meticulous process of forcing the individual cells into that mode, though, so there's not yet just some drug you can take that will trigger that internal fountain of youth. But the fact that there is such an internal restore-youth function already in our cells, that just needs an appropriate trigger, is very promising.

    I wish I could find a link to the thing I read about this. Hopefully it sounds familiar enough to someone that they can find one?
  • leo
    831
    What I mean by "iron clad" though is precisely that that doesn't depend on any actual physical force, it's just a purely mathematical thing. Any universe with any physical laws would still obey the same mathematics, and so still be bound to that purely mathematical statistical tendency.Pfhorrest

    Well I’m thinking that there could be universes where entropy decreases as a whole. In such a universe for instance some things would suck the energy out of everything else, as opposed to this universe where things radiate energy towards other things. In our universe hot flows towards cold (fast-moving particles transmit some of their motion to slower particles), in a universe with decreasing entropy the slower particles would become slower and slower as the faster ones would become faster by sucking their energy.

    In our universe all things are energy sources and they attract or repel one another. In a universe with decreasing entropy there would be energy sources and energy sinks, you could picture the energy sinks as parasites moving towards the energy sources and feeding off them.

    And you know what this reminds me of something, in gnosticism there is the belief that we are eternal beings who are kept prisoners by parasites (they are called archons) who feed off our energy, that this material world is an illusion they have created to use us, and that the more we struggle and the more we suffer the more energy they suck from us.

    Maybe there is increasing entropy in this illusory universe but decreasing entropy in the underlying universe that is hidden from us? Otherwise if this universe we see was all there is why does it have increasing entropy? The arrow of time is a mystery, but it stops being one when we see things that way. This universe we see is not the underlying reality, it’s a simulation, a bit like in the matrix, parasitic beings have created it to feed off our energy, they hide the reality from us to keep us imprisoned and make us struggle. And our goal is to wake up from that illusion, to uncover the web of lies and false beliefs that they have weaved before us, to uncover the truth that they prevent us from seeing and living. Which would be the ultimate goal of philosophy.
  • Pfhorrest
    2.8k
    The tendency for (closed systems in) our universe to evolve toward states of greater entropy isn't an effect of any of our specific physical laws, though. In a purely mathematical model of all of the possible instantaneous states of the universe, completely agnostic to the physical laws governing transitions from one state to another, states where energy is spread out more evenly are more common, and states where it is more concentrated are less common. Think of, for example, ways that air molecules could be arranged in a box: there's only relatively few arrangements that have them all clumped in the same corner, but a whole lot of arrangements that have them spread out pretty evenly across the whole volume of the box.

    It's not that there are more high-entropy states than low-entropy ones because the physical laws make high-entropy ones more likely; the high-entropy ones are more likely because there's just more of them that are possible (and that is actually what defines them as high-entropy), so even if there was no law-like behavior at all, and the whole system just evolved randomly, you would just expect it to evolve into a higher-entropy state at random.

    It's actually thought that the second law of thermodynamics is really the fundamental law of the universe, and that all of the other laws are really just that combined with restrictions on what kinds of states are even possible. Other laws define possible ways that the universe could be, and then the universe just randomly changes, one tiny bit at a time, everywhere, constantly, from one of those possible ways to one of the most similar other possible ways that it could be, and the overall tendency for it to change predictably in certain ways, from X to Y, is just because there are more possible ways that are like Y than there are like X, so randomly stepping through possible states just tends to leave things more Y-like than X-like over time.

    I actually like to think of time in exactly that way: picture an abstract space of all the possible states of the universe (we can only really picture a two- or three-dimensional space, which could only visualize two or three variables, but just imagine that for simplicity). Each point in that space represents one way the universe could be, and points that are close to each other represent similar ways the universe could be. Some regions of that space are filled with points representing less-entropic states than others, but those are necessarily just little corners of the space, and the bulk of the volume is filled with points representing more-entropic states. The dimension of time is just any line through that abstract space, where the direction toward more-entropic states is "the future" and the direction toward less-entropic states is "the past".

    There are therefore multiple possible timelines, multiple paths through all the possible configurations of the universe, but because more-entropic configurations are more common and less-entropic ones are less common, lines toward "the past" quickly converge, while lines toward "the future" diverge, which is why the past seems determined (few similar possible states are less-entropic than the present one, so the ways the past could have been to lead to this present are limited) but the future does not (many similar possible states are more-entropic than the present one, so the future could turn out in many different ways from this present).

    And we perceive the arrow of time that way because the process of forming our memories, and the processes that form all other records of the past, occur in accordance with laws that are driven by the increase of entropy, so the states that are recorded in our brains or in rock strata or any other records will necessarily be of less-entropic states in the past, and our projections of trends in those recorded past states will therefore be toward the more-entropic states of the future.
  • leo
    831
    The tendency for (closed systems in) our universe to evolve toward states of greater entropy isn't an effect of any of our specific physical laws, though. In a purely mathematical model of all of the possible instantaneous states of the universe, completely agnostic to the physical laws governing transitions from one state to another, states where energy is spread out more evenly are more common, and states where it is more concentrated are less common. Think of, for example, ways that air molecules could be arranged in a box: there's only relatively few arrangements that have them all clumped in the same corner, but a whole lot of arrangements that have them spread out pretty evenly across the whole volume of the box.

    It's not that there are more high-entropy states than low-entropy ones because the physical laws make high-entropy ones more likely; the high-entropy ones are more likely because there's just more of them that are possible (and that is actually what defines them as high-entropy), so even if there was no law-like behavior at all, and the whole system just evolved randomly, you would just expect it to evolve into a higher-entropy state at random.
    Pfhorrest

    There are more states where energy is spread out pretty evenly, the issue is that without knowing in the first place how likely each state is (which depends on the physical laws), then you don’t know that it is more likely to end up in the high-entropy ones even if there are many more of them. If you have a universe where because of its specific physical laws the low-entropy states are much more likely even if they are less numerous, then that universe doesn’t evolve towards higher entropy.

    And I gave an example of such a universe, if you have energy sources and energy sinks, the sinks suck the energy out of the sources and the entropy decreases. Instead of having the sinks and the sources spread out evenly, you would have the sinks close to the sources, and the universe might evolve in a configuration where the sinks maximize the energy that they suck from the sources.

    In our universe air molecules repel one another all in the same way that’s why they end up being spread evenly in a box. These molecules are energy sources, they emit electromagnetic fields. Now if you picture things that absorb these fields (instead of emitting/re-emitting them), these things might arrange to have the air molecules spread in a different way.

    In any case it would be wrong to say that any possible universe ends up evolving towards the high-entropy states, because the likelihood of these states depends on the very laws of the universe, which are more fundamental.

    I see no evidence that the universe evolves randomly. Physical laws are not random, what we decide to do isn’t random, both dictate how the universe evolves.

    To say that the universe behaves the way it does because entropy increases is akin to saying that objects fall to the ground because their potential energy is converted into kinetic energy. These aren’t causes, they are high-level descriptions which deep down do not explain anything. The correct way to put it is that things behave in a specific way, which we attempt to describe through conceptual tools such as energy or entropy, but these conceptual tools are surely not the cause of what happens. Even the fundamental physical theories are not the cause of what happens, they are also descriptions of what happens, but at least they provide a more precise description of what happens.
  • Pfhorrest
    2.8k
    There are more states where energy is spread out pretty evenly, the issue is that without knowing in the first place how likely each state is (which depends on the physical laws), then you don’t know that it is more likely to end up in the high-entropy ones even if there are many more of them. If you have a universe where because of its specific physical laws the low-entropy states are much more likely even if they are less numerous, then that universe doesn’t evolve towards higher entropy.leo

    Something being more likely and there being more possible states where that thing occurs are equivalent descriptions.

    If the physical laws make something more likely, then there will be more possible states where that thing occurs. And if there just happen to be more possible states where something occurs, apparent laws mandating that thing occurring more will emerge naturally out of randomness.

    It's two ways of saying the same thing.

    For the greatest illustration of this, look at chemical processes. Chemical processes are stochastic, probablistic results of lots and lots of little physical processes, and because those physical processes are more likely to result in higher entropy states, chemical processes, being aggregates of many such processes, always happen in such a way as to move from lower entropy in the reactants to higher entropy in the products.

    This is not in any way to say that the universe is doomed to suffer heat death. If the first law of thermodynamics is not adhered to, and energy can be created or destroyed, then the universe can keep being pushed out of equilibrium, even while everything continues winding down. It's a bit like an orbit: you're continuously falling, but never actually getting closer to hitting the ground.

    Now that I think about it, the universe you describe above hinges on breaking the first law. In our universe, ordinary particles aren't "energy sources", they don't emit energy, they only pass it along after receiving it. If some particles did emit totally new energy, then you wouldn't even need the energy sinks to counter them, you'd just get an unlimited usable energy gradient between the energy sources and the rest of the distant universe. Likewise, even if you only had energy sinks, that'd create a usable energy gradient that would last for so long as there is energy available to suck into it, which may be forever if the universe is infinite. Your sources-and-sinks pairs do result in the net energy of the universe not changing, but they still are each individually violating the first law, which is how entropy can get reversed by them, without violating the second law.
bold
italic
underline
strike
code
quote
ulist
image
url
mention
reveal
youtube
tweet
Add a Comment