Anti-mind, anti-man, anti-life

Curing disease is good, right? No. Jemima Lewis, writing in the Telegraph, says curing disease is a sickeningly bad idea:

…the Zuckerberg-Chans have the most ambitious vision yet: developing new technologies and medicines to tackle every disease ever invented.

We’d better hope they don’t succeed. What would it do to the human race if we were granted eternal health, and therefore life? Without any deaths to offset all the births, we would have to make room on earth for an extra 208,400 people a day, or 76,066,000 a year – and that’s before those babies grow old enough to reproduce themselves.

Within a month of Mr Zuckerberg curing mortality, the first wars over water resources would break out. Within a year, the World Health Organisation would be embarking on an emergency sterilisation programme. Give it a decade and we’d all be dead from starvation, apart from a handful of straggle-bearded tech billionaires, living in well-stocked bunkers under San Francisco.

I’m shocked that anyone can write such depraved things in a major newspaper. In a decent culture this kind of thing would be relegated to some sick corner of the dark web. I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised, however. Ayn Rand villains exist. Look around.


Oh you Americans; such teases.

Well, now that Newark's schools are fixed, it makes sense to tackle something more challenging.

Yes, excellent point. That he can be so stupid with regard to human nature assures us that pretty much the entirety of his investment on this project will be wasted chasing down one dead-end path after another.

- I don't think their goals are exactly as she presents them.
- I would worry more about the effect of all disease eradication on our adaptive ability. Particularly in regards to genetics. Could we even eradicate all disease? As we get closer to the goal over time, the stressors will diminish? I'm not sure how this would work. Does the time to eradication matter?

"I would worry more about the effect of all disease eradication on our adaptive ability. "

that's what i was thinking. curing current diseases would lead to some (un)known (un)known dystopia.

related: read The Passage
for some literary (un)known (un)knowns

why ? Did curing polio, smallpox, bubonic plague led to a dystopia ?

Virus as evolutionary catalysts.
Reduced immunity to the next plague (they and their near cousin surviver will continue to evolve)

I don't buy this. We develop toolkits that enables us to counter any microbiological threats. We simply are becoming better than what evolution throws at us. We must be winning since the number of death by infectious diseases has continually decreased. There are some tough cookies like HIV which has a very high rate of mutation, but much progress is being mad. not all of the virus genome mutates. In 2003 March 12, the CDC issued a global alert for SARS; on April 14 ,33 days later the virus' genome had been sequenced. It would be faster today. We simply will overcome all these pathogens. We don't have to rely on our evolutionary response to new threats, we identify them quickly and counter them.

Well, adaptation requires two things - selection for traits, but also variety of traits. Clearly, no one ever dying would increase the variety of traits that could some day be selected for when the world runs out of food and water for all the hangers-on. : P

"I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised, however. Ayn Rand villains exist. Look around."

One of the jokes in Atlas Shrugged is that every one of the unjust, insane, and crippling regulations that ruined the country in the first two thirds of the book were already law in 1957 when it was published.

Yes, Ayn Rand villains exist. That's why she wrote them that way.

Paul Krugman = Ellsworth Toohey, to a T. Robert Murdoch = Gail Wynand. The entire Republican leadership = Peter Keating.

James Taggert = ... Zuckerburg?

One of the things that amuses me about Atlas Shrugged is that one of the 'miracle inventions' that the capitalists abandoned was extracting oil from shale. And here we are, just like communicators in Star Trek and cell phones.

And the Babel Fish is right around the corner! As I predicted in 1998, sometime between 2018 and 2023. Yes, even for Japanese into English.

Also, this conception of overpopulation is based on mathematical illiteracy. Malthus based his theory on exponential growth of population. We have exponential growth now in places like Central America and Sub-Saharan Africa. Stopping excess fertility there is an emergency right now.

Ending most sickness and extending life leads to a—probably temporary—linear increase. Linear increases are manageable and there's plenty of time to figure them out.

No one should get a college degree or a newspaper job that doesn't know enough math to explain why.

The notion that all problems are solvable given enough time is another fallacy that should preclude people from being able to spout off on the Internet.

>The notion that all problems are solvable given enough time...

Agreed, that one is very silly.

But what about "given enough tax money"? That's one that we can still cling to, right? RIGHT???

Of course, time is just one of the variables. The other is knowledge. Having more time to gain knowledge is what allows is to solve more problems.

Also, it takes time to grow the capital stock. And we'll need plenty of capital in the future to solve bigger problems.

Much of Central America has a tfr below replacement level.

Isn't curing disease going to just increase our stock of old people, which we already have plenty of already? Great. Who doesn't want to live in a world where half the population is over 60?

Apparently Alex which is why he teaches at an adult learning center rather than you know a university.

I'd say you average student at an Arlington advanced learning center did better on their SATs than a GMU admit so it's certainly not accessibility to brain power he's optimizing.

didn't a million syrians go to germany last year?

At age 85, about half the population has dementia, mostly Alzheimer's. If human lifespan were increased to 150 without solving Alzheimer's, that would approach 100%. At least we know where the jobs will be. All future generations will be Alzheimer's caregivers.

Mark, within the last 2 or 3 years huge strides have been made toward preventing Alzheimer's and dementia and even reversing these diseases. I suspect the numbers of people with Alzheimer's will start dropping within the next 3 - 5 years possibly even sooner, as it apparently has in the UK. I know I'm not looking forward to aging if I lose my ability to think clearly.

What are these "huge strides"? I have seen nothing that even seems like a small stride.

Then you're not paying attention.

It's sad when someone doesn't know how to interpret stories in The Daily Mail.

Perhaps I'm just a pessimist but the history of Alzheimer's drug discovery seems to be high hopes and eventual disappointment.

The aducanumab study is only Phase II, basically a ranging shot. All of the other anti-amyloid monoclonal antibody studies that have made it to Phase III (test of efficacy) have failed. All of them. I'm deeply skeptical that this one will be an exception, and it is completely ludicrous to think that AD is a solved problem at this point.

IIRC that particular study seems promising but there were some pretty severe problems in the study w/r/t brain inflammation that caused the high dose patients to drop out of the study and the addition of a mid-dose cohort. There's still a chance that it works via glial cell activation rather than actively breaking up Abeta plaques, which would be bad, since it's essentially improvement gained only by causing the brain to actively fight itself. The other thing to point out is that at best this is just targeting Abeta, the amyloid hypothesis is not yet proven, and that in the end we still don't understand the root causes of the disease and other similarly related neurodegenerative diseases.

Someday we will find a cure for Malthusianism.

Soylent Green is people!

Mere mood affiliation. More interesting would be as an economist, what do you think is wrong with your link?

The link is pretty dumb in a wide variety of ways:

* Curing disease would not grant eternal life. The Chan-Zuckerburg foundation isn't tackling senescence, only disease. If you never got sick, you'd probably live to about 110 and then drop dead (or die of accident beforehand). Curing disease would also not substantially extend the fertile years of people (most women do not die of disease before they're 45 or so)

* The world of 2100, especially the world of 2100 in which we grant that a goal like "curing all disease because AI" is a pretty different world from the world of 2016, and blithely assuming the same birth rates is wrong.

* In fact, global overpopulation has never been that big a problem, and a relatively mild boost to population caused by curing disease is likely just something we can handle (especially if we haven't doomed ourselves in various ways by 2100), especially if the excess population leads to excess production.

* But, all of the above beside, even if it does create problems for people to live longer on some margins, you're a huge dick if you hope for people to die of preventable disease.

Yes, Alex's response is mood affiliation. If death itself is treated as a disease, then ending disease does mean immortality. Would that necessarily be good? Anyone who thinks it through cannot just simply blindly accept Francis Bacon's New Atlantis without some serious reservations.

Most death is caused by diseases.

Most death is caused by degenerative diseases.

Degenerative diseases are caused by aging.

It is not possible to cure various degenerative diseases without reversing aging. Each specific disease can be prevented by partial reversal of aging (e.g. just rejuvenate the heart to cure heart disease). But general rejuvenation is needed to prevent all death from degenerative diseases.

These are the basics.

Let's say she's right, what would the equilibrium become? Assume options like super cheap space travel and colonizing the moon or Mars in serious numbers is not an option.

If resource competition becomes critical costs will rise, standard of living will fall, the return on saving will become larger. I suspect that would mean the cost of having kids would increase and people would respond with having fewer kids later in life.

In fact, that already happened. From about 1900-2000 we had huge classes of diseases either get cured or become manageable to a chronic or near chronic state. There has been a population explosion but then a drop off in the fertility rate.

Are you confident this is what would happen in Sub Saharan Africa? Because so far the record is definitely that it has not happened.

Has the death rate fallen dramatically in sub-saharan Africa?

Infant mortality yes.

Yes, however until around the mid-00's HIV and other diseases were causing life expectancy overall to fall.By the mid-century it sounds like population will boom but assuming the death rate falls to developed nation levels will fertility continue to be high? Already there's been a small decrease in sub-saharan fertility.

Actually fertility is dropping in most African countries. Even the ones that still have high levels are seeing small drops, which will accelerate

Curing all diseases would never prevent all deaths. Accidents will still happen. Nor will it prevent old age. And obviously these advances wouldn't happen all at once, but gradually, so there would be plenty of time to adapt.

Actually it was Kurt Vonnegut, not Ayn Rand, who anticipated this exact argument back in 1968, in "Welcome To The Monkey House."

Nah. Its somewhere in a greek play you forgot to read in high school, the first recorded instance of it in the western world.

And before that somewhere in China.

Tolkein refers to death as The Gift of Men - Elves, as immortals, simply grow weary of life, and tend to be less bold and ambitious and have far fewer children. Immortality made the Elves stagnant.

Pretty much every sci-fi show out there, or fable from ages past (Hi Gilgamesh!), that talks about immortality is pretty adamant that it's not the blessing that it's thought to be.

Perhaps that's a lot of justification after the fact. I don't want to live forever, but I'm pretty sure I could indefinitely handle living 'just one more day' once I'm 70.

but I’m pretty sure I could indefinitely handle living ‘just one more day’ once I’m 70.

Thos. Sowell (86 and in satisfactory health) has written of the disillusionment and resignation that robs a man of his fear of death. Among the most recent crew of very old among my family and friends, two were ready to shuffle off; one wanted no more than five years, if that; and two did not comment.

Dean Martin in his later life told people that he was just waiting to die. That was a bit of a shock to fans who kept an image of the singer/actor from his earlier, happier times and had some type of affiliation with him.

I had an exceptionally hearty grandmother who was "waiting to die" the last 10 years of her life until she passed away in her mid-90s. My father (a young 72) worked in a nursing home earning grocery money for a bit and he said many patients had depression with bouts of weeping. Decrepitude is not pleasant.

Read Pandora's Star by Peter F. Hamilton for a different perspective on immortality. See also:

I'm already disillusioned, world-weary, and uninterested in having a family and I'm not even 30. I still don't want to wither into a husk of who I was and die on the current time-table.

The "the gift of men" is transparently a coping mechanism. Fiction (and spirituality, and philosophy) are created for humans, by humans, and until recently the certitude of death has been an unalienable constant. We tell ourselves half-truths and platitudes to make that hard fact easier.

It would be sad if by coping we froze ourselves into a kind of value-stasis, literally accepting death because it's all we ever knew.

I find it ironic how libertarians will chide liberals for only reasoning based on what is seen and not what is unseen (Hazlitt, the only lesson in economics), or thinking beyond stage one (Sowell). But libertarians I suppose are entitled to their oversimplified models.

That's not even the beginning of a point

Stage zero

It's not looking at the unseen that's the problem, it's trotting out same, knee-jerk Malthusian theories, peddling the same tired idea that technological progress will inevitably lead to dystopia. For some reason, despite the long history of failed predictions of doom, this sort of thing never seems to get old among lefties.


"Within a year, the World Health Organisation would be embarking on an emergency sterilisation programme. Give it a decade and we’d all be dead from starvation, apart from a handful of straggle-bearded tech billionaires, living in well-stocked bunkers under San Francisco."

Sounds like a leftover from a 'Population Bomb' era Paul Ehrlich essay, for example:

“Most of the people who are going to die in the greatest cataclysm in the history
of man have already been born, by…[1975] some experts feel that food shortages will have escalated the present level of world hunger and starvation into famines of unbelievable

In this case given the author and source, not one that can be pinned on lefties.

Dumb response to something dumb on the web.

The online version of the Daily Telegraph is pretty bad. Their reporting on Brexit is embarassing.

I stopped looking at the Telegraph when they banned reader comments

Most reader comments on the internet are a waste of time at best.

I agree, but this comment is still pretty meta

Isn't the leftists stance on (population-)growth where they overlap with xenophobes, doomsday-evangelicals and other hypocrites? A "humanitarian reason" for killing people. Yes, "killing people" is what they promote if they shun feasible medical advances. You put the sick needlessly to sleep.

In any breeding population of organisms there are genetic failures. When these failures manage to reproduce the gene pool is corrupted and species becomes less viable. This has been happening with humans for several centuries now. One example is vision. Children with poor vision are fitted with eye glasses or contacts and grow up to produce more like themselves. It's inevitable that in percentage terms normal human vision will become less acute. A good sense of smell is no longer necessary for survival so as time passes that sense will deteriorate in the general population.

However, this is not the same as finding cures for diseases. "We’d better hope they don’t succeed. What would it do to the human race if we were granted eternal health, and therefore life?" Who are the "we"? Eternal life is unlikely to be an issue for anyone reading this. Why should we be worried about a future in which we'll have no part?

"Why should we be worried about a future in which we’ll have no part?" oh, you know, children, grandchildren, that sort of thing.i

The children and grandchildren will take care of their own affairs, just as you're doing now. It's doubtful that anything you do today is based on the ideas and opinions of your grandparents, although you do drive on the streets that their contemporaries laid out and maybe ponder the events that led to the Great War, WWII and similar human disasters.

I kind of like those ideas of common law and property rights that George Washington, Ben Franklin, Thomas Jefferson et al. put in place for themselves and their posterity. Too bad they'll be destroyed by avaricious, shortsighted people.

In the case of George Washington, brown people didn't have any property rights and his own extended to other humans.

Eventually, though, the world of Gattaca will come, unless civilization collapses. It really is only a matter of time before humans improve on their genetics through pure engineering.

Yes, Microsoft is working on that. They'll solve cancer in 5 or at most 10 years. After all, DNA is just code. It can be debugged.

Carbon based life is super dumb. We will move to silicon long before bothering to fold proteins for sport. Silicon life also compresses better.

The charge carriers in gallium arsenide move about twice as fast as the charge carriers in silicon. My GaAs warriors will make mincemeat out of your silicon army.

"In the year 2525, if man is still alive..."

"One example is vision. Children with poor vision are fitted with eye glasses or contacts and grow up to produce more like themselves. It’s inevitable that in percentage terms normal human vision will become less acute. "

You sure that's not due to environment? Some researchers have plausibly claimed in recent years that myopia could be mainly caused by kids spending much less time outside in sunlight than past generations did. The sunlight apparently aids eye development or something like that. (I'm not a doctor and I didn't understand the mechanism.)

And there is the role of insulin in eye development.

exposure to sunshine also seems to be factor.

So does looking at the horizon, instead of walls, books, screens, etc.

I have seen those reports too and find them plausible; here's a link:

Both my spouse and I are very nearsighted and have been since early elementary school; neither of us regularly (daily) spent a lot of time outside as kids. Our offspring are a different story: one has minor vision problems but does not need corrective lenses; the other has absolutely perfect vision - zero astigmatism, 20/15 distance vision, "eyes of an eagle" according to the ophthalmologist. Both of them spent 2+ hours per day outdoors in bright sun for several years of their childhoods (competitive athletics), but "eyes of an eagle" did it at an significantly earlier age than the sibling. (And yes, I am quite sure that they are full siblings, and the natural children of my spouse and I.)

It may not even be sunlight. It may be changing how distant you are focusing--changing often between near and far. At least that's what Daniel Lieberman says in his wonderful The Story of the Human Body: Evolution, Health, and Disease.

I spent lots of time outdoors and have severe myopia. I think the causes are unknown and, from what I can tell, strangely un-investigated. A friend who's a scientist and medical doctor thinks it's genetic, and hypothesizes it shouldn't have survived the Ice Age. Or maybe it appeared later. It alters career paths and other life choices so I'm disappointed it wasn't cured before I came along.

The slight loss of genetic fitness is a small price to pay in exchange for the ability to correct and augment fitness within the lifespan of the organism rather than between cycles.

Future me will be more like the Borg from birth. Cybernetic eyes, cybernetic nose, and hardwired wifi and cpus to compensate for my wandering mind.

I'll just take the cybernetic sarcasm and cybernetic snarkiness, if you please.

’m shocked that anyone can write such depraved things in a major newspaper. I


I guess that's just his way of saying he doesn't read the papers much.

Anyone else notice the slight-of-hand she uses to change the conversation?

"What would it do to the human race if we were granted eternal health, and therefore life?"

The Pale Horse beats a path to every man's door, and not just from disease. My grandfather died of chocking. My uncle OD'd. People die from old age all the time. The jump from no disease to immortality is quite a leap in logic.

Yes, there is a seeming misunderstanding at that level in the essay, but I think we can assume that eventually what ages us and kills us will be overcome at some point making lifespans measuring in centuries and millennia possible. In any case, I do think part of the goal of Zuckerberg and Chan is to find cures for aging.

Perhaps, but without that being a stated goal, it's pure speculation at this point. I mean, there's quite the difference between treating diseases and dealing with organ failure.

I thought the op-ed was pretty boring since the writer is an arts/society columnist. I also don't care too much about what Martha Stewart thinks about aging and curing disease.

Much more interesting along a somewhat similar vein was Ezekiel Emmanuel's op-ed two years ago in The Atlantic, "Why I Hope to Die at 75". He wrote that he will refuse to take drugs or have treatments to extend his life after 75 since the quality of life wouldn't justify it. As typical for many doctors (and economists), he is just so *sure* about everything: "They are certain that as I get closer to 75, I will push the desired age back to 80, then 85, maybe even 90. I am sure of my position."

So Emmanuel is just positive that at 75 he will refuse to take any treatment available in 2032. That's because (like Cowen) he is just so *sure* that medical technology in 2032 will look about like it does in 2016. It is all so obvious! (grin)

"I thought the op-ed was pretty boring since the writer is an arts/society columnist. I also don’t care too much about what Martha Stewart thinks about aging and curing disease."

You don't specify your own field of expertise. Perhaps your opinion of what Martha Stewart thinks isn't very meaningful either, except to yourself.

Why is an expertise necessary? I'm just saying the writer, like the lovely Martha Stewart, doesn't know enough about the issues in the column to make it interesting to me. Emmanuel's column in The Atlantic was interesting since from a doctor's perspective in part because it showed that he is completely unfamiliar with any detail of anti-aging research, stem cell therapy, gene therapy, cancer treatments, etc of the past 15 years.

How do you know what Martha Stewart knows? Or Jemima Lewis? She is, after all, a journalist, so she probably doesn't know much about anything in particular but, at the same time, she could know a lot about something. And still be wrong.

Do tell? Apparently it is common among doctors to avail themselves of less treatments than non-doctors in their declining years. Are we really extending the range of quality of life or just extending the number of years spent in decrepitude?

Metastatic cancer appears to involve a systemic breakdown much deeper than can be treated by poisoning, irradiating or cutting.

Wan't he trying to help shape the philosophical terrain on which the coming debate over late-in-life medical care will occur? Encouraging each of us individually to "be our own death panel" if you will.

That is why the article was somewhat interesting but in his case unrealistic. He said he will not take any cancer treatment after the year 2032. If he takes the coming anti-aging pills in the 2020s, he might be what we would consider a current healthy 67 year old when he is 75 in 2032, maybe healthier. So he is really saying that he won't take a cancer treatment when he has the body and mind of a 67 year old, even if it will cure him almost instantly in 2032.

2034- doctor: "Oh, it looks like you have pancreatic cancer Zeke. We'll have it gone within 24 hours..."

Emmanuel: "Sorry doc, I have to politely decline. You see, I wrote in The Atlantic when I was 57 back in 2014 that I would refuse all forms of cancer treatments after 2032, and I have to stick to that."

Teenagers often can't imagine living long enough to become middle-aged. By middle age we realize how ignorant we were. Emmanuel's piece seemed to be missing that self-awareness.
At the time it appeared, I mostly noticed its implications re Medicare/ACA.

Yes, it's fairly creepy for a major designer of a national health-care insurance scheme to give a sense that he doesn't think life matters much after 75. Although he said "oh, this is my personal decision", he seemed pretty cavalier about applying the idea of worthlessness-after-75 to more persons than just himself.

"Teenagers often can’t imagine living long enough to become middle-aged. By middle age we realize how ignorant we were."

I remember when I was growing up, I thought about the year 2000. I would be over 40 years old! Considering my father wasn't even that old, it seemed ancient to me.

He said he will not take any cancer treatment after the year 2032.

If he had metastatic cancer I could see that. With some odd exceptions, that's a death sentence right there, if you're 75 or if you're 45.

Living longer and not getting sick would have a big boost on productivity. Remember, if you eradicate diseases you are also eradicating disease for people of prime working age as well.

Oh yeah, and the Medicare bill should drop by quite a bit-that would likely offset most if not all of the increase in Social Security expenditure. Oh yeah, and if there were no diseases to treat - you might have a lot fewer people in the healthcare industry and a lot more in perhaps a more productive sector of the economy.

Even if medicare went to zero, the social security costs would approach infinity since a tiny sliver of the population would be sustaining people living perhaps billions of years. But the fairest interpretation of Zuckerberg's claim is that it would be expensive, he promised to allow people liver longer, not do it cost effectively; I'm sure he wants it to costs millions per year per person.

This is mainstream Green thinking. Read Bill McKibben. Read John Holdren (The stuff he wrote with Paul Ehrlich before he became a political figure.) Humans are a cancer on the face of the earth.

Seriously, these nuts are out to repeal the Industrial Revolution and, at least in the West, they are largely winning.

We should actually kill people now who live to be too old. Also kill or forcibly remove people from overpopulated areas of the world.

Actually, she's talking about an ecological concept (although I think she's being extreme) called carrying capacity. It is the ability of an environment to sustain a certain number of organisms. Go beyond an environment's carrying capacity and all the organisms die. In simple terms, place too many fish in a fish tank, and all will die. Theoretically, we could as a species, overpopulate the earth to the point that it can no longer sustain us. There is no way to get rid of waste and pollution overtakes the environment; wars break out because of food and water shortage etc, etc. I used to give a lecture that was something like this article when I taught an environmental science class. I used it as a sort of "wake-up call" to take some of these issues more seriously.

As several people point out, she switched the conversation from curing disease, to eternal life, which is not the same thing. Yes advances in biology point to the extension of life by altering telomeres (which are part of the mechanism responsible for limiting cellular division). But at this point in time, all of that is theoretical (as far as I am aware, this is not my area of expertise).

I think there are many reasons why this is an extremist view, but one that needs to be discussed, and thought about. What about cloning? Robotics? Today we have laws and agreements about what should and shouldn't be done in these fields (which police force recently used a robot to deliver a bomb killing a mass murderer, I've forgotten?), but what about tomorrow, 100, or even 500 years from now? What decisions are we making today, and how do we want to be remembered?

She is discussing carrying capacity, but it doesn't logically follow that wars and the like will immediately follow. I mean, Paul Ehrlich made the exact same argument in the 70's, and Malthus before that, and the exact opposite has happened: as the population grew, the planet (thanks to technological progress) has enabled greater resource efficiency, not less. The world is a far more peaceful place with 7 billion people living in it than the 3 billion in Ehrlich's time (and the several hundred million of Malthus).

Very true, and thank God for that, but why do you think that the experience of the past 40 years definitively answers the question? If we could get through one generation at constant population and per-capita resource consumption without major ecological breakdown, then I'd say we had good reason to think that human civilization hasn't exceeded the Earth's carrying capacity. It seems way too early to declare victory now.

Outside the economists tendencby to have near infinite faith in technological advancement, I don't see a reason for Alex to object to this piece.

Much better for an arbitrary God or nature to cull the herd than make it a human decision.

If you want everlasting life, become a Christian. If you want to cure disease, become a doctor. If you want to peddle nonsense, become an economist.

The encouraging thing about this is that this is Jemima Lewis. So she's being an idiot, not evil.

I’m shocked that anyone can write such depraved things in a major newspaper.

I'm shocked that anyone can denounce an article as depraved without bothering to make one single argument against said article.

There are indeed Ayn Rand villains in real life. Of course they are the psychopaths she considered to be heroes.

Well, Neoliberal economics has seen a sharp upturn in the number of suicides and overdoes over the past decade, so we can assume that capitalism with the gloves off will take care of the excess people. They'll just leave "voluntarily."

Neoliberal economics has seen a sharp upturn in the number of suicides and overdoes over the past decade,

Maybe you ought to sober up before posting again.

"Neo-liberal" is not a legitimate term. It is made up non-sense and the people who use this term are usually talking gibberish as well.

Mankind has always been mankind's biggest enemy. As the human population increases, the standard of living will fall. Some of the ways that this happens aren't included in economic indices, such as access to outdoor spaces uncrowded by other humans. In Africa, the big animals will die or be secluded to human-managed amusement parks.

You don't have to be anti-human to hope the global population hits some kind of equilibrium, or to believe that the average human life would be happier if population density were less than what it is now. You just have to live in California.

Apparently Alex thinks that more people = better. Why I don't know. Somehow it would be desirable to have another 7 billion of us. Disease isn't really a problem for 1st world people who aren't old, so perhaps real humanitarians might be better off focusing on making everyone live in a 1st world sort of country rather than simply making more people. You could argue that disease keeps poor countries from becoming rich but I doubt that that anyone would say that disease is the primary reason.

"As the human population increases, the standard of living will fall."

On what date will that occur? What will the population be? The world-wide standard of living has never been higher than it is right now. An ordinary American cab driver is in many ways richer than Caesar Augustus. There are plenty of places in North America and elsewhere that you could be dropped off and never see another human before you succumbed to panic, exhaustion, hunger and thirst.

On Yom Kippur, one of the readings for the Memorial service asks the question of whether we would accept a bargain that would end all death in exchange for ending all new lives.

Deathism in a major UK publication?
Pretty much an everyday occurrence.
The problem is the so called "liberal" - or whatever they call themselves in Britain, assorted leftist anyway - establishment sees seniors as an enemy - and of course they do - their politics are populist ones. And populists HATE everyone over the age of 30 - why? Well because people at those ages very rarely vote by feeling.

So someone asked here if living in a world filled with old people is something I'd like to live in. The answer? If they're not sick - and frailty (sarcopenia, osteoporosis, etc) as well as senility (dementias) are in fact diseased states - yes. I would very much love to live in a world mostly populated by old wise people with preserved fitness and sharpness of mind.

Back to the article in question though, how can someone be moronic enough to say the world will overpopulate itself in a single month... how can I even react seriously to this stupidity? This lady does know how babies work, right? At her age one would hope.

It always brings a smile to my face when self proclaimed progressives prove without a doubt they are in fact the biggest Luddites the world has produced to date though. She should stick to the fashion columns she seems to be writing otherwise. At least she'd be making less of a clown out of herself.

PS. Can the people talking about evolution in the comments consider for a moment whether they actually have enough knowledge on the topic to argue? Hint : You do not.

Jemima? As in Aunt Jemima, icon of Yankee pandering to Southern tastes? What the hell is she doing writing for The Telegraph?

I trust that people who think ageing and death are such a good idea don't seek help when they get sick and consider that their time has come, and just lie down and die. After all, if they see a doctor they will most likely be put through a lot of stress and a round of disgusting intrusive examinations and at the end of it all, still be told that they are going to die eventually. Why wait?

But for those readers who think differently, the idea of a population explosion seems more and more doubtful. Already birth rates are falling as people find that there are better things to do. And this blog suggests that in the not too distant future a lack of babies may be a far more serious problem.

It is also worth remembering that anyone who wants people to die also wants babies to die. This is because babies become people.

Peter Diamandis makes a few points in his Virtual Reality will replace sex article at the Singularity Hub. Take a look at one claim in the middle of the article:

"Given these trends, unless something happens to boost Japan's birth rate, its population will shrink by a third between now and 2060. In other words, there is serious concern of significant UNDERpopulation."

This is just as bad as the population explosion argument in 1970s by Ehrlich , Holdren and friends. It takes a current trend and simplistically extrapolates out 30 or 40 years assuming nothing changes. In this cases, Diamandis assumes no change in the human body, age reversal and longevity. His simplistic comment assumes Japanese 85 year olds will look and feel in 2060 just like they do today.

I have railed against this in the Japan field for almost 15 years and of course no one listens to my argument that by 2060 there will be significant changes in human health, longevity and robotics/weak A.I. (maybe not strong A.I. then). But it boosts Japan (and now China) researchers' grant money to always, always warn of a population crisis 30 to 40 years out. Chicken Little sells. (c.f. The Great Stagnation)

The belief that the human lifespan can be dramatically extended is tied to a faith in science applied to technology. Oddly this doesn't seem to apply to some other aspects of life. For instance, the failure to respond as requested to the orders of law enforcement agents invites the use of 15th century technology that involves using a rapid chemical reaction to drive metal pellets through the body of the uncooperative.

This Japan population-out-to-2060 silliness isn't related to dramatic life extension but instead to a significant extension in health span. If you sample the leading scientists in this area, the average extension of healthy life is 7 years and starts soon. There is nothing faith based about what has been going on in labs around the world. The basic idea is that a healthy 65 year old would turn into a healthy 58 year old again but not instantly. And a healthy 82 year old would be closer to a healthy 75 year old. Lifespans would increase to 110 but healthy until the final days or weeks where people still die of something before 110.

But why do you think Tyler never mentions what I do here including the NY Times' front page article this spring on dogs being fed metformin to extend health span or the Stanford stemm cell study that had a 70 year old leave his wheelchair? Cowen will report on a computer beating the best Go player but no medical breakthroughs. Now why would that be?

This is just like the Japan field where researchers with no science background will tell us what Japanese and Japan looks like in the year 2050 or now 2060 - it keeps getting pushed back. A 12 year old would not just mindlessly extrapolate like this out to 2060 but the Ivy League boys and girls do. Talk about sheep think.

Tyler doesn't medical breakthroughs because the Trilateral Commission, the Bilderbergs, the Council on Foreign Relations, and of course the Illuminati have agreed to grant Tyler eternal youth on another planet in exchange for 75 years service on this planet helping to keep the masses in the dark about technological possibilities for eternal youth.

Naturally I'm jealous and so is Alex.

Obviously -- it was a rhetorical question.

Hey Randall, good to see you here. How's your peak oil crisis coming? Any year now, right? (grin)


Whoops. Forgot to say you have a great FuturePundit blog! (aside from the peak oil thing)

"Within a month of Mr Zuckerberg curing mortality, the first wars over water resources would break out."

I guess she hasn't gotten out enough to notice that the earth is more than 70 percent covered with water. And I wonder from what Twilight Zone she pulled the "within a month" from? If we stopped all people from dying from disease, within a month we'd be at the same population we'll be in 2-3 months with people dying from disease.

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