[extropy-chat] Financial Times on transhumanism:Themostdangerousidea on earth?

The Avantguardian avantguardian2020 at yahoo.com
Tue May 31 07:10:00 UTC 2005

--- Brett Paatsch <bpaatsch at bigpond.net.au> wrote:

> To your knowledge, is there a single database of
> available
> vaccines anywhere? 
Unfortunately no. Apparently the WHO wants one built
but to date I could not find one. A WHO document
however gives one a pretty good idea.
Excerpt from

" . . . most of the vaccines currently in use have
been created since the 1930’s (see
figure 4). Today, over 20 major human diseases caused
by bacteria or viruses can be prevented by the use of
vaccines. In the United States, vaccines for such
diseases as diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis (whooping
measles, mumps, rubella (German measles), and
poliomyelitis have been available and widely used in
for many years. Recently, new vaccines, such as those
for hepatitis B virus and Haemophilus infiuenzae type
(Hib), have been developed, licensed, and recommended
for universal use in children.
In addition, other licensed vaccines, such as those
for influenza and pneumococcal pneumonia, are used
in populations at special risk (some of which, such as
the elderly, are numerically quite large). Licensed
vaccines for other special uses, such as the military
or travelers, include those for adenovirus, plague,
yellow fever, salmonella, and Japanese encephalitis."

> Hmm, what about heart disease and stroke?
> Degenerative
> brain diseases like alzheimers and parkinsons? 
> Because
> cancers are mutated human cells, vaccines would be 
> problematic in many cases wouldn't they, in that,
> the vaccine
> would be homing in on antigens that might occur
> naturally in
> the human body? 

Yes, very true. Those particular diseases do not
easily lend themselves to a vaccination strategy. But
a combination of good old fashioned surgery and
cutting edge therapeutic cloning will do wonders for
many cancers as would stem cell assisted immune
reconstitution after radiation and chemotherapy.

> I wasn't aware of that from Australia. What IS the
> Bush flu vaccine debacle to which you refer?

Well I am not sure of all the details but this last
winter the USA had a flu vaccine shortage that got
hyped up into a near panic by scare-mongering media
sources. Bush's leadership in this instance of crisis
essentially consisted of him warning Americans against
buying flu vaccines from Canada since the socially
funded vaccines "were not approved by the FDA". This
was despite the fact that Canada had plenty of the
vaccine and it was cheaper there. Moreover the
Canadian vaccine is made by the same processes as the
American stuff. Essentially he was kissing up to big
American Pharm by somehow insinuating Canada had
inferior vaccine like a bunch of backwater hicks or

> I'm still sceptical, Eugen often champions this
> area, but
> I don't think I can put my hand on a reliable peer
> reviewed
> case of a human being surviving (essentially intack
> brainwise)
> after 30 minutes at the bottom of a frozen lake. Can
> you? 

Well that is difficult because for me to say they were
brought back from death was actually word-play on my
part. What used to be classified as death (cessation
of heartbeat and breathing) is no longer so
classified. The clinical definition of death is now
rather complicated. Not having a heart beat is now
just a "condition" called cardiac arrest. Legal
clinical death now requires independant determination
of death based upon lack of neurological activity as
diagnosed by 2 different physicians. 

See http://www.factbites.com/topics/Clinical-death
for lots of links discussing the topics.

I doubt that the Guiness Book of World Records counts
as "peer reviewed" however they do have a reputation
for accuracy. Reference Jan Egil Refsdahl of Norway
who was brought back to life (he never actually died)
after 4 hours of cardiac arrest when he fell overboard
into icy seas on Dec. 7, 1987. His body temp. was only
75 degrees F (24 degrees C) when they rescued him.

> > There would be some unusual circumstances
> >> where that could indeed be true but they are
> unusual
> >> circumstances of what is still 'heroic' medicine.
> > 
> > Nah, its pretty routine actually. One of the post
> docs
> > in my lab (an infectious disease specialist) has
> > brought back a dozen or so himself during his
> > residency. I mean you could still think of it as
> > "heroic" but it happens several times a day in
> most
> > big hospitals.  
> Hmm. Its not clear to me what infectious diseases
> has
> to do with this. 

Nothing actually. I just threw it in to demonstrate
that if a specialist in some completely unrelated
field has, during his training period, brought back
dozens of people, it must be routine to the likes of
an emergency medicine specialist.

> Btw: when you say your lab, do you mean the lab in
> which you work or do you head up a lab? I would 
> have thought the former rather than the latter. 

Yes. I am still just a graduate student although that
does not prevent my colleagues from taking me

> >> There is plenty of human condition yet to
> improved
> >> upon
> >> and we have very much work still to do. 

I absolutely agree. I just wanted to defend the
biomedical community from allegations that we have
been "sitting on our laurels since penicillin".


The Avantguardian 
Stuart LaForge
alt email: stuart"AT"ucla.edu

"The surest sign of intelligent life in the universe is that they haven't attempted to contact us." 
-Bill Watterson

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