[extropy-chat] Dr. Sherwin Nuland on C-Span

Jef Allbright jef at jefallbright.net
Sat Oct 8 18:27:05 UTC 2005

On 10/8/05, starman2100 at cableone.net <starman2100 at cableone.net> wrote:
> Hello everyone,

Hi John, haven't seen you for quite a while. Welcome back!

I watched Dr. Sherwin Nuland (considered one of the three finest M.D.
> authors in
> the west) on C-Span and the subject of life extension came up in the
> interview.
> He felt "compressed morbidity" or the reduction & management of
> age-related
> breakdown until the very end of life was what we should be aiming for, and
> not
> life-extension (anything beyond 120 years in his view).
> Nuland said he had recently spoken with Aubrey de Grey and went on about
> de
> Grey's plans for greatly extending lifespan (which he said were somewhat
> vague
> and not fully worked out yet) with a tone that was surprisingly almost
> friendly
> or at least neutral.

The recent interaction between Nuland and Aubrey has been an interesting
example of competition at one level providing cooperative advantage at a
higher level.

The doctor calmly stated he disagreed with de Grey's goal
> of a human lifespan around 5-10,000 years. lol I wondered why de Grey had
> the
> arbitrary figure of 10,000 years as his finishing line. Why not 100,000
> years?

Considered calculations of the "hazard function" indicate death by accident
is likely within about 7500 years (not considering personal backups.)

> I found it a poignant moment when a 75 year-old man and retired teacher
> called in
> and said he had a fear of death & oblivion which was almost constantly on
> his
> mind. Nuland said this man's fear was based in biology and evolution but
> that
> the problem seemed beyond just that single issue and instead obsessive in
> nature,
> so the advice given was that the man seek therapy and the assistance of a
> good
> support group to help him come to terms with his future demise.
We certainly do carry a biologically evolved fear of dissolution of self
which we would do well to come to terms with, but we can do much better than
passively accepting the current limits to our goals and dreams.

- Jef
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