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Emma Heikkinen

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Is is ethical to try to lengthen the human lifespan?

My concerns about the ethics of trying to lengthen the human lifespan are partly related to overpopulation, poverty and famine and also the demographic changes it would cause. We've just hit 7 billion people on this planet and continue to reproduce.

My other aspect on the ethical side of this is that isn't is a bit selfish to try to live longer and longer? Are the medical and genetic engineering projects to lengthen the human lifespan the modern search for Philosopher's stone and the ultimate sign of our fear of death?

Please share your thoughts and knowledge and ask more questions!


Closing Statement from Emma Heikkinen

Thanks for everyone for contributing to this conversation! I could not be happier that my first TED conversation got replies and actually gave me some very fruitful thoughts also. Happy holidays everyone!

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    Dec 18 2011: Krisztian, I wouldn't regard death and aging as problems, do you?

    I will tell you something Krisztian, have you ever thought about why a human is 'doomed' to die in the end? Neither have I, because I wouldn't know unless I died too, hoping that our minds aren't completely destroyed by that time. I have read the Upanishads, Vedas, hardly even touched the Bible because it isn't really relevant in this issue, and I came across a stunning realization. We try to avoid death due to a fear of the unknown, due to the fear that we may be forgotten, more importantly due to the fear that all our materialistic possessions and our bodies would just disintegrate. What an extremely human view of death that is. No, I've realized that with all of our science and medicine what we've done is create more problems for ourselves rather than solve anything. No, I've realized that death is our way to living forever. This may sound like it's straight from out of a movie, but I strongly believe in this fact. I do not fear death. You can take it from a scientific point of view. Have you ever heard of the Law of Conservation of Energy and Mass? I don't think so, but I'll tell you what it is...The law states that energy and mass can neither be created nor destroyed only transformed from one form to another. That is what is happening to us. Our mass is a manifestation of pure energy, when we die, this mass will transform into energy and will ascend. Don't think I'm some sort of religious fanatic, but this is what I strongly believe. In the end Krisztian, I can't really argue with you and you can't really argue with me, because both of us have no idea what death is at this point.......unless your a zombie of course.....
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      Dec 18 2011: i do.


      it is irrelevant why we fear death for this conversation. having stupid reasons is not immoral. in fact, most of our reasons are silly to some degree. stealing someone's wallet with or without a good reason is immoral. the act itself is immoral. not using a cellphone to avoid brain cancer is probably silly, but not immoral, since the act itself is not immoral.

      moral questions always aimed to change the behavior of other people. if something is immoral, we go out to great distances to stop that behavior. that is why it is very important to clearly define what is false, silly, questionable or immoral. we don't have to persecute false and silly things. it is enough to just argue them. but we do want to fight immorality with an iron fist. if overpopulation is an immoral act, it has serious consequences to our personal rights.

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