Category Archives: Culture of death

Galileo 2.0: Here Comes Another Apology

During his homily this Easter, Pope Benedict argued that medical science, in trying to defeat death, is leading humanity toward likely condemnation. It’s a position at odds with the value of life, one that the Church will likely revise years from now, replaying the institution’s embarrassment over censoring Galileo.

“Let us reflect for a moment,” Pope Benedict urged, “what would it really be like if we were to succeed, perhaps not in excluding death totally, but in postponing it indefinitely, in reaching an age of several hundred years?” This is a big question, to be sure, but the Pope assumes the answer is obvious. “Humanity would become extraordinarily old,” he said, “there would be no more room for youth. Capacity for innovation would die, and endless life would be no paradise, if anything a condemnation.”

If scientists are successful in finding techniques to rebuild cartilage, repair organs, and cure cancer, people will indeed be living longer — but they will also be healthier, more energetic and youthful. Health-extension, when it happens, will allow people to live longer, better.

Consider that 60-year-olds today are not in the same shape as their counterparts were in the 1800s or 1900s. As humans discovered how to take better care of themselves, through improved nutrition, the use of antibiotics and other techniques, “chronological age” became less synonymous with “biological age.” That is, many of today’s 60-year-olds act and feel much younger than one might expect.

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Read more here.

I’m at the Alcor life extension conference today

So far the morning has been interesting, learning about how cryopreservation works. One thing that strikes me, however, is how much time we are spending talking about death at this life extension conference. I suppose that it is natural given that the conference is organized by a company whose purpose is to freeze a legally dead person until cures to disease as well as a way to bring people back from their “cryo-sleep” is found.

Latest idea from Brazil: Ban Death

I’m no fan of death, but a plan by a Brazilian mayor to fine people’s relatives when they die “too early” seems a little extreme. Would a stiff fine and jail time for Mom incentivize people to work out, eat right, and stop risky behaviors? hmmm….

According to this article “Gym memberships have reportedly shot up since the mayor announced his plans, and more people are visiting doctors.”

The universe within

If you haven’t heard about it yet, this may shock you…

There’s an exhibition in San Francisco displaying real dead human bodies, preserved through a process called plastination. It’s billed as an educational show, but it seems more like a radical art show to me. The human bodies are from China and are placed in different positions. For instance, one of the bodies was completely skinned and is displayed holding a hanger with his entire skin draped over it.

When I asked for information about who these people are and if they really consented to be in this show, no one at the exhibit had any information. So then I sent them a press request (I was thinking about writing about it for my column at TechNewsWorld) and no one has gotten back to me. Seems a bit strange. If anyone has more information about this, I’d love to hear it.

PETA and the culture of death

Two employees of PETA, aka “People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals” were recently charged with 31 felony counts of animal cruelty after authorities found them dumping the dead bodies of 18 animals they had just picked up from a North Carolina animal shelter into a dumpster. This news might be shocking if your idea of ethical treatment includes fighting for life, but it appears that PETA is soaked in a disturbing culture of death.

That is, PETA appears to think that if the animals cannot have the life that they think they should have, then it is ok to kill them. Debra Saunders from the SF Chronicle has a good piece outlining how often PETA has killed animals in the name of “helping” them.