There is a buzz in the air at the University of Texas at Arlington among certain groups of people and majors, especially those within the philosophy department, about last night’s episode of Morgan Freeman’s Through the Wormhole on the Science Channel entitled, “Can We Live Forever?” The philosophy majors enjoy discussing, debating, and searching for answers to the scientific questions and hypotheses for the various philosophical aspects (i.e. moral, spiritual, epistemological, etc.). The episode began with this simple question and focused on a few experts and scientists that have and are devoting their lives to solving the problem of aging. In the first couple of interviews and demonstrations of the work being done in trying to solve this problem the scientists are focused on finding the cellular structures responsible for aging (certain DNA strands, mitochondria, and waste buildup in the body). One scientist has extended the life of yeast and then mice by ten times their normal life expectancy. However, the focus on living animals, and eventually humans, is slowing the aging process because, like it was stated in the program, we wouldn’t want to live most of a thousand years with a fragile body of a seventy or eighty year old person, but rather with a body equivalent to a twenty-five year old’s body for most of those thousand years.
However, what stems from this proposal and hypothesis are the moral, spiritual, and philosophical questions and implications that would come with a race of humans that live for a thousand years. It was mentioned in the show that with a species like that could technologically grow at a much faster rate than now, and that the population would grow and disperse across the entire universe. With a species that lives a thousand years, much with a body of a twenty-five year old person, the implication would be that people would have many more kids than the two and a half average now. Therefore, the technology would have to keep up with the needs and demands of the growing population, while also assuming that the population would have a greater contribution to technology because of their longevity. Where does a race such as this leave morality, spirituality, and philosophy?
Morgan Freeman quoted that Einstein once said, “Science without religion is lame. Religion without science is blind.” One could interpret this as being that science without morals and spiritual guidance has no real purpose, and since science is the study of everything, it’s purpose is to help explain how the universe works, and even created. Religion says that God, a god, or gods created everything in the universe. However, religion without scientific study does not explain the “How” questions that science wants to know. In Christianity, it is said in the bible that God spoke and created the heavens and the earth. Yet, the question remains: How? Science holds the answers that religion doesn’t answer.
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