Wednesday, March 21, 2007

A Reason To Live "Forever"*

I found an interesting article about what important ideas scientists want to tell us. Sir Martin Rees said this:

"I'd like to widen people's awareness of the tremendous timespan lying ahead — for our planet, and for life itself. Most educated people are aware that we're the outcome of nearly 4bn years of Darwinian selection, but many tend to think that humans are somehow the culmination. Our sun, however, is less than halfway through its lifespan. It will not be humans who watch the sun's demise, 6bn years from now. Any creatures that exist then will be as different from us as we are from bacteria or amoebae.

Our concern with Earth's future is, understandably, focused upon the next 100 years at most — the lifetimes of our children and grandchildren. But awareness of this longer time horizon, and the immense potential that human actions this century could foreclose, offers an extra motive for proper stewardship of this planet."

I hope scientists will learn about our biology and information processing fast enough to significantly extend our lives. Although I want to believe otherwise, all evidences so far tell me that I only have one life to live, so I better live a good, long one before this consciousness ceases to exist at my death. There is so much to explore and learn, so much potential in directly evolving our body and mind, and so little time to do it. But hey, if we succeed, maybe we will become something like Q!

Another two quotes that I think more people should know about are:

"I wish everyone understood Darwinian natural selection, and its enormous explanatory power, as the only known explanation of "design". The world is divided into things that look designed, like birds and airliners; and things that do not look designed, like rocks and mountains. Things that look designed are divided into those that really are designed, like submarines and tin openers; and those that are not really designed, like sharks and hedgehogs. Darwinian natural selection, although it involves no true design at all, can produce an uncanny simulacrum of true design. An engineer would be hard put to decide whether a bird or a plane was the more aerodynamically elegant." -- Richard Dawkins

"Science is not a catalogue of facts, but a search for new mysteries. Science increases the store of wonder and mystery in the world; it does not erode it. The myth that science gets rid of mysteries, started by the Romantic poets, was well nailed by Albert Einstein —whose thought experiments about relativity are far more otherworldly, elusive, thrilling, and baffling than anything dreamt up by poets.

Isaac Newton showed us the mysteries of deep space, Charles Darwin showed us the mysteries of deep time, and Francis Crick and James D Watson showed us the mysteries of deep encoding. To get rid of those insights would be to reduce the world's stock of awe." --
Matt Ridley
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*"Forever" because it's not really forever as in infinite years, just a few centuries to a few billion years :-)

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