Can Humans Live to 1,000? Some Experts Claim We Can — Others Want to Prevent That

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August 13, 2007

Can Humans Live to 1,000? Some Experts Claim We Can — Others Want to Prevent That

Etenal_youth_2 Cambridge University geneticist Aubrey de Grey has famously stated, “The first person to live to be 1,000 years old is certainly alive today …whether they realize it or not, barring accidents and suicide, most people now 40 years or younger can expect to live for centuries.”

Perhaps de Gray is way too optimistic, but plenty of others have joined the search for a virtual fountain of youth. In fact, a growing number of scientists, doctors, geneticists and nanotech experts—many with impeccable academic credentials—are insisting that there is no hard reason why ageing can’t be dramatically slowed or prevented altogether. Not only is it theoretically possible, they argue, but a scientifically achievable goal that can and should be reached in time to benefit those alive today.

“I am working on immortality,” says Michael Rose, a professor of evolutionary biology at the University of California, Irvine, who has achieved breakthrough results extending the lives of fruit flies. “Twenty years ago the idea of postponing aging, let alone reversing it, was weird and off-the-wall. Today there are good reasons for thinking it is fundamentally possible.”

Even the US government finds the field sufficiently promising to fund some of the research. Federal funding for “the biology of ageing”, excluding work on ageing-specific diseases like heart failure and cancer – has been running at about $2.4 billion a year, according to the National Institute of Ageing, part of the National Institutes of Health.

So far, the most intriguing results have been spawned by the genetics labs of bigger universities, where anti-ageing scientists have found ways to extend live spans of a range of organisms—including mammals. But genetic research is not the only field that may hold the key to eternity.

“There are many, many different components of ageing and we are chipping away at all of them,” said Robert Freitas at the Institute for Molecular Manufacturing, a non-profit, nanotech group in Palo Alto, California. “It will take time and, if you put it in terms of the big developments of modern technology, say the telephone, we are still about 10 years off from Alexander Graham Bell shouting to his assistant through that first device. Still, in the near future, say the next two to four decades, the disease of ageing will be cured.”

But not everyone thinks ageing can or should be cured. Some say that humans weren’t meant to live forever, regardless of whether or not we actually can.

“I just don't think [immortality] is possible,” says Sherwin Nuland, a professor of surgery at the Yale School of Medicine. “Aubrey and the others who talk of greatly extending lifespan are oversimplifying the science and just don't understand the magnitude of the task. His plan will not succeed. Were it to do so, it would undermine what it means to be human.”

It’s interesting that Nuland first says he doesn’t think it will work but then adds that if it does, it will undermine humanity. So, which is it? Is it impossible, or are the skeptics just hoping it is?

After all, we already have overpopulation, global warming, limited resources and other issues to deal with, so why compound the problem by adding immortality into the mix.

But anti-ageing enthusiasts argue that as our perspectives change and science and technology advance exponentially, new solutions will emerge. Space colonization, for example, along with dramatically improved resource management, could resolve the concerns associated with long life. They reason that if the Universe goes on seemingly forever—much of it presumably unused—why not populate it?

However, anti-ageing crusaders are coming up against an increasingly influential alliance of bioconservatives who want to restrict research seeking to “unnaturally” prolong life. Some of these individuals were influential in persuading President Bush in 2001 to restrict federal funding for embryonic stem cell research. They oppose the idea of life extension and anti-ageing research on ethical, moral and ecological grounds.

Leon Kass, the former head of Bush's Council on Bioethics, insists that “the finitude of human life is a blessing for every human individual”. Bioethicist Daniel Callahan of the Garrison, New York-based Hastings Centre, agrees: “There is no known social good coming from the conquest of death.”

Maybe they’re right, but then why do we as humans strive so hard to prolong our lives in the first place? Maybe growing old, getting sick and dying is just a natural, inevitable part of the circle of life, and we may as well accept it.

"But it's not inevitable, that's the point," de Grey says. "At the moment, we're stuck with this awful fatalism that we're all going to get old and sick and die painful deaths. There are a 100,000 people dying each day from age-related diseases. We can stop this carnage. It's simply a matter of deciding that's what we should be doing."

One wonders what Methuselah would say about all this.

Posted by Rebecca Sato


perhaps these conservatives are looking at this all wrong looking back at all the great minds we have lost over the last hundred years and consider this what if they still lived who knows what new and interesting things they would have developed what new cures what questions could we answer if we only had more time to consider them

perhaps these conservatives are looking at this all wrong looking back at all the great minds we have lost over the last hundred years and consider this what if they still lived who knows what new and interesting things they would have developed what new cures what questions could we answer if we only had more time to consider them

Excellent comment Joey. And beyond that, quite frankly if I want to live forever and figure out how to, too frigin bad for those of you it scares.... because if we don't figure out how to kill ourselves off as a species, sooner or later we will figure out how to live forever.... it's just "Time" for pete's sake!


And by the way.... If ever given the choice... I'm not ready to die. Too much stuff on my mind.


I will conserve all my energy and resources till the day comes when "death" is defeated - which, I believe, is the main reason for so many religions in the world.

To outlive your enemy(ies)... How sweet it sounds...

Jesus said "Let the dead bury their dead. I have come so that people may have life and have it more abundantly." This was the reason Jesus gave for his mission on Earth. He even rose up Lazarus to prove the point. Then resurrected himself, after being publicly executed. Death is not real - unless you believe in it. I personally know an Indian Avatar named Babaji, who is called the deathless saint. He looks to be in his late twenties and taught me for a month in person. What I learned saved my life later when I would have drowned. I have always felt I shall live forever - and not just in Spirit. Consequently I look to be decades less than my chronology. I look and feel vital and healthy and have overcome cancer and silicone disease, even though doctors told me I was just going to get sicker until I died. Fortunately I did not believe them. I healed myself naturally – no drugs or medications. Drugs are poisons that burden the liver. I know the way to health and longevity. I have written The Silicone Survivors Handbook for women with breast implants so they can do The Silicone Detox Program and get well. My website is Thank you, Dr Mercola for giving us the truth about conventional medicine and such interesting news regarding longevity. Love, Diana Leighland

Wow,I find this topic very interesting because it hits to the heart of the human condition. Many people may not know that the Biblical records in the book of Genesis explain that when our Creator first made mankind and the whole world and universe, everything was perfect and people were made to live forever in a perfect, beautiful world. God gave them total freedom to do whatever they wanted to do. there was only one rule. God warned the first man and woman about a certain tree that they must not eat from or they would die. We all are familiar with this story. We know what happened, of course. The Woman was tricked by that evil Spiritual being, Satan into doubting God's warning and doubting God's goodness. She and the man ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and the rest is history.
It's interesting that people think we may be able to live to be 1000 years old. Did you know that the biblical record says that before the great flood of Noah, people did live to be almost 1000 years old? The earth was very different before the flood. Conditions were much more conducive to living longer than what we have now. There was apparently a canopy of water surrounding the earth which acted like a greenhouse on the whole earth. It would have kept out harmful radiation from the sun. The whole earth would be kept at a relatively even temperature. The evidence suggests that the oxygen level was much higher and there were other conditions which increased life span and total health of all living things on the earth. Plants and animals and humans thrived and grew large and strong. Everything was lush and there was little or no form of pollution. As for space to live, There was less ocean and much more land. the water that we have now was in space and under the plates of the earth. There was a mist that came up from the ground and watered the earth. there were seas and rivers, but no great oceans. there were no great high mountains, only small, low ones.
During the flood, the entire planet rocked and was totally changed. It was a catastrophic, worldwide event. the canopy of water came crashing down, and also, water came up out of the ground in great fountains and volcanoes to cover the earth. The Bible says that after the flood, there were now going to be the 4 seasons of winter and summer, spring and fall as long as the earth remained.
The Bible says in Genesis that after the flood, God limited man's years to 120.
But this is not the end of the story. God still wants us to live forever... the Bible explains what He did to save us from the doom and destruction that we face. Not only are our bodies surely going to pass away and die, but this whole earth and everything in it is falling apart and passing away. Since we have been created by a Holy and pure and Totally Good and wise and Just God, the Bible says that He also has set a moral standard of right and wrong and He is going to hold us all accountable morally for everything we have done when we face him at the end on judgement day. He has given us ample evidence for His existance and for the accuracy of the scriptures that he inspired so that we can know the truth. He Cares about us. He doesn't want us to be destroyed, but we have caused our own destruction.
But there is good news. Though we fall short of God's glory and goodness and have no way to live forever in love and peace and joy, He came to the rescue on our behalf. He made a way out of our sinking ship. He paid the penalty of our wickedness by sending His only begotten Son, the Lord and savior Jesus Christ, God in human flesh to die a criminal's death, he defeated death by raising back to life and he will be destroying this world very soon and making a brand new one. He will also be giving us brand new bodies! Those who trust in Him will be forgiven and will live with Him forever in His perfect kindom. Those who reject his offer of salvation will, sadly, fall into damnation forever. Don't reject the Lord's free gift to help you. He loves you and wants you to live forever in a loving and restored friendship with Him and all the people he has made.
Of course we want to live forever! The Lord God who created us, values us and made us to live forever. We are of infinite worth to Him. It's almost unbelievable, but true! Check it out for yourself. Isa 55:6 Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near:
Isa 55:7 Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return to the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.
Isa 55:8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD.
Isa 55:9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.
For more info, read the book of Genesis. If you don't have a bible go to You may also like to visit,, and
God bless you

I am surprised no one linked to the Fable of the Dragon-Tyrant:

I'm 16 years old. I have grown up so far seeing amazing advances in technology. In fact I've bought an mp4 watch yesterday (it plays videos). I ordered it online. Wow the things I will see in my life time. I strongly promote the extending of the human life. We are intelligent enough to do this. Think about it we are the only god damn species on this planet to find out the benefits of cooking and then again we have done even better things then that. Every time the human race enters into a new century we create incredible innovations in our lives.

Computers in the the 21st century:
2010 a super computer will reach the thinking capacity of one human brain. By 2030 desktop computers will have the thinking capacity of 1000 human brains and by 2041 desktop computers will have the capacity of one human race.

In the next 20 years I can easily predict that when computers emulate the human brain or a thinking power of its own. We will not need our minds to create innovations. But computers will innovate for us. Incredible amounts of information will be created by around the year 2030. This means that curing aging in our life time is entirely possible if not en editable if the human race progresses as it is.

Now if they do cure aging. Its more likely that you will not live forever if you are looking for that. Because the universe is expected to end one day. They say at about 10*10^100 years from now. But I'm sure if you don't have to worry about that anytime soon ;)

I cannot say I agree with the concept that we can live past 120. I don't believe our bodies are made to like so long!

Think of our bodies like cars. Don't all engines wear out eventually? How are we to prevent the wear of our bodies, besides replacing our organs, or eating healthy?

I pardon my simpleminded youth. I'm only 13.

I would buy into the idea of livin for a long long time; probably not 1,000 years. But wouldn't it be ideal if that would be possible minus the aging know you face and body growing old too?

Human beings are doing a great job f-ing up the planet for all other forms of life. Does anyone seriously think that 'eternal life' will solve anything? All you'll end up with is a bunch of ignorant mega-geriatrics bitching because things aint what they were 700 years ago.
If we want to consider life extension or any longevity as a species on this planet, the answer is sustainability and moderation, not amazing progress and technology.
Besides, the way things are going, I wouldn't want to be around in 1000 years time anyway.

I definitely would be more careful with the recycling thing if I know I could live for, at least, 300 years.
If you think well 80 years, media, isn't enough. The first twenties are for growing, the next twenties are for learning to live, in the next twenties that's when you start enjoy living, and when you know all about living you pass the last twenty years paying to not die.
So we actually only enjoy living twenty years. Do you think this is enough?

I believe anti-aging, or extending life spans, is a necessary step in our natural/biological evolution... if we are to consciously take the leap into becoming a space-faring species (which many say is inevitable and necessary for our survival, considering what we are doing to this planet), there is a great benefit to longer life spans. Another (hope) would be that greater insight and wisdom might be achieved through longer life. Most of us mature very predictably. If wisdom comes through experience, then it would help to extend a lifespan to take full advantage of all the previous lessons learned. We've absorbed so much by age 70-80 but then our bodies start to fall apart and our brains start to short circuit and we die. Go scientists, go!

I think the earth was created by evolution and we as humaians have to except that we evolved from preymates and not god!!

yes it would be god for us if sombody created somthing to keep u alive longer and I infact have a solution!! by walking 4 miles a day!,im going on 89 next week and my body and skin I look as if I am 18 again just by walking 4 miles a day for every mile you get 12 hours of your life back!!,ive been doing this for 74 years and my doctor said and this is not good but in a way it is good he said that i should have died at the age of 45 but reversed my ageing bye walking he said that my new age when death comes is 134 years old!! just walk!!

1000 years of
Hitler, Stalin, Mao, and any other tyrants you can think of. I can't wait..............

Living 1000years ?!?! in this sick society, with money, wars and dumb humans and have to wake up each morning and working for a dumbass boss ?? no ty..

i think it would be really cool to live for a longer time and never grow old.i also think that the new president that were going to have should aloow this longer life process to take place and have it be tried on everyone

hey i cant believe wat u said first of a house has a designer it doesnt magically appear there. Okay same with humans we didnt magically appear here we had a designer. and if you believe about the bing bang then you should be sorry for yourself because thats all science and we all now for a fact that there is a spiritual side in this damn world, but hey science can really only study the physical stuff about everything. science unfortunately cant reach that other side, we say the bing bang physically but what about spiritualy. you must be someone that doesnt watch the news and at the same time being biblically intelligent because news and the signs that were given in the bible walk hand and hand right next to each other. whats even more funny scientists they themselves are describing signs in the world that the bible talks about. So first get yourself biblically trained before you start talking cause scientists are describing things that come out of the bible. like global warming oh yeah those glaciers in greenland are melting at a fast rate and scientists say there the water level is supposed to rise up 20 feet oh and in antartica another 20 feet. You know that tsunami we had i cant remember when i think in 2004 it hit an islan and killed some 200,000 people yeah you can find it in the bible it says something about the oceans roaring they sound alike what the scientists describe and what the bible says. And the bible says there will be wars and rumors of wars nation will rise against nation kingdom against kingdom currently in the world there are some 40 different wars fought. You say we evolved from apes and there was no god in the picture then you tell yourself how is it possible that a whole lot of the stuff that happens in the world today match what says in the bible. this goes to holly wood riot oh and just so u know the president from Iran ahmadinejad just fired some test missiles well if u watch the news u should know well the thing is hes been talking about wiping israel of off the face of the earth thats the last prophecy before he makes his triumphant return the king og kings lord of lords and the tribulation we get we deserve for believing that we evolve from some damn apes. So finally before you start talking nonsense learn about wait im gonna give u a few suggestions. nostradamus the year 2012 the illuminati the mayans the european union the bible north koreas nuclear missiles irans nuclear missiles yeah you will probably learn a whole lot that these things share one thing in common that in ways they share the end times if you know what to look for.

Joey wrote:
> perhaps these conservatives are looking at this all wrong looking back at all the great minds we have lost over the last hundred years and consider this what if they still lived who knows what new and interesting things they would have developed what new cures what questions could we answer if we only had more time to consider them

You're missing an essential point: If the great minds had been able to stop aging, we wouldn't exist. Aubrey De Grey very clearly states that in order to fight overpopulation, people who choose to extend their lifespan (dramatically) cannot be allowed to have children.
Arguing that you have the right to live forever means you deprive the world of future generations; it places you above potential children of yours. That is fine if you decide to think so, but you cannot pretend to fight death without fighting new life. I hate the egocentric hyperbole of people pretending anti-aging to be a panacea only because the media reinforces the notion that the individual is more important than society; the idea that you have a 'right' to live forever is a cultural artefact as much as the family-oriented and 'clan'-oriented life are cultural artefacts of other societies (they are also fundamentally incompatible with avoiding death).
The title of the article is misguided, 'humans' have lived collectively for hundreds of thousands, even millions of years. Fighting aging does not help humanity, it only caters to *individual* lives -- for every genius dying, another is eventually born.
Imagine people had decided to forgo children to the most part in favor of longer individual lives had the technology been available hundreds of years ago -- society would be locked into the old belief patterns ever since, and all of us alive today would probably never have been born.

As the Human race we are here to conquer everything in our path.

Lets solve the problem of death and then get on with colonising virtually everything else. It is there for us to take.

Religion is a concept invented many years ago to control people, and their fear of inevitable death. Removing this type of impending death removes the need for religion. Immortality would free the human race from this quaint, out-moded concept of control.

Immortality would enable each and every one of us to realise our full potential.


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