General Question

Master's avatar

Would it be beneficial for the advancement of science that humanity live longer?

Asked by Master (1358points) May 18th, 2009

Isn’t it a loss when a top scientist or great mind dies, or is the renewal of talent more important?

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11 Answers

FrankHebusSmith's avatar

I mean it couldn’t hurt to have those great minds around still. The renewal of talent would still be available unless you add the side part that we wouldn’t have new people being born.

But we’ve yet to hit a point where someones lifespan has really held us back significantly.

RareDenver's avatar

Just because you can keep a body alive longer doesn’t mean the mind will stay great!

Ivan's avatar

I think it would be more beneficial to improve the ways we teach old material to new students.

cwilbur's avatar

For every great mind who lives longer, you have a hundred or more other people also living longer, and tougher advancement for younger people in their careers.

rooeytoo's avatar

There is definite (if illegal) age discrimination. So you could have the greatest scientific mind in the world but if you walked in for a job interview you wouldn’t get past the door because of your “old” appearance.

Bluefreedom's avatar

If might be a good idea for that top scientist to pass down all his knowledge and wisdom to new individuals, before he dies, to preserve a solid base of knowledge to continue on with and build upward from there.

wundayatta's avatar

Science does not depend on brilliance. It depends on hordes of peasants slogging through the muck. There are a lot of scientists out there doing their own little bit to shed light on more of our universe. They do the leg work. It is rare that someone brilliant really pushes us forward quickly, and even when they do, there are usually a few scientists who are right behind them, and who would have become famous for the same discovery, had the person in front not been first.

DarkScribe's avatar

No, only if genuine, altruistic scientists and researchers lived longer. It would be of benefit to me if I lived longer. I enjoy life.

mattbrowne's avatar

Life extension research and transhumanist research go hand in hand.

From Wikipedia: Transhumanism (symbol H+) is a movement supporting the use of science and technology to improve human mental and physical characteristics and capacities. Transhumanists look to biotechnologies and other emerging technologies for these purposes especially human enhancement. Transhumanist thinkers predict that human beings may eventually be able to transform themselves into beings with such greatly expanded abilities as to merit the label ‘posthuman’.

To answer your question: If this came true it would be beneficial for the advancement of science. A superintelligent being might be able to integrate relativity and quantum theory. We might get fusion reactors to work. We might erase poverty and so forth.

Others point out the dangers. A technological singularity might claim Earth for itself.

CMaz's avatar

No, we are already having problems with a large elderly population. I say this with all due respect. But, less people of working age. Less money going to research.

Jeruba's avatar

No scientist has to begin with a blank slate. If findings are documented and new knowledge is recorded, young scientists can build on the work of their predecessors. This is why it is important to publish. In this way a scientist’s work can survive for centuries even if the scientist lives only a normal life span. Sir Isaac Newton wrote: “If I have seen further it is by standing on ye shoulders of Giants.”

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