Monday, 8 June 2009

Who wants to live forever?

The great band Queen once had a song "Who Wants to Live Forever", notably played as the theme song to the Highlander TV Series. (There should have been only one.) In Highlander, there were Immortals who could only be killed by having their heads chopped off. The drawback is they were incapable of having children.

Geneticists have recently discovered a mutant line of nematodes wherein their non-sex cells (somatic cells) behave like sex cells. (Nematodes are round worms that are the most populous species on Earth, present in nearly every living organism, to such an extent that if all other organisms were removed, the general outline of the organisms would be visible from the nematodes within them. Yes, that means you, dear reader.) This leads to stronger cells throughout the nematode, ensuring their longevity, which in turn fits with some hypothesis that organisms make a choice between reproduction and eternal life, wherein organisms get old because they are investing in creating and raising young.

So here's the question: if you could choose, to be like the Immortals or mutant nematodes, would you choose to live forever, if it meant you could never have offspring? Granted, this is really only a viable question for those who don't have kids, since of course any parent is going to say they wanted to have their kids. And for many, they believe they will live forever, in new bodies, in the New Earth and Kingdom. But my question is, if you could live forever now, in this body, but never have offspring- would you choose to? I'd be interested in hearing both from those who believe in eternal life and those who don't.

As for me, it's a no-brainer. I'd far rather have the kids, even if it meant dying in the next couple years.

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