Policy ForumDemography

Broken Limits to Life Expectancy

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Science  10 May 2002:
Vol. 296, Issue 5570, pp. 1029-1031
DOI: 10.1126/science.1069675

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  • RE: "Broken Limits to Life Expectancy" by Jim Oeppen, James W. Vaupel - Science 10 May 2002: Vol. 296, Issue 5570, pp. 1029-1031 DOI: 10.1126/science.1069675


    The ultimate breakage of limits to life expectancy would be achieved by becoming immortal and living forever. This may not be fantasy, but might be hinted at by words written by Albert Einstein. These words can be interpreted to reveal a union between Einstein (and quantum mechanics) - representing science - and religion.

    When his engineer friend Michele Angelo Besso died, Albert Einstein wrote a letter of condolence to the Besso family, including his now famous quote: "Now he has departed from this strange world a little ahead of me. That means nothing. People like us, who believe in physics, know that the distinction between past, present and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion."

    One way of interpreting this agrees with the Biblical promise of resurrection to eternal life, as well as a statement I read in the Book of Mormon over 20 years ago about someone living an incorporeal existence and waiting for a body: if an individual's life exists in what any person calls the present, it must continue to exist throughout the future as some form of life, giving life after death. And if there is no actual distinction between past and present, a life existing in the present must also exist as some form of life at every point in the past, giving life before conception.

    Does it also mean the belief of modern medicine and surgery that nothing exists for individuals beyond death indica...

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    Competing Interests: None declared.

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