Unending life

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Unending life

 "I want to be dead when I'm dead and that's an end to it. I don't want an unending life. I don't want anything without end." Anthony Flew from the article brian37 posted

So as a relatively recent deconvert, there are a few kinks in my personal philosophy that i have yet to work out. One is the question of eternal life. It seems that many atheist welcome the idea of not having an afterlife. I have always sort of seen this as just another way for them to separate themselves from theists that have a heaven concept. But if science was able to come up with a way for humans to live forever i would want it. I get the argument that having anything for an extended period of time is going to make it incredibly boring and meaningless. However, death is just as eternal as unending life would be and i would go through eternity in a state of existence rather than non existence. Being alive and living a crappy meaningless life is still better than eternal and meaningless death.

So if science came up with a way for you to live forever, would you want it?

 

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I'd never want to live

I'd never want to live forever, but I'd surely like to live until I'd rather not.


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FreeHugMachine wrote:I'd

FreeHugMachine wrote:

I'd never want to live forever, but I'd surely like to live until I'd rather not.

Yeah. This.

There is a lot I'd like to do. Living eternally is not one of them; but I'd like to live a fair long time, in good health, with those I love.

There's no eternal non-existence. There's only life and consciousness, and death. Once you're dead, there is no eternity for you. I'm not sure why that's such a bad concept. Do I want to die? Probably not. The process of death is probably unpleasant, in many cases. On the other hand, there's a very good chance I won't even notice the transition. After that, "existence" for me is gone. Not gone for eternity, just . . . gone.

I don't know how old you are, but I'm not that old (42), and I can certainly see wishing for life to be over. It's kinda like a day at an amusement park. You ride the rides, you drink a beer, you hang out with friends, and you have a great time. And at the end of the day, you are tired and ready for bed. I'm already noticing that life is lots of great little moments, and lots of time in between those great little moments that are just repetitive and tiresome, like standing in line for the next ride. I'm not ready for bed yet, and there are more rides I want to experience, but I can see the end of the day coming, and I'm thinking it won't be so bad.

"Yes, I seriously believe that consciousness is a product of a natural process. I find that the neuroscientists, psychologists, and philosophers who proceed from that premise are the ones who are actually making useful contributions to our understanding of the mind." - PZ Myers


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liberatedatheist wrote:So if

liberatedatheist wrote:

So if science came up with a way for you to live forever, would you want it? 

 

I've already tried living forever and it wasn't any fun. It gets old really fast.

However, if you could gurantee that Monsanto held the patent to the procedure and Goldman-Sachs got to trade the derivatives thereof - for all eternity - it sure is starting to sound tempting to give it another go. I can also see how this would generate considerable revenue for the Wackenhut Corp. since "life imprisonment with no parole" would get a whole new meaning. And wouldn't it be nice to know that people like Dick Cheney was going to live forever? Oh yay, I can hardly wait to start the party (and make it last forever).

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live forever?

No.  I'd like to live a lot longer than the 70-100 many of us get.  Maybe 200 or 300, if I could be in good health.  I always thought heaven sounded incredibly boring, even when I was very young.  What, sit around and sing for eternity?  I like singing, but I also like reading, and hiking, and ... ummmmmm  .. a whole lot of other pleasant physical, intellectual and emotional activities.   And, even when very young, I was never particularly afraid of hell.  It all sounded so fake to me.  Just how many damned souls could you fit in that over sized hot tub?

I always had problems with the multi-verse expandable magic containers.    Remember Glory Road?  And the expandable back pack?  Cute idea, but is hell's hot tub like that?

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 FreeHugMachine wrote:I'd

 

FreeHugMachine wrote:

I'd never want to live forever, but I'd surely like to live until I'd rather not.

I think this would be the obvious answer that everyone would choose, So the real question would be would you rather die after  a few hundred years or so or have to live eternally. but personally i cant see a day when i would rather not want to be alive, barring some sort of intense chronic pain.

nigelTheBold wrote:

Yeah. This.

There is a lot I'd like to do. Living eternally is not one of them; but I'd like to live a fair long time, in good health, with those I love.

There's no eternal non-existence. There's only life and consciousness, and death. Once you're dead, there is no eternity for you. I'm not sure why that's such a bad concept. Do I want to die? Probably not. The process of death is probably unpleasant, in many cases. On the other hand, there's a very good chance I won't even notice the transition. After that, "existence" for me is gone. Not gone for eternity, just . . . gone.

I don't know how old you are, but I'm not that old (42), and I can certainly see wishing for life to be over. It's kinda like a day at an amusement park. You ride the rides, you drink a beer, you hang out with friends, and you have a great time. And at the end of the day, you are tired and ready for bed. I'm already noticing that life is lots of great little moments, and lots of time in between those great little moments that are just repetitive and tiresome, like standing in line for the next ride. I'm not ready for bed yet, and there are more rides I want to experience, but I can see the end of the day coming, and I'm thinking it won't be so bad.

Im 20 so maybe ive yet to feel exhausted with life. Im also curious if people getting tired with life is more of a side effect of your body aging rather than getting bored with the experiences that come with living. There are hundreds of countries and thousands of cultures so probably millions of unique experiences. There are so many exciting new and interesting things out there that i doubt there is anyone that has even experienced a hundredth of what life has to offer. If you never became decrepit as you aged do you think you would still get tired with life?

Also, the finality of death also makes it terrible. even if death isnt an experience so you won't have to conscious of its eternal nature, i would still prefer eternal life to death. I was thinking that if boredom and whatnot makes life not worth living after a certain amount of time, i feel like it would always be possible to put ourselves into some sort of coma or something for a couple hundred years, and then awake to dozens of new and fresh experiences. If we hypothetically had the technology to live forever i think such "temporary deaths" would be plausible.

 

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LA wrote:So if science came

LA wrote:
So if science came up with a way for you to live forever, would you want it?

That's a pretty loaded question. I'd like a way to live forever, yes. But having an infinite life span and being 'immune to death' are separate concepts. So...

??????????????????

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Whatever you may feel about

Whatever you may feel about death now, you won't feel the same way when you're dead.


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False dilemma:you don't feel

False dilemma:you don't feel anything when your dead.


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exactly

exactly


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chndlrjhnsn wrote:you won't

chndlrjhnsn wrote:

you won't feel the same way when you're dead.

 

Hah! My last hard-on will be due to rigor mortis. All y'all prudish virgins cry in terror!

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Marquis wrote:Hah! My last

Marquis wrote:

Hah! My last hard-on will be due to rigor mortis. All y'all prudish virgins cry in terror!

corpse-fucking...

mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmno thanks.

“A meritocratic society is one in which inequalities of wealth and social position solely reflect the unequal distribution of merit or skills amongst human beings, or are based upon factors beyond human control, for example luck or chance. Such a society is socially just because individuals are judged not by their gender, the colour of their skin or their religion, but according to their talents and willingness to work, or on what Martin Luther King called 'the content of their character'. By extension, social equality is unjust because it treats unequal individuals equally.” "Political Ideologies" by Andrew Heywood (2003)


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Kapkao wrote:LA wrote:So if

Kapkao wrote:

LA wrote:
So if science came up with a way for you to live forever, would you want it?

That's a pretty loaded question. I'd like a way to live forever, yes. But having an infinite life span and being 'immune to death' are separate concepts. So...

??????????????????

by being immune to death you mean unable to die if even you want to is what i was getting at. Im sure almost everyone would love to live until they choose to die. so then that kind of takes away from the eternal life aspect which atheists seem to hate. To me death comes down to being in a state of consciousness for eternity vs being nonexistent for eternity. And barring some sort of hell on earth where im in constant severe pain, i think eternity in existence is always going to be better than not existing.

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liberatedatheist wrote:by

liberatedatheist wrote:

by being immune to death you mean unable to die if even you want to is what i was getting at. Im sure almost everyone would love to live until they choose to die. so then that kind of takes away from the eternal life aspect which atheists seem to hate. To me death comes down to being in a state of consciousness for eternity vs being nonexistent for eternity. And barring some sort of hell on earth where im in constant severe pain, i think eternity in existence is always going to be better than not existing.

Ok, I'd choose to be immune to death, as long as I and a special someone of my choosing gets to be immortal as well. In this hypothetical only myself and the Mrs. would know of our everlasting youth.

“A meritocratic society is one in which inequalities of wealth and social position solely reflect the unequal distribution of merit or skills amongst human beings, or are based upon factors beyond human control, for example luck or chance. Such a society is socially just because individuals are judged not by their gender, the colour of their skin or their religion, but according to their talents and willingness to work, or on what Martin Luther King called 'the content of their character'. By extension, social equality is unjust because it treats unequal individuals equally.” "Political Ideologies" by Andrew Heywood (2003)


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Kapkao wrote: Ok, I'd

Kapkao wrote:

 

Ok, I'd choose to be immune to death, as long as I and a special someone of my choosing gets to be immortal as well. In this hypothetical only myself and the Mrs. would know of our everlasting youth.

And if everyone was immune to death??

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liberatedatheist

liberatedatheist wrote:

Kapkao wrote:

 

Ok, I'd choose to be immune to death, as long as I and a special someone of my choosing gets to be immortal as well. In this hypothetical only myself and the Mrs. would know of our everlasting youth.

And if everyone was immune to death??

Fuck it. No point to staying alive, then. There would always be the same movie stars, the same athletes. No company or corporation would ever have to liquidate. Government officials and RULERS would live forever.

Also, reproduction would quickly become a privilege. (planned parenthood would become necessity to prevent "peak population" No room left for unwanted children!

“A meritocratic society is one in which inequalities of wealth and social position solely reflect the unequal distribution of merit or skills amongst human beings, or are based upon factors beyond human control, for example luck or chance. Such a society is socially just because individuals are judged not by their gender, the colour of their skin or their religion, but according to their talents and willingness to work, or on what Martin Luther King called 'the content of their character'. By extension, social equality is unjust because it treats unequal individuals equally.” "Political Ideologies" by Andrew Heywood (2003)


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liberatedatheist wrote:So if

liberatedatheist wrote:

So if science came up with a way for you to live forever, would you want it?

I think it depends.  I don't see how we stop our universe from being inhabitable to life after all use-able energy is...used.  I personally wouldn't mind living forever. If the universe is finite and experiences are finite then at some point even in eternity I wouldn't really exists as nothing about me could possible be new or changed.  How would that differ from being dead.

 

I really don't understand the argument against an eternal life being boring.  If we jump to the imagination land where we can live for eternity then, why would it be inconceivable that there would be an eternity or an infinite amount of things to do and discover. 

Sounds made up...
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Kapkao wrote:   Marquis

Kapkao wrote:

 

Marquis wrote:
Hah! My last hard-on will be due to rigor mortis. All y'all prudish virgins cry in terror!

 

corpse-fucking...

 

mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmno thanks.

 

OK. Dude, you are going to live forever. And that is forever. There is no concept of “sooner or later” in forever. You are going to do it. Might as well just get it out of the way and move on from there.

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Do I want to live forever?In

Do I want to live forever?

In principle, yes, but I can't see the future, so I would really prefer a way to "opt out" if something goes very wrong e.g. the CIA kidnaps me and decides they're going to do torturous experiments on me until America no longer exists (I'd be insane by the end of it) or the Earth gets destroyed.

Our revels now are ended. These our actors, | As I foretold you, were all spirits, and | Are melted into air, into thin air; | And, like the baseless fabric of this vision, | The cloud-capped towers, the gorgeous palaces, | The solemn temples, the great globe itself, - Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve, | And, like this insubstantial pageant faded, | Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff | As dreams are made on, and our little life | Is rounded with a sleep. - Shakespeare


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OK, we have had this

OK, we have had this discussion several times since I joined.

 

Just for fun, let me propose a thought experiment. There is some machine in existence such that you can walk into one end. Five minutes later, you walk out the other end with all of your memories and personality intact but you do so with the same body that you had when you were 20 years old.

 

Would you do it?

 

For a second bite at the apple of life, I would guess that most people would. However, we can take this one step better. What if it cost $100,000.00 to do it?

 

I suspect that the answer depends on your age.

 

Obviously, it would be a waste of money, that most people don't even have, when they are 20. Yet if you went to your bank and told them that you wanted to do it when you are 40, I can tell you that they will have no problem coming up with a savings plan for you. Assuming 7% interest, you can do that for a one time payment of $25,000. If you want to do that on the installment plan, well then you are looking at about $1,000/month. Less if you can make a decent first payment.

 

If you are 40, then matters change. Let's say that you have been successful and you have a decent amount of money saved up. You can drop that cash on the process today. Or you can go to your bank for advice. Again, let's assume that you can get a steady 7% per year. Well, you can drop a one time payment and in 10 years, the interest will be enough to walk through the machine.

 

Absent individual considerations, I would thing that about half would drop the cash on the machine and half would invest. Really, would a 40 year old be willing to bet $100,000 that he would live to his 50th birthday?

 

If you are 60, then I think that most people are going to drop the cash on the machine. Sure, most people are making it to 70 today. But it is a larger risk. Drop the cash now and assume that the income potential of someone who is physically 20 and mentally 60 is probably pretty good.

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There is also a second part

There is also a second part to my thought experiment. How many times do you go through the machine?

 

I do not see how anyone can give a real answer to that question due to the hypothetical nature. There are just too many things that we just do not know to even frame it up in any meaningful manner. However, I can see one possibility where someone concludes that they have lived enough. So it is not the same thing as eternal life. Even so, it is life for as long as you think you want to live.

 

Liberatedatheist, what would you think about the idea of life enough for each person? Seriously, death is no longer something that cannot be avoided. You can have what you want ans when you are done, well, you die.

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Answers in Gene Simmons

Answers in Gene Simmons wrote:

 

Liberatedatheist, what would you think about the idea of life enough for each person? Seriously, death is no longer something that cannot be avoided. You can have what you want ans when you are done, well, you die.

 

I definitely would want people to be able to live as long as they wanted and choose when they die. that would be ideal. But personally i would take it a step further and say that i cant imagine a scenario in which i would want to die. No longer existing is one of the worst things that i could imagine happening to me and i feel that it would be a lot worse than having to live for eternity.

Basically in starting this thread i am looking for a really good reason that could potentially motivate me to end my life if i was somehow able to live forever. The only reason i can come up with would unbearable chronic pain, or getting sick of life due to being elderly. I dont think that people would become tired of living if they didn't age. So in a world where science allows us to renew our bodies and generally prevent death from natural causes I would very much like to live for ever and cant imagine ending my own life. Atheists tend to claim that eternal life would be horrible and worse than death so i am wondering if there are any other reasons that could make them think that?

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My basic problem with all

My basic problem with all "eternal life" thought experiments is that we are not *things*, we are *processes*. The process of life begins with conception and ends with rigor mortis (which is a state of equilibrium inbetween an alkaloid cell reaction and the onset of an acidic breakdown) and physical dissolution of the materials that constitute your body. In nature, there is a designated average life-span of all organisms.

Obviously, in order to achieve "eternal life" you have to tweak this process somehow. There's no lack of fantasy and fiction which has dealt with this problem. Take for instance *vampires*. Would you want to live forever as a vampire? Then there are all the permutations on the *mad professor* archetype. Would you want to live forever if that meant being subject to some kind of "machine" treatment, say, every 5 or 10 years, making you symbiotic to said machine in a sense? (Interestingly, certain diseases that requite for instance regular kidney dialysis is actually existing today, effectively constituting such a "cyborg" model.)

The most depressing image is however if science comes up with some kind of costly "cure" for aging, making it possible to prolong normal life by several hundreds, if not thousands, of years. Then what? Would we at some point have a 3,000 year old completely Machiavellian cynic as "the world king" at some stage? It would certainly become a trading commodity, and, as such, move towards monopolisation, through the common laws of economic markets.

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Marquis wrote:My basic

Marquis wrote:

My basic problem with all "eternal life" thought experiments is that we are not *things*, we are *processes*. The process of life begins with conception and ends with rigor mortis (which is a state of equilibrium inbetween an alkaloid cell reaction and the onset of an acidic breakdown) and physical dissolution of the materials that constitute your body. In nature, there is a designated average life-span of all organisms. 

We have deviated far from our natural life cycle centuries ago. Our average lifespan was in the twenties while we were still hunters and gatherers. We defy what nature dictates every day. Our life process shouldn't hold us back if we can change it.

Marquis wrote:

Obviously, in order to achieve "eternal life" you have to tweak this process somehow. There's no lack of fantasy and fiction which has dealt with this problem. Take for instance *vampires*. Would you want to live forever as a vampire? Then there are all the permutations on the *mad professor* archetype. Would you want to live forever if that meant being subject to some kind of "machine" treatment, say, every 5 or 10 years, making you symbiotic to said machine in a sense? (Interestingly, certain diseases that requite for instance regular kidney dialysis is actually existing today, effectively constituting such a "cyborg" model.) 

Having an indefinite lifespan may be closer than you think. Stem cells have the ability to renew every single organ in our body. Telomerase is a protein that adds DNA to the ends of our chromosomes which allows your cells to replicate indefinitely. This protein is produced in our stem cells and gonads. The gene for it is in all of our cells. If we are able to find a way to get this gene expressed almost all of the cells in our body would be able to replicate indefinitely. Having an indefinite lifespan is less than a century or two away. In order to be truly immortal however would probably necessitate some sort of cyborg model where all unecessary flesh is replaced with longer lasting and more durable synthetic materials. This is going to happen.

Marquis wrote:

The most depressing image is however if science comes up with some kind of costly "cure" for aging, making it possible to prolong normal life by several hundreds, if not thousands, of years. Then what? Would we at some point have a 3,000 year old completely Machiavellian cynic as "the world king" at some stage? It would certainly become a trading commodity, and, as such, move towards monopolisation, through the common laws of economic markets. 

It would definitely be traded and subject to market pressures. There would probably initially only be an elite class of wealthy and powerful people that control it but eventually as science progresses it will be cheap enough to be administered to everyone. 

 

 

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If you are not invoking

If you are not invoking magic, then the 1) Boredom 2) Emotional or physical suffering 3) Realistically, I'm not sure how your brain would handle immortality.  I bet it wouldn't handle it well though.  Who wants to be insane, forever?

Hell, eternity is a rather long time.  What happens when all the suns in the universe are dead and everything radioactive is used up?  Now you have an eternity of being squished into a giant singularity (if the universe collapses back on itself), or an eternity floating around in dead space (if it just stopped expanding someday).  Not much fun and probably not very pleasant.

I think the overarching point is that when people say, "immortal" they are considering what it would be like to hundreds or thousands of years....not tens of thousands much less millions, billions or trillions of years, on to eternity.

 

If heaven was eternal bliss, eventually you wouldn't even be you, you would just be some sort of bliss feeling machine with no perspective.  Or maybe you could be frozen in time in a state of bliss, but that wouldn't be different from being dead.

 

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no... it just seems like

no... it just seems like something one would end up regreting. When something is limited it is always going to be more valuable. 

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Marquis wrote:Obviously, in

Marquis wrote:

Obviously, in order to achieve "eternal life" you have to tweak this process somehow. There's no lack of fantasy and fiction which has dealt with this problem. Take for instance *vampires*. Would you want to live forever as a vampire? Then there are all the permutations on the *mad professor* archetype. Would you want to live forever if that meant being subject to some kind of "machine" treatment, say, every 5 or 10 years, making you symbiotic to said machine in a sense? (Interestingly, certain diseases that requite for instance regular kidney dialysis is actually existing today, effectively constituting such a "cyborg" model.)

The most depressing image is however if science comes up with some kind of costly "cure" for aging, making it possible to prolong normal life by several hundreds, if not thousands, of years. Then what? Would we at some point have a 3,000 year old completely Machiavellian cynic as "the world king" at some stage? It would certainly become a trading commodity, and, as such, move towards monopolisation, through the common laws of economic markets.

Most of these sci-fi writers did not realize what the life is about. The life, if prolonged or eternal, is not about the person anymore. It is about expansion of consciousness to recognize myself as a part of others, and therefore serve for their greatest good. A machiavellian cynic type is possible only with a person that did not care to develop his consciousness. Without extremely advanced consciousness, eternal life will become unbearable and the person will choose to die. Advanced consciousness will let die only impermanent parts of personality, it will literally lose ego. But we normal people should build our ego instead - we need one hell of a big ego, before we can renounce it succesfully.

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mellestad wrote:Who wants to

mellestad wrote:

Who wants to be insane, forever?

Counterpoint:Why not, as long as it isn't the "anxious" type of insanity?

Quote:
Hell, eternity is a rather long time.  What happens when all the suns in the universe are dead and everything radioactive is used up?

Everything radioactive? You're basing your hypothetical 'eternity' on requiring nuclear fission to stay warm?

To me, the more... efficient means of generating 'useful energy' is to simply rearrange subatomic baryons so that protons carry a negative charge, electrons will carry a positive charge, and the unified body of such particles - the (anti) neutron- will have both charges arranged in opposite alignment. You do this to 50% of an "inertial volume" and you suddenly have a region space that is much warmer than it previously was.

“A meritocratic society is one in which inequalities of wealth and social position solely reflect the unequal distribution of merit or skills amongst human beings, or are based upon factors beyond human control, for example luck or chance. Such a society is socially just because individuals are judged not by their gender, the colour of their skin or their religion, but according to their talents and willingness to work, or on what Martin Luther King called 'the content of their character'. By extension, social equality is unjust because it treats unequal individuals equally.” "Political Ideologies" by Andrew Heywood (2003)


mellestad
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Kapkao wrote:mellestad

Kapkao wrote:

mellestad wrote:

Who wants to be insane, forever?

Counterpoint:Why not, as long as it isn't the "anxious" type of insanity?

Quote:
Hell, eternity is a rather long time.  What happens when all the suns in the universe are dead and everything radioactive is used up?

Everything radioactive? You're basing your hypothetical 'eternity' on requiring nuclear fission to stay warm?

To me, the more... efficient means of generating 'useful energy' is to simply rearrange subatomic baryons so that protons carry a negative charge, electrons will carry a positive charge, and the unified body of such particles - the (anti) neutron- will have both charges arranged in opposite alignment. You do this to 50% of an "inertial volume" and you suddenly have a region space that is much warmer than it previously was.

 

It doesn't matter what method you use, eventually it is going to run out isn't it?  Or could we generate energy forever in some way?  We are talking about eternity here.

Everything makes more sense now that I've stopped believing.


Kapkao
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mellestad wrote: It doesn't

mellestad wrote:

It doesn't matter what method you use, eventually it is going to run out isn't it?  Or could we generate energy forever in some way?  We are talking about eternity here.

No, I'm talking about eternity. You're talking about entropy.                                         Or something.


Solly! I'm too buzzed up and rtipsy tu make moaer revelant post//  I swaer... seomtiems the sguar runs into yaest semowhere on the intsetinal track. Tunrs bozoey liek....... *hic*

 

WOOPEE

and nows i sleepee

go bed nnight night

 

“A meritocratic society is one in which inequalities of wealth and social position solely reflect the unequal distribution of merit or skills amongst human beings, or are based upon factors beyond human control, for example luck or chance. Such a society is socially just because individuals are judged not by their gender, the colour of their skin or their religion, but according to their talents and willingness to work, or on what Martin Luther King called 'the content of their character'. By extension, social equality is unjust because it treats unequal individuals equally.” "Political Ideologies" by Andrew Heywood (2003)