This is the scientific version of ELPIs Theory.
For the lay version see www.thesleepingbeauty.info
NB. Although the general term 'theory' is used here, a more appropriate scientific term is 'hypothesis'
Extreme Lifespans through Perpetual-equalising Interventions (ELPIs)
Elpis is Greek for 'Hope'. The ELPIs theory holds that modern humans have an evolutionary capability of living indefinitely. It may be possible, through appropriate engagement and integration with technology, to activate the biological mechanisms that lead to extreme lifespans, with a trivial rate of ageing.
"It is nonsensical and counter-intuitive to believe that complex life was created only to end after a set period of time. An intelligent, complex being should be able to live indefinitely, or to put it in another way, it should not be allowed to die through ageing. Otherwise, what is the point of its creating in the first place? However, it is clear that our current, naive attempts at dramatically increasing life-span are doomed to failure. An alternative approach could be based upon completely different and entirely un-indoctrinated ways of thinking. There must be an innate mechanism that can be modified, and shift the entire death pathway into another, parallel pathway, that will have no pre-defined end. This 'something' is in fact, the evolutionary impetus to achieve higher complexity in the quickest way possible. Finding ways to enhance this process, will lead to indefinite lifespans."
During the course of discussing these ideas I adopt, on the whole, a post-positivist approach in that I accept that some elements of the discourse are generally conjectural rather than based upon solid scientific foundations. However, I believe in the search for objective scientific truth, I recognise the value of experimental methodology and that of ontological realism, and follow Thomas Kuhn's line of thinking.
* I chose the term 'biological immortality' to describe a situation whereby death by senescence (or an increased rate of mortality as a function of chronological age) is negligible.
* In practice, 'immortality' is taken to mean not an eternal life but an indefinite lifespan, i.e. a lifespan without a predetermined end, and the abolition of involuntary death due to ageing. In addition, it is taken to mean the continual absence of significant age-related pathology. Death may still ensue following significant trauma or infection, and according to statistics (Deaths: final data for 2002. National Vital Statistics Reports, www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nvsr/nvsr53/nvsr53_05acc.pdf) this may limit the actual lifespan to 1700 years, unless ways are developed to repair any deadly trauma through technology.
* The ELPIs hypothesis is concerned with the biological immortality of the soma (body) and not the immortality of the soul, which is the subject of religion.