Usha
Do you think one day Science will find a cure for all diseases?
One of the many questions I have been thinking about these past days. in case you are wondering why I ponder over such serious issues all of a sudden, it is because "Science and human progress" is one of the many subjects on which I may be asked to write an essay or make an argumentation about in my forthcoming French examination - Fourthcoming is more like it as the exams are on the 4th.
As my head was getting more and more muddled with issues relating to culture, society, science and economics I got a brilliant idea - why not ask the question here and take your views and use it all in my essay!
So here I ask the first of the questions:
"Do you think one day Science will find a cure for all diseases?"
And here's what I think about it:
While it is a desired goal to alleviate humanity of all suffering from diseases, what happens if all diseases are curable and humanity becomes immortal? Would the earth be able to sustain the population levels and would we have enough resources to go around? Would we then have to impose restraints on new babies being born? Wouldn't Earth then become a planet of very old people or would a body free from all diseases remain young forever?
On another level, when there is no death to fear, would we be motivated to make the best use of this life? Or would a kind of inertia set in as we know we have "forever' to do everything. What happens if we get bored with living forever? There is no escape route right - no hope of dying! So would we have schemes like a person could opt for death so that a new baby can be sanctioned to the family - someone would be allowed to bear a child or clone someone?
Bizarre right? I guess nature knows its job best and that's why we come with a short life span - so that the population is regulated and it is recomposed every now and then with new life.
While it is necessary to find a cure for killer diseases like AIDS and Cancer that take away so many young people, perhaps it would be a good idea not to find a cure for at least the ones that affect us in old age.
Death is not such a bad idea when you are 100. What do you think?

P.s: A friend pointed out that disease is not the only cause of death. What about accidents and murders and natural calamities? I agree. but aren't these just a small proportion compared to deaths due to diseases and old age? As for the natural attrition of the body, we seem to be waging a war there too with anti-ageing solutions.(Like they say today's 60 is yesterday's 40 and so on...) So isn't disease still a major cause of death?
Or we would then kill each other waging war and fighting for the scarce resources?
And if we are anyway going to kill each other then why even bother to prolong life with finding cures for all diseases?
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15 Responses
  1. Hip Grandma Says:

    I think the survival instinct of disease causing agents is amazing and for every success in medical technology we have a new batch of resistant steains being formed and the work has to begin yet again.You have a point when you say that an overpopulated earth with men and women living for ever is also not a good idea.Nature has a way of setting things right.All we nrrd to do is to respect the gifts of nature.


  2. Mahadevan Says:

    As Science advances working out new remedies for existing dreadful diseases, new ones come, threatening human existence.

    Nearly five decades back, T.B.was the most dreadful disease. In the fifties, Cancer took over the gauntlet even while we triumphed over T.B. Today, through Radiology and Chemotheraphy, cancer can be cured atleast in the earlier stages. We are now desperately looking for a fight back against Aids. This disease has become so life threatening that the patients are ostrasied by the Society and whatmore, even many of the hospitals deny them admission, much less provide them treatment.

    If we know that an elixir is available, we would develop a laid back attitude and all creative efforts would come to an end. Even if a substitute or clone is available, how many of us would be willing walkers, to be away from the scene? Would we not like to see our great grandchildren's convocation?


  3. Gauri Says:

    Science has advanced - no doubt. But then - so have the diseases. It is almost as if Nature is yet again playing a balancing act.

    One never heard of anything like SARS or H5N1 a decade ago. But now, in this age wherein science has grown by leaps and bounds, these virii have grown too - almost to pandemic proportions.

    Hip Grandma has put it well "All we need to do is respect the gifts of nature" and that is precisely what the masses aren't doing.

    And with the kind of violence that humans have shown they are capable of, time and again, in the name of country, religion etc... knowing fully well that their stay in this world is limited, I dread to imagine what humans would be capable of if they knew this stay on earth could be stretched indefinitely.

    And even as far as natural calamities are concerned, the Malthusian Theory seems to be really kicking in !!


  4. Vidya Says:

    **********************
    Merriam-Webster's Medical Dictionary
    Main Entry: dis·ease
    Pronunciation: diz-'Ez
    Function: noun
    : an impairment of the normal state of the living animal or plant body or one of its parts that interrupts or modifies the performance of the vital functions and is a response to environmental factors (as malnutrition, industrial hazards, or climate), to specific infective agents (as worms, bacteria, or viruses), to inherent defects of the organism (as genetic anomalies), or to combinations of these factors
    **********************
    Not sure if this is the same in French, but at least in Medical English, the word disease includes ill-effects of malnutrition, industrial hazards, global warming and mental imbalance. Finding a cure to the malladies caused by these is a good thing, since we would be making life on Earth more sustainable.

    The goal of finding a cure to all known disease is a noble one, but success is impossible. This doesn't mean we need to give up.

    Also, note that the medical community does not consider slowing down of organs due to old age as a disease, because the normal state of living includes advancement in years and ultimately death. Hence finding a cure to all diseases, if we accomplish it, does not mean we become immortal. We probably will live longer, but eventually our organs will fail.

    Your theory of immortality becoming a burden is relevant only if we were somehow travelling at the speed of light, in which case we could never kill somebody. Because time travel would be a reality, people can travel forward or backward in time when desired and avoid death.

    Not sure if I confused you, just thought of sharing all the thoughts that went through my mind when I saw your writeup.

    Good luck with your test.


  5. Kishore Says:

    I wrote this looooong time back in my blog. That will be my answer to your question... :)

    And no, Science will never find a cure for all diseases.. probably, existing cures may lead to new diseases in future... :)


  6. passerby55 Says:

    A wonderful post again.

    As a child i saw Tuberculosis as a major disease. People died because of it. TOday it is common and no longer a threat. But now we have Aids and Cancer.

    Science did find cure for deadly diseases then. It will research to find for the present ones like cancer and aids. I am postive.

    Maybe we never have new ones. I can see possibilities of being disease free. But, death free no, never.Science cannot controll death. It will or can controll disease.

    Death is a reality, ones you are in this body we need to leave it. Whether we have disease or no disease.


  7. passerby55 Says:

    USha i got so engaged with the topic.I nearly forgot to wish.

    "Fourthcoming is more like it as the exams are on the 4th".

    I think you mean 4th march.

    "ALL The BEST".


  8. Rajesh Dangi Says:

    sometimes I feel, getting more knowledge or expaning our context about the word 'disease' spells a lot! more we understand and combat the elements which cause, trigder the 'illness' or 'disease' the evolution takes its turn. most of the pests are now 'evoled' to fight the 'pesticides' we use..same way the ciruses 'learn' from our weapons of mass distruction and retaliate with 'mutations' thus endorses the fact that more we 'evole' more thye 'mutate' the symbiosis of the 'context' keeps growing!!


  9. Usha Says:

    Hi all :
    Thank you. I knew I could count on you to point out the gaps and flaws in my thinking.
    The war against diseases will continue as the disease causing viruses mutate as fast as we keep finding cures. It is an on going battle as we will know what we need to fight only when the new strain manifests!
    Ok, and cure for all known diseases at ay point of time only means healthier humanity and not necessarily a shield against death. We will live better and longer but still be mortal.Nature will have her say and we will all die eventually.
    (But the problem of excessive demand on the resources of the planet still remains. I am particularly worried about water)
    I guess that is where wars and other man made calamities will come in and "control" the population levels.
    And of course nature will have her say too with her share of tsunamis and earthquakes , as we deplete her resources and cause disharmony.

    Anyway coming back to the question,
    I understand that it is a good thing to find a cure to all known diseases although whether it will ever be a reality is a big question.And unless it involves huge expenditure on continued medication, such research will never be funded or sustained!And if such medical costs are involved there would still bepeople dying of diseases simply because they cannot afford the medications!

    Now, I am off to the more difficult task, composing these ideas in French!
    meantime stay with me for today's question on the next post!!


  10. Anonymous Says:

    Off topic of course, but you look lovely in white....healthy, beauteous, youthful, serene, entirely at peace with yourself.

    All the best on the 4th.


  11. Usha Says:

    Anon: Thanks.


  12. Biju Says:

    I don't think it would.. for every disease that science finds a cure for, a new disease appears that baffles science all over again. I don't like the idea of a world where everyone lives to be a hundred or more. We are already a huge burden on mother earth. Why would anyone want to live longer than say 60 or 70?
    Of course, I would love for death to come painless and quick.


  13. Chitra Says:

    Nope, science will never be able to find a cure for all diseases. I say this only 'coz I really don't believe in western science all that much. Curing all diseases will probably come through spiritual routes, detachment, enlightenment, etc. Not that I am any expert. But, that is my "feeling".


  14. Usha Says:

    Biju:Yes, already the reduction in mortality and improved health is causing a huge increase in population. If people live far beyond their active working life this will be a burden on social security or their own savings too. if the retirement age is extended, unemployment will be a major problem.
    As for quick and painless death, who wouldn't welcome it?

    Chitra: And reduction in pollution - healthy air, water and land.Elimination of the causes of diseases and behavioural changes can go a long way than prolonged medication.


  15. Rajesh Dangi Says:

    will be eager to see your french version of compilation ( translated to english, for my understanding)