I cheered this headline because my lifespan could use increasing and also because I am opposed to strict dieting for any reason. The medical powers that be can increase my lifespan any time they want to. Like most everybody, I am in no hurry to leave this earthly abode. I like it here. I know my way around.
I can't say the atheist point of view regarding the afterlife doesn't make sense. You die and that's it. Everything goes black, as people like to say, but that is not accurate. Everything goes nothing. The only pain this end will cause you is the pain of worrying about it when you're alive. After you're dead, it's not going to hurt a bit. It's not even going to hurt any more if the entire human race goes extinct along with you. So that's a plus.
The worry that keeps me up at night is the nagging anxiety that the atheists might be wrong, and I might end up in Heaven. Neutral observers of my habits and lifestyle have snorted and said "I wouldn't worry about that at all, Richard," when I confide my concerns to them, but they are speaking from a conventional theological point of view, which I eschew. Any God that I could possibly believe in would certainly let me into His Heaven.
The problem with Heaven starts when you get there. You pass through the Tunnel of Light and hook up with all your dead relatives. After about fifteen minutes, you realize you were already sick of these people when you lived with them on Earth, and now you've got eternity to kill. You move on out, determined to make new friends. Naturally, you start off with your fellow deceased 21st century Americans. After a few thousand years you realize you're bored with them, too—they all have stupid political opinions and complain endlessly about the ads on Heavenly Facebook.
But Heaven contains the souls of every human being who ever lived, you tell yourself cheerfully. Time to explore the past! This will be your major mistake. Just sit down next to a dead American pioneer family and listen to their tales of rutting across the West in a covered wagon, eating wormy cornmeal and rotten bacon, constantly under the threat of Indian attack, freezing and starving their way to a better life, and what are you going to say in return ? That one day you were stuck on the Santa Ana Freeway for so long your cell phone died?
Of course, you could sit down with Indians of the same era and listen to them tell the sad story of their way of life being destroyed by thousands of wheeled trespassers, who happened to be your ancestors. You wouldn't want to stick around that campfire long.
The further you go back in the past, the worse it gets. Head over to where the cave guys hang out and listen to them reminisce about living in the rocks, trying to discover fire, listening to saber-tooth tigers prowl the darkness at night and watching the glaciers get bigger by day. You think you're going to bring up all the bored nights you spent in your Laz-E-Boy, clutching a cold microbrew and bitching about there being nothing good on cable to watch on your 90 inch HD TV? No. You're going to shut up and slink away.
Even if you were considered a major hero in this century, a Hall of Fame baseball player, for example, are you going to want to hear a Roman gladiator talk about surviving fight after fight in the Coliseum until he finally fell, bleeding from a hundred agonizing wounds, and got gutted from behind by his opponent while thousands cheered his death? Going to be tough to one-up that, Mr. All-Star. Maybe you could tell old Severius about the pain you endured that weekend after your Tommy John surgery, when you ran out of Percocets because your supermodel girlfriend partied them all down? Maybe not.
The point I'm trying to make is that Heaven could be a fairly humiliating place to hang out for all eternity. Sure, you could wait for the people of future America to die so you could regale them with tales of the horrors we 21st century primitives endured. I personally remember dial-up Internet, for example. And future peeps will probably have a special massage robot to attend them every time they get tense, whereas we had to go to a seedy part of town and hire a sex slave to get the same service.
But I'm not taking any chances. I want the live-forever pill. They already invented the erection pill, so I figure it's possible. This article might be breaking news concerning it.
But now I read the damn thing, and it's about making worms live longer. Who cares? Worms are bait. Stick a hook in them.
See how long they live then.