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Human age limit is 120 years?

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From Linda Geddes at Nature:

Jeanne Calment outlived her daughter and grandson by decades, finally succumbing to natural causes at the ripe old age of 122. Calment, who was French and died almost two decades ago, is thought to be world’s longest living person. But if subsequent advances in medicine have lulled you into thinking that you might exceed this record, think again.

An analysis of global demographic data published in Nature1 suggests that humans have a fixed shelf life, and that the odds of someone beating Calment’s record are low — although some scientists question this interpretation. They say that the data used in the analysis are not unequivocal, and that the paper doesn’t account for future advances in medicine.

Human life expectancy has steadily increased since the nineteenth century. Reports of supercentenarians — people such as Calment who live to older than 110 — together with observations of model animals whose lifespans can be extended through genetic or dietary modifications, have prompted some to suggest that there is no upper limit on human lifespan. Others say that the steady increase in life expectancy and maximum human lifespan seen during the last century will eventually stop. More.

Of course the trend will stop. This is a finite, time bound universe in which everything stops eventually. Technology won’t change that. It might produce some really weird stuff in the meantime, like a huge demand for transplant organs from willing, unwilling, desperate, or unconscious donors.

Modern technology has enabled more humans than ever before to approach the maximum lifespan. Indeed, that was the true story behind the “Population Bomb” a-crock-a-lypse. People were not breeding like flies, they were simply losing fewer children before puberty than previous generations had. It takes a generation or two for cultures to recognize that fact as a long term change and adjust their plans accordingly.

One interesting thing: In the Book of Genesis, we read,

Then the LORD said, “My Spirit will not contend with humans forever, for they are mortal; their days will be a hundred and twenty years.”

So that idea seems to be an old one. But how did they know?

Note: Your news writer, O’Leary for News, has parents currently 97 and 92, and one grandmother who lived to be 101. We think that the secret to longevity is an active social life with people who care about us. Evidence: Lonely people usually do not live as long as others and solitary confinement is a form of discipline, penance, or punishment, rarely a reward.

Gixmodo on the topic.

See also: Epigenetics: Inheritance of longevity non-genetic?

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9 Replies to “Human age limit is 120 years?

  1. 1
    Vy says:

    One interesting thing: In the Book of Genesis, we read,

    Then the LORD said, “My Spirit will not contend with humans forever, for they are mortal; their days will be a hundred and twenty years.”

    So that idea seems to be an old one. But how did they know?

    I’m pretty sure that verse was referring to how long till God brought on the global flood, not human lifespan.

    More.

  2. 2
    J-Mac says:

    Vy,

    Noah lived another 350 years after the flood, so your claim can’t be valid. It’s nice to see people like you to have some knowledge of the Bible though…

  3. 3
    Vy says:

    Noah lived another 350 years after the flood, so your claim can’t be valid.

    I think you misunderstand me.

    I’m saying the time between when God made that statement and when the global flood started was 120 years.

    So your point actually proves my point.

    It’s nice to see people like you to have some knowledge of the Bible though

    Hmm, are you assuming I’m an Atheist?

  4. 4
    News says:

    I think the verse refers to a vague sense of the possible human lifespan. Later, in Psalm 90 (a prayer of Moses, the man of God), we hear:

    Our days may come to seventy years,
    or eighty, if our strength endures;
    yet the best of them are but trouble and sorrow,
    for they quickly pass, and we fly away. (v 10)

    That’s more like what most people have experienced for millennia – but how did the earlier number arise? It’s curious that the earlier number may be an accurate terminus, for reasons that the people among whom it arose cannot have known.

    https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Psalm%2090

  5. 5
    J-Mac says:

    Vy,

    Of course you are right! I don’t know what I was thinking…

    I got distracted after I have read your post or something…

    I was just thinking that God could not have been saying those words about 120 year to the flood to Noah…What do you think?

    I must have gotten you mixed up with someone else who used similar initials as yours that seem to be an atheist.

    Sorry for that unfounded assumption…

  6. 6
    J-Mac says:

    News,

    I personally don’t think God would deliberately limit human life span… To me the reason why human life span began to shrink would have to be a consequence of their sin…
    Human life span during Moses time was 70-80 years. Few thousand years later it was 30-40. And now the last 100 years has seen an increase of centenarians in many countries, not only in Okinawa-Japan, with the exception of North America, where the food industry has won the war of brainwashing the nations and made the people to eat for pleasure rather than for their sustenance…

  7. 7
    Vy says:

    I was just thinking that God could not have been saying those words about 120 year to the flood to Noah…What do you think?

    I’m not sure I understand this question accurately. Could you rephrase it?

    Sorry for that unfounded assumption…

    No problem. 🙂

  8. 8
    hnorman5 says:

    I do know that in Ayurveda, the ancient Hindu system of medicine, 120 years is considered the normal lifespan. But that’s probably only if you follow all health laws. (Being normal is not always easy).

  9. 9
    J-Mac says:

    Vy,

    If God had said the words: “My Spirit will not contend with humans forever, for they are mortal; their days will be a hundred and twenty years.” to Noah directly, that could have created some problems with the chronology of the Bible according to my relative who is a Bible scholar.

    If you have further question, I can ask to comment on it tomorrow…

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