'Tis the Season

Apparently, 'tis the season for folks to come out and bemoan the terrible, horrible increase in healthy life span we'll see in the years ahead. The latest example can be found at the Atlantic, entitled "The Coming Death Shortage." The mind boggles - well, mine does in any case. I've always have a hard time understand how one can argue in favor of suffering, disease, decrepitude and death.

Like many articles, this one gives priority to serious misunderstandings related to economics, the root cause of expensive medicine (regulation, nothing else), and changes in cost and effectiveness of medicine over time. Not to mention a deep fear of change - a fear so deep that hundreds of millions of deaths are seen as better than any large shift in society or habit. Wow.

Every argument in this piece could have been made in opposition to research aimed at extending healthy life spans back in 1900. The world does not seem to have ended due to the increases in life expectancy since then. It has certainly changed a great deal - and I challenge anyone to suggest that folks are worse off now. Works like this Atlantic piece could - and should - be written off as ludicrous piffle if only folks like the author were not so serious in their efforts to prevent medical research into healthy life extension from moving forward.

UPDATE: Conveniently enough, you can find the full article text posted at the transhumantech Yahoo! group.


no no no - you didn't get it. See, this is the April Fools edition of the Atlantic...it MUST be a prank.


Posted by: Dave at April 1st, 2005 5:40 AM

That would be nice - but I don't think it's the case...

Posted by: Reason at April 1st, 2005 10:00 AM

I know - I was kidding. Unfortunately.

Posted by: Dave at April 1st, 2005 11:58 AM

Let's face it. Who the hell wants to live forever?! Won't that make us all stand on each other's shoulders and create cultural stagnation? There's a reason that we die, so that this planet can breathe a bit and our species won't be locked in a creative rut.

Posted by: adbatstone at April 1st, 2005 8:03 PM

adbatstone you're welcome at ImmInst, despite your concerns otherwise.

"Kevin, I'm sure there's a fair share of "eccentrics" on this forum. I have trouble engaging in intellectual discourse and debate due to my condition. Asperger Syndrome means I'm exceptionally good at some things, but struggle with other things, such as accepting criticism. I see future advances in life-extension and biotechnology as a chance to alleviate the symptoms of autism, using genetic science."

If you choose to persist long enough, you may see a future where the symptoms of your autism are permanently alleviated.

You may not choose to persist forever, but would you go so far as to impose your choice upon everyone? Would you allow individual self-determination? I'm curious.

Posted by: cosmos at April 2nd, 2005 12:31 AM
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