Examining Unfortunate Attitudes

Via Spiked, a look at attitudes towards aging and medical progress: "the future is one of transformation and adaptation, not extrapolation. This is the statistical distinction between 'projections' and 'forecasts', which invariably get mixed up in everyday discussion. This confusion is a boon to those who make fearful speculations about the future. ... more research can accelerate building upon the existing indications of scientific and medical progress in this area. But this gets a little lost in the hyperbole. ... The general trend is that in most countries a symptom of living longer healthier lives is that the age of onset of particular illnesses is postponed. The average 65-year-old today is much healthier than one in 1950 due to a combination of improvements in living standards and medical progress; healthy life expectancy is growing with increases in overall life expectancy. The only uncertainties are the pace of improvements in healthy life expectancy and total life expectancy - and the relation between them. ... All this pessimism about the human success story of people living longer older tells us more about society's collective sense of uncertainty and anxieties about where we are heading, than it does about a rational understanding of any of these age-related issues."

Link: http://www.spiked-online.com/index.php?/site/article/2915/

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