Stupid Arguments Against Life Extension

From Anders Sandberg: " I comment on a Times article that claims life extension will make us worse off because 1) it would be bad for society, and 2) because the finiteness of life give it value. These are bad arguments that seem to crop up again and again. Arguing that we shouldn't do X because of bad social consequences hinges on the assumptions that we can accurately predict these social consequences to be bad, that we cannot fix them in a reasonable way and that their badness will always outweigh the good X could do. The assumptions in the case of life extension are very debatable, since we actually do have data about how societies handle longer lifespans and it suggests that they do adapt nicely and become happier. Maybe an extremely rapid shift would be wrenching, but again that would also correspond to a large number of people who would otherwise have died now not dying often horribly. Trying to find some social effects that can outweigh the badness of 100,000 deaths a day is hard, and I have not seen any convincing argument along these lines. ... the 'death gives life meaning' argument [sounds] deep, but nobody would consider 'divorce gives love meaning' or 'bookworms give libraries meaning' profound or even accurate. The meaning of love is to be found in the deep positive emotions and relations, not in their breakdown or ebb. Similarly life has a meaning based on that it is lived, not any boundary condition."


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