A Bioethicist on Humanism and Longevity Science

Some thoughts on humanism and longevity science from a social justice variety of bioethicist: "If humanists reflected critically and consistently upon their basic moral convictions, I believe they would become strong advocates of aging research and the aspiration to decelerate human aging. However, most humanists are not (at least yet) strong advocates of this scientific research; indeed many probably oppose this research or at the least do not think it an important priority. In this post I will explain why this is a mistake given the foundational moral premises of humanism. ... A 21st century humanist recognizes the fact that no person, regardless of race, gender, nationality or *age*, deserves to suffer morbidity and mortality. And thus we ought to aspire to reduce these risks when it is feasible to do so, whether it be by providing access to clear drinking water, bed nets to protect against malaria or developing new drugs that re-programme our metabolism and help protect against chronic diseases. ... The average age of life expectancy, at birth, in the world today is 67. This means that most people born today will live long enough to suffer one of the chronic diseases of aging, like cancer or heart disease. This is a fate suffered by millions every year now, especially in the developing world (contrary to what most people in the developed world think). 21st humanists ought to be among the strongest and loudest advocates of biogerontology."

Link: http://ieet.org/index.php/IEET/more/farrelly20091101/


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