Better That Billions Suffer and Die than We Have to Even Slightly Rearrange Our Lives

From the Huffington Post, an example of ill-thought opposition to working to defeat the suffering and death caused by aging: "Rapid turnover is nature's way of making sure that a species can keep up with changing circumstances and survive the long haul. But since humans have gone beyond basic biology, why not re-engineer ourselves for a lifetime without an end point? Or at least for one where we outlast the Roman Empire? Well, it turns out there are problems... even beyond the tedium of boorish men. Let me first state that if we can pull this off - cure death - it's self-evident that we'll also obliterate the debilities of aging. You'll be healthy to the end. Nonetheless, there are countless gotchas for any descendants that have made themselves as indestructible as zombies. First off, they'll need to engineer a major societal revamp. You can't have kids every two years forever: we don't have the real estate. And of course, marriages would have an expiration date. A myriad of other social structures would also have to be rejiggered: Imagine the frustration of waiting for a tenure slot at the local college which, even after millennia, is still stuffed with its original faculty. Other difficulties are neither obvious nor tractable. For example, today more than 30,000 Americans die annually on the roads. That means you have a 50 percent chance of being taken out in an auto accident if you live for 3,600 years. So if we extend our lifetimes to thirty or forty centuries, using a car becomes an existential threat. You won't do it."



Well, it's good to see the debate moving to higher profile publications anyway.
Personally I do believe immortality will pose many problems for society. But it is inevitable, so the main question then becomes who's going to be the last to die? Who's going to be the last to enjoy the experience of wearing adult diapers? I don't want that to be me.

Posted by: William Nelson at November 16th, 2010 8:42 AM

Wow. Not sure where to start with this one. I can only think Seth is trying to provoke us. I am constantly amazed that so many people are opposed to living healthy for as long as we can. Is he also opposed to jogging or taking antibiotics because they might extend our lifespan?

Posted by: Wayne at November 16th, 2010 3:10 PM

My only response to Seth is that he can stuff it. I have no respect for any "deathist" at all, no matter what his academic or other credentials. I consider all "deathists" to be worthless scum.

Posted by: kurt9 at November 16th, 2010 8:14 PM

The bottom line is even if everything pro-deathers like him say were true (which it isn't), then all they would have to do would be to just choose not use life extension medicine and they could live "average" lives instead. No problem. Nobody is forcing them. We just want to right to make that choice for ourselves. Of course, when life extension medicine is finally available, you can be certain 99% of the pro-death crowd will have a change of heart and jump to use it.

Posted by: Kim at November 22nd, 2010 9:59 PM

Post a comment; thoughtful, considered opinions are valued. New comments can be edited for a few minutes following submission. Comments incorporating ad hominem attacks, advertising, and other forms of inappropriate behavior are likely to be deleted.

Note that there is a comment feed for those who like to keep up with conversations.