As used in the longevity science community, deathism is a catch-all term for philosophies and viewpoints that encourage relinquishment of medical progress and acceptance of death by aging rather than the infinitely better alternative of medical research to extend healthy life and prevent age-related disease. If you have ever tried to persuade people that it is in fact a great plan to try to cure aging by controlling its root causes, you will have found that deathism is in fact very prevalent. Strangely, most people march towards a slow and painful death due to degenerative aging with little to no intent of doing anything about it.
Here are sections excerpted from a great short post by GrumplessGrinch at Carcinisation, a little something to show to those of your friends and family who think this way. As is usually the case in Fight Aging! posts, the links are added for reference rather than being in the original:
Q: What is Deathism?
A: Deathism is the belief that everyone should die.
Q: What is Anti-Deathism?
A: Anti-Deathism is the belief that death should not be mandatory.
Q: How the hell is that supposed to work?
A: Medical research. Aging has biological causes which we grow ever closer to unraveling.
Q: What happens when the earth is full of people because the population never stops increasing?
A: Space colonization is one possible answer, as is introducing disincentives for childbearing (like China did, though they went a bit overboard). But the earth's population is increasing regardless, so banning life-extension would only be a delaying tactic.
Q: Poor people already have much lower life expectancies than rich people. Won't life-extension technology just make this gap worse?
A: At first, probably, yes. That's how new technologies work. Two decades ago cell phones were only owned by rich people. Now they're transforming sub-Saharan Africa. Technologies (unlike wealth) trickle down.
Q: But it's wrong to focus on improving the lives of rich people when we could be helping the less fortunate!
A: Why don't you apply this standard to other types of medical research? Should we abandon all research into aging-related diseases like Alzheimer's, and instead use that money on charitable work abroad? I'm in favor of continuing to pursue many goals simultaneously, like humans do.
Q: The rarer something is, the more precious. So too for years. Life extension would devalue human experience.
A: Rarity is one source of value, but there are others. My favorite novel would not be improved just because I was the only one to ever read it.
Q: Extending human lifespans is unnatural!
A: So is polyester.
Q: But I don't want to live forever!
A: Okay. You don't have to.