I have to think that all too many bioethicists see it as their job to manufacture reasons not to make progress towards better medical technologies capable of preventing more pain, suffering, and death. The more self-evident the potential benefits of new medicine, the more ridiculous these manufactured reasons become, but these individuals are nonetheless striving hard to act as grit in the wheels, a spanner in the works. Some are even proud of it. How is it that we supposedly sensible human beings have created an entire infrastructure with the purpose of draining funding away from real medical research into order to slow it down? This entire field and all of its practitioners should be evicted from the halls of polite society.
Discussions of life extension ethics have focused mainly on whether an extended life would be desirable to have, and on the social consequences of widely available life extension. I want to explore a different range of issues: four ways in which the advent of life extension will change our relationship with death, not only for those who live extended lives, but also for those who cannot or choose not to. Although I believe that, on balance, the reasons in favor of developing life extension outweigh the reasons against doing so (something I won't argue for here), most of these changes probably count as reasons against doing so.
First, the advent of life extension will alter the human condition for those who live extended lives, and not merely by postponing death. Second, it will make death worse for those who lack access to life extension, even if those people live just as long as they do now. Third, for those who have access to life extension but prefer to live a normal lifespan because they think that has advantages, the advent of life extension will somewhat reduce some of those advantages, even if they never use life extension. Fourth, refusing life extension turns out to be a form of suicide, and this will force those who have access to life extension but turn it down to choose between an extended life they don't want and a form of suicide they may (probably mistakenly) consider immoral.