Why Work to Dismantle Arguments Made Against Increased Healthy Longevity?

Many varied arguments are made against attempts to extend human life spans through medical science: overpopulation, economic impacts, boredom, stasis, that people would be aged and decrepit for longer, and so forth. The only thing they have in common is that they are all fairly ramshackle, and tend to fall apart in the face of even a mildly rigorous look at the data and the evidence. Not that this state of affairs seems to have converted all that many people to our side of the tracks. Arguments against living longer in good health have more to do with emotion, comfort zones, and signaling to peers than anything else, I'd say. The same people who, when prompted, declare that everyone should age to death on the same schedule that exists today also visit doctors when sick, would rather not live with the life expectancy of a few hundred years past, and are generally supportive of efforts to defeat age-related diseases such as cancer, Alzheimer's disease, heart disease, and so forth. They are very inconsistent in word and deed.

I see opposition to life extension as just one of many manifestations of the inherent tendencies towards conservatism and discomfort with change, any change, that are deep-set parts of the human mentality. People who are essentially comfortable here and today tend to want things to stay as they are, no matter what that state might be. If that means closing one's eyes to tens of millions of unpleasant deaths every year and the ongoing suffering of hundreds of millions more, then so be it. Yet aging and its consequences are not set in stone, and they can be changed through medical research and development. All this death and pain need not continue. That is why it is important to dismantle the half-hearted and ill-thought objections to treating aging as a medical condition and thereby extending healthy life spans. Most of the death and disease in the world could be swept away in the decades ahead, given the support and investment to do so, but today so very much of that support has instead buried its collective head in the sand.

Arguments against rejuvenation only sound reasonable because they appeal to our fears and to the blame-the-humans attitude of so many people. If you trust only your gut feelings and don't bother examining facts and data, anti-rejuvenation arguments can easily seem obviously true. Accepting an anti-rejuvenation argument requires far less mental work than understanding why the same argument isn't as sound as it appears, but that doesn't make anti-rejuvenation arguments any more 'obviously true' than their rebuttals. It is impossible to know for a fact whether or not rejuvenation will cause any given problem before we get there.

Proving that no problems will arise as a consequence of defeating ageing is not the point of rebutting objections to rejuvenation. That's not what any of my answers does. All they do is showing that objections to rejuvenation rely more often than not on fallacious reasoning, ignorance, fears, misconceptions, and wrong assumptions taken for established fact. In short, what we do when rebutting objections to rejuvenation is showing they aren't valid reasons to let ageing continue crippling and killing us. At the same time, answers to objections show why all those predictions of doom and gloom aren't as likely as they may appear. There's no certainty to be found anywhere, but this doesn't really matter-had we refrained from doing anything that wasn't proved to be 100% risk-free throughout history, we'd probably still be living in caves.

Remember: Objections to rejuvenation are about hypothetical future problems that are far from being certain. Ageing and all the suffering and deaths that come with it are a very tangible fact, happening here and now. This alone should be sufficient to forget about objections altogether and focus only on putting an end to ageing. However, rebutting objections has also another purpose: It fuels discussion. Apart from raising awareness of the problem of ageing and the feasibility of its defeat, discussion prepares us to face the new challenges an ageless future might bring. The way to a world without ageing is still long, which gives us all the time we need to prevent eternal dictators, overpopulation, and all sorts of dystopian scenarios from ever materialising.

Link: https://rejuvenaction.wordpress.com/2017/01/21/the-point-of-rebutting-objections-to-rejuvenation/

Comments

I will admit there are some fair points in your argument but I would be remise if i didn't point out how short sighted the points presented appear at face value. While "closing one's eyes to tens of millions of unpleasant deaths every year" would certainly be irresponsible and inhumane, there are very valid points to be made on the flip side of the coin. Overpopulation and the economic impacts of having a population that lives longer are NOT issues of some distance and hypothetical future. These are issues that are also very relevant in the here and now and you do your stance no favors by simply writing them off as some mythical issue constructed in a cynics imagination. Let me be clear I am not opposed in the least to finding cures and treatments for health issues but it is my personal opinion that finding those solutions should really be centered more around creating a better quality of life not JUST living longer.

Posted by: Medical Researcher at January 24th, 2017 12:30 PM

medical Researcher,

Is anyone working on anything longevity related even trying to just extend life for the sake of extending life, without focusing on quality? If people lived longer and in ideal health, we would certainly be in a better position economically (due to healthcare spending) than the current mess we have today, which is projected to only get worse in the coming decades.

As far as overpopulation goes, everyone likes to mention that and act like it's everyone else causing it and not themselves or their families. But the same people will do literally everything they can to stay alive for as long as possible. This wasn't directed as an attack towards you, just something I've noticed on the topic. My .02 on the issue is that birth rates will probably need to come down (as they are continually doing), but people who have 1 or no children shouldn't be punished and denied treatments, because some other people have 4, 5, 6, etc.

Posted by: Ham at January 24th, 2017 1:56 PM

"Overpopulation and the economic impacts of having a population that lives longer are NOT issues of some distance and hypothetical future. These are issues that are also very relevant in the here and now"

A clear example of the "wrong assumptions taken for established fact" mentioned in the article. So boring...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eA5BM7CE5-8

Posted by: Antonio at January 24th, 2017 1:58 PM

Curing everything would by definition avoid any quality of life issues. Lower quality of life is an issue today because there are better treatments for some diseases (e.g., heart disease) compared to others (e.g., dementia). And at any rate, it seems that most people prefer to live as long as possible even with a lower quality of life, even if they claim that they don't.

Posted by: Florin Clapa at January 24th, 2017 3:32 PM

Hi there,

Just a 2 cents,

''...Ageing and all the suffering and deaths that come with it are a very tangible fact, happening here and now. This alone should be sufficient to forget about objections altogether and focus only on putting an end to ageing''

They are very real facts but...it seems that no, this alone is not sufficient to forget about objections altogether and focus only on putting an end to aging. I do really believe is it More than enough (like said in this paper),

But for the rest of the population who are dead-set in their thoughts about it, no this alone is not sufficient (for them). You know what will be : is if SENS makes it happen, tangible stuff, not vapor air.

Tangible stuff = immortal mouse or very rejuvenated mouse.

then maybe people's mind will change and they will then flock to get in line for the rejuvenation therapies, even if they don't give extreme long life extension, but say a decent life extension (30 years or so; if it's below 20 years I fear the amount of people will be quite dismal and it won't change anything (they will think, just by running, doing CR and push-ups they will get about 5-10 years...what's a 10 years or so more...it's futile despite it's - 10 years more and most people would take a decade extra if healthy).

So it comes down to this, make it happen until then we can talk about it till we are blue in the face, people won't budge on their opinions, but they will budge once they see/hear about the fruit of the SENS efforts as true and done.

Just a 2 cents.

Posted by: CANanonymity at January 24th, 2017 4:01 PM

It is interesting that the overpopulation argument is only to used to argue against longevity treatments, and not say, locking up serial killers, having fire brigades, designing bridges so that they don't collapse, or any of the other thousands of things done which save lives and therefore result in increased population.

Posted by: Arcanyn at January 25th, 2017 7:02 PM

Arcanyn,

That's because people who are against it think longevity is selfish and that people shouldn't live past their genes' expiration date, what about the children, etc. Usually while they are all taking advantage of modern medicine and living longer than they normally would have. And if they don't want that, then nobody else can have it either.

And actually, you'd be surprised in regards to what you said. There was some article on Reddit a couple weeks ago about 3000 lives being saved a day with self driving cars, and there were a LOT of people complaining (as usual, in a misinformed manner) about how that was going to accelerate overpopulation too. I've given up trying to rationalize other people's thought processes.

Posted by: Ham at January 26th, 2017 6:07 AM

Hi,

I'm not concerned about these people and their hostile attitude towards life extension and rejuvenation. I only wish more people knew about it and could donate a bit for the good cause.

As for the opponents, I think they will become more and more silent as more and more people in future will make use of rejuvenation biotechnologies. It will be a gradual process but it will happen. We have seen it so many times in the past with different things. Some people need time when new concepts/paradigms are introduced that challenge their way of thinking. Nothing new on that front.

Posted by: K. at January 26th, 2017 3:36 PM

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