BBC News on life extension ambitions: quantity or quality?

bbcBBC News UK has an article today with the screamer Live forever by Brendan O’Neill. It is as mainstream as superficial. Correction: The supporters of life extension are not just transhumanists and the members of present day health and beauty establishment. The piece consequently confuses maximum life extension with “living maybe a couple of years longer” through present treatments. So it is not surprising that the composition of the poll question itself is dead wrong because of the cloudy premises behind: it is not clear, whether you want to live to 1000 with a continuously ageing condition, losing gradually vital functions (of course we do not want it, this is not a Swift story), or we want first to fix the ageing process, so that the biological age of the individual can remain constant, and his metabolism and energy household normal. Really different parameters. And one more thing: it is not exactly the magic number 1000 that matters, choosing a number that is one order of magnitude higher than our present maximum life expectancy is just an attempt not to confuse people’s everyday intuitions. We really have to modify our intuitions, we have to learn thought experimentation if we want to catch the idea of maximum life extension.

Dr Michael Fitzpatrick, main expert of the article, says: “The quest for longevity leads to the subordination of life to the goal of delaying death. The quality of life is surrendered to the quest for quantity.” It is not as sound as it sounds. Partial immortalization would eliminate problems concerning ageing (ageing related physiological problems), while it is conceptually whole immortalization that would eliminate death related problems. And no one thinks seriously about whole or strong immortalization in the science world. In addition, the quantity question is not to be confused with the quality question, rather say that the quality problem is underdetermined by the quantity problem. Healthy life extension is definitely not a penis enlargement. Naysayers, inform yourself other way, than just reading BBC News.