Biomedical life extension is the next big battleground, Caplan says

caplanIt’s Friday so the web is going to sleep for the weekend, but here is one more opinion on life extension, in this case the opinion of Arthur Caplan chair of the Department of Medical Ethics and director of the Center for Bioethics at the University of Pennsylvania, and columnist on bioethics for MSNBC:

Source: TechJournal South (I’ve never heard of it before and not sure about its bias, if there’s any)

Caplan says the question of whether or not modern science and medicine should extend our lives and enhance our capabilities is going to be “the battleground of the next ten years and even of the 21st century.” He noted that while some may ask, what’s wrong with living forever, repairing damaged organs, or fixing genes, a lot of people and organizations from the left and right of the political spectrum oppose these advances.

My question: Exactly who are these guys from the left and from the right and what are their aims?

“Is it really unnatural to seek a longer better life, as critics argue?” Caplan asked. He pointed out that there is really nothing natural about a 70 or 75-year average lifespan. In ancient times, lifespans were closer to 35. To those who say advance the Biblical idea of three-score and ten, he asks, “What about all those earlier in the Bible who lived 800 years?”

Biologically, our inherent lifespan is more of an accident than anything else, Caplan said.
There’s nothing particularly natural about it. There are risks and costs. “Risk should always be taken into account,” Caplan said.

Some procedures are very costly and many critics fear that methods for extending and enhancing life will be available only to the rich. “We should establish access as public policy now,” Caplan said.

(Enough cited, going back to the tissue culture room, I’ve just recovered 3 vials of human cells: one unmodified stem, two transformed.)

3 thoughts on “Biomedical life extension is the next big battleground, Caplan says

  1. Attila,

    This reminds me of a book I was very fond of, most likely before you were born. Time Enough for Love , written in 1973 by Robert Heinlein. the Wiki article doesn’t really do the book justice, at least from my interpretation. It is a book about Lazarus Long, who lives hundreds of years through genetic selection, but primarily through regenerative medicine.

    You should pick up a copy and give it a read, if you haven’t already.

  2. Are we all to be executed for breaking an arbitrary age-limit someday? Life, regardless of the passage of time (an imaginary concept in itself) is an inalienable right. No person should be forced to die if they have the means to live a longer life.

Comments are closed.