Saturday, April 26, 2008

Art Caplan: It's not immoral to want to be immortal

For those of us who are very interested in life-extension and regenerative medicine, our colleague Art Caplan has a brand new column on the MSNBC web site about how the big ethical question being kicked around quite a bit these days is "Is it right to want to try to live forever?" [Well, not really forever, but a longer time, he explains]:

"As the science of regenerative medicine using stem cells inches forward, as more is understood about how lifestyle influences longevity, as organ and tissue transplants become routine and as geneticists begin to unravel the secrets of why we age, the prospect of living forever — or at least until the Cubs win a pennant — makes the question something more than an exercise in science fiction.

What is particularly interesting is that many of those raising the question of the ethics of immortality do so with an answer already in mind — “No, it’s not right!” Both conservative and liberal writers alike are expressing a lot of moral angst in recent books, articles and opinion pieces about the prospect of people hanging around long, long after the last broadcast of "The Price Is Right" has aired, which could be an eternity.

Why is the prospect of immortality viewed in such a negative light? A bunch of different reasons can be found in the writings of the growing ranks of anti-agers..."

The rest of the article can be accessed here and as far as I am concerned, I would like to stick around long enough to go one of the rejuvenation clinics envisioned by Robert A. Heinlein -- and to make sure the opportunity is available for friends and family, and anyone else who would like to take advantage of a longer, healthier life.

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