life extension

“Live too long” or “cost too much?” And who makes the call?

 

In a New York Times op-ed titled “On Dying After Your Time”, prominent bioethicist Daniel Callahan concludes that we should help young people become old, but that when it comes to the old “our duty may be just the reverse: to let death have its day.” It provoked these rebuttals from me and from my colleague Elizabeth Schneewind:

 

Can aging be “solved” — and should it be?

I’ve been steering clear of the Methuselah-minded crowd for whom the grail is the extension of the human lifespan. For one thing, the science is muddy. Secondly (and very scientifically), they give me the creeps. Thirdly, the more important  question, it seems to me, is how to improve the quality of the additional 30 years of life that refrigeration and clean water have so recently delivered to us.