Arguments against life extension

Given that a variety of criticisms have been put forth against life extension, it is important consider whether life extension is even a cause with positive outcomes. A variety of counter-objections, also known as Keyhole solutions, are also explored; this is especially important because preventing life extension may be impossible. These issues are explored in the following:

  • Life extension and overpopulation considers the argument that if people stop dying, the world will become overpopulated, leading to some sort of disaster.
  • Life extension and stagnation considers the argument that if old people don’t die, they will stay in power, be a majority, stop human evolution, etc., so that society will become stagnant.
  • Distribution of life extension treatments considers the argument that when life extension treatments become available, they will only be affordable for the rich, leading to e.g. ethical problems.
  • Life extension and appeal to nature considers the argument that life extension is not natural, and therefore wrong.
  • Life extension and boredom considers the argument that life extension will lead to people experiencing the same things many times over, leading to boredom.
  • The possibility of “artificial hell”, as suggested in the article “Hell on Earth” (though some may consider this a benefit):

    As biotech companies pour billions into life extension technologies, some have suggested that our cruelest criminals could be kept alive indefinitely, to serve sentences spanning millennia or longer. Even without life extension, private prison firms could one day develop drugs that make time pass more slowly, so that an inmate’s 10-year sentence feels like an eternity. One way or another, humans could soon be in a position to create an artificial hell.

Some counterarguments (check later):

See for instance1:

[E]ven the most cursory examination of any of these matters suggests that the cumulative effect of the result of aggregated individual decisions for longer and more vigorous life could be highly disruptive and undesirable, even to the point that many individuals would be sufficiently worse off through most of their lives as to offset the benefits of better health afforded them near the end of life. Several people have in fact predicted that retardation of aging will present a classic instance of the Tragedy of the Commons, in which genuine and sought-for gains to individuals are nullified or worse, owing to the social consequences of granting them to everyone

  1. “The case for mortality”. LR Kass. The American scholar, 1983 Spring; 52(2): 173-91. Accessed from JSTOR.