Attitudes towards the elderly and aging have rapidly improved in the last forty years. Today many understand that people can remain vigorous, engaged and healthy into their nineties. Unfortunately many people also still believe there is a natural time to get sick and die. As a consequence many policy makers reject the idea of therapies to slow aging and extend life as being “unnatural.” Instead of embracing the lengthening life expectancies seen worldwide in the last century, some policy makers fret that life extension should be opposed as ecologically unsustainable or stultifying.
Instead of consigning seniors to sickness, aging and death we believe governments should make reducing the mortality rate for all their citizens a goal, not just for those under 75, and that greater support for anti-aging therapies is one of the key ways to improve the public health and extend life. Transhumanists believe that twenty extra years of healthy life are just as valuable in someone’s second century as in their first.
Through our Longer, Better Lives Program we seek to make the case for longer healthier lives, addressing objections to life extension, from the alleged problem of overpopulation to the threat of ennui. We will be coordinating and seeking consultation with senior citizens groups and organizations of the disabled to help them challenge ageist and ableist attitudes that discourage the full utilization of health technology.
The Case for Healthy Longer Life
WTA Longer, Better Life Program
“Deathist Nation: Critics of life extension fear the risks of longer lives but don’t acknowledge the danger and difficulty of enforcing death,” by George Dvorsky. Betterhumans. 6/10/2004
“Escape Velocity: Why the Prospect of Extreme Human Life Extension Matters Now,” Aubrey de Grey, PLOS Biology, Volume 2 Number 6, June 15, 2004.
“Why do transhumanists want to live longer?” from the Transhumanist FAQ
“Isn’t death part of the natural order of things?” from the Transhumanist FAQ
“Won’t it be boring to live forever in a perfect world?” from the Transhumanist FAQ
“Ageism: How Healthcare Fails the Elderly” Alliance for Aging Research
“What’s Wrong with a Really Long Life? Sure, extended lifespans pose a challenge. But encouraging people to die is no solution,” by James Hughes. Betterhumans. 10/14/2002
“Rational Choice? Proponents of rationing health care on the basis of age say that society can’t bear the economic strain that will follow the retirement of the baby boom generation. Critics say that the plan is not only unethical but unworkable,” by Chris Mooney. SAGE Crossroads. July 14, 2003
“Ageing: the future is affordable: The real problem in the ‘pensions crisis’ is not demographics, but our mean-spirited attitude towards the elderly,” by Phil Mullan. Spiked. 15 October 2004.
“An Ethical Assessment of Anti-Aging Medicine,”
by Tom Mackey. Journal of Anti-Aging Medicine, 2003
“Cover Everyone and Cure Aging: Counterintuitive answers to healthcare inflation,” by James Hughes. Betterhumans. 10/14/2004
“Putting Aging on Hold: Official Report to the White House Conference on Aging” 1995. Alliance on Aging Research
The Case Against Longer, Healthy Life
Age-Retardation (Life Extension) President’s Council on Bioethics, especially Chapter 4 of the PCB’s Beyond Therapy report, “Ageless Bodies”
“L’Chaim and Its Limits: Why Not Immortality?” Leon Kass, First Things, May 2001
“Killing Immortality: Bush bioethicist Leon Kass wants an end to life extension efforts. But he has yet to offer a good reason,” by Simon Smith, Betterhumans, 12/3/2002
Organizations Working for Healthy Longer Life
Alliance for Health and the Future A “think-and-do tank” established to identify, inform and raise awareness of behaviours and systems that can lead to greater well-being and productivity throughout life.
Alliance for Aging Research A non-profit organization dedicated to supporting and accelerating the pace of medical discoveries to vastly improve the universal experience of aging and health. They offer a wide range of useful resources and links on their web site.
American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine The American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine (A4M) is a not-for-profit medical society dedicated to the advancement of technology to detect, prevent, and treat aging-related disease and to promote research into methods to retard and optimize the
human aging process. A4M is also dedicated to educating physicians,
scientists, and members of the public on anti-aging issues.
American Aging Association (AGE) AGE is a non-profit
group advocating biomedical studies to slow the aging process, public
education about aging and healthy life extension research, and better
knowledge of gerontology among physicians.
American Federation for Aging Research (AFAR)
helps scientists begin and further careers in aging research and geriatric medicine.
Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation Medical breakthroughs
don’t come cheap. Scientific achievement begins with individual brilliance,
but cannot be completed without the financial means to put ideas into action
and translate theories into treatments. The CRPF strongly advocates research
into stem cell therapies and regenerative medicine.
Coalition for the Advancement of Medical Research (CAMR) The Coalition for the
Advancement of Medical Research (CAMR) is comprised of nationally-recognized
patient organizations, universities, scientific societies, foundations, and
individuals with life-threatening illnesses and disorders, advocating for
the advancement of breakthrough research and technologies in regenerative
medicine - including stem cell research and somatic cell nuclear transfer -
in order to cure disease and alleviate suffering.
International Longevity Center A non-profit, nonpartisan research, policy and education organization whose mission is to help societies address the issues of population aging and longevity in positive and constructive ways and to highlight older people’s productivity and contributions to their families and to society as a whole. The ILC-USA is an independent affiliate of Mount Sinai School of Medicine.
Maximum Life Foundation The mission of the Maximum Life Foundation is to accelerate the pace of research on the human aging process. Senescence, the destructive process that is responsible for human aging, is a primary cause behind heart disease, cancer, stroke, type II diabetes, and Alzheimer’s disease. The Foundation has created a network of scientists, physicians, and biotechnology industry professionals to use
their talents and resources to develop a strategic plan to understand and
treat the underlying causes of these disease processes.
Longevity Meme The Longevity Meme is a California-based non-profit organisation, founded in mid-2001. Our goal is to encourage achievable technologies, lifestyles and other means that will help people live comfortably, healthily and capably for as long as they desire, well beyond the current limits of mortality. We aim to ensure that the means and potentials of healthy life extension become commonly accepted throughout the world.
StemCellAction.org Let’s put a human face
on the need for stem cell research. We are a grassroots, volunteer group of
patients and their families and friends who believe that stem cell research
has the potential to save the lives of those afflicted by many so-called
"hopeless" medical conditions, including Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, juvenile
diabetes, M.S., A.L.S. and spinal cord injury.
StemCellHelp StemCellHelp is committed to working with individuals and institutions so that Congress may eventually approve stem cell research and funding.
The Immortality Institute The Immortality Institute is a grassroots organization founded to help humanity conquer the blight of involuntary death. We depend on the generous help of members and volunteers to gather information, fund projects, promote scientific research and discuss questions concerning the possibility of human physical immortality.
The Methuselah Foundation The Methuselah Foundation is a group of dedicated volunteers from the science and business community who work towards promoting and encouraging effective scientific research towards healthy life extension. The Methuselah Foundation runs the well regarded Methuselah Mouse Prize for anti-aging research.
SAGE Crossroads A stunningly educative forum and resource on anti-aging research and policy.
Nanoaging Institute A website devoted to chronicling emerging technologies and their application to anti-aging.
American Federation for Aging Research A organization promoting gerontology and geriatrics, and sponsor of the website devoted to educating seniors about healthy aging, Infoaging.org