Okay, now that I'm really tired of the discussions on other sites (not listed) with the men's rights people, many of whom are unable to see any POV other than their own; and the gay marriage advocates (not listed), many of whom insist there is nothing but bigotry in any opposition to their legislation; and the government union people (not listed), who insist that all this recent hullabaloo is not about principles but power, not for them, of course, but only for those evil other guys; I thought a nice philosophical discussion about whether life extension was a wise idea, and how much tax money should go to encouraging it, would be an invigorating, mostly-intellectual affair from first principles.
And note these are what are generally considered peripheral issues, rather than getting into who is more hypocritical than who in getting us into wars, or giving jobs to cronies, or covering up corruption in his own party - issues where one would expect that people would be a bit partisan and defensive, even at the best of times.
And oh yeah, one of the coaches on Kyle's team quit just before the championship because of his argument in the dugout with the head coach the night before. It was about whether they should hold the runner at third with the bases loaded or the third baseman should play in to try and stop the run. Life or Death, really.
I conclude that none of us - well, none of you, anyway - are capable of listening to even the remotest suggestion that we have made stupid assumptions. My whole series about May We Believe Our Thoughts? MWBOT 1-17, in which I offered the moderately comforting idea that we are influenced by nonrational factors, but are essentially rational creatures? I take it all back. I should go back to fundamentalist Christian sites to argue with people that the KJV was not designated by God as the acceptable translation. I think I had more success there.
So let's try some ideas on questioning whether we should devote hearts and minds to life extension.
1. It would be totally awesome, no matter how elegantly disguised and expressed, is sufficient reason for you to be in favor of it, but not enough to prove to me it's a good idea.
2. Opponents have some stupid objections is true, and must feel great to know, but is likewise not a persuasive positive case.
3. Great minds have been speculating about this for at least three thousand years, and most of them have seen both good and bad possibilities. That should be worth at least a look.
4. No one has ever been there. That should be worth a moment's pause.
5. I don't see the steady improvement in my personality that suggests living another hundred years would perfect me. In fact, I sense the opposite.
6. If you look around you, you will see that old people are not generally improving, nor do they say they are.
7. You, in particular, actually.
8. Waving off the last three points, claiming that all those things will be fixed when we have better knees and great digestions and electro-stim attitudes is just a wee bit wide-eyed in its optimism.
None of these is a true argument against life extension. It might turn out great. But criminy, is there anyone over there on the advocacy side who is intellectually capable of at least considering there might be teensie-weensie unintended negative consequences that don't disappear with a wave of the hand?