Guest / Limited Access /
Reviews

/

Is Longer Life Better?
Is Longer Life Better?
Should We Live Forever?: The Ethical Ambiguities of Aging
Our Rating
4 Stars - Excellent
Book Title
Should We Live Forever?: The Ethical Ambiguities of Aging
Author
Publisher
Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company
Release Date
January 14, 2013
Pages
135
Price
$12.13
Buy Should We Live Forever?: The Ethical Ambiguities of Aging from Amazon

The hydra is a freshwater animal, just a few millimeters long. It acts like an upside-down sedentary jellyfish, collecting food with tentacles. The creature is especially interesting in this: It seems to be immortal. Because the hydra reproduces by budding rather than mating, it uses its stem cells to regenerate aging tissue. Scientists have discovered that the same gene responsible for the hydra's continual use of stem cells could allow human bodies to better repair themselves and potentially live healthier and longer.

The discovery is only the latest scientific breakthrough to make very real the possibility that we will, sooner or later, extend the human life span.

But should we? Gilbert Meilaender, a professor of theology at Valparaiso University and former member of the President's Council on Bioethics, takes up this question in Should We Live Forever? The Ethical Ambiguities of Aging (Eerdmans). At a time when millions die without access to basic medical care, extending the life span of a few might seem morally dubious. But Meilaender leaves aside many related ethical questions, such as the problem of ensuring equitable access, for rich and poor alike, to these prospective fountains of youth. Instead, he zeroes in on the issue of whether, in and of itself, it would be good to pursue longer life.

Meilaender doesn't categorically reject extending life. If life is good, he argues, it very well may be good to have more of it. But there are costs, and that is the crux of the dilemma.

By seeking more life, we change what a human life is, and inevitably lose aspects that make it desirable. There is especially a tradeoff between life extension and reproduction. One life extension method—calorie ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

From Issue:
Browse All Book Reviews By:
Read These NextSee Our Latest
RecommendedNancy Writebol: Ebola Is a Spiritual Battle
Subscriber Access Only Nancy Writebol: Ebola Is a Spiritual Battle
The missionary nurse who survived the deadly virus says medicine alone won't cure West Africa.
TrendingMark Driscoll Resigns from Mars Hill
Mark Driscoll Resigns from Mars Hill
"I do not want to be the source of anything that might detract from our church’s mission."
Editor's PickBless This Tackle? Not a Prayer
Bless This Tackle? Not a Prayer
Christians’ misguided fight for football devotions isn’t working.
Comments
Christianity Today
Is Longer Life Better?
hide thisMarch March

In the Magazine

March 2013

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.