Slaying the dragon of the ages - immortality or just life extension

Søren Holm, Professorial Fellow in Bioethics,
June 30, 2004

Dear Editor

I enjoyed the fable very much, and think that I am in agreement with much of the philosophical gloss. There is, however, one issue that troubles me. To kill the dragon of aging we need not only to develop life extension therapies, we need to develop immortality therapies. Otherwise there will still be trains going up the mountain, although for a given population size there will be fewer and fewer trains the longer we can extend life. The author gives us some evidence that life extension is a realistic hope, but what about immortality (which at least for robust, bodily immortality implies indestructability)? Is the dragon slaying rocket likely, or are current efforts more likely to lead to an anorexic tablet for dragons.

Conflict of Interest

None declared