[GRG] Editorial: Deathism

To Members and Friends of the Los Angeles Gerontology
Research Group:  Editorial
on Deathism…  — Steve Coles
    As used in
the longevity science community,

deathism is a catch-all term for philosophies and viewpoints that
encourage relinquishment of medical progress and acceptance of death by
aging rather than the infinitely better alternative of medical research
to extend healthy life and prevent age-related disease. If you have ever
tried to persuade people that it is in fact a great plan to try to

cure aging by controlling its root causes, you will have found that
deathism is in fact very prevalent. Strangely, most people march towards
a slow and painful death due to degenerative aging with

little to no intent of doing anything about it.
Here is a great short post to show to those of your friends and family
who think this way:

Q: What is Deathism?
A: Deathism is the belief that everyone should die.
Q: What is Anti-Deathism?
A: Anti-Deathism is the belief that death should not be
Q: How the hell is that supposed to work?
A: Medical research. Aging has biological causes which we grow ever
closer to unraveling.
Q: What happens when the earth is full of people because
population never stops increasing?
A: Space colonization is one possible answer, as is introducing
disincentives for childbearing (like China did, though they went a bit
overboard). But the earth’s population is increasing regardless, so
banning life-extension would only be a delaying tactic.
Q: Poor people already have much lower life expectancies than rich
people. Won’t life-extension technology just make this gap
A: At first, probably, yes. That’s how new technologies work. Two
decades ago cell phones were only owned by rich people. Now they’re
transforming sub-Saharan Africa. Technologies (unlike wealth) trickle
Q: But it’s wrong to focus on improving the lives of rich people when
we could be helping the less fortunate!
A: Why don’t you apply this standard to other types of medical
research? Should we abandon all research into aging-related diseases like

Alzheimer’s, and instead use that money on charitable work abroad?
I’m in favor of continuing to pursue many goals simultaneously, like
humans do.
Q: The rarer something is, the more precious. So too for years. Life
extension would devalue human experience.
A: Rarity is one source of value, but there are others. My favorite
novel would not be improved just because I was the only one to ever read
Q: Extending human lifespans is unnatural!
A: So is polyester.
Q: But I don’t want to live forever!
A: OK. You don’t have to.

L. Stephen Coles, M.D., Ph.D., Cofounder
Los Angeles Gerontology Research GroupE-mail: scoles@grg.orgE-mail:


About Johnny Adams

My full-time commitment is to slow and ultimately reverse age related functional decline to increase healthy years of life. I’ve been active in this area since the 1970s, steadily building skills and accomplishments. I have a good basic understanding of the science of aging, and have many skills that complement those of scientists so they can focus on science to advance our shared mission. Broad experience Top skills: administration, management, information technology (data and programming), communications, writing, marketing, market research and analysis, public speaking, forging ethical win-win outcomes among stakeholders (i.e. high level "selling"). Knowledge in grant writing, fundraising, finance. Like most skilled professionals, I’m best described as a guy who defines an end point, then figures out how to get there. I enjoy the conception, design, execution and successful completion of a grand plan. Executive Director Gerontology Research Group (GRG). Manages Email discussion forum, web site, meetings and oversees supercentenarian (oldest humans, 110+ years) research. CEO / Executive Director Carl I. Bourhenne Medical Research Foundation (Aging Intervention Foundation), an IRS approved 501(c)(3) nonprofit. http://www.AgingIntervention.org Early contributor to Supercentenarian Research Foundation. Co-Founder Geroscience Healthspan Forum. Active contributor to numerous initiatives to increase healthy years of life. Co-authored book on conventional, practical methods available today to slow the processes of aging – nutrition, exercise, behavior modification and motivation, stress reduction, proper supplementation, damage caused by improper programs, risk reduction and others. Fundamental understanding of, and experience in the genomics of longevity (internship analyzing and curating longevity gene papers). Biological and technical includes information technology, software development and computer programming, bioinformatics and protein informatics, online education, training programs, regulatory, clinical trials software, medical devices (CAT scanners and related), hospital electrical equipment testing program. Interpersonal skills – good communication, honest, well liked, works well in teams or alone. Real world experience collaborating in interdisciplinary teams in fast paced organizations. Uses technology to advance our shared mission. Education: MBA 1985 University of Southern California -- Deans List, Albert Quon Community Service Award (for volunteering with the American Longevity Association and helping an elderly lady every other week), George S. May Scholarship, CA State Fellowship. BA psychology, psychobiology emphasis 1983 California State University Fullerton Physiological courses as well as core courses (developmental, abnormal etc). UCLA Psychobiology 1978, one brief but fast moving and fulfilling quarter. Main interest was the electrochemical basis of consciousness. Also seminars at the NeuroPsychiatric Institute. Other: Ongoing conferences, meetings and continuing education. Aging, computer software and information technology. Some molecular biology, biotech, bio and protein informatics, computer aided drug design, clinical medical devices, electronics, HIPAA, fundraising through the Assoc. of Fundraising Professionals. Previous careers include: Marketing Increasing skill set and successes in virtually all phases, with valuable experience in locating people and companies with the greatest need and interest in a product or service, and sitting across the table with decision makers and working out agreements favorable to all. Information Technology: Management, data analysis and programming in commercial and clinical trials systems, and bioinformatics and protein informatics. As IT Director at Newport Beach, CA based technology organization Success Family of Continuing Education Companies, provided online software solutions for insurance and financial professionals in small to Fortune 500 size companies. We were successful with lean team organization (the slower moving competition was unable to create similar software systems). Medical devices: At Omnimedical in Paramount CA developed and managed quality assurance dept. and training depts. for engineers, physicians and technicians. Designed hospital equipment testing program for hospital services division. In my early 20’s I was a musician, and studied psychology and music. Interned with the intention of becoming a music therapist. These experiences helped develop valuable skills used today to advance our shared mission of creating aging solutions.
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