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Attitudes to life extension via genetic engineering

John de Rivaz John at longevb.demon.co.uk
Tue Feb 28 02:43:10 EST 1995

In article: <Pine.SOL.3.91.950225170433.8301A-100000 at corona>  Patrick O'Neil 
<patrick at corona> writes:
> On 24 Feb 1995, Brian Rauchfuss - PCD wrote:
> > 
> > If significant life-extension is available but is denied, is this really 
> > different from mass-murder?  Would it not be better, at least to offer
> > people the choice between reproduction and life-extension (note that 2 
> > less children per couple does not create an exponential population 
> No it would not be murder.  No one has a "right" to life extension any 
> more than they have a right to transplant organs.  When doctors withold 
> treatment for a patient for varied or sundry reasons, it is cannot be 
> considered murder.  Since when did you or I have an inalienable right to 
> chemotherapy.  You cannot take a hospital or doctor to court for murder 
> if you are not given such a treatment.  The contrary view would then be 
> that anyone who didn't choose to have artificial life-extension treatment 
> is comitting suicide, which is ridiculous.  I'm certain some repellent 
> lawyer(s) would LOVE to establish all kinds of goofy laws and precedents 
> so that they can sue even more, but their opinions and desires are 
> irrelevant and better ignored...they ARE lawyers, afterall.

I think this is a bit at cross purposes. What lawyers call murder isn't what
most people think of as murder. For example, according to the laws of 
National Socialist (Nazi) Germany, the extermination of "inferior" races was 
legal and not murder. Lawyers can deem words to mean anything they like. 
The Nazis lost the war, and the act was called "murder" by the lawyers of 
the side that won. Had the Nazis won, their lawyers may well have called the 
area bombing of Dresden murder of civilians, and prosecuted the airmen 
involved, their ground crews, the scientists and engineers who designed and 
built the radars and other equiment and so on and so forth.

We as ordinary sensible people (not lawyers) now have to decide what 
"murder" really means. Does it mean forcibly taking a life, eg by gunfire? 
Or does it include taking life by wilful neglect? If the latter is included, 
then yes we can say that it is murder to neglect to perform research that 
will prolong healthy lifespan.

Maybe murder involves any act designed to cause the involuntary loss of 

Sincerely,     ****************************************       
               * Publisher of        Longevity Report *
John de Rivaz  *                     Fractal Report   *
               *          details on request          *
**** What is the point of life if it ends in death? ****

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