Arthur Caplan discusses Is it Immoral to Want to Live Longer, Be Smarter and Look Better? The Ethics of Using Biomedicine to Enhance Ourselves and Our Children as a part of The Ethical Frontiers of Science during the 2008 Chautauqua Institution morning lecture series.
Arthur Caplan serves as the Emanuel and Robert Hart Professor of Bioethics, Chair of the Department of Medical Ethics and the Director of the Center for Bioethics at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia.
He is the author or editor of twenty-five books and over 500 papers in refereed journals of medicine, science, philosophy, bioethics and health policy. His most recent book is Smart Mice Not So Smart People (2006).
He has served on a number of national and international committees, including as the chair of the National Cancer Institute Biobanking Ethics Working Group; the chair of the Advisory Committee to the United Nations on Human Cloning; the chair of the Advisory Committee to the Department of Health and Human Services on Blood Safety and Availability; the special advisory committee to the International Olympic Committee on genetics and gene therapy; the ethics committee of the American Society of Gene Therapy; and the special advisory panel to the National Institutes of Mental Health on human experimentation on vulnerable subjects.
Dr. Caplan writes a regular column on bioethics for MSNBC.com, and he is a frequent guest and commentator on various media outlets. He is the recipient of many awards and honors, including the McGovern Medal of the American Medical Writers Association; Person of the Year-2001 from USA Today, one of the fifty most influential people in American health care by Modern Health Care magazine; and one of the ten most influential people in America in biotechnology by the National Journal.
Professor of Bioethics Arthur Caplan argues that although vanity factors in to the desire to live longer and better, many champions of bioengineering simply wish to live longer to contribute more to society and get to know their grandchildren.
The use of biology to solve problems and make useful products. The growth of the field is linked to the development in the 1970s of genetic engineering. Biotechnology merges biological information with computer technology to advance research in other areas, including nanotechnology and regenerative medicine. Today there are numerous commercial biotechnology firms that manufacture genetically engineered substances for a variety of mostly medical, agricultural, and ecological uses.
@Steven185 - Curing diseases will not specifically extend a life span for most people but if a person is on the brink of death after catching dengue and it is fixed, then instead of them dying the following day, they will live for several more months. several years or maybe longer (I think there is already a cure for dengue). In addition, my previous comment merely stated that I would rather have scientists be more preoccupied with curing most diseases than having them trying to figure out how to extend my life span. I never said that curing diseases will make people live longer. I just have different priorities than these people.
I think you're using a false dilemma there, though. Curing diseases and extending lifespans are not mutually exclusive, i.e. finding a cure for AIDS may (and would) need tecniques which (eventually would) extend lifespans as well...
On living longer: I prefer for scientists to be more occupied with finding a cure for all diseases rather than finding a way to extend my life span. Sure, I might be able to live longer if I take these extra pills/drugs for the next fourty years but it would be more world-changing and more gratifying to me if scientists were be able to find a cure for AIDS.
On that argument, the government should spend less money on NASA and on military funds and use those funds to help provide better education, better medicine and to technology. I am not saying that colonizing the solar system and having a top notch military isn't important but I find it to be second in line. Sure, it's cool to be able to travel to Jupiter but wouldn't it be better if we figured out how to purify our ecosystem, stop global warming and make our world a smarter place? One problem at a time boys.