It wasn't clear to me in my original reading of the post
that AAR was coming out against the quotes in Steve's letter.
You can find a pointer to the cleaned up letter and some
further references under:
Now, one should be very careful when one argues these areas
(instead of having a knee jerk response that quotes taken
out of context are designed to generate).
For example, even I would argue that spending huge amounts of
money on medical treatments for people in the last year of
their life is a complete waste and such funds could be much
better used making micro-loans in third world banks. Many more
lives would be saved.
Callahan has done a lot of research into the misapplication
of funds in medical care. His positions are based on
learning to make rational tradeoffs on the allocation of
scarce resources. Chapman is making a reasonable moral
argument that I would agree has strong merits.
If one condition were met, I would agree with these two
indivduals -- "that we knew for a fact that the indefinite
extension of human life is impossible"!
If that statement could be proven true, then their positions
would be entirely defensible. But because it cannot be
proven true, then one has a triangle shaped-slippery slope.
Up until the point that you know you can indefinitely
extend the lifespan, allocating resources for people
at the end of their lives is a waste relative to allocating
resources to people at the beginning of their lives.
However as soon as it becomes relatively clear that the
sea-saw is about to flip, it becomes a totally different
picture. Resolving the question of what fraction of
your resources should be devoted to accellerating the
day when the paradigm flips is a very difficult question.
This archive was generated by hypermail 2b30 : Mon May 28 2001 - 09:59:40 MDT