Re: Aging isn't a disease

From: Anders Sandberg (
Date: Sat Oct 13 2001 - 09:07:00 MDT

On Sat, Oct 13, 2001 at 01:13:04AM -0700, Robert J. Bradbury wrote:
> Stencil wrote:
> > "Aging isn't a disease," FDA spokeswoman Laura Bradbard said.

This is a very common response from such agencies, because they
know that if they ever say anything different, then healthcare
expenses will skyrocket. It is not the only reason (aging is
"natural", the definition of disease is nontrivial), but it is part
of the reason.

> He proposes the "volitional normative" model as a way out
> of the swamp seeking to move towards definitions that deal
> with "optimal" or "desired" functioning -- of course these
> tend to be subjective (client side) perspectives than
> objective (server side) perspectives. However(!) - a "desired"
> function to be an "optimal" blocker in football such that half of
> the opponents you face in a single game become sidelined with
> injuries is -- to me -- a questionable criteria for saying
> you have a "disease" if you cannot achieve this.

We might want a better term than "disease", like "unwanted
condition" or something like this. What I think you are aiming at
in this example is that you do not consider the blocker's desire to
be anything we others have a moral obligation to support. I would
say that he has his morphological freedom - he has a right to
change his body if he so desires - but this is a negative freedom
(we have no right to stop him from doing it) and he can demand our
active support. This is of course even more of an issue in
countries like Sweden where most healthcare is nationalized.

Probably the best way of implementing this is to have a baseline
health that you get, and anything above it is up to you to pay for.

> If you want to *really* grab the bull by the horns consider
> this -- the "gold standard" for scientific "proof" of efficacy
> is a double blind random trial. So, Company X has a treatment
> that retards or better still completely prevents aging. You
> run an clinical trial according to the "gold standard". You look
> at the results. If your treatment is successful, all of the
> people receiving it are still alive. All the people not receiving
> it are dead. If the treatment *really* prevents aging then
> it was presumably highly immoral (not that I think I know what
> that word means anymore...) to even run the trial.

This happens already in drug trials, where they have to end them
earlier because they feel it is unethical to withold a clearly
better treatment.

> Perhaps I'll give Laura a call next week and see if she can
> tell me which of the 8 disease concepts the FDA subscribes to.

Sounds like a good idea. I would love to know.

Anders Sandberg                                      Towards Ascension!                  
GCS/M/S/O d++ -p+ c++++ !l u+ e++ m++ s+/+ n--- h+/* f+ g+ w++ t+ r+ !y

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b30 : Sat May 11 2002 - 17:44:13 MDT