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Likewise, it is not enough to proceed without some picture of the kind of life that future generations would have if the quest for a cure for aging were successful. It is not enough to contend that research should be pursued in the name of scientific freedom and that, in the name of market freedom, people should be able to take it or leave it as they see fit. We should know by now that almost every major technology introduced in the name of expanded personal choice sooner or later is overtaken by cultural patterns and practices that finally shape everyone’s behavior, whittling away almost to nothing the range of the choice. How much choice do we really have about driving automobiles? Do women have about using prenatal diagnosis? Do we have for ignoring e-mail, the Internet, and television? It can be done, but most of us have neither the energy nor the psychological or economic resources to do with them exactly as we please.

…If scientists think through the consequences of their research, they will find considerable wisdom in the Christian doctrine of the resurrection of the body. I realize that the suggestion that science should turn to religion for guidance is unlikely to be welcomed. For many scientists, religion is viewed as an obstacle to doing good science and a constant threat to freedom of inquiry…

All in all, it is not a bad model. There are, in any event, no other models with such compelling solutions to long-standing puzzles, just as there are no comparable efforts to think things through in the long term. The truly intimidating feature of a greatly extended life span, much less earthly immortality, is that just about everything else in human life would have to be changed to make it worthwhile. We would need, in effect, nothing less than a glorified body, one where each and every part and organ functioned perfectly, resistant to wear and tear. We would no less need an analogous social order that was perfect in its own way but that, at a minimum, did not kill us by war and violence or spoil life by meanness and other forms of private misery. We would have to find ways of living with technologies that kept them from forcing us into ways of life that really give us no choice at all about taking or leaving them. We would, in a word, have to become different kinds of people—transformed, glorified people. A quasi-immortal life would not be the end of our problems with finitude. It could just as well be the beginning of new ones that would make us nostalgic for our mortal past.”

-Daniel Callahan “Visions of Eternity” in First Things journal, (emphasis added)

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