Not everyone is thrilled by the prospect of radical life extension. As funding for anti-aging research has exploded, bioethicists have expressed alarm, reasoning that extreme longevity could have disastrous social effects. Some argue that longer life spans will mean stiffer competition for resources, or a wider gap between rich and poor. Others insist that the aging process is important because it gives death a kind of time release effect, which eases us into accepting it. These concerns are well founded. Life spans of several hundred years are bound to be socially disruptive in one way or another; if we're headed in that direction, it's best to start teasing out the difficulties now.
But there is another, deeper argument against life extension---the argument from evolution. Its proponents suggest that we ought to avoid tinkering with any human trait borne of natural selection. Doing so, they argue, could have unforeseen consequences, especially given that natural selection has such a sterling engineering track record. If our bodies grow old and die, the thinking goes, then there must be a good reason, even if we don't understand it yet. Nonsense, says Bennett Foddy, a philosopher (and flash game developer!) from Oxford, who has written extensively about the ethics of life extension. "We think about aging as being a natural human trait, and it is natural, but it's not something that was selected for because it was beneficial to us." Foddy told me. "There is this misconception that everything evolution provides is beneficial to individuals and that's not correct."
The short answer to this silly conundrum is, evolution is designed for survival of the fittest, which implies adaptation not talent or ability. If our intelligence is the key to unlocking almost-permanent longevity-- I figure I have a 60% chance of living to 200, and a 10% chance of immortality-- then evolution is not going to make a value judgement on this. It's either going to encourage it or discourage it through the interplay of evolutionary factors.
For instance, if it's an inefficient strategy for the population as a whole, then we'll either not achieve it or we'll find the cons to achieving it more than outweigh the pros. Whether we pay attention to those signals is irrelevant: if another species finds a way to become the dominant one on this planet or we begin to die off, evolution will have had its say.