Coping with Methuselah Essay

Methuselah was a patriarch of the Bible who was said to have lived for 969 years. In the essay “Coping with Methuselah” they discuss the possibility of manipulating the genetics that shape living beings. Also, with the declining rate of human mortality year after year we will soon see humans living well in to a century or more. With this rise in life span also comes a rise in healthcare, pension eligibility age and social security and Medicare cost. If it is possible for the molecular biology to be made to lengthen a human’s lifespan, at what cost will we pay to attain such a non-God given gift. Henry J.

Aaron is the Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institute. He has also written many books and articles on aging economics. This creation of this essay is shared with William B. Schwartz, who is a professor of medicine at UCLA. Together these two men have edited this essay from which this information was taken from. It was said that in 1953 there were two scientists, which were able to identify the double helix that it comprised of four nucleotides that are entwined in the code of all human life. A nucleotide is component of RNA and DNA. Also in 2001 two scientific teams where able to produce human genome draft.

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This introduced to medical professionals a therapeutic era that make the slowing of human aging possible. It has been said that scientist believed that human life spans have a natural limit. All things whether human or in human have a life span and eventually the parts will wear and give out. No one is able to decipher if a humans genetic make up plays a role in their life expectancy so how will it be possible to work with a persons DNA to prolong it? In was found by August Wiseman, who is a 19th century scientist that cells stop reproducing once they have divided a certain number of times.

So again I say who can say that this will be medically possible? Although we all l would love to live forever, at what cost are you willing to obtain this gift. Furthermore, how soon will this be attainable? To even begin to conduct such the testing would require many years of research and government approval. It is not possible for a person to predict the timing or extent of advances of molecular biology just as a person is unable to predict when a cure or prevention will be discovered for a disease.

We would all love to obtain the gift to live forever but is it humanly possible. Also what would be the quality of that life? With the extension of human life you know have to take into consideration the population, the amount of care that will be needed in a later age as well as the cost of it all. While the more well of society would be able to afford this medical miracle, those less fortunate would not. Would this then be considered as Government Murder for not providing this to all; just as would it be considered suicide for those that would refuse the treatment?

Furthermore, this would not be confined to one nation; it would be available to all. Already the longevity of a person’s life shows in Japan. The population of the elderly is 71 percent as large as the working age. Naturally humans are living a longer life span and the mortality rate drops ever year. So with this being said the working age is growing higher as well. In the United States the percentage would be much less because of the more than average rate of immigrants that will keep the age of the working population growing. In conclusion a longer life span is still uncertain.

Can it be achieved no one truly knows at this time. But what can be stated, as fact is that with a longer life span comes more work, more debt, and more care needed for the elderly. As wonderful as it sounds to watch not only your grandchildren grow but also your great and great grandchildren; at what cost will be pay to obtain this. Furthermore, will the cost be our quality of life or lack there of or will it be the money that we earn while working until an age that has not been determined just to have the benefits to sustain in our elderly state.


Henry, J. A., & William, B. S. (2003). Coping with methuselah. The Brookings Review, 21(4), 36-39. Retrieved from

Webster’s New Dictionary, Copyright 2003 by Wiley Publishing, Inc., 407

Encarta® World English Dictionary [North American Edition] © & (P) 2009 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved. Developed for Microsoft by Bloomsbury Publishing Plc.


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