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 Anti-aging proposals: Neither science nor fiction?
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HalfMooner
Dingaling

Philippines
15831 Posts

Posted - 07/11/2006 :  06:48:16  Show Profile Send HalfMooner a Private Message
I'm posting this under "Pseudoscience" not because the subject is pseudoscience, but because it may be. The reviews, as they say, are mixed.

"Technology Review" and the Methuselah Foundation jointly offered $20,000 to any molecular biologists who could prove that "Strategies for Engineered Negligible Senescence," a set of proposals by Aubrey de Grey to drastically extend human life expectancy (to 1000-year lifespans) within about 25 years, is "so wrong that it was unworthy of learned debate."

This is from the article in Technology Review:
quote:
Is Defeating Aging Only a Dream?

No one has won our $20,000 Challenge to disprove Aubrey de Grey's anti-aging proposals.

By Jason Pontin

Last year, Technology Review announced a $20,000 prize for any molecular biologist who could demonstrate that biogerontologist Aubrey de Grey's "Strategies for Engineered Negligible Senescence" (SENS) -- a much publicized prescription for defeating aging -- was "so wrong that it was unworthy of learned debate." The purpose of the challenge was to determine whether de Grey's proposals were science or fantasy.

The judges of the "SENS Challenge" were Rodney Brooks, the director of MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory and the chief technology officer of iRobot; Anita Goel, the founder and chief executive of Nanobiosym; Vikram Kumar, the cofounder and chief executive of Dimagi and a pathologist at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston; Nathan Myhrvold, the cofounder and chief executive of Intellectual Ventures and the former chief technology officer of Microsoft; and J. Craig Venter, the founder and president of the Venter Institute, whose computational methods hastened the completion of the Human Genome Project.

We received five submissions, of which only three met the terms of the challenge. De Grey wrote a rebuttal to each qualifying submission, and the challengers wrote responses to those rebuttals. The judges considered all these documents.

In the end, the judges felt that no submission met the criterion of the challenge and disproved SENS, although they unanimously agreed that one submission, by Preston W. Estep and his colleagues, was the most eloquent. The judges also noted, however, that de Grey had not convincingly defended SENS and that many of his ideas seemed somewhat fanciful.

. . .


Your opinions are welcomed here.


Biology is just physics that has begun to smell bad.” —HalfMooner
Here's a link to Moonscape News, and one to its Archive.

Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
26001 Posts

Posted - 07/11/2006 :  08:33:46   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message
"10 points for offering prize money to anyone who proves and/or finds any flaws in your theory."

- The Crackpot Index

- Dave W. (Private Msg, EMail)
Evidently, I rock!
Why not question something for a change?
Visit Dave's Psoriasis Info, too.
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moakley
SFN Regular

USA
1884 Posts

Posted - 07/11/2006 :  10:11:05   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send moakley a Private Message
quote:
Well, I've always considered aging to be undesirable ...

$20000 hardly seems like an amount of money that would cause anyone with the proper background to give this more than a glance and a shrug. In spite of the fact that mice are "sufficiently furry".

Life is good

Philosophy is questions that may never be answered. Religion is answers that may never be questioned. -Anonymous
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Dude
SFN Die Hard

USA
6891 Posts

Posted - 07/11/2006 :  10:52:37   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Dude a Private Message
The science of slowing/reversing human ageing is still nascent. Anyone who claims otherwise is trying to sell you something.

Which is not to say that Mr de Grey is wrong, just that his time-frame for achieving an extremely long lifespan in humans is (at best) unreliable and unsupported.

But the reward offered here is not one to prove or disprove any specific piece of science, it is to demonstrate a flaw in the reasoning behind the specific claims made.

Mr de Grey's claim is that "if" the seven things he has identified can be "dealt with", then aging can be battled to extend human lifespans.

Cell senescence can, in some lab cultures, be delayed indefinitely. Some microorganisms have single cells that persist for hundreds of years. Genetic tinkering with very simple life forms has extended their lifespan 100fold in the lab.

There is alot of promise to the idea of staving off aging. Not to mention alot of money ready to be spent on it.

Will we get 1000 year lifespans in the next 25 years? Probably not. Will we eventually achieve this goal? I'd say it is inevitable. Eventually.

Of course, on the other side of the argument are people who think that human lifespan cannot be significantly extended, who think there is a hard-cap of aprox 120 years which no ammount of engineering will be able to overcome.

Personaly I think we will achieve very long lifespans, but at a slightly slower pace than Mr de Grey thinks.


Ignorance is preferable to error; and he is less remote from the truth who believes nothing, than he who believes what is wrong.
-- Thomas Jefferson

"god :: the last refuge of a man with no answers and no argument." - G. Carlin

Hope, n.
The handmaiden of desperation; the opiate of despair; the illegible signpost on the road to perdition. ~~ da filth
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H. Humbert
SFN Die Hard

USA
4574 Posts

Posted - 07/11/2006 :  10:58:29   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send H. Humbert a Private Message
All we need to do is discover a process that can turn humans into redwoods.


"A man is his own easiest dupe, for what he wishes to be true he generally believes to be true." --Demosthenes

"The first principle is that you must not fool yourself - and you are the easiest person to fool." --Richard P. Feynman

"Face facts with dignity." --found inside a fortune cookie
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BigPapaSmurf
SFN Die Hard

3192 Posts

Posted - 07/11/2006 :  11:25:21   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send BigPapaSmurf a Private Message
Hey they copied my prize for proving that the universe cannot create by chance/chaos a being which excretes fully functional SUVs.

The bastards.

No really though, Dave summed it up nicely...

Edit: that de Grey guy looks like a toal crackpot thats for sure, only a nut would be caught dead in a shirt like that.

"...things I have neither seen nor experienced nor heard tell of from anybody else; things, what is more, that do not in fact exist and could not ever exist at all. So my readers must not believe a word I say." -Lucian on his book True History

"...They accept such things on faith alone, without any evidence. So if a fraudulent and cunning person who knows how to take advantage of a situation comes among them, he can make himself rich in a short time." -Lucian critical of early Christians c.166 AD From his book, De Morte Peregrini
Edited by - BigPapaSmurf on 07/11/2006 11:29:39
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Dude
SFN Die Hard

USA
6891 Posts

Posted - 07/11/2006 :  14:19:22   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Dude a Private Message
BPS said:

quote:
Hey they copied my prize for proving that the universe cannot create by chance/chaos a being which excretes fully functional SUVs.

The bastards.

No really though, Dave summed it up nicely...

Edit: that de Grey guy looks like a toal crackpot thats for sure, only a nut would be caught dead in a shirt like that.


I'd have to say that I agree with Venter's take on the subject:
quote:
Craig Venter most succinctly expressed the prevailing opinion. He wrote, "Estep et al. in my view have not demonstrated that SENS is unworthy of discussion, but the proponents of SENS have not made a compelling case for it."




And since when does looking goofy add to your crackpot score? Einstein anyone?


Ignorance is preferable to error; and he is less remote from the truth who believes nothing, than he who believes what is wrong.
-- Thomas Jefferson

"god :: the last refuge of a man with no answers and no argument." - G. Carlin

Hope, n.
The handmaiden of desperation; the opiate of despair; the illegible signpost on the road to perdition. ~~ da filth
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beskeptigal
SFN Die Hard

USA
3834 Posts

Posted - 07/11/2006 :  22:30:48   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send beskeptigal a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by H. Humbert

All we need to do is discover a process that can turn humans into redwoods.



Think bigger, HH. Think Bristlecone Pine.




Edited by - beskeptigal on 07/11/2006 22:31:06
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Hawks
SFN Regular

Canada
1383 Posts

Posted - 07/12/2006 :  02:02:39   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Hawks's Homepage Send Hawks a Private Message
quote:
Originallu posted by H. Humbert
All we need to do is discover a process that can turn humans into redwoods.

Someone already has. How else would you explain the existence of these magnificent trees?

METHINKS IT IS LIKE A WEASEL
It's a small, off-duty czechoslovakian traffic warden!
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BigPapaSmurf
SFN Die Hard

3192 Posts

Posted - 07/12/2006 :  05:36:28   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send BigPapaSmurf a Private Message
At least Einstein wore a suit and used a little thing called science to back up his ideas. As opposed to some flowery fat lady dress and total lack of actual science.

I say 5 points for looking like a Guru who just rolled across India.

"...things I have neither seen nor experienced nor heard tell of from anybody else; things, what is more, that do not in fact exist and could not ever exist at all. So my readers must not believe a word I say." -Lucian on his book True History

"...They accept such things on faith alone, without any evidence. So if a fraudulent and cunning person who knows how to take advantage of a situation comes among them, he can make himself rich in a short time." -Lucian critical of early Christians c.166 AD From his book, De Morte Peregrini
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Giltwist
Skeptic Friend

USA
69 Posts

Posted - 07/12/2006 :  14:07:10   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Giltwist's Homepage  Send Giltwist an AOL message  Send Giltwist an ICQ Message  Send Giltwist a Yahoo! Message Send Giltwist a Private Message
Didn't Einstein forget to wear pants on a regular basis and get lost in his own neighborhood?

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pleco
SFN Addict

USA
2996 Posts

Posted - 07/12/2006 :  14:09:12   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit pleco's Homepage Send pleco a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by Giltwist

Didn't Einstein forget to wear pants on a regular basis and get lost in his own neighborhood?



Yeah he "forgot" to wear pants

by Filthy
The neo-con methane machine will soon be running at full fart.
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Pernicious
New Member

35 Posts

Posted - 07/13/2006 :  01:38:42   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Pernicious a Private Message


Of course, if people start living to be 1000, the politicians will still be too scared to raise the Social Security age past 64, which will result in like .00000001 % of the population working to support the Immortals populating Florida.

If I was the Supreme Being, I wouldn't muck about with butterflies and dandelions, I'd start with lasers, eight o'clock, Day One!
-Time Bandits
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Dude
SFN Die Hard

USA
6891 Posts

Posted - 07/13/2006 :  02:06:26   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Dude a Private Message
quote:
Of course, if people start living to be 1000, the politicians will still be too scared to raise the Social Security age past 64


If such a thing ever does occur, it will redefine our entire social order. The implications of very long lifespans are major, and extremely complex.

If the tech is widely available (read: affordable by the middle class), it would force us to reorder and rethink nearly everything about how we conduct our societies and what our priorities are.

There is almost no aspect of life it would not impact.


Ignorance is preferable to error; and he is less remote from the truth who believes nothing, than he who believes what is wrong.
-- Thomas Jefferson

"god :: the last refuge of a man with no answers and no argument." - G. Carlin

Hope, n.
The handmaiden of desperation; the opiate of despair; the illegible signpost on the road to perdition. ~~ da filth
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moakley
SFN Regular

USA
1884 Posts

Posted - 07/13/2006 :  05:05:44   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send moakley a Private Message
Logan's Run. Perhaps???

Life is good

Philosophy is questions that may never be answered. Religion is answers that may never be questioned. -Anonymous
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