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The end of aging
Posted: 24 July 2008 06:53 PM   [ Ignore ]
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We can avoid aging

Aubrey de Grey, British biogerontologist and founder of SENS, controversially claims to have created a roadmap to defeat biological aging. In this talk, he argues that aging - like other diseases - can be cured, and that humans can live for centuries, if only we approach the aging process as “an engineering problem.” (Recorded July 2005 in Oxford, UK. Duration: 23:31)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8iYpxRXlboQ

 

De Grey is an interesting character. For some reason I find him personally unlikeable and, more importantly, his slideshow is absolutely atrocious. Also, this clip makes me suspect he’s a con man. However, at least his ideas are interesting and I think finding a way to extend healthy human life is a worthy cause. What are your thoughts on Aubrey de Grey in particular and life extension in general?

See more at http://www.methuselahfoundation.org/

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Posted: 24 July 2008 07:45 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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I’m with you, I think it’s a scam and he is a fearmongerer.  Also, great Age does not always mean great wisdom, I know stupid youths who have grown to be stupid middle aged people and will be stupid elders.

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Posted: 24 July 2008 10:45 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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De Grey was interviewed on Point of Inquiry HERE. FWIW his reasoning largely strikes me as specious, as I discussed in my post HERE.

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Posted: 25 July 2008 06:38 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Regardless of what Grey has to say, this is an interesting and important topic. As a physician, my job is to extend life and also quality of life. I have often wondered what we would do if tchnology allowed us to extend the healthy lifespan of a human being to hundreds of years or more. Would that really be a good thing for society or even for the individual?

Everyone seems to take it for granted that living a longer healthier life is a good thing but there are serious problems that arise if we as a species were to suddenly be able to live for hundreds of years. Obviously the rate of population growth would inrease exponentially and the planet would become quickly overpopulated ( as if it isn’t already) if births continued and deaths were halted. Of course we could try to lower the birth rate, but cultural and economic factors might makje that very difficult. Even if we could do that would it be wise. We would end up with a much older population and a dramatic decrease in young minds with new ideas. Of course there might be some benefits to having more older people around assuming they are healthy. There is obvously a certain amount of wisdom that comes with age, but there is also a good deal of stagnation and resistance to new ideas.

Society would face some real challenges, but so would the individual. While some would certainly make good use of an extended life, others would view it as puinishment. I have met some older individuals through my career who despite being quite healthy actually looked forward to the end of life. They explained to me that life for them had lost its meaning. Many still worked and had freinds, but it seemed that the “novelty” had worn off. They had seen it all, done it all, experineced and felt it all, and didn’t have anything left to look forward to. One older fellow compared it to watching the same movie for the “thousandth time”. I am not saying all people would have this outlook, but for some people death might be a natural and welcome end to a well lived life. And what about indivduals who were given a life sentence in prison for some heinous crime. Do we now keep them in prison for 200 years?

There’s a lot to think about. No doubt the law of unintended consequences will have a significant role to play if we ever possess and use this technology. Society is unlikely to consider any of this if the tehcnology is deveolped. We will most likely use it without a second thought and those who even suggest we stop and think will be considered mad.

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Posted: 25 July 2008 10:19 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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macgyver - 25 July 2008 06:38 AM

... And what about individuals who were given a life sentence in prison for some heinous crime. Do we now keep them in prison for 200 years? ...

Perhaps we should restrict the technology to those serving life? More punishment for them and better testing for us. Who would lose sleep over Manson doing 200 more?

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Posted: 25 July 2008 01:43 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Interesting suggestion, AVOS. smile

Being a pessimist, I would tend to envision the techniques for making any significant change in life span would be patented, kept as trade secrets, and made available by medical/pharmaceutical organizations speciallizing in that at extremely high prices.  In other words, only the very rich and powerful would be able to extend their lives, allowing them to become more rich and more powerful. 

I agree with Macgyver that the population increase would be a major problem.  And, with all the important positions in society being held by super-elders, I can’also imagine that young people might get so frustrated that they revolt and start killing off the older part of the population. 

While I’m not bored yet, I do find it harder to maintain my interest long enough to finish the books I still buy.  I can imagine that it will be a race between my getting so bored that I look forward to death and my still being interested but death getting there first.  smile

Occam

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Posted: 25 July 2008 01:59 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Occam - 25 July 2008 01:43 PM

While I’m not bored yet, I do find it harder to maintain my interest long enough to finish the books I still buy.  I can imagine that it will be a race between my getting so bored that I look forward to death and my still being interested but death getting there first.  smile

Occam

That’s the truth! I feel that longevity may be overrated.

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Posted: 25 July 2008 03:36 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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Well if they can figure out the age problem maybe they can give you a pill to make you be interested in new things again or your mind will give up and you will forget and then wanna learn the same things over again. ha

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Many bottles of alcohol were harmed in the making of this story.

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Posted: 25 July 2008 03:43 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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macro820 - 25 July 2008 03:36 PM

Well if they can figure out the age problem maybe they can give you a pill to make you be interested in new things again or your mind will give up and you will forget and then wanna learn the same things over again. ha

Viagra is probably a good start at such a pill.

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Posted: 25 July 2008 03:43 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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Who’d wanna live 1000 years and need those at the same time anyway!

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Posted: 25 July 2008 07:14 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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traveler - 25 July 2008 01:59 PM

That’s the truth! I feel that longevity may be overrated.

But the old saw says that youth is wasted on the young!

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Posted: 26 July 2008 01:12 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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My grandfather died at 94, but he was ready to go at about 90, and boy did he let everyone know about it!

He was pretty damn healthy, right up until the end. But as he put it, “You just get tired of it all. I’m so tired of everything. I just want to die.” Of course, he was depressed after losing his wife 8 years earlier. But the man had a point. By 90, I’ll likely be “tired of it all” as well.

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Some people can read War and Peace and come away thinking it’s a simple adventure story. Others can read the ingredients on a chewing gum wrapper and unlock the secrets of the universe.    - Lex Luthor

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Posted: 26 July 2008 02:12 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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Similar to a family friend, who had hiked up a low mountain (Mount Tamalpias for those from the Bay area) when she was 89.  I recall when she visited at 92 she was annoyed at her children who kept trying to stop her from smoking and eating chocolate.  Somehow she always managed to get cigarettes and candy as much as her children tried to prevent her from doing so.  She said, “I can’t believe I have such stupid kids.  At 92 my body is such that there’s little I can do, and nothing that I want to do.  I like one cigarette a day and I still love chocolate.  They don’t realize that I’d rather enjoy these and die a few days earlier than just sit around hoping to die because I don’t have even those.”

Occam

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Posted: 26 July 2008 03:34 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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My great grand mother died at 95. She lived and took care of herself until she died one night in her sleep. Relatives had an elaborate ‘visitation’ schedule so they could keep and eye on her. She was very independent and would have been livid if she’d known of it!

My last and favorite memory was visiting her in L.A. as a small child shortly before her death. My father was her only grandchild and of course we were her only great grandchildren. My father had the audacity to SPANK one of her precious babies during our visit! When she found out, my tiny great grandmother beat my 6 ft tall father with her cane, and all he could do was stand there and take it!

When asked if she wanted to be buried in the same grave as her recently departed husband, she declared “hell no, I’ve spent the last X years lying under that man, and I want to finally rest in peace!”

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Posted: 26 July 2008 03:38 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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I like your great grandmother, asanta! Sounds like she was a real pistol!

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Some people can read War and Peace and come away thinking it’s a simple adventure story. Others can read the ingredients on a chewing gum wrapper and unlock the secrets of the universe.    - Lex Luthor

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Posted: 26 July 2008 05:23 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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Jules - 26 July 2008 03:38 PM

I like your great grandmother, asanta! Sounds like she was a real pistol!

She certainly was! And perfectly healthy, mentally intact and feisty to the end!

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