It looks like Jay Fox is getting a good reception from other quarters in the blogosphere. Good - I fully expect to see many more quality posts at Longevity First based on Jay's track record elsewhere. Some quality thoughts from Classical Values:
For starters, helping people to stay healthier longer is so self-evidently virtuous as to require no excuses. It angers me that such excuses are even thought necessary in "certain quarters". To live a good life requires, first and foremost, that you have a life to be good WITH. The dead have had done with being good.
But the life extension angle, isn't that just a little kooky? We have no proof at all that it's even possible, right? Aren't I just grasping at straws here? Well now, that's the funny thing. We actually DO have evidence that it's possible, at least in lab animals. Heck, it's not just possible, it's a done deal.
Worms have had their natural spans trebled, and quintupled. Rats have gained fifty percent. If the rat comes from a truly screwed up strain, prone to a short lifespan, caloric restriction can triple their life expectancy.
And we've known how to do this since the 1930's. It's only now that we have the tools to begin exploring the why of it.
Given these FACTS, when I hear someone denigrate this type of research as hopeless, or immoral, or doomed to failure, I ask myself where THEIR evidence is...but perhaps I'd better quit while I'm ahead.
Despite the successes in animal studies, we are still a fair way from engineering sufficient support for serious longevity research in humans. The technical obstacles are far less intimidating that the social obstacles and funding obstacles at this point in time - which is why advocacy is so important.
As a side note, keeping the conversation about healthy life extension alive and humming along is very much a part of broader efforts for activism and education. "Conversation" in this sense means that dispersed set of articles, commentary, opinions and back and forth in the online and print world; an emergent environment that reflects the level of interest and thinking in this topic. Fight Aging! was created to help that process along - I've been pleased to see that many other bloggers have joined in. By simply talking about healthy life extension in a public arena, we help our long term goals by making others aware of our ideas and the need for action.