University of Alberta Talk a Success

Aubrey de Grey's presentation at the University of Alberta went well by all accounts. April notes:

When people begin to ask questions about the consequences of curing aging as we know it, it signals to me that they can't refute de Grey's arguments about the *possibility* of curing aging, so they turn to arguing about the *desirability.* It is indeed hard to refute the basic premise that if we could repair the damage caused by being alive, there's no reason to believe that we can't continue being alive indefinitely (or until we get squashed by a truck on the New Jersey Turnpike.)

The problem with arguing about the *desiribility* of curing aging is that it requires one to argue that people have the moral obligation to die. We would never say to a representative of the American Heart Association that curing heart disease is bad because it would cause lots of people to live longer. We would never tell a nurse who works in the neonatal ICU that it would be better for those palm of the hand-sized babies to die instead of growing into healthy, productive adults. So why should we argue that just because someone is 80, or 90, or 100, or 110, or 150, they should make the planet less crowded by going off somewhere to die?

For me, watching from afar, the most interesting part of this event was the comparatively large amount of globally accessible press attention it generated - which in turn is reflected in the blogosphere - all due to the hard work of volunteers and this useful internet thing you might have heard of. It shows that even comparatively minor events can be used to very good effect in continuing attempts to educate the public ... when the media are appropriately prepared and cultivated, that is.


You ask: Would you like to see every last disease of aging cured?

My answer is yes, but would'nt it be better and perhaps more realistic that they be prevented in the first place?

Perhaps initially by sensible lifestyle and diet.

Peter Kemp

Posted by: Peter Kemp at February 21st, 2005 2:31 AM

It's certainly true that appropriate lifestyle and diet choices (such as calorie restriction, moderate exercise, supplementation, and so forth) can slow the impact many age-related diseases ... but you can't avoid them entirely. Most are a result of accumulated damage, which means you will get them eventually; hence we need cures.

Practicing a good lifestyle is a sensible response to the fact that we don't yet have these cures, and we don't know for sure how long it will take to develop them.

Posted by: Reason at February 21st, 2005 9:19 AM
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