Cynthia Kenyon to Address SENS At Technology Review

By the look of things, biogerontologist Cynthia Kenyon has agreed to a column for Technology Review in which she discusses Aubrey de Grey's Strategies for Engineered Negligible Senescence. From a blog entry by Jason Pontin:

In August, Cynthia Kenyon, a much-respected biogerontologist working at UCSF (she has significantly extended the lifespans of nematodes, amongst other successes), will answer de Grey in Technology Review's "By Invitation" column. What are the most important issues that Dr. Kenyon should address in her analysis of de Grey's ideas on human aging? Quick, write and tell me. Her deadline is approaching fast.

From my previous readings, I'm not actually all that sure where Cynthia Kenyon stands in terms of her view on the science. We all know where Pontin stands, and have castigated him appropriately for his ad hominem and unseemly attacks; I can't say that he seems to have learned his lesson yet, unfortunately.

Still, Pontin is asking for feedback for an article addressing substantiative scientific issues, so I think we should go and provide it - politely, please, even though he's being provocative as usual.

UPDATE: Apparently, she declined to do it after all:

I asked Dr. Kenyon if she would comment on de Grey's prescriptions almost three months ago; she agreed; and I announced her "By Invitation" column on this blog last week, asking readers what issues they would like her to address. But after a great deal of work, Dr. Kenyon very graciously told me she simply felt she couldn't do an "effective" job. I remain committed to finding a biologist who will criticize SENS: after Technology Review's profile of de Grey, Do You Want to Live Forever?, many of his admirers challenged me to have a working scientist say why de Grey's ideas were impractical--if they were impractical. So far, I have been unable to find one biogerontologist who felt comfortable writing about SENS--which is telling perhaps. But I shan't give up yet.

I wonder what's going on there behind the scenes?


Pontin made it clear in his article that he is driven more by ideology than by science. He simply hates the idea that people can live forever young and basically be free from the kinds of interpersonal ralationships that age has a way of forcing onto them.

Pontin's only accomplishment was to tarnish TR's image with ideology promotion. TR deserves better than this.

Posted by: Kurt at May 19th, 2005 2:35 PM

I notice that Pontin's post is now no longer linked from the main page of his blog, although it can still be accessed directly. Shady, and not admirable.

Posted by: Reason at May 21st, 2005 6:57 PM

This does not suprise me and it sounds like Pontin is trying to backpedel. The anti-longevity crowd is intellectually dishonest because, deep down, they know that their position is intellectually bankrupt.

Posted by: Kurt at May 22nd, 2005 2:32 PM
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