Selling Healthy Life Extension Via Suitable Moderation

As I have outlined in the recent past, I think that toning down and self-censoring advocacy for radical life extension is a really bad idea. It does no good to remove instances of a suitable outrageous extreme from the discussion; rather, this makes it harder to direct support and resources towards plausible healthy life extension research.

Is there a way to be both moderate and an effective advocate for healthy life extension? I'm not convinced, but if there was a way to make it work, it might look something like this:

Greater knowledge about aging should bring better management of the debilitating pathologies associated with aging, such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, type II diabetes, and Alzheimer's. Therapies targeted at the fundamental mechanisms of aging will be instrumental in counteracting these age-related pathologies.

Therefore, this letter is a call to action for greater funding and research into both the underlying mechanisms of aging and methods for its postponement. Such research may yield dividends far greater than equal efforts to combat the age-related diseases themselves. As the mechanisms of aging are increasingly understood, increasingly effective interventions can be developed that will help prolong the healthy and productive life-spans of a great many people.

Personally, I find it hard, sometimes, to understand just why longevity is such a hard sell. Pick one: a) suffer and die before your time, or b) live a long, healthy, active life. Why, in a world in which longevity is much admired, do so many people reflexively chose option (a)?

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Death is such a horrible thing that the most powerful rationalizations are needed; ones that can withstand insults that would crumble other rationalizations. It will take a lot before people let their guards down, but that is just what de Grey is prepared to give them (e.g., robust mouse rejuvenation).

The way I look at it, our attitudes towards death are what others will be 15 to 20 years from now. By this time there will be enough evidence to convince the majority that death is conquerable.

Posted by: R at March 3rd, 2006 12:16 PM
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