What Happened To the Point of the Exercise?

An interesting position paper from Aubrey de Grey via the Annals of the NYAS: "The early days of biogerontology were blessed with an undiluted forthrightness concerning the field's ultimate goals, epitomized by its leaders. Luminaries from Pearl to Comfort to Strehler declared the desirability of eliminating aging with no more diffidence than that with which today's oncologists aver that they seek a cure for cancer. The field's subsequent retreat from this position garnered a modicum of political acceptability and public financial support, but all biogerontologists agree that this fell, and continues to fall, vastly short of the funding that the prospect of even a modest postponement of aging would logically justify. The past 20 years' discoveries of life-extending genetic manipulations in model organisms have weakened the argument that a policy of appeasement of the public's ambivalence about defeating aging is our only option; some of the biogerontologists responsible for these advances have espoused views of which our intellectual forefathers would be proud, without noticeably harming their own careers. With the recent emergence of a detailed, ambitious, but practical roadmap for the comprehensive defeat of aging, this process has moved further: our natural and most persuasive public stance is, more than ever, to reembrace the same unassailable logic that served pioneering biogerontologists perfectly well."

Link: http://dx.doi.org/10.1196/annals.1395.046

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