A few reactions to the newly published "Ending Aging: The Rejuvenation Breakthroughs That Could Reverse Human Aging in Our Lifetime" for you today, starting with a thoughtful post from ShrinkWrapped:
two things struck me about these exceptional men (and a few women of science) to whom we owe so much. One was their passionate dedication to understanding the world around them. ... The second thing that struck me and stayed with me was how fleeting their time was. ... all these men, even Galileo who lived to be 78, died at an age that nowadays we would consider far too young.
[Aubrey] de Grey does an excellent job of making the research, which can seem (and is) exceptionally complex, understandable and approachable. But here is his key insight: there is nothing about these problems that is resistant to understanding and remediation given enough scientific time, energy, and money. In other words, researchers are already working on the problems (although often without explicitly working on "curing" aging) and none of the problems appear to be impossible to solve!
There is a very human desire to minimize disappointment. Almost everyone at one time or another has fantasized about living forever. Human beings from time immemorial have searched for the Fountain of Youth. To imagine we could actually be approaching such a resolution would be too painful for many; the possibility would be rejected as preferable to having hopes dashed. Yet by building on the life's work of the brilliant and persistent men and women of the last 500 years, we are indeed approaching the threshold of astounding advances in all areas of information technology and biology is increasingly becoming an information science.
it occurred to me that all of these great men and women who came before me died too soon, their work unfinished. I suspect most of us, even now the beneficiaries of anti-aging science (after all, what are anti-hypertensives and statins, if not anti-aging medications) do not wish to suffer the same way. No one wants to die with their work here unfinished.
Very true. The search for longevity is the quest to give people a choice presently lacking - to live another day, and take on the next challenge, should you so desire. Aging is no different than any other limit imposed upon us by the accidents of fate and evolution: we will overcome it, as we have overcome so many other limitations of the human condition of ages past, and remember the tragedy of those who had to live and die before that milestone was achieved.
Phil got his hands on an advanced copy and has promised a review. ... This is the book that those of us who have followed life extension closely have been eagerly awaiting.
You must get this book.
Economist Arnold Kling is threatening a review:
I just finished Aubrey de Grey's Ending Aging. I think that anyone who likes reading science books for pleasure would enjoy it. I'll have more to say later.
Finally, a piece on Aubrey de Grey and Ending Aging from the Daily Galaxy:
Like Francis Bacon, de Grey has never stationed himself at a laboratory bench to attempt a single hands-on experiment, at least not in human biology. He is a computer scientist who has taught himself natural science, and has set himself toward the goal of transforming the basis of what it means to be human.
Dr. de Grey, who holds a rare University of Cambridge degree on this basis of publications rather than classwork, believes that the key biomedical technology required to eliminate aging-derived debilitation and death entirely is now within reach - technology that would not only slow but periodically reverse age-related physiological decay, leaving us biologically young into an indefinite future.
De Grey is an administrative and theoretical scientist; he has formulated the Strategies for Engineered Negligible Senesence, published extensively in scientific journals, is editor-in-chief for for the journal Rejuvenation Research, speaks at conferences around the world, and presently directs research aimed at repairing aging through the Methuselah Foundation and in collaborative work with biomedical researchers. More pertinently, he is the epitome of direct action: starting from scratch, he has made himself into a force for change in aging research and, by extension, all our futures.
Get out there and buy the book in which Aubrey de Grey and Michael Rae explain, as best we know based on the biotechnology and scientific knowledge of today, how we can band together, build a mighty research infrastructure, and greatly extend our healthy life spans soon enough to matter.