As promised, video has been posted of the recent Oxford University Science Society public debate between Aubrey de Grey of the SENS Foundation and Colin Blakemore, former head of the Medical Research Council. Formal debates in science and medicine, sponsored by academic societies, are a long-standing tradition in England: in the history of the sciences many of the important inflection points and transitions between eras of knowledge were marked by public debates held between the worthies of the time. The debates do not in and of themselves determine anything: they are a reflection of ongoing matters of interest and the clash of strategies or theories that currently engage the scientific community. Thus it should be taken as a promising sign that awareness of SENS-style rejuvenation biotechnology is at a level at which such debates are held and well-attended.
Rejuvenation through medical technology is in our future, and factions within the scientific and medical development communities are forming and polarizing around opinions on plausibility, how to construct therapies for aging, and just how urgent it is to take action on this issue. Much of the ongoing debate within the scientific community is invisible to the world at large - but make no mistake, it is taking place, and has been for the better part of a decade. When it comes to aging and what to do about it, the research community of today is a radically different place from the research community of the first years of this century.
The video below is divided into two parts: the debate in the first part, and then the audience question and answer session following in the second part.
Aubrey de Grey will propose the motion 'This house wants to defeat ageing entirely' and Professor Colin Blakemore will be opposing. The debate will be chaired and moderated by Professor Sir Richard Peto. This debate will address whether it is feasible and appropriate to consider ageing as a target of decisive medical intervention, raising the possibility of substantial extension of human lifespan.
Aubrey de Grey is currently Chief Science Officer of SENS Foundation, a biomedical research charity that aims to develop, promote, and ensure widespread access to rejuvenation biotechnologies that address the diseases and disabilities of ageing. SENS Foundation aims to bring ageing under comprehensive medical control. Its research agenda consists of the application of regenerative medicine to ageing - not merely slowing the ageing clock, but resetting it to early adulthood.
Colin Blakemore is Professor of Neuroscience at the University of Oxford Nuffield Department of Clinical Neurosciences. He is an expert in vision, development of the brain and neurodegenerative disease. He is active in communication of science and is president and adviser to several charities concerned with brain disorders. Prof. Blakemore was formerly Chief Executive of the Medical Research Council, the UK's largest public funder of biomedical research.