The Revolution Against Aging and Death (RAAD) Festival

The Revolution Against Aging and Death (RAAD) Festival will be held in California this coming August. The list of speakers is a fascinating combination of the old and the new in the life extension advocacy community: people who have spent decades focused on supplements, health optimization, and the like on the one hand, representatives of the new field of rejuvenation biotechnology on the other, topped off by futurists and advocates whose efforts span these eras.

It is undeniably true that the "anti-aging" industry, for all that it is wall to wall fraud and lies, has built an enormous delivery network and megaphone, and that a lot of the people involved are genuinely passionate about the end goal of radical life extension and the end of aging. It is one of the many paradoxes of the broader community that despite this passion they spend their efforts on businesses and products that cannot make any real difference, and are probably doing more harm than good when you consider how their marketing affects public perception of legitimate work on extending healthy human lives. Nonetheless, there is an argument for engaging the more legitimate end of this industry in order to prepare the ground for a near future of actual, working treatments for aging, and increase the chances for a rapid transition of the first rejuvenation therapies into clinics worldwide. RAAD Festival is an example of that mindset in action, coupled with a determination to shift public discussions of longevity science and the bounds of the possible towards the goal of indefinite healthy life spans:

Join us for the largest ever gathering of radical life extension enthusiasts to learn the latest scientific advancements, connect with like minded people, gain vital insights to extend your health and wellbeing, become a more empowered and effective advocate, interact with leaders of radical life extension, and have a blast celebrating our unlimited future together with music and performances. This is our time to shine. It's time for us to come together, to learn about the newest life extending science and super longevity strategies, to take pride in our progressive views, and to be empowered to make our voices heard. RAAD Fest combines the energy and fun of a festival, the empowerment and interaction of personal development, with cutting edge science presented for a lay audience to create the first and best holistic radical life extension event ever. Hear from top scientists, entrepreneurs and thought-leaders addressing every aspect of radical life extension, from nutrition and new gene therapies, to the power of personal intention, the sociology of immortality and advancement in artificial intelligence. You will also have the opportunity to interact with our experts as well as share your own views.

We're at a unique turning point in terms of the plausibility of radical life extension. It's not a new idea. Taoists were interested thousands of years ago. 19th Century Russian philosophers talked about physical immortality. Books written in the 1950s and 60s predicted it would happen. But only now is the science starting to look solid. So this is a critical time for people to come together to learn what is happening now and to understand how they can make a difference both in their own lives and in the culture at large. This is the purpose of RAAD Fest, the largest radical life extension event ever.

It's not enough to just talk about possibilities. We need to take all possible actions, including improving diet, exercise, and adopting a positive-and-practical attitude. And we need to influence public opinion to drive more research investment in radical life extension. Action now can be the difference between living and dying. The idea that lifespans are not fixed is being taken seriously by serious people. But we need to bring together the diverse groups involved in radical life extension to have greater impact on public policy. We still spend ludicrous amounts of money on end-of-life care, which is basically extending misery and suffering, when we could be spending it on research that would prevent people from getting in that situation in the first place. We can't afford to have a passive mentality in which we agree in principle, but don't do anything about it. The stakes are too high. We need to come together to celebrate life and to inspire people to take more steps to live healthier lives now, and to take constructive action in society. There's so much that needs to be done. We need to push for changes in public policy, in corporate research funding, and in personal attitudes and cultural beliefs.



Snake oilers bar a few exceptions as far as I am concerned

Posted by: Steve Hill at April 25th, 2016 8:46 AM

Please, please don't ever promote anything with "Dr." Mercola in it ever again.

checks list of presenters Oh you have got to be kidding me-- Aubrey de Grey is appearing in the same convention as obvious quacks like Mercola and James Strole?! I'm sure that'll do absolute wonders for SENS' credibility!

God damn it Michael, aren't you getting paid enough money to point out really bad ideas?!

Posted by: Slicer at April 25th, 2016 1:28 PM

True, I'm sure I was far more mild in comments here than I have been in the past regarding everything from the LEF on down. Perhaps I'm just getting jaded. This isn't the first time that the SENS folk have tried outreach to the "anti-aging" community, as its failure to contribute meaningfully and shift attention to things likely to work is a puzzle along the same lines as the failure of the public at large to support longevity science. The LEF does contribute to useful research, from SENS to stem cell trials, but they are a small minority, and even there one can argue about the weight of good versus bad contributions based on their overall activities.

I would expect the hope to be that the good can drive out the bad eventually, and that the nature of the "anti-aging" marketplace - fraud, wishful thinking, lies, and so on - is a consequence of the lack of ways to treat aging in the past. If that's going to happen, bridges must be built. I'm fairly agnostic on the topic of whether this is a good use of time or not. If someone did it and succeeded, in the sense of pulling in significant funding, or massive distribution to clinics for the first rejuvenation therapies, we'd applaud. I suspect that the track record to date suggests that success can't follow from the same approaches undertaken in the past, however. If it was going to just work, it has had fifteen years to do that.

Posted by: Reason at April 25th, 2016 1:41 PM

Reason, you can't rationalize with the irrational. You just can't. It's a contradiction in terms. The SRF and the rest of the damage-repair community would be much better served seeking funding from practically any other place than this. Just having the names of Dr. de Grey and various other professionals appearing alongside the names of extraordinarily blatant quacks is causing tremendous, lasting harm. The only way this could possibly be beneficial is if they have the express intent of going "Yeah, hey, the blatant quacks at this convention are all blatant quacks"- an approach I doubt would work there but would be interesting to see (and would probably raise credibility somewhat once the video made it to Youtube). On the other hand, having Dr. de Grey give yet another variant of The Usual Speech in that kind of setting would be disastrous from a credibility perspective.

Posted by: Slicer at April 25th, 2016 1:51 PM

Agreed with slicer these people are clearly out to make a quick buck and the few credible researchers going there are damaging their reputation appearing next to quacks like mercola. The whole thing is organized by some weird cult and despite being repeatedly challenged refuse to give a straight answer on how profit will benefit researchers. The only people who benefit are the organizers of this expensive pop concert.

Posted by: Steve h at May 2nd, 2016 3:07 AM

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