While it certainly seems a long time - and that we have come a long way - since the years in which SENS rejuvenation research was only an idea, and the research community was generally hostile towards the idea of treating aging as a medical condition, these are really still the early stages of the upward curve in the bigger picture. That curve leads to a mainstream research community as consumed by the effort to bring aging under medical control as it is presently consumed by work on cancer and stem cell science - and a public at large who support an end to aging just as greatly as they presently support an end to cancer. We'd all like it to go faster.
As our community of scientists, advocates, and supporters grows, the diversity of opinions on what we should be doing in order to speed up progress towards working rejuvenation therapies will also grow. I think this to be a good thing. The more approaches out there being tried in earnest, the more likely that one or another group will find ways to effectively speed up the present phase of the bootstrapping process. There will be disagreements, of course, and I disagree with some of the details in the piece linked here, but so what? Each to their own. Proof of correctness lies in implementations that effectively move the needle, not in opinion. If you have an idea, get out there and try it.
We have made huge strides in the last decade or so and we know a great deal about the processes and damages aging causes, but sadly this does not mean we know enough. There is much more to be learned in order to develop effective interventions and therapies to address these processes, and this is where basic science comes in. The countdown to accessible therapies against aging will not start unless each mechanism of aging is well understood. If all of them were understood right now, you would still need to wait for another 17 years to get a full range of therapies against aging. If you add 17 years to your current age and don't like the resulting number and its relation to the onset of age-related diseases, then ask yourself this, is supporting basic research on aging now in your interest? You may not be very excited about life extension in mice, but remember, no results in mice equals no translation to humans.
It is true the government funds research institutions and awards research grants. But the idea of preventing age-related diseases by addressing its underlying mechanisms is relatively new. There are not many experts among the decision makers in the grant system who can assess the breakthrough projects aimed at the hallmarks of aging and truly understand their potential. This is why these kinds of projects have less support from the government than the mainstream studies of a single disease like Alzheimer's or cancer.
In the case of government funding, the money goes from the taxpayer to the government treasury, where its future allocation is decided, and then to specific research institutions whose plan of research falls within the mainstream priorities. This makes it very hard for our community to influence the direction of research, which is a serious limitation indeed. Crowdfunding does not have this limitation, because it allows the public to connect with the researchers directly and support only the projects they believe are important. The amount of money collected during a crowdfunding campaign can be as much as a government grant (often even bigger), plus there is no need for the excessive paperwork typical for a government grant. This means that the researchers can focus on what they do best of all: their studies.
The number of ardent supporters of aging and longevity studies is relatively small due to the slow dissemination of information from scientists to the public. Most people still believe there is nothing we can do about biological aging, and so they see these studies as researchers simply feeding their scientific curiosity. Education regarding the plausibility and desirability to defeat aging takes time, patience and a lot of effort. It cannot be done by the scientists themselves (as their job is to work in the lab, not to make shows), and here is where advocacy groups and science popularizers should step in. However, people tend to forget that the best results can only be achieved if a group is well-organized, disciplined and uses evidence-based practices in all activities, from planning and management to crowdfunding, educating and lobbying. Steady progress requires a mindful and responsible approach from each person joining an advocacy group - which is sadly rarely seen.
Many members of our community prefer to profess their desire for indefinite lifespans directly, shocking the public. It is important properly explain the connection between aging and age-related diseases, and the causal relationship between aging prevention, health improvement, and longevity - longevity being a side-effect of better health. Being patient and addressing concerns people may have in relation to longer lives (like overpopulation, unequal access, boredom and others) is another important job which is rarely done properly, with enough supporting data to hand. Despite the fact that most of the sociological studies on public attitudes regarding life extension are available to read and have even been summarized by different members of the community, many people still refuse to explain the basics, or insist on using counterproductive radical messages, provoking additional skepticism and closing doors that would otherwise be open. Before starting a conversation with someone who is not familiar with the idea of healthy life extension, it would be useful to take a look at the existing data regarding how to make such conversation productive.