Sunday, February 24, 2008

New Attack on SENS Life-Extension Project and Aubrey de Grey


Here is a new turn in hot scientific debates over the SENS Life-Extension Project, and Dr. Aubrey de Grey activities in rejuvenation research:

Recently a new chapter came out in a book published by the Springer publisher:

Annual Review of Gerontology and Geriatrics:
Biopsychosocial Approaches to Longevity

by Leonard W. Poon and Thomas T. Perls
(Hardcover - Dec 12, 2007)

Chapter 3 of this book entitled "The Promise of Human Life Span Extension" and written by Dr. Preston W. Estep III, contains the following section:

"SENS Brings Neo-Lysenkoism to Longevity Research"

Here are some excerpts:

"Agenda-driven pseudoscience like SENS has a clearly stated goal, but wishful thinking and extrascientific considerations, such as political or fundraising power, are placed ahead of and are often incompatible with scientific evidence.

There have been many examples of agenda-driven science, but SENS is strikingly similar to Lysenkoism, a name given to the pseudoscientific misdirection of Soviet Biology lead by Trofim Lysenko."
[in Stalin period]

Stay tuned for the response from Aubrey de Grey !

Key words:
New books, SENS, Life-Extension, Aubrey de Grey, rejuvenation research, Springer, Trofim Lysenko, Preston Estep, Neo-Lysenkoism, Leonard Poon,Thomas Perls

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Anonymous gary salter said...

That's a rich, idiotic reaching statement if I ever say any!If you consider that the soviet mess was the result of a single person (Trofim Lysenko) who had weird ideas and political connections to enforce them (and no proof- what-soever of his ideas). Aubre de Gray and the mprize are based on real observations on the mechanisms of aging and have proposed solutions that can and will change depending upon what discoveries/breakthroughs we will experience in the next decades (not to mention yearly conferences with world renown gerentology researchers). Given the extreme prior fossillisation of the gerentology feild and the fact that even if you hit them over the head with a technical solution to aging, they would have all sorts of stunned excuses/reasons to dismiss such accomplishments. The fact that aging is essentiall the product of what are dna/rna based machines and it should be evident to anybody who is aware of the advances in computer tech, bioinformatics (modeling), intergrated circuit tech (for instance, gives us gene chips), nanotech giving us first diagnostic capabilities, then manipulative capabilites at the cellular level (using advances in ic tech, biotech modeling, nanotech (cpu controlled robotics sensors/manipulators)) will give us the information we need to understand and manipulate all facets of aging. The simple fact that the power of the advances of computer chips in the last 40 years now give us the tools we need to sequence/model/manipulate dna/rna/nanotech systems and do whatever we want with these systems. Essentiall these systems are following moors law (exponential growth), that is why it took only 15 or so years to sequence the human geneome and why we will soon be able to sequence each of our own geneomes at our doctors (or labs) offices in a day or so (in couple of years).

4:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Looks like the main beef Estep has is the fundraising aspect, which is needed, research doesn't happen for free... Interesting other example of "agenda driven science" is the space program, sorry but that didn't produce any "pseudo-science" of course the debate regarding the economic efficiency and waste of that endeavor is a totally separate matter.

Most criticisms regarding SENS seems to be "morally"(it's unnatural to cure disease indefinitely...) or economically, and it is not that SENS isn't ripe for SCIENTIFIC criticism, it is indeed very speculative(but tries to be in a scientific way)

8:22 AM  
Blogger AnneC said...

One thing I've noticed is that some people tend to misinterpret SENS as a kind of "prescription" or plan unto itself, when all it really is is a convenient way of thinking about the various contributors to age-related damage. SENS doesn't claim to tell anyone exactly how to do anything, and never seems to me more like a framework for guiding research in particular directions. And if the research doesn't pan out, different directions can be explored. That's how we do science -- try stuff, and if it doesn't work, try other stuff.

10:36 PM  
Blogger Otto said...

When any sort of critique includes name-calling and/or ad hominem - attacks, it's hard to take it seriously. Besides, I don't see any reasons in the text as to why SENS is "pseudoscience" (a bizarre argument in anyway, since de Grey has himself said that SENS is more of an engineering project or even an umbrella for engineering projects rather than a stay-away-from-influencing-things-&-seek-only-to-understand kind of science project).

"Extrascientific considerations, such as political or fundraising power"
And so-called real science churns its money & results out of nothing, eh?

4:58 PM  
Anonymous Harold said...

Preston's beef is a legitimate one but Aubrey is a tireless crusader who intends by hook or by crook to realize his dream for the benefit of all.

6:17 AM  
Blogger Michael Workman said...

I am glad to see I am not the only one who believes Mr. De Grey is doing this for an agenda-driven reason to collect money and to be noticed in line life.

I have followed his postings in his forums and all he has done is answered questions with questions and when a direct question is asked that requires an answer he ignores it.

Aubrey de Grey and his crew knows nothing but book knowledge of DNA and Cells and in order to solve his agenda your going to need more information then just basic book knowledge.

He has collected more money then he needs and his ideas are not stable. I openly challenged him and he had my challenge deleted from the forums.

I will even open this challenge to ANY public medical area. Give me a RAT infested with cancer on deaths door and I will give you back that same rat happy and healthy in 1 month.

9:52 PM  
Blogger Alistair Tweed said...

The invective Dr. Estep directs towards Dr de Grey and SENS is nothing new:

He seems to become quite emotional on the subject.

I agree with AnneC - I see SENS as an evolving strategy to solving a problem.

I don't really understand Estep's issue with "agenda-driven science". Science helps us understand the universe. We use it to do useful things and make life better. Where's the problem?

11:08 AM  
Blogger Khannea Suntzu said...

The whole idea of developing 'some' way to extend lives is very similar to the engineering challenge posed by 'heavier than air flight'. Before this was done it had such transcendant qualities, it was taboo to even allude to it. Claiming it could be done was politically incorrect, or a frivolous claim up to 1901. It was denounced and embraced with equal irrational exhuberance.

Longevity will follow the same trajectory. People will talk about it, and then finally someone will string together the tools to extend lives and rejuvenate human tissues by a small amount. This will quickly be followed by better treatments, as everyone who gives a damn will throw everyting and the kitchen sink at research. So you will have two watershed moments in life extension as with fixed wing flight.

The first real flight, and the first measurable life extension. And then the first commercial service. My estimate is 2028 and 2035.

By 2045 life extension may have completely pervaded society and the denouncers and denialists will be a quickly evaporating memory.

1:53 PM  
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thank you

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