In my last post, I described the seven planks of Aubrey de Grey’s approach to achieving indefinite life span. I also suggested that many of the specifics in these approaches may be incorrect. It is very easy to be overconfident about what we know about the body; the entire history of medicine could be described as a narrative of such overconfidence. Thus, I do not necessarily believe that these seven planks are in fact precisely the way forward. What they are instead is a means of looking at the problem as solvable. Dr. de Grey is telling us is, “Don’t just explore. Aim at accomplishing!”
One might therefore compare him to Francis Bacon: In his Novum Organum, Bacon laid out the general direction that science would take for the next several centuries, and opened up the vistas in which it would succeed. He was writing in 1620, and got many details wrong. But his fundamental perspective was entirely right.
Thus, various specific components of SENS may include errors: e.g, telomere shortening, amyloid accumulation and mitochondrial free radical damage may all be red herrings. But the overall drive is undoubtedly correct: We can and will do this. — Stephen