12 July 2006

Aubrey de Grey's SENS Stands Up to Lively Debate

I strongly encourage anyone with an interest in gerontology or life extension science to visit the lively debate at Technology Review concerning the "SENS Challenge", with a prize of US $20,000 at stake. The challenge was issued a year ago, with the $20,000 prize offered to anyone who could prove that SENS was "unworthy of learned debate."

Technology Review has provided links to the entire debate (scroll down). Most of the entries failed to approach the level of serious consideration by the challenge judges, however one entry by Preston Estep was considered well enough argued to be awarded a $10,000 grant, which had nothing to do with the prize money for the challenge.

Links from other challengers are also provided on the TR SENS Challenge page, along with Aubrey de Grey's rebuttals, and the counter-rebuttals by the challengers. Finally, Preston Estep posted a strong protest to the judges' decision.

At the MPrize website, the editors correctly proclaim that SENS has withstood the challenges so far, and the $20,000 prize remains unclaimed. The $10,000 award to Estep is briefly discussed there as well.

The real debate is taking place as you read this, on the discussion forum of Technology Review, and other websites. A quick blog search query brought up a large number of news and blog reports on the decision of the judges. Start at the TR SENS Challenge page, and follow the links.

No one is staking his life that SENS is correct in every detail. That level of perfection is not necessary for SENS to have a profound positive impact on anti-aging research. It is only necessary that the SENS theories help lead to positive results, either directly or indirectly, for the theories to have been worthwhile in the long run.

There are backwaters of science that need to be shaken up from time to time. Gerontology had certainly become one of those backwaters by the 1990s. The entry of SENS into the arena has been like a splash of cold water to the face, and like a breath of fresh air, simultaneously.

Technology Review is to be congratulated for helping to stimulate this lively debate, and for furthering interest in this incredibly important field of study.


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“During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act” _George Orwell

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