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posted by LaminatorX on Tuesday January 13 2015, @04:32PM   Printer-friendly
from the ought-to-be-enough-for-anybody dept.

The Guardian has an interesting article on the current quest sweeping Silicon Valley to disrupt death and the $1m prize challenging scientists to “hack the code of life” and push human lifespan past its apparent maximum of about 120 years. Hedge Fund Manager Joon Yun's Palo Alto Longevity Prize, which 15 scientific teams have so far entered, will be awarded in the first instance for restoring vitality and extending lifespan in mice by 50%:

Billionaires and companies are bullish about what they can achieve. In September 2013 Google announced the creation of Calico, short for the California Life Company. Its mission is to reverse engineer the biology that controls lifespan and “devise interventions that enable people to lead longer and healthier lives”. Though much mystery surrounds the new biotech company, it seems to be looking in part to develop age-defying drugs. In April 2014 it recruited Cynthia Kenyon, a scientist acclaimed for work that included genetically engineering roundworms to live up to six times longer than normal, and who has spoken of dreaming of applying her discoveries to people. “Calico has the money to do almost anything it wants,” says Tom Johnson, an earlier pioneer of the field now at the University of Colorado who was the first to find a genetic effect on longevity in a worm.

Why might tech zillionaires choose to fund life extension research? Three reasons reckons Patrick McCray, a historian of modern technology at the University of California, Santa Barbara. First, if you had that much money wouldn’t you want to live longer to enjoy it? Then there is money to be made in them there hills. But last, and what he thinks is the heart of the matter, is ideology. If your business and social world is oriented around the premise of “disruptive technologies”, what could be more disruptive than slowing down or “defeating” ageing? “Coupled to this is the idea that if you have made your billions in an industrial sector that is based on precise careful control of 0s and 1s, why not imagine you could extend this to the control of atoms and molecules?,” he says.

 
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  • (Score: 2) by ikanreed on Wednesday January 14 2015, @02:33PM

    by ikanreed (3164) on Wednesday January 14 2015, @02:33PM (#134743) Journal

    No, "non falsible faithbased" is pretty far separated from "natural experiment demonstrated, theoretical model supported".

    You know: there's no contributing compontent to global warming as a theory that hasn't been validated in a lab numerous times. It's a bit like saying "you only have faith that stars are objects similar to the sun."

    Just because there's only one sky, and we've only been observing it directly, not through controlled experiments, doesn't mean we don't have so much fucking evidence that it's true. Just because there's only one earth and we mostly observe evolution only through natural experiment and extant evidence also doesn't render it "faith based".

    The mass of the moon, theoretically modeled, observationally validated: no experiments.
    Plate techtonics: theoretically modeled, validated through natural experiment: just like global warming.

    At some point, you're going to have to accept that what you are is a science denier, with a tragically narrow view of science. If that's more comfortable to you than changing your mind: go ahead. Can't stop you. But you really should reconsider exactly how far you're willing to chase this untrue ideal of science you've created. And this bizarre and unsettling view of "faith".

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