Saturday, 4 August 2012

Aubrey de Grey debates Colin Blakemore "This house wants to defeat ageing entirely"

"This house wants to defeat ageing entirely" (Part 1 - Main debate) - YouTube

"This house wants to defeat ageing entirely"
Dr Aubrey de Grey (proposing) and Professor Colin Blakemore (opposing)

A public debate organised by Oxford University Science Society, held in the Sheldonian Theatre in Oxford on April 25th, 2012.

Professor Colin Blakemore:

  • 26 mins: 'Aubrey de Grey is offering you is eternal life without the pain, this is snakeoil and dangerous snakeoil. There are two main reasons why you should reject the idea of defeating ageing completely:-
    1. the mission is utterly unrealistic and is a distraction of the hard and costly task of preventing and curing disease whatever the age at which the disease happens
    2. if this miracle ever did happen it would be a disaster for humanity and the planet
  • 27 mins: 'What gets Aubrey headlines and raises money for his organisation is .. immortality. Aubrey says he does not work on immortality, he works on health.
  • 35 mins: Aubrey has great confidence in the pace of biological progress and the omnipotence of researchers ... but there is an important dividing line between confidence and delusion. For example Huntington's disease gene was discovered in 1993 and after 20 years their is no cure and even if there was a drug available now it would take another 10 years to get it approved. There is not going to be a quick fix [Aubrey says there is 50: 50 chance of stopping all people of dying of old age within 25 years] for all the myriad diseases of man.
  • 39 mins: recent work on Calorie restriction in monkeys extending life span has been greeted rather sceptically. Activation of sirtuin enzymes by resveratrol (found in grape skins) extends life span in yeast & fruitflys but not in mice.
  • 40 mins: In yeast & mice, calorie restriction activates Rapamycin inhibiting energy production - extends lifespan
  • 41 mins: History of the Philosophers Stone (an elixir of life, useful for rejuvenation and achieving immortality)
  • 42 mins: Alzheimers is a major epidemic disease
  • 122 years breakthrough would bring about a cascade of problems for humanity
  • germ & stem cells live forever, by what mechanism? 
  • debate is NOT about the timescale but does "This house wants to defeat ageing entirely"?
  • 17mins: 100k die every day from ageing (out of 150k from all deaths)

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