Fwd: [la-grg] Alliance for Aging Research Political Manifesto

From: Max More (max@maxmore.com)
Date: Thu Feb 08 2001 - 11:18:33 MST

Forwarded with permission. This is interesting in the context of our discussion about keeping track of anti-extropic public figures and events. I'm building up a "little black book". :-)  One project I have in mind is to systematically track these folks and have a process in place for responding to them.


Date: Tue, 06 Feb 2001 21:19:18 -0800
To: la-grg@wildwebservices.com
From: "L. Stephen Coles, M.D., Ph.D." <scoles@grg.org>
Subject: [la-grg] Alliance for Aging Research Political Manifesto

-- To Members and Friends of the Gerontology Research Group:

        The Alliance for Aging Research of Washington, D.C. has just published
a two-page manifesto in the latest issue of JAAM [*]. Visit their website at


and check out their superlative Scientific Advisory Board.  Several members were
members of the Wasington, D.C. Gerontology Research Group in 1995-6.

The article begins with three sad quotations...

        ... Audrey Chapman, Director of Science and Human Rights at the AAAS said
in US News and World Report, "It is evil to focus energy on trying to live longer than
80 years when many poor people now don't live past age 40."

        The Rev. Richard J. Neuhaus of the Institute of Religion and Public Life criticized
what he called "the search for immortality as a pagan and sub-Christian quest driven
by the essentially amoral and mindless dynamic of the technological imperative joined
to an ignoble fear of death."

        Dr. Daniel Callahan, Biomedical Ethicist at the Hasting Center in New York said,
in The New England Journal of Medicine, "We can't ban this [longevity] research, but
we can make it socially despicable -- like nuclear testing, we can decide that we don't
want to do it.  People at age 65 have lived long enough to experience the typical range
of human possibilities and aspirations: to work, to learn, to love, to procreate, and to
see one's children grow up and become independent adults.  No special effort should
be made to help them live longer.  In fact, the NIH budget for cancer research should be

        We of the LA-GRG believe that we are not only justified but are obligated to do
whatever we can to extend, not shorten, human life.  We cannot afford to dismiss these
apologists as harmless.  Their titles give them ready access to the media, and they are
capable of stirring irrational fear in society at large (read Congress).   Therefore, they
do pose a threat to the pursuit of medical knowledge that will help millions of people,
including ourselves, live healthy, vital lives, postponing devastating and costly diseases
like Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, Cancer, and Heart Disease, within the period of our own

Best regards,

Steve Coles
* "Political Issue -- Taking Sides in the Great Longevity Debate: Critics of Aging
Research Are Missing the Point," JAAM, Vol. 3, No. 4, pp. 447-8 (Winter 2000). 
L. Stephen Coles, M.D., Ph.D., Co-Founder
Los Angeles Gerontology Research Group
URL: http://www.grg.org -- LA-GRG Mailing List

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