Mr. Jason Pontin, Editor-in-Chief
One Main Street, 7th Floor
Cambridge, MA 02142
Letter for Publication...
Tuesday, February 8, 2005; Los Angeles, California
Dear Mr. Pontin
I am writing in support of my colleague Dr. Aubrey de Grey who seems to have taken a lot of "arrows in his back" for playing the role of a "pathetic troll" in your recent Editorial "Against Transcendence" (p. 10; February 2005). Your ad hominem attack on his person (disheveled dress, long beard, drinks too much beer, obsessive, childless, etc.) is irrelevant to the patronizing view that you wish to project of a lone, isolated, visionary evangelist whose brilliant mind should be better employed on other more "appropriate" projects. So, I wish to disabuse your readers that Aubrey is alone in his convictions. The Gerontology Research Group founded in 1990 is an international group of 130 scientists and physicians worldwide, all of whom are dedicated to the proposition of slowing and then reversing human aging in the next 50 years. I have personally followed this vision, since we founded a prior organization dedicated to that goal in the Summer of 1960, 45 years ago! The GRG has had a presence on the Internet for nearly ten years at www.grg.org where I encourage your readers to investigate our point of view in greater detail. Aubrey is a member and has been an invited speaker to our group.
In the mean time, I would hope that you would reconsider your anti-technology stance ("even if it were possible to perturb human biology in the way de Grey wishes, we shouldn't do it.") since your are the Editor of a cutting-edge technology journal. Your readers would never turn away from a problem solely on the grounds that the problem was "hard." The Wright Brothers would never have flown 100 years ago if they did not believe that difficult problems were still worth pursuing. And we are still in the Wright-Brothers era of biogerontology research. Why don't you allow a more extended discussion of this topic in your magazine, if you have an open mind?
Very truly yours,
L. Stephen Coles