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  virus: Fwd: SENS Withstands Three Challenges - $20k Prize Unclaimed
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virus: Fwd: SENS Withstands Three Challenges - $20k Prize Unclaimed
« on: 2006-07-11 18:17:30 »
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==========================================================================
SENS Withstands Three Challenges - $20k Prize Remains Unclaimed
==========================================================================
For Immediate Release
July 11, 2006
Results of the Technology Review SENS Challenge $20,000 prize is not won
--------------------------------------------------------------------------
Dr. Aubrey de Grey's engineering blueprint for alleviating the
debilities caused by aging prevails: "SENS can of course be
legitimately doubted, but it cannot now be legitimately derided"
--------------------------------------------------------------------------

The science magazine Technology Review has released the results of the
SENS Challenge, which was established to test the validity of SENS
(Strategies for Engineered Negligible Senescence), the brainchild of
longevity researcher Dr. Aubrey de Grey. SENS lays out a detailed
engineering approach to alleviating and eventually reversing the
debilitation caused by aging. Following a controversial profile of de
Grey published by Technology Review in 2005, Dr. de Grey's charitable
foundation, the Methuselah Foundation, and Technology Review jointly
offered $10,000 each to establish the SENS Challenge. This $20,000
purse would be awarded to qualified experts who could demonstrate that
SENS was "so wrong that it was unworthy of learned debate".

An eminent panel of judges, comprising Rodney Brooks, PhD, director of
MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory; Anita
Goel, MD and PhD, founder and chief executive of Nanobiosym; Vikram
Kumar, MD, cofounder and chief executive of Dimagi, and a pathologist
at the Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston; Nathan Myhrvold, PhD,
cofounder and chief executive of Intellectual Ventures, and former
chief technologist at Microsoft; and J. Craig Venter, PhD, founder of
the Venter Institute and developer of whole-genome shotgun sequencing,
which sped up the human genome project, deliberated over the three
serious submissions and has now delivered its verdict.

The judges' unanimous opinion is summed up by Dr. Myhrvold, who
observed: "Some scientists react very negatively toward those who seek
to claim the mantle of scientific authority for ideas that have not
yet been proved. Estep et al. seem to have this philosophy. They raise
many reasons to doubt SENS. Their submission does the best job in that
regard. But at the same time, they are too quick to engage in
name-calling, labeling ideas as 'pseudo-scientific' or 'unscientific'
that they cannot really demonstrate are so. We need to remember that
all hypotheses go through a stage where one or a small number of
investigators believe something and others raise doubts."

Robotics pioneer Dr. Brooks stated: "I have no confidence that they
(SENS detractors) understand engineering, and some of their criticisms
are poor criticisms of a legitimate engineering process."
Dr. de Grey commented: "The result of the TR SENS Challenge is a
decisive rebuke to those gerontologists who have dismissed SENS as
'unscientific' and neglected to study it in detail. The Challenge
judges forcefully and accurately describe SENS as a radical,
necessarily speculative, but legitimate engineering proposal that
merits fair consideration. SENS can of course be legitimately doubted,
but it cannot now be legitimately derided".

Technology Review has also announced that it is to make a $10,000
payment to Estep et al. in recognition of what it terms their "careful
scholarship." David Gobel, Co-Founder of the Methuselah Foundation,
commented: "While of course Technology Review is at liberty to make
whatever ex-gratia payments it likes from its own funds, it is
important to make it clear that this consolation prize was awarded
outside the framework of the SENS Challenge, and without consulting or
notifying the Methuselah Foundation, which contributed half the as yet
unclaimed $20,000 SENS Challenge fund. Technology Review's verdict is
in stark contrast to that of the SENS Challenge judges, who noted that
Estep et al. were 'too quick to engage in name-calling' and that 'it
would be overstating the case to assert that Estep et al. have proved
their point.'"

About SENS
SENS (Strategies for Engineered Negligible Senescence) is a detailed
plan for alleviating the debilitation caused by human aging. SENS is
an engineering project, reflecting the fact that aging is a medical
condition and that medicine is an engineering discipline. Aging is a
set of progressive changes in body composition, at the molecular and
cellular level, which are side-effects of essential metabolic
processes; each of these changes has the potential to be mitigated and
eventually reversed. Further details of SENS can be found at:
www.sens.org

About the Methuselah Foundation
The Methuselah Foundation is a non-profit 501c(3) organization
dedicated to raising the awareness of the potential for near-term
science-based aging interventions using modern technologies. Its
primary activity is the Methuselah Mouse Prize, which is being offered
to the scientific research teams that significantly extend the
lifespan of middle-aged laboratory mice. Further details of the
Methuselah Foundation can be found at: www.mprize.org

About Technology Review
Technology Review, the oldest technology magazine in the world (est.
1899), is owned by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. TR's
February 2005 profile of Dr. de Grey can be found at:

www.technologyreview.com/read_article.aspx?id=14147&ch=biotech

Full details of the SENS Challenge can be found at:
www.technologyreview.com/sens/index.aspx

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