“The knowledge that every ambition is doomed to frustration at the hands of a skeleton has never prevented the majority of human beings from behaving as though death were no more than an unfounded rumor.” – Aldous Huxley
Myth #1: Aging is natural and so we shouldn’t fight it: First of all, aging is not universal. A number of complex species such as lobsters, rockfishes, some tortoises, etc. do not appear to age. Therefore, aging is not a prerequisite to life. Aging is neither inevitable nor universal. Secondly, humankind is, in a sense, a struggle against nature. We have antibiotics and vaccines because we don’t want to be sick, which would be the natural outcome for many of us. If we were to follow Nature’s will, many of us wouldn’t be here and wouldn’t be reading these lines, on a monitor, over the Internet.
Myth #2: What’s the point of extending life if we are old: This is a common misconception about research on the biology of aging. The ultimate goal of my work and that of many biogerontologists is to preserve health and life. Yet we aim not just to make elderly people live longer but to diminish, not extend, age-related debilitation (also see de Grey et al., 2002). What we want is to find ways to extend healthy life span by postponing disease and eventually eradicate all forms of age-related involution. In other words, to find a cure for aging, an intervention that permits us to avoid aging and all pathologies associated with it. Instead of improving the quality of life of the elderly, I want to avoid having elderly patients in the first place. People would still die from accidents, infectious diseases, etc. After all, children and teenagers die too even though they are not yet aged.
My calculations for a cure for aging yield an average longevity of 1,200 years. This is assuming one would be forever young in body and mind.