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SMILE: LIO Libertarians Hail Life Extension Advance

Posted on December 2, 2010 at 9:53 AM

Libertarian International Organization Adviser Dr.  Roy Walford championed suggestions on telomere research, exercise and diet studies for life extension that were called "laughable" and "life extension looneytarianism" but scientists aren't laughing now. Nor are the experimental mice now enjoying dramatically increased lifespans, age reversal as exciting research with discovery of tools that anyone can use continues.


In the mid-1970' s LIO Co-ordinator visionary Michael Gilson-De Lemos ("MG") , and LIO Board members Philosopher and Futurist Dr. Timothy Leary, Science Writer Peter Ritchie, Life Extension Biologist Dr. Roy Walford, futurist and science proponent to world youth G. Harry Stine (later board chair) and Social Critic Robert Anton Wilson formed the Intenational Committee for the Elimination of Death. The group was later advised by Dr. Robert Atkins, who had concluded that mandated government policies, bizarre diet and exercise policies in public schools that were also spilling into privater schools, over-vaccination, and perverse diet and anti-supplement and fiber consumption suggestions to the public warped by incentives from tax-funded corporate and government research were having the reverse effect: namely shortening life, increasing a host of minor but debilitating ailments,  and, he predicted, setting the stage for a diabetes and obesity epidemic in advanced countries now spreading.(Dr. Atkins recommended daily walks, mineral water, regular check-ups, and diets rich in fiber and healthy fats such as olive oil, but low in sweet carbohydrates such as sugar and starches as a starting point of study.)


Its object: Change the paradigm that made Life Extension studies a virtual taboo or something dismissed as hopelessly utopian. The Committee aggressively used the LIO approach of personal contacts, writings, and interdisciplinary dialogue, along with collecting promising materials and seeing that they were publicized to inform public opinion. Dramatic ideas such as aging reversal, brain transplants, public health and lifestyle information geared to life extension instead of reactive illness prevention, and genetic engineering were amomg those presented. The contact group soon addressed many scientists, policymakers, and thinkers. Leary and Wilson also proposed the initial SMILE concept which, modified, is the current focus of LIO activity which we report here.




Dr. Walford pioneered substantial research in diet changes and longevity. Dr.Leary wrote extensively and worked tirelessly to remove legal blocks to the internet as an essential research tool. Ritchie spoke with journalists, promising students and scientists of over 80 countries, and proposed cloning, then almost unknown to the public, as a possible avenue. Stated MG: "We must change the paradigm to back-engineering. If scientists assume it is possible to have both incremental and dramatic advances, they'll look for where they might be instead of worrying about offending religious fanatics and moneybag politicians and leaders with destructive or simplistic agendas. Right now laws prevent exercise facilities in some jurisdictions. We must not await scientific revolutions but make them thinkable as one generation moves on," he said, referring to Kuhn's book Structure of Scientific Revolutions."We personally may not survive but may 'Kill Death' from the grave, so to speak."  Dr. Leary summarized it as "Voluntary choice + Focus= Long life spans"


The group suggested lines of research and discussion including the effect of telomeres, transplant research and genetic mapping, and urged journalists to research and publicize an array of simple things people could do that would increase their lives. members proposed that by simultaneously persuading people to extend life by lifestyle changes while new avenues of research produced results, "effective immortality" might be attained in this century. LIO suppporters are also working on making cryogenic freezing of bodies for revival with superior future science increasingly legal, tax free and easy in a growing number of jurisdictions. LIO continues to encourage choice based approaches as essential to the prosperity and education level that raise public health.


The last year has seen continued and dramatic paradigm change as a new generation that grew up hearing such ideas moves into place. A generation later GOOGLE reports that mice experience age reversal with new telomere research. In addition millions of links may be found addressing the cluster of issues such as things people can do to extend life, such as moderate daily exercise; and counter-intuitive strategies such as moderate consumption of wine, alternate fasting or low eating days, and more. As scientific interest grows, so do popular magazines and websites. The public should remain cautious, however, of promises of wonder cures and supplements.


LIO Libertarians have been always interested in removing blocks to lifespan extension. Public Health blossomed as laws and customes that effectively created unhealthy cities ( where, for example, water supplies were placed next to waste disposal; or laws prevented suing to remove polluting entities) were removed; and a world effort advanced by the LIO's then Liberal and Individualist clubs in many countries to normalize bathing, then viewed as immoral by many religious fanatics then in power, was implemented starting in the 1830's.


Several Life Extension researchers have recently joined the board and will be profiled in future items as the effort moves to the next generation.




  1. Use the tools already available to get informed and extend your life
  2. Challenge leaders to support non-tax funding of innovative research
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Categories: ALL, LIFE Extension