SENS, Aubrey de Grey, and Harassment

If it’s not that bad, but Laura and Celine told the truth, then why are they so mad at Laura and Celine for revealing true, minor stuff? Hell, even lying about accusations that aren’t a big deal would not be that big a deal, right? Like if I lied that my boyfriend ate the last cookie after I said I wanted it.

I imagine this would lead to so much self-deception over time. If he can’t be corrected on stuff where he just discards the criticism, he’d basically be stuck with those errors ~forever.

Good point. If I lied about someone stealing half a sandwich from me 10 years ago in elementary school, nobody would really care. Although maybe lying in general should be a bigger issue than people make it out to be, because if I’m willing to lie about that, what else am I willing to lie about to achieve my goals?

If it’s such a big deal to do whatever it takes in the war on aging, and specifically to act in ways donors like, why doesn’t AdG do that himself and lead by example?

He has a reputation for being drunk. That’s gotta turn off some donors. Plus, if he didn’t drink at dinner events, he’d have his wits about him better, and make better decisions about what to say to donors. He could think strategically better.

He wants women to use their femininity with donors, but he won’t even spend a day sober. And then, while drunk (and while emailing women that they should use non-intellectual asserts), he wants people to donate because they believe in his mind and intellectual vision.

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Whether he would or wouldn’t, I think his analogy reveals something nasty about how Aubrey views actual or potential SENS donors.

I think there is enough similarity between trying to solve aging and a war to not dismiss the analogy itself out of hand. Most notably, if we fail to defeat aging the consequences are a fuck-ton of suffering and death. I think there are problems with the analogy too though. Aging isn’t creatively plotting against us; it can’t be negotiated with or persuaded; it doesn’t have the kind of secrets that could be revealed by pillow talk.

Nevertheless if we go with the war analogy, I think it is possible sometimes to use sex as a weapon against someone on an enemy’s side in a war - to get access, information, or money to do something the person wouldn’t want done.

Is that also true if the person is already on your side? Like, did/could Brits have slept with Americans in WWII so we’d help out more in the war? Seems like a stretch, and it definitely wasn’t the analogy Aubrey chose.

Similarly with neutral parties: Did the allies send women to sleep with Swiss politicians in hope that they’d come into the war on the allie’s side? Would that have worked? I really doubt it, and Aubrey didn’t use that analogy either.

Aubrey used sleeping with Nazis in his example. So it sounds to me like Aubrey views his actual/potential large donors as being on the side of aging in the war. He thinks it’s necessary to use sex as a weapon to get them to help the anti-aging side, cuz otherwise they don’t want to. The donors are an enemy to be defeated - with sex if necessary - rather than an ally who wants to help.

It kinda fits with Aubrey’s pro-aging trance idea. I just didn’t think he extended that all the way to people seriously considering a large SENS donation.


I didn’t think about that but it makes sense. Basically he justifies manipulating donors to win the war on aging, but if they are allies then no manipulation is required, only persuasion with reason (which would not require sex). This also makes me think that he’s anti-reason in some ways, because he believes manipulation has to be used to achieve the goal of beating aging. Does this mean he thinks the pro-aging trance is something that can’t/shouldn’t be changed by reason and should instead be “attacked” by using whatever “weapons” we have, including sex? Is it really a war with all the people who are stuck with the old cultural ideas? I think it’s more like they don’t know what we know yet and can learn it if we explain it to them… What’s weird is that a lot of what Aubrey spends his time doing is flying around giving interviews and answering all the common pro-aging criticisms… So it’s like he IS trying to use reason, but maybe he thinks it wont get there fast enough and so some more sinister means are necessary?

Flying around to socialize with people in person, and attend dinners with alcohol, instead of using YouTube for speeches and a better website and forum for FAQs, is not about appealing to people’s reason.

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Good point, he should actually just be addressing a big list of criticisms in both video and writing and then linking that to people whenever they have the same criticisms/questions/objections. Then he should spend the rest of his time working on the research or meeting with bigger donors in person if that gets them to donate millions to SENS etc.

Edit: Maybe a better way for me to put it would have been: He’s trying to convince people with words (and probably some non-words manipulation, especially in person, like maybe using prestige or fear of death or other things rather than words) for the most part, and does not seem to be doing things like manipulating people or treating them as enemies. But now based on what he’s said, maybe he does just view them that way and is using more manipulative methods that we can’t readily see publicly.

Seems more like he’s inconsistent and likes the idea of encouraging women sleeping around in his social circle. I don’t think you should expect logical consistency and try to infer his whole approach to outreach. It’s probably more of an excuse than the real reason.

The real reason is probably sexual, sexist and/or about personal social climbing, rather than logical. Maybe he wants to have MMF threesomes or orgies. Maybe he thinks he has a better chance with women who turn into sluts. Maybe he thinks they’ll realize that doing anything they can to make his life better is even more important than pandering to a donor, since he’s the general leading the whole war, so they’ll sleep with him. Maybe he thinks rich men will give him access to better parties, and women, if he helps them get access to women he knows. Maybe men already helped him get women or other things, and he’s in their debt and trying to return the favor. Maybe he feels strong when he controls and doles out resources, and especially strong when the resources are women not inanimate objects. Maybe he’s a sexist pig who thinks it’s men against women and he’s advocating for Team Men for the benefit of all bros. Maybe he has voyeuristic fantasies. Who knows. It could be a lot of things, though most of them are in the generic thematic ballpark of “sexist pig”.

It’s a rationalistic error to assume this is all about arguments, and that any errors must be logical errors. It’s kinda assuming AdG himself is making a rationalistic error, due to your own rationalism. We already know he’s a drunk polyamorous jerk who expects the public to be cool with his harem even though his wife was not. He uses status and power to push people around and try to get stuff he wants. He’s telling women who to sleep with because, for whatever reason, he wants to. The reason is not The Cause. If you think he’s an ascetic who is motivated by nothing but The Cause, you have not been paying attention to the actual facts of his life (which would be understandable in general, but a bunch of them have been posted in this thread).

Copy-paste of Aubrey de Grey FB post as presented on Reddit:

Finally an update for you all. Van Dermyden delivered her second report to SRF yeserday, and today SRF’s lawyer has told my lawyer that SRF does not plan to release the report and that they consider the investigation of me to be at an end. I somehow don’t think I need to spell out what I infer from that. Meanwhile, my latest information regarding the upcoming STAT article is that it will be “feature-length” (hence why it has taken so long) and that it will almost certainly appear by the end of the week.

“I somehow don’t think I need to spell out what I infer from that.” - I actually don’t know what Aubrey is inferring. I assume it’s something favorable to him, because he seems completely disconnected from reality, unwilling to acknowledge any serious wrongdoing, and has lied about the status of the investigation in the past, along with trying to interfere with it. That said, I thought it was interesting that he just assumed that people would be able to read his mind.

My guess is he has some fantasy that the full report actually exonerates him or something.

I’m curious about this article but it’s paywalled

The article is bad for AdG. He’s a hot-headed, lecherous drunk. But this part was perhaps the most notable:

“He stopped contributing conceptually to any field,” said Carpenter. “That was such a valuable thing to be doing for basic science,” said Carpenter. “And at this point, I don’t think he’ll ever get back to that.”

His ex-wife says he hasn’t been doing science/thinking work – like when he came up with SENS ideas initially – and she doubts he ever will again.

What has he been doing instead? Besides drinking and dating?

His strength had been in synthesizing diverse pieces of information, she said, of having the benefit of being an outsider looking past dogma to the underlying data and identifying research bottlenecks. Her regret, she said, is that once de Grey did that for aging, he began pursuing means to test his theory at all costs, to the abandonment of all else.

She’s saying he had a good idea then really wanted it funded and tested, so he moved on to just doing fundraising and social networking, but no more scientific thinking.

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While he was still an employee at Microsoft and serving as chairman of the board, Gates and a female employee exchanged “flirtatious” emails and propositioned the employee, the Journal reported.

But company spokesperson Frank Shaw told the Journal that in 2008, the company was made aware of the email exchange, which happened in 2007.

Another team Aubrey person offers their perspective. He claims that this was all the result of a power struggle to oust Aubrey for being too weird:

The real motive is the power struggle within the field, between the initial visionaries like Dr. de Grey who built it up from ideas alone to a vibrant network of organizations, and those who came later, riding on the visionaries’ coattails, and who mistakenly wish to “mainstream” the field by appealing to the gatekeeper institutions through rhetoric of “strategic conservatism” (one of Celine Halioua’s favorite terms – indeed, the underpinning of her goal to turn aging research into a “boring” field that gets rid of the radical-life-extension aspirations). The “strategic conservatives” cannot have a man with a long beard, who speaks of 1,000-year lifespans, as the spokesperson for this movement, so they needed to find a pretext to oust him. Not only that, but they managed to hoodwink those of more left-leaning sympathies by exploiting the tendency to automatically believe women who accuse influential men of harassment – even though believing such allegations here plays right into the hands of the same interests who would wish to corporatize and render exclusive the pursuit of longevity research, to “tone it down” so that gatekeeper institutions provide their grants and imprimatur of “respectability” while the general public gets no say and no benefit.

But what about the substance of the investigative report?

The second report is still methodologically flawed, in my view, but that is not the point, and so I will not fixate on that. The point is the conclusion, which is what I and many others anticipated: “In the end, after extensive review – and except as otherwise identified by the Firm in this Executive Summary in paragraphs one through seven, as well as in the separate Executive Summary dated September 10, 2021 concerning the Initial Investigation – we do not find evidence Dr. de Grey engaged in conduct that constituted unwelcome sexual conduct towards current or former SRF employees, or any person associated with SRF, since the founding of SRF.”

So, other than the initial allegations against Aubrey de Grey, which, at worst, would have consisted of him sending two questionable e-mails (which were overlooked by the recipient for nearly a decade) and making a joke in poor taste (which there is no evidence that he made), there is… no evidence… of any unwelcome conduct! So this was all… much ado about nothing! It was all… a tempest in a teapot, stirred up to displace Dr. de Grey from his position on the eve of his success in raising an unprecedented $28 million for true rejuvenation biotechnology research.

Soliciting a minor is just “questionable”? Like, what questions do you have about it, exactly?

Also, my understanding from the thread above is that Aubrey was already on leave cuz of allegations when they decided to do the fundraiser, yeah? So this narrative of people trying to remove AdG from his position right after he got a big cash haul is false.

Aubrey claims:

After speaking to Lisa I formulated the idea to write to James, but before doing so I called a board member, Michael Boocher. described my intent very clearly,
multiple times, during that call and, while not explicitly authorising me, he did not utter a syllable of discouragement. He did not see my exact text, of course, since
hadn’t yet composed the email, and I have accepted that could have been more unambiguous in some of my choices of words, but he unequivocally did not attempt
to dissuade me from sending anything.

From the Executive Summary of Investigative Findings:

37 Dr. de Grey said after sending the first email (but prior to drafting the second email), he called a SRF Board member on the SRF
Investigations Subcommittee during the night of August 11, 2021. During that call, he explained without specifying content or detail that
he intended to contact Complainant #2 via an unidentified individual. Dr. de Grey said after he conveyed his intent, there was “no trace of
discouragement” from the SRF Board member about it. The SRF Board member refuted this version of events, stating they received the
call very early in the morning (in a different time zone) after staying awake all night to attend a SRF Investigations Subcommittee meeting.
The SRF Board member explained the call came from an unlisted number, which they answered without knowing the caller was Dr. de
Grey. They described the call was polite before Dr. de Grey began “prodding” for information, which the SRF Board member said they did
not provide. After Dr. de Grey explained his intent to contact Complainant #2 via an unidentified individual, the SRF Board member said it
sounded like a “terrible idea.” The SRF Board member denied granting permission or encouraging Dr. de Grey in any way

Good catch on what appears to be AdG lying.

Aubrey claims:

Yes, I was instructed to make no contact with relevant parties while the investigation was in progress. However, Lisa Fabiny (SRF’s acting executive director) had
told me a few hours earlier that the investigation into me was over and that the investigator was moving to a new focus of who in SRF had been leaking confidential
(and, incidentally, false) info to Laura and Celine. Therefore, even though had not been officially told that the prohibition on contact was over, had been firmly given
that impression by someone I was entitled to trust.

It seems like Aubrey surmised, based on a statement that he was likely to be reinstated, that he was totally cleared now and could just do whatever he wanted:

He received tons of warnings and advice about interfering and was unapologetic:

Well they literally did an investigation and wrote up a summary, so that makes it easy to check stuff :)

Some of the Team Aubrey people should try it…