Item description for The Scientific Conquest of Death by Immortality Institute...
Nineteen scientists, doctors and philosophers share their perspective on what is arguably the most significant scientific development that humanity has ever faced - the eradication of aging and mortality. This anthology is both a gentle introduction to the multitude of cutting-edge scientific developments, and a thoughtful, multidisciplinary discussion of the ethics, politics and philosophy behind the scientific conquest of aging.
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Studio: Libros en Red
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 8.3" Width: 5.5" Height: 0.9" Weight: 0.75 lbs.
Release Date Oct 12, 2004
Publisher Libros en Red
ISBN 9875611352 ISBN13 9789875611351
Availability 130 units. Availability accurate as of Oct 22, 2016 12:19.
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Reviews - What do customers think about The Scientific Conquest of Death?
Best Book I've Read in Years!!! Jun 22, 2008
This book is amazing. From nanotechnology to the philosophy of extended lifespans to the future of medicine, there is so much great information in this book.
I recommend anyone who wants more out of life to buy this book. Its an easy read and the chapters are short and to the point enough to keep you wanting more.
5 stars! check out the website at www.imminst.org for more info on everything these people are doing to better the path of humankind.
Good Overview May 26, 2005
The first part of this book provides a good introduction to the medical arguments that provide hope that within a few decades everyone will be able to achieve the health needed to have a life expectancy of a millennium or more. It's less technical than I would like, but probably provides good enough references to enable the serious reader to find the more rigorous arguments that lead to these summaries. In spite of the "Infinite Lifespans" in the subtitle, the book makes little attempt to ask whether we can avoid problems such as war, the heat death of the universe, etc. The book is well organized for a collection of articles by 18 different authors. The quality of the book goes downhill near the middle about where it switches to philosophical questions. Most of the arguments against really long lifespans that it attempts to refute are too superficial to deserve more than a few pages of rebuttal. I wish I had a quick way of determining whether there are better objections to long lifespans that the book failed to deal with. Some specific complaints: Max More correctly points out that people who use population concerns as a rationalization have given little thought to the relative importance of birth rates. But his claim that lifespan has no effect on population growth is almost as thoughtless. For birthrates less than 2 per couple, the difference between a fixed lifespan and an infinite lifespan is the difference between exponential decline and exponential growth. Whatever we assume about lifespans, achieving desirable and sustainable population growth rates seems like a nontrivial problem. Marvin Minsky says "There is no sign that we are getting smarter" over the past two thousand years. If the Flynn Effect isn't such a sign, it's hard to imagine what would be needed to qualify as a sign. (His chapter was written in 1994, so it may just be more out of date than the rest of the book).
Book Review: The Scientific Conquest of Death Nov 1, 2004
When I heard this summer that the Immortality Institute was publishing its first book, "The Scientific Conquest of Death: Essays on Infinite Lifespans," I asked for an advanced copy to review for the Speculist.
I was surprised and honored when Bruce Klein and Reason from FightAging emailed me a working draft. This was a valuable blog-lesson for me: ask and you shall (sometimes) receive.
I'm happy to report that the book is a complete success.
This book is a collection of essays divided into two parts: Science and Perspectives. The Science half of the book is written by scientists well-known to life extension enthusiasts: Aubrey de Grey, Michael West, Robert Freitas, Ray Kurzweil, and Marvin Minsky to name a few.
These authors work in different fields but share a vision of a future where degenerative aging is a choice - and a rather unpopular choice. For most of these scientists, it`s not so much a question of "if," but "when:"
We can no longer pretend that we know so little about how to cure aging that the timing of this advance will be determined overwhelmingly by future serendipitous discoveries: we are in the home straight already.
-Aubrey de GreyWhile I found the "Perspectives" half of the book a little slower going, ultimately it may prove to be more important than the first half.
While the authors of the Science section outline potential paths to the goal, the Perspective authors ask whether the goal is worthy. Will we be plagued by overpopulation or lethargy if death is removed from the picture?
The objections [to eternal youth] can be divided into two different categories: practical and philosophical. Practical worries might include: the population problem, the problem of scarce resources and environmental pollution, eternal youth that is only available to the wealthy, the accumulation of too much wealth and power by an elite group of immortals...
A philosophical objection to life extension is the worry that the longer we lived, the less we would value our time. After all, a basic economic principle is that the value of a resource tends to increase the more scarce it is. Would we somehow value each moment less if we lived longer? Another worry that people may have is that a desire for life extension is somehow selfish. Perhaps budding immortals would become really self-centered and narcissistic?
-Marc GeddesTo its credit the Immortality Institute allowed debate on these issues. Several of the Perspective essayists are quite critical of the goal of life extension.
But if the authors of the Science portion the book are correct that radical life extension is coming, any philosophical arguments against life extension will ring hollow when it arrives. The Perspectives section is of greater value when it debates how to adapt our society to life extension, rather than whether we should pursue it.
The publication of this book is certainly a landmark for the Immortality Institute. The Institute should be proud of this accomplishment. More importantly, this book is a milestone in the quest for life extension. The depth of the bench here, the willingness of respected scientists to contribute to such a book, is an important development.
These contributors and others that follow can now investigate the possibility of radical life extension without the fear of being thought unserious. This alone could make all the difference.