Simon Smith, with Betterhumans.com has kindly allowed Ben Mitchell and I to review books. As you may see below, we're not in total agreement.
Credit: Immortality Institute - Infinitely one-sided: Almost no space is given to arguments against immortalism in The Scientific Conquest of Death, says C. Ben Mitchell
An Apologia for Immortalism
The Scientific Conquest of Death adequately articulates the immortalist vision, but a lack of self-criticism makes it more advertising than argument
By C. Ben Mitchell
Special to Betterhumans
3/22/2005 2:11 PM
Having just turned "the big 5-0," I find the subject of an infinite lifespan increasingly intriguing. And, now that I must wear glasses to assist my failing vision, have one knee that is afflicted with osteoarthritis, and have family members with Alzheimer's, the subjects of aging and death have taken on new urgency. My interest is piqued.
Published by the Immortality Institute—whose stated mission is "to conquer the blight of involuntary death"—The Scientific Conquest of Death is a collection of 19 essays organized around three themes: science, perspectives and resources. As with any anthology, the essays are quite mixed in quality, but together they provide a helpful profile of the immortalist movement.
The Institute cannot be faulted for publishing an apologia or even an advertisement for immortalism. After all, every movement needs to articulate its vision, make its affirmations and denials, and offer reasons why it thinks its way of inhabiting the world is at least as plausible as possible contenders. One could wish, however, that there was more interaction with the contenders. The collection is hardly self-critical and almost no space is given to grappling with arguments against "the scientific conquest of death."
Credit: Eerdmans - Immortalist strategy: Without evidence for God or an afterlife, says Bruce J. Klein, we should strive for more life through technology, not religion
Misplaced Faith in Religious Bioethics
While addressing important topics, Aging, Death and the Quest for Immortality compromises rationality for religion
By Bruce J. Klein
Special to Betterhumans
3/22/2005 1:56 PM
Aging is a most tragic problem. More than 30 million people die each year from aging. Countless lives will be saved when we find a cure. But would such a cure be ethical? And what do we do in the meantime?
To address such questions, The Center for Bioethics and Human Dignity—which "exists to help individuals and organizations address the pressing bioethical challenges of our day," has relationships with such religious groups as the Christian Medical and Dental Society and sponsors conferences such as The Christian Stake in Bioethics—has published 13 essays in a book entitled Aging, Death, and the Quest for Immortality that aims to "bring together an array of writers to address important bioethical issues from a forward-looking Christian perspective."
With this book, the Center should be commended for choosing to focus on important topics. Many of the book's contributors, however, have for the most part compromised rationality for religion. This is unfortunate because the best way to solve the problems of aging and death are with science and reason, not faith.