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Deathist Atheist Michael Shermer "Radical Life-Extention Is Not around the Corner"

deathists dawkins michael shermer sam harris shermer richard dawkins atheists atheism

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#1 LifeFan

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Posted 22 September 2016 - 08:11 AM


It seems that some of us fear that Christians or religious people are going to hold back life extension and be negative about it. But At least the idea of heaven is a form of eternal life so technically they are more open to it than some new Atheists. In the Bible 120 is the optimal age for humans and Noah apparently lived close to a thousand years. From my perspective at least with many religious people I know I used this argument and they seem to be more open to eternal life even if it meant living to 120 as a young person if that was their limit or even 1000 since Noah had lived that long.

 

But new atheists like Dawkins, The Amazing Atheist, Sam Harris, and the author Michael Shermer are so against the idea of life extension that it makes me fear them more than religious people in terms of progress being made.

 

Their excuses of the second law of thermodynamics and the excuse that "our genres are immortal and get passed on" is a stupid excuse to not pursue life extension.

You would think atheists like those mentioned above would push for life extension regardless of their age since not believing in an afterlife and knowing this is the only life we have would motivate them to encourage this research. But they seem to use the same damn excuses as a typical deathist has.

 

Alot of these atheists seem to be rather older and cynical of life in general so maybe they might want to live a long time, but they fear since they are older they have less of a chance of making it LEV so instead of encourage the progress, they want to take down the younger generations with them by saying its not possible and halt progress as much as they can. I could be wrong but this is what I believe.

 

There was a video by Dawkins saying the idea of his fellow atheists and humans in general pursuing life extension is laughable and selfish and the universe does not care and we should focus on saving the planet for the next generation.

 

Stuff like this makes me very sad and angry. :sad:

 

Whats your thoughts on this and why do you personally think well known scientists and atheists seem to promote defeatism?.

 

Here is the article

 

http://www.scientifi...und-the-corner/


Edited by LifeFan, 22 September 2016 - 08:15 AM.


#2 Acacia

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Posted 17 June 2017 - 05:40 PM

If there really is something to worry about regarding the world's population upon the distribution of working life-extending therapies, I think that people like them will help "pave the way". There is a lot of concern about the growing population, and while no one really has to reproduce-even for the sake of prolonging our species-the people who choose not to use regenerative medicine and other anti-aging treatments and would prefer to die from natural causes will just allow for more room for the remainder of the population.

It is unfortunate that those people do not support life-extension and would rather convince others that life extension is not a worthy cause. In addition I view it as selfish to bring so many people into the world who didn't even ask to be born (and even ridiculous that people see reproduction as a duty), as opposed to their definition of selfishness according to your first post.

#3 Oakman

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Posted 18 June 2017 - 05:34 PM

Interesting topic, a lot to comment on, but for now I'll just comment on one thought.  
 
"There was a video by Dawkins saying the idea of his fellow atheists and humans in general pursuing life extension is laughable and selfish and the universe does not care and we should focus on saving the planet for the next generation."
 
I would agree, the universe doesn't 'care', per say, but it doesn't take sides either. Someones opinion, atheists or otherwise, saying that it's better to focus on one positive endeavor over another is arbitrary, at best.  And yet both may be 'right'.
 
I would venture that the unique consiousness each of us possesses... IS the ultimate expression OF the universe. We ARE the universe, not separate from it. We are the universe learning about itself. What we all do is both important, and likely random. We, as self-conscious entities, provide "the universe within each of our minds", the ability to consider itself. Whatever we do, it is an embodiment OF the universe, and so, by definition, is 'right'. 
 
So, I'll take my cake and eat it too. I want to live long and healthy in a world managed and kept healthy by ourselves.

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#4 Ben

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Posted 24 June 2017 - 03:16 AM

Radical life extension is not coming. Science is declining. Intelligence is declining. It will be all that we can do to maintain civilisation. 1950esque futurology is delusion and needs to ignore the state of things as they are now and very clear trends.

 

You mention atheism. Please ask yourself if there is any connection between this and societal decline. Be honest. Challenge yourself. Do not abandon the train of thought.


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#5 Mind

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Posted 25 June 2017 - 10:00 PM

I am also surprised at prominent atheists who are VERY against life extension.

 

In addition to Dawkins and Harris, Shermer is so dead set against cryonics that he spouts illogical and ignorant phrases like "freezing human tissue is just like freezing strawberries". Lol.

 

Dawkin's quote about saving the earth is also kind-of illogical. If one has the goal of "saving the environment" then the longer you are around the more positive work you can do.

 

Depression in elderly people is not uncommon, maybe they are suffering some of the symptoms - despair, nothing matters, etc...


Edited by Mind, 23 August 2017 - 04:29 PM.

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#6 YOLF

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Posted 02 July 2017 - 01:15 AM

I think studying aging does teach us that while we might not notice our slow decline, there is a decline to our brain chemistry that accompanies aging. We just need to work harder and put life extension within the reach of their passing whim, so they'll try it and see how much better it is than being depressed.

 

Alternatively, it could be that he simply hates the idea of people even wanting to live longer, in which case...


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#7 Brett Black

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Posted 07 July 2017 - 03:23 AM

Please get your facts straight people! Sam Harris appears, generally, to be a supporter of anti-aging science and Aubrey De Grey. He has a large audience and we should be supporting him as a potentially important ally for us, not misrepresenting and demonising him :
 

 
 
Even beyond that, according to what I've read and heard online(though I cannot absolutely prove the accuracy of these claims), Sam Harris is(was?) actually a member of The Methuselah 300:
 

Edited by Brett Black, 07 July 2017 - 03:24 AM.

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#8 DJS

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Posted 23 August 2017 - 12:05 AM

Thank you Brett, for posting about Sam Harris. I was just about to mount a defense on his behalf and then I saw that you beat me to the punch ;) 

 

Here is a link which shows Sam Harris has been a 300 member since 2008.

 

https://www.mfoundat...hundred-anchor 



#9 Mind

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Posted 23 August 2017 - 04:31 PM

Thank you Brett, for posting about Sam Harris. I was just about to mount a defense on his behalf and then I saw that you beat me to the punch ;)

 

Here is a link which shows Sam Harris has been a 300 member since 2008.

 

https://www.mfoundat...hundred-anchor 

 

Good to hear!



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#10 DJS

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Posted 23 August 2017 - 08:46 PM

At one point in my life I was extremely surprised by the opposing view point (and often outright hostility) of my fellow atheists regarding the possibility and desirability of radical life extension. Then it hit me that, for most atheists, their personal identity is largely defined by their opposition to organized religions. Religions tend to be irrational world views that appeal to our collective desire for trancendence. So your run of the mill atheist will aspire to be a mirror image of what they so vehemently oppose.

The end result is that they throw the baby out with the bath water. Atheist leaders like Shermer and Dawkins find the desire for transcendence to be suspect. Their world view has reduced the value of human beings to being "nothing more than animals", products of evolution.

At its foundation, their world view's primary value is for the 'truth'. It's almost like their God. They strive for absolute truth and they want to achieve completion. The thought of Reality not being static, but instead a dynamic, creative process where new truths are constantly arising and absolute truth is perhaps even in principle unattainable just doesn't appeal to them (deep down it might even frighten them). They want all the answers so they can rest eternally with their God of absolute truth.

I also believe that, from their perspective, transhumanism doesn't pass the smell test. Let's face it, a lot of our beliefs and customs have strong similarities to that of organized religion. Cryonics has a ceremonial quality similar to that of traditional burials. Caloric restriction possesses an asceticism similar to the practice of fasting found in many world religions. And the list goes on and on... So we as transhumanists are a rather interesting mix. We are intellectually honest enough with ourselves that we don't deny or repress our desire for transcendence, yet we try to pursue these desires and their end states in a rational manner.

I strongly suspect that eventually reality will catch up with the Shermers and the Dawkins of the world. Think of it as a memetic survival of the fittest, with fitness being a relative concept dependent upon the local environment. As we approach technological singularity their world view will become more and more tenuous, and thus less prevalent in the population at large. We are the future. They are the human intellectual equivalent of dodo birds.

Edited by DJS, 23 August 2017 - 09:10 PM.

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#11 jroseland

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Posted 31 August 2017 - 03:08 PM

Who else is pretty bored with the skeptic community?


Edited by jroseland, 31 August 2017 - 03:09 PM.

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#12 OP2040

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Posted 02 April 2018 - 03:50 PM

I am not a fan of the new atheists, but I don't think this is a new atheist issue per se.  They are reiterating the knee-jerk reaction of most of the population.  If I had to guess the reason for this attitude, I would say it's more about denial than anything.  Most people don't want to think about death, and putting it out of their mind as a non-issue is simply psychologically easier than confronting it.  I don't blame people for that attitude as it is probably much healthier to ignore a seemingly intractable problem and try to enjoy your life.

 

I have had a similar frustration recently.  I'm a big Steve Pinker fan, precisely because he has changed my world view (which was fundamentally negative) by emphasizing that people have a negativity bias that interferes with our ability to recognize progress.  So recently read his book "Enlightenment Now" which details all the progress we have made and how it is likely to continue.  Naturally, there were chapters related  to health and lifespan that I was eager to read.  Well, I shouldn't be shocked by this attitude anymore.  But at the end of one of these chapters, he just comes out and says something to the effect that we will never overcome aging/death no matter how much progress we make.  This was so out of tune with the rest of the book, which claimed that no problem should be ignored or considered unsolvable, that it stood out like a sore thumb.  This just demonstrates how death fatalism is psychologically ingrained.  Here's a guy who thinks climate change, poverty, and even most diseases are solvable problems, but when confronted with "aging" his brain broke midstream, and he could no longer think reasonably.


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#13 Mind

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Posted 02 April 2018 - 05:53 PM

Shermer has come around to be more positive toward cryonics and life extension, he just remains skeptical because the enormous complexity of such endeavors. Here is our recent LongeCity Now podcast with Shermer.







Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: deathists, dawkins, michael shermer, sam harris, shermer, richard dawkins, atheists, atheism

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