The odds of a pleasant immortality?
(Top Posts - Science - 050808)

- - -





a bit higher, but not as high as 1 (certain)


1 (certain, claimed by religious faiths for
those who believe in the 'right' God, or
Gods, in the 'right' way, though some say
that's based on faith and are unwilling to
use the word 'certain') and 0 or near 0
for those who don't, although some of the
religious believe most will miss out on
the pleasant immortality, and will suffer
forever in an unpleasant or torturous

Most believe that to have a chance near
or at 1, you must believe in the 'right' God
in the 'right' way. Even many disbelievers
believe that religion (in Pascal's Wager
style) is the only way to have any hope
for a pleasant immortality, however ille-
gitimate or futile that hope is perceived
to be.

I shall endeavor to locate some informa-
tion on that, hope, by non-Muslims, non-
Christians, non-Hindus, non-Buddhists,
non-(insert all other religions here), and
whether or not it's justified, in the coming

- - -
Pleasant Immortality?
- - -

- - -
- - -

Excerpts [with inserts, not part of original
article, added in brackets]:


Mind uploading is the concept of transference
of consciousness from a human brain to an
alternative media providing the same function-
ality. Assuming the process to be possible and
repeatable, this would provide immortality to
the consciousness, as predicted by futurists
such as Ray Kurzweil.

[insert -- immortality so long as the ability to
continue was physically possible, and so long
as the physical existence wasn't eliminated,
and that is by no means certain regarding the
particular space-time continuum we exist in
or regarding the physical reality of the partic-
ular planet we happen to live on (or near) at
the present time. -- end insert]


Technological immortality

Technological immortality is the prospect for
much longer life spans made possible by scienti-
fic advances in a variety of fields: nanotechnol-
ogy, emergency room procedures, genetics, bio-
logical engineering, regenerative medicine,
microbiology, and others.


Mind-to-computer uploading

One interesting possibility involves uploading
the personality and memories via direct mind-
computer interface.

Some extropian futurists propose that, thanks
to exponentially growing computing power,
it will someday be possible to upload human
consciousness onto a computer system, and
live indefinitely in a virtual environment.

This could be accomplished via advanced cyber-
netics, where computer hardware would initially
be installed in the brain to help sort memory or
accelerate thought processes.

Gradually more and more components would
be added until the person's entire brain functions
were handled by artificial devices, without any
sharp transitions that would lead to some identity
issues mentioned below. At this point, the human
body would become only an accessory and the
mind could be transferred to any sufficiently
powerful computer.

A person in this state would then be essentially
immortal, short of cataclysmic destruction of
the entire civilization and their computers.

However, some argue that it is impossible to
truly move one's consciousness from one body
to another; it could be duplicated, but the orig-
inal would still exist, creating two independent
consciousnesses. Uploading is still only a hypo-
thesis and has no scientific backing or proof
that it is possible.

Quantum immortality

Quantum immortality is the name for the specu-
lation that the Everett many-worlds interpretation
of quantum mechanics implies that a conscious
being cannot cease to be. The idea is highly con-

Biological immortality

Biological immortality is an absence of aging.


Biologically immortal organisms can still die by
being physically destroyed.


Transforming a human into a cyborg can include
brain implants or extracting a human mind and
placing it in a robotic life-support system.

Even replacing biological organs with robotic
ones could increase life span (ie pace makers) and
depending on the definition many technological
upgrades to the body, like genetic modifications
or the addition of nanobots would qualify an
individual as a cyborg.

Such modifications would make one impervious
to aging and disease and theoretically immortal
unless killed or destroyed.

Mystical and religious pursuits
of physical immortality

[see article for details]

Religious traditions

[see article for details]


Immortal beings and species abound in fiction,
especially fantasy fiction.

- - -

The following book, regarding the possi-
bility of extending life-spans to as far as
possible, projects that science may, at
some point, offer humans the possibility
of having such a long life that even -if-
it had to end, it would have been such a
lengthy endeavor that it could be thought
of as removing the high risk of a short-
term existence.

Immortality, not really sure what that is
referring to in the title, as no matter how
long the 'enhanced' human would live,
the risks of death would remain (unless
some type of multiple incorporations or
restorative incorpation of the previously
singularly defined human was arrived at),
and the non-immortality of our particular
space-time continuum appears to be an
insoluble problem.

However, with life spans dramatically
expanded, with brain power the likes of
which never have been seen, perhaps even
that problem could eventually be solved.

All this assumes, of course, that science
will continue to advance and that humans
won't become extinct -or- revert back to
a primitive state of existence prior to hav-
ing the opportunity to create the following:

Immortality:: How Science Is Extending
Your Life Span--and Changing The World

- - -

Albert Einstein:

"Immortality? There are two kinds.
The first lives in the imagination
of the people, and is thus an illusion.
There is a relative immortality which
may conserve the memory of an indi-
vidual for some generations.

But there is only one true immortality,
on a cosmic scale, and that is the im-
mortality of the cosmos itself. There
is no other."

- - - end excerpt - - -

Einstein, recognizing the possibilities
of naturalistic infinity, nevertheless
viewed the individual desire/hope for
immortality as reflecting an "illusion".

Not sure if Einstein's view represented

 o a mathematical concordance with
    the possibility being so low as to be
    practically impossible,


 o viewed any and all hope for immortality,
    even a naturalistic hope, as an illusion
    that could best be explained by both gen-
    etic and memetic influences (the concept
    of memes, not present in Einstein's day,
    but certainly, he knew that a person's
    environment and upbringing and culture
    heavily impacts his perception of reality),


 o if he simply rejected any theory that
    existence could be part of a continuum
    or part of a naturalistic multiple dimen-
    sion or part of multiple time-space con-


 o if his comment was simply a rejection
    of religious propositions regarding

- - -

Interesting article on some of the history
of the philosophy of immortality, and
how that was tied into religious views
for a long period in western thought,
with the 'soul' generally used as a lever-
age point for all immortality philosophy
in days gone by:

- - -
Dictionary of the History of Ideas

Death and Immortality
- - -



William James noted that on this subject there are
two kinds of people, "those whom we find indulging
to their hearts' content in the prospects of immortality,
and... those who experience the greatest difficulty
in making such a notion seem real to themselves at
all. These latter persons are tied to their senses...
and feel a sort of intellectual loyalty to what they call
hard facts" (The Will to Believe [1897], p. 40).

But today, even among the first kind, we find rather a
hope of immortality than a firm belief in it.

Several causes of the erosion of the immortalist's
position have been suggested, among them the general
decline of religious beliefs, the refutation of "proofs"
of immortality by materialist philosophers, and scien-
tific data showing the dependence of mental phenom-
ena on the brain. Another reason could well be that
many may not really care about it. If this is so, it would
signify a radical change in attitudes not only toward
death but also toward life.


- - - end excerpt - - -

Comment: The above does not address naturalistic
immortality, and I suspect that the notion that "many
may not really care about it" does not reflect the
truth of the matter, that being that most humans
continue to object to death (unless the pain of
living has become intolerable) and to desire a
pleasant immortality, however unlikely that may

I do concede, however, that many disbelievers
have given up on hope, and can't help but wonder
if that's a reaction to having been taught, from a
very young age in most instances, that disbelief
(in God) and lack of hope go hand-in-hand, or
from being taught that the only way to get immor-
tality is to believe in the 'right' god in the 'right'

- - -