Top Books/Videos for SHANANNAREEFERS

(updated October 1, 2009)


Seekers Humanists Atheists Naturalists
Agnostics Nonreligionists Nontheists Antireligionists
Realists Educationalists Experimentalists Freethinkers
Enlightened Rationalists Secularists

- - - Books Added on October 1, 2009 - - -

021. Radical Evolution : The Promise and Peril
of Enhancing Our Minds, Our Bodies -- and
What It Means to Be Human
, by Joel Garreau
"... What's in store for humanity? ...'GRIN tech-
nologies'--genetics, robotics, information tech-
nology and nanotechnology.

... In the Curve Scenario, information technology
continues to improve exponentially, and this pro-
gress bleeds over into adjacent fields such as gen-
etics, robotics and nanotechnology.

In the Singularity Scenario, 'the Curve of exponen-
tially increasing technological change is unstoppable'
and leads, 'before 2030, to the creation of greater-
than-human intelligence,' which proceeds to improve
itself 'at such a rate as to exceed comprehension.'

There is a Heaven Scenario, which serves as a
rubric for a future in which 'almost unimaginably
good things ... including the conquering of disease
and poverty, but also an increase in beauty, wis-
dom, love, truth and peace' are happening pretty
much on their own accord, without deliberate
steering. Garreau associates this view with the
distinguished inventor Ray Kurzweil.

... There is also a Hell Scenario. ... advances in
genetics, nanotechnology and robotics will even-
tually pose grave threats to human survival. ...
One of the early warning signs that we are enter-
ing Hell is that 'almost unimaginably bad things
are happening, destroying large chunks of the
human race or the biosphere, at an accelerating

Garreau's last scenario, Prevail, extols the human
knack for muddling through -- 'the ability of ordin-
ary people facing overwhelming odds to rise to
the occasion because it is the right thing.' ...  If
we develop the cure for aging in a timely fashion,
while steering clear of the disasters ... we may
one day get to enjoy indefinite life spans with
much improved physical and mental capacities ..."

020. The Singularity Is Near : When Humans
Transcend Biology
, by Ray Kurzweil
"... renowned inventor Kurzweil ... may be tech-
nology's most credibly hyperbolic optimist.

... Humankind ... will see the merging of our
biology with the staggering achievements of
'GNR' (genetics, nanotechnology and robotics)
to create a species of unrecognizably high intel-
ligence, durability, comprehension, memory
and so on.

... he does make a good case ... for the occur-
rence, in this century,  of what he and other
futurists have called a 'technological singularity.'
He defines this as a period in the future where
the rate of technological change will be so high
that human life will be 'irreversibly transformed.' ..."

Human Revolution to occur by 2029?
Beyond Religion - What the Future May Hold ...
The odds of a pleasant immortality?

019. The Scientific Conquest of Death : Essays
on Infinite Lifespans, 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 develop-
ments, and a thoughtful, multidisciplinary discus-
sion of the ethics, politics and philosophy behind
the scientific conquest of aging. ..."

018. Ending Aging: The Rejuvenation Breakthroughs
That Could Reverse Human Aging in Our Lifetime,
by Aubrey de Grey and Michael Rae
"... Must We Age? Nearly all scientists who study
the biology of aging agree that we will someday be
able to substantially slow down the aging process,
extending our productive, youthful lives. Dr. Aubrey
de Grey is perhaps the most bullish of all such re-
searchers. ... de Grey believes that the key bio-
medical technology required to eliminate aging-
derived debilitation and death entirely — tech-
nology that would not only slow but periodically
reverse age-related physiological decay, leaving
us biologically young into an indefinite future —
is now within reach.

... the aging of the human body, just like the aging
of man-made machines, results from an accumula-
tion of various types of damage.  As with man-
made machines, this damage can periodically be
repaired, leading to indefinite extension of the
machine’s fully functional lifetime ...

We already know what types of damage accumu-
late in the human body, and we are moving rapidly
toward the comprehensive development of tech-
nologies to remove that damage.  ... de Grey and
Rae systematically dismantle the fatalist presump-
tion that aging will forever defeat the efforts of
medical science. ..."

017. More Than Human : Embracing the Promise
of Biological Enhancement, by Ramez Naam
"... [from the author] there are a number of voices
raised in concern over these technologies. What
does it mean to extend our lives, boost our mental
abilities, or integrate our minds with computers?
Would we still be human? What would happen to
society? To equality? To the meaning of life?

I wrote this book to cover these two, interrelated

1) The science of human enhancement - what's
actually happening in the labs and what that could
lead to in the near future.

2) The ethics, social consequences, and policy
challenges of human enhancement. Basically,
what we should or shouldn't do with this tech-

More Than Human is an optimistic book, but it's
a cautious optimism. Along the way it looks at
issues like the effect of longer lives on overpop-
ulation, on socio-economic stratification and
whether these technologies would help the rich
pull further away from the poor, and at issues
like human identity, and whether we could even
call ourselves human after changing ourselves
in such ways. ... You can read more at ..."

016. Liberation Biology: The Scientific and Moral
Case for the Biotech Revolution, by Ronald Bailey
"... A positive, optimistic, and convincing case that
the biotechnology revolution will improve our lives
and the future of our children. The 21st century will
undoubtedly witness unprecedented advances in
understanding the mechanisms of the human body
and in developing biotechnology.

With the mapping of the human genome, the pace
of discovery is now on the fast track. By the middle
of the century we can expect that the rapid progress
in biology and biotechnology will utterly transform
human life.

What was once the stuff of science fiction may now
be within reach in the not-too-distant future: 20-to-
40-year leaps in average life spans, enhanced human
bodies, drugs and therapies to boost memory and
speed up mental processing, and a genetic science
that allows parents to ensure that their children will
have stronger immune systems, more athletic bodies,
and cleverer brains. Even the prospect of human
immortality beckons.

... the coming biotechnology revolution, far from
endangering human dignity, will liberate human
beings to achieve their full potentials by enabling
more of us to live flourishing lives free of disease,
disability, and the threat of early death. Bailey
covers the full range of the coming biotechnology
breakthroughs, from stem-cell research to third-
world farming, from brain-enhancing neurophar-
maceuticals to designer babies. ..."

015. Neuroengineering the Future: Virtual Minds
and the Creation of Immortality
, by Bruce F. Katz
"... [from the back cover] We are on the cusp of
a broad revolution -- one with startling implications 
for perception, cognition, emotion, and indeed, per-
sonal identity. Still in its relative infancy, neuroengin-
eering is poised to move from perceptual aids, such
as cochlear implants, to devices that will enhance
and speed up thought, to the ultimate goal of re-
searchers -- that of uploading the mind from
its bound state in the body to a platform-inde-
pendent existence
. ... Features:
  • Shows which scenarios are most likely for
    transfer of the mind to a machine
  • Describes short-term prospects for neural
    enhancement ... such as devices that en-
    hance intelligence and creativity, and ma-
    chines that produce contentment and eu-
    phoria on demand 
  • ... Focuses on a given line of technological
    development: from the simple enhancements
    of today to the brain-machine interfaces of
    the near future to the final departure of the
    mind from its corporeal home ..."

014. Designer Evolution : A Transhumanist
Manifesto, by Simon Young
"... Transhumanism supports the emerging Super-
biology, yet the public knows little about this vital
emerging philosophy. Transhumanism declares
unequivocal support for the attempt to eliminate
disease, defeat death, and enhance both body
and mind beyond the limitations of the human

In this groundbreaking book, Simon Young pre-
sents a compelling case for transhumanist philos-
ophy, a trenchant response to its critics, the 'bio-
Luddites,' and for the first time, a comprehensive
outline of Transhumanism as a totalized philoso-
phical system in the Western tradition ... Defining Transhumanism as 'the belief in overcoming human limitations through reason, science, and technology,'
the author introduces a host of new concepts ..."

014. Wikipedia (The Free Encyclopedia)
Immortality, by User Contributions

"... Immortality (or eternal life) is the concept of living
in a physical or spiritual form for an infinite or incon-
ceivably vast length of time. As immortality is the
negation of mortality — not dying or not being sub-
ject to death — it has been a subject of fascination
to humanity since at least the beginning of history.

The Epic of Gilgamesh, one of the first literary works,
dating back at least to the 22nd century BCE, is pri-
marily a quest of a hero seeking to become immortal.
What form an unending human life would take (as
well as whether it is subject to incapacitation), or
whether the soul exists and possesses immortality,
has been a major point of focus of religion, as well
as the subject of speculation, fantasy, and debate.

It is not known whether human physical immortality
is an achievable condition. Biological forms have
inherent limitations which may or may not be able
to be overcome through medical interventions or

As of 2009, natural selection has developed biolog-
cal immortality in at least one species, the jellyfish
Turritopsis nutricula, one consequence of which is
a worldwide population explosion of the organism.

Certain scientists, futurists, and philosophers, such
as Ray Kurzweil, advocate that human immortality
is achievable in the first few decades of the 21st
century, while other advocates believe that life
extension is a more achievable goal in the short
term, with immortality awaiting further research
breakthroughs farther into an indefinite future.

Aubrey de Grey, a researcher who has developed
a series of biomedical rejuvenation strategies to
reverse human aging (called SENS), believes that
his proposed plan for ending aging may be imple-
mentable in two or three decades. ..."

- - - Videos Added on October 1, 2009 - - -

013. DVD : Flight From Death - The Quest for Immortality

012. DVD : 60 Minutes -- Immortality
A video clip is unavailable. Excerpt from
website follows:

"... Can we grow old gracefully? Can  we live indefinitely?
One scientist who thinks so is Cambridge University's
Aubrey de Grey, who believes that some day science
will enable us to grow old without aging.

His fascination is shared by Dr. Christian Sell, a research
scientist who is trying to produce an ageless mouse. But
Dr. Jay Olshansky says de Grey's predictions are more
science fiction than science. He tells Morley Safer that
human beings just aren't built to last forever.

For further details, refer to the video clip below, "Tech-
nology's accelerating power / Quest for immortality."

011. Pro-Humanist FREELOVER Posts which
include videos pertaining to Immortality
(as of October 1, 2009)

- - - Books from the 1999 & 2000 Versions of this post - - -

010. Robo sapiens: Evolution of a New Species,
by Peter Menzel, Faith D'Aluisio
"... Around the world, scientists and engineers are
participating in a high-stakes race to build the first
intelligent robot. Many robots already exist--auto-
mobile factories are full of them. But the new
generation of robots will be something else: smart
machines that act like living creatures. When they
are brought into existence, science fiction will have
become fact.

What will happen then? With our prosthetic limbs,
titanium hips, and artificial eyes, we are already
beginning to resemble our machines. Equally
important, our machines are beginning to resemble
us. Robots already walk, talk, and dance; they can
react to our facial expressions and obey verbal
commands. When they take the next step and
become fully autonomous, what will they do?
Will we be partners or rivals? Could we meld
into a single species--Robo sapiens? ..."

009. Immortality : How Science Is Extending Your
Lifespan, and Changing the World, by Ben Bova
"... While ostensibly about the coming conquest by
science of aging and death, this is actually a lively
overview of the exciting work being done in bio-
medical research today. Prolific science-fiction
writer Bova, who has some 90 futuristic books to
his credit, bases his claim that some people alive
today will achieve immortality on his belief that
genetic research is progressing so rapidly that
within the next 50 years the key to aging, which
lies within the body's cells, will inevitably be un-
locked. ..."

008. Becoming Immortal : Nanotechnology, You,
and the Demise of Death, by Wesley M. Du Charme
"... Nanotechnology and cryonics together offer
mankind the opportunity for virtual immortality
- but what would happen in such a world? Du
Charme's survey of mankind's growing abilities
to change physical appearances and abilities
provides some thought-provoking insights on
the possibilities and potentials of mankind. ..."

007. Cheating Death : The Promise and the Future
Impact of Trying to Live Forever, by Marvin
Cetron, Owen Davies
"... Immortality is a popular and recurrent theme
in literature and especially in science fiction. More
than one author has considered the possibly ironic
consequences of living indefinitely. Now that pro-
longed life is becoming a scientific and medical
reality, futurists Cetron and Davies examine the
implications of living in a postmortal world. ..."

006. Immortality, by Paul Edwards (Editor)
"... Is there life after death or do we simply cease
to exist? Few questions wreak havoc with our
deepest held beliefs and strongest emotions more
than this one. The answers given over the centuries
reach to the very core of who we are and what it
means to be human.

Cutting through the emotionalism to reach the
central issue, renowned scholar Paul Edwards has
compiled Immortality, a superb group of philoso-
phical selections featuring the work of both clas-
sical and contemporary authors who address not
only the topic of immortality, but also two of the
most fascinating and difficult philosophical prob-
lems -- the mind/body problem, and the nature
of personal identity. ...

Edwards has included a preface, and a 70-page
introduction on his own views of immortality and
reincarnation, as well as a comprehensive, anno-
tated bibliography. ..."

005. Why Die? : A Beginner's Guide to Living
Forever, by Herb Bowie
"... Excerpted from Why Die? ... I happen to believe
in the possibility of human physical immortality.
I would like you to acknowledge this possibility as
well. It's not just that I like people to agree with me.
I think that this fundamental paradigm shift can cause
a profound and wonderful change in the quality of
human life on this planet. I think that this radical
change in our perspective can help us create heaven
on earth together. ..."

004. 21st-Century Miracle Medicine : Robosurgery,
Wonder Cures, and the Quest for Immortality,
by Alexandra Wyke
"... Alexandra Wyke ... traveled the globe in search
of an answer to the future of medicine. She inter-
viewed the most celebrated and innovative doctors,
researchers, and medical scientists, and visited their

What she discovered is revealed in this astonishing
work through her observant eye and splendid prose.
Cancer, heart disease, and devastating ailments, she
predicts, will be blights of the past. One of the great-
est revolutions in medicine will be created by the
advances in computers and telecommunications. ..."

003. Dying to Live : Near-Death Experiences,
by Susan Blackmore
"... Near-death experiences (NDEs) have remarkably
similar characteristics the world over, leading many
to cite them as proof of a hereafter. Blackmore,
a British psychologist, carefully reviews the literature
and her own research for something like an opposite

NDEs do indeed have universal aspects, but that's
because they manifest the chemistry of dying brains;
what's universal is the brain itself. Moreover, com-
ponents of NDEs (such as 'tunnels,' down which
the dying travel toward bright lights; sensations of
well-being; and the appearance of comforting rela-
tives from the beyond) can also be found in LSD
trips and dreams. ..."

002. Beyond the Body : An Investigation of Out-Of-
the-Body Experiences, by Susan J. Blackmore
"... About one person in ten claims to have left his
or her body at some time. Somewhere close to
death; others had undergone an accident or shock;
but these experience can occur at any time and
for no apparent reason. Dr. Blackmore's explanation
for out-of-body experiences is based on historical
and anecdotal material, surveys, and laboratory
experiment. ..."

001. An Encyclopedia of Claims, Frauds, and Hoaxes
of the Occult and Supernatural : James Randi's
Decidedly Skeptical Definitions of Alternate Realities,
by James Randi, Arthur Charles Clarke (Introduction)
"... James Randi, professional magician and skeptic,
has put together an encyclopedia with something for
everyone. Yes, no matter who you are, unless you're
a thoroughgoing atheist, Randi is bound to offend
your beliefs at one point or another. ..."