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Heavens on Earth

Heavens on Earth

The Scientific Search for the Afterlife, Immortality, and Utopia

Michael Shermer

Henry Holt and Co.

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Hardcover

A scientific exploration into humanity’s obsession with the afterlife and quest for immortality from the bestselling author and skeptic Michael Shermer

In his most ambitious work yet, Shermer sets out to discover what drives humans’ belief in life after death, focusing on recent scientific attempts to achieve immortality along with utopian attempts to create heaven on earth.

For millennia, religions have concocted numerous manifestations of heaven and the afterlife, and though no one has ever returned from such a place to report what it is really like—or that it even exists—today science and technology are being used to try to make it happen in our lifetime. From radical life extension to cryonic suspension to mind uploading, Shermer considers how realistic these attempts are from a proper skeptical perspective.

Heavens on Earth concludes with an uplifting paean to purpose and progress and how we can live well in the here-and-now, whether or not there is a hereafter.

Reviews

Praise for Heavens on Earth

Praise for The Moral Arc:
“This is one of the best recent books that I have read, and it's the one that I expect to re-read most often. It's an honest, clear account of morality and justice that makes those theoretical concepts come alive as ubiquitous real-life choices. In the process of reading it, you'll learn about wrenching moral dilemmas such as paying ransoms to Somali pirates, maintaining nuclear weapons as deterrents, good people becoming Nazis, and the immorality of the Bible and of the Ten Commandments.” —Jared Diamond, Pulitzer-prize-winning author of the best-selling books Guns, Germs, and Steel, Collapse, and The World until Yesterday

“A thrilling and fascinating book, which could change your view of human history and human destiny. If you wanted a sequel to The Better Angels of Our Nature, one which explored all of our spheres of moral progress, not just the decline of violence, this is it.” —Steven Pinker, Johnstone Professor of Psychology at Harvard University and author of The Blank Slate and The Sense of Style: The Thinking Person's Guide to Writing in the 21st Century

“Michael Shermer makes the astonishing claim that science, precisely because of its rational, dispassionate, and enlightened attitude towards revealing the truth, has helped to lay the moral groundwork for modern society, pointing the way to a more just and moral world. Instead of being a passive observer to the dance of history and the evolution of ethics, Shermer makes the outrageous claim that science has in fact been one of the principle actors. Bravo, I say.” —Michio Kaku, theoretical physicist, author of the best seller The Future of the Mind, and Physics of the Future

“Michael Shermer argues that science, reason, and critical thinking come first; these are the ideas that produce stable, peaceful democracies. He documents and assesses society's successes and failures through the troubled history of humankind--and he's relentless. He connects the arc of the rise of reason and science with a country's economic success, and the overall worldwide decline in violence and suppression of our fellow humans, especially women. If you are religious, have a look. Shermer takes your faith to task and celebrates science as a path to the better moral future that citizens everywhere long for.” —Bill Nye, The Science Guy, CEO, The Planetary Society

“The Moral Arc displays the impressive depth of Michael Shermer's scholarship, wisdom and empathetic humanity, and it climaxes in a visionary flight of futuristic optimism. A memorable book, a book to recommend and discuss late into the night.” —Richard Dawkins, author of The Selfish Gene and The God Delusion

About the author

Michael Shermer

Michael Shermer is the author of The Moral Arc, Why People Believe Weird Things, The Believing Brain, and nine other books on the evolution of human beliefs and behavior. He is the founding publisher of Skeptic magazine, the editor of Skeptic.com, a monthly columnist for Scientific American, and Presidential Fellow at Chapman University. He lives in Southern California.

Michael Shermer

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Michael Shermer

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