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.
“[A] fascinating book . . . Shermer visits . . . utopian theories with detail and considered analysis, drawing readers along increasingly unrealistic (or are they?) possibilities for our future evolution. It’s a journey as boggling as it is engrossing.”—Maria Konnikova, The New York Times Book Review
“[An] ambitious, erudite volume…bringing the high evidentiary standards of science to bear on heavenly claims.”—The Washington Post
“[An] inviting and informative tour of human kind’s various conceptions of where God locates himself . . . In bringing so many heavens together, Mr. Shermer does us a service. Among other things, he shows us why we are lucky that not everything can be fully grasped by our limited capacities.”—The Wall Street Journal
"Faulty religious reasoning and sloppy secular arguments earn a skeptic's side-eye . . . Michael Shermer aims to deconstruct systems of irrational beliefs."—Science Magazine