Category Archives: Religion and Longevity

Singularity Hub reviews 100+

Aaron Saenz at Singularity Hub writes a thoughtful review of 100+:

What would you do with another 75 years on this Earth? Not as a pain wracked wizened elder in a nursing home, but as a vibrant super-centenarian with the energy of a 30 year old? Sonia Arrison is here to tell you it’s not only possible, it’s coming soon. The author, journalist, futurist and Silicon Valley insider’s latest book, 100+, explores the science and the fallout of extending our lifespans. Easy to read, and easy to understand, 100+ walks you through the incredible achievements in regenerative medicine we’ve already seen, projects them forward, and discusses the changes in environment, economy, family, and religion that will follow.

Pope Benedict rejects life extension efforts

In his Easter homily, Pope Benedict argues that attempting to prolong life is not a goal worthy of our efforts. Here’s how he put it:

Modern medical science strives, if not exactly to exclude death, at least to eliminate as many as possible of its causes, to postpone it further and further, to prolong life more and more. But let us reflect for a moment: what would it really be like if we were to succeed, perhaps not in excluding death totally, but in postponing it indefinitely, in reaching an age of several hundred years? Would that be a good thing? Humanity would become extraordinarily old, there would be no more room for youth. Capacity for innovation would die, and endless life would be no paradise, if anything a condemnation.

Perhaps he’ll change his mind once he reads my book on the subject (yes, it is almost done). :)

Scientists find “God spots” in human brain

From Fox News:

“Brain scans showed that participants fell back on higher thought patterns when reacting to religious statements, whether trying to figure out God’s thoughts and emotions or thinking about metaphorical meaning behind religious teachings. That suggests that religion is not a special case of a belief system, but evolved along with other belief and social cognitive abilities,” said Jordan Grafman, a cognitive neuroscientist at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke in Bethesda, Maryland.”

US becoming less religious

Here’s new polling data that shows that 15% of respondents said they had no religion, an increase from 14.2 percent in 2001 and 8.2 percent in 1990. America is still a relatively religious country, but the numbers are dropping. Interestingly, the Muslim proportion of the population grew, from 0.3 percent in 1990 to 0.6 percent in 2008. Here’s the AP story.

Do fairy tales prime children for religion?

In an eloquent piece published in the WSJ, Tony Woodleif writes about how Richard Dawkins believes that fairy tales promote “anti-scientific” thinking among children. Dawkins has a point, but Woodleif’s point was just as strong, if not stronger. Such tales also teach children to believe in the impossible. If humans didn’t believe in the impossible, we wouldn’t have air travel or a host of other things we now think of as science.

David Brooks on God vs the Bible

This is an interesting column by David Brooks (NYT registration required). He argues that because of the current scientific revolution, a cultural effect will take place in religious circles, but not the one you expect. Everyone expects to see the God vs Atheism debate, but he says it will more likely be the God vs organized religion debate. He may be on to something.