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Forever for All: Moral Philosophy, Cryonics, and the Scientific Prospects for Immortality Paperback – September 1, 2000
The Amazon Book Review
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"A rational and thorough exploration of human potential... [Mike Perry] shares his vision with eloquence." -- Jim Halperin, author of The Truth Machine and The First Immortal
From the Publisher
This book considers the problems of death and the hereafter and how these ages-old problems ought to be addressed in light of our continuing progress. A materialistic viewpoint of reality is assumed, denying the likelihood of supernatural or other superhuman assistance. Death, however, is not seen as inevitable or even irreversible; it is maintained that the problem can and should be addressed scientifically in all of its aspects. The book thus follows recent, immortalist thinking that places hopes in future advances in our understanding and technology. A functionalist, reductionist argument is developed for the possibility of resurrecting the dead through the eventual creation of replicas and related constructs. Meanwhile, it is urged, medical advances leading to the conquest of biological death should be pursued, along with cryonics: freezing the newly deceased for possible, eventual reanimation. A common ground thus is sought between two hitherto largely independent strands of scientific immortalism, the one based on hopes in a remote but hyperadvanced future, the other on the nearer-term prospects of presently advancing technology. The resulting philosophy, encompassing both past and future, is directed toward the long-term interests of each sentient being, and it thereby acquires a moral dimension. The immortalization of humans and other life-forms is seen as a great moral project and labor of love that will unite us in a common cause and provide a meaningful destiny.
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The work deals with the subject of post mortem survival from two basic angles. The first is his involvement with cryo-preservation as a pssible means of medical restoration of life. The other, and in my opinion, more profound avenue; is Perry's investigation of the Cosmological potentiallities that exist in physics and the burgeoning capabilities of computation.
Also, R. Michael Perry examines what many thinkers from different disciplines regard as what is being preserved or reconstitued; what is your identity, what is your personality, what is the sense of self, that we all seem to know, but find difficult to precisely, define? Perry also focuses on the works of several physicists who dwell upon the possibilities of Multiple Universes-what the author calls "Unboundedness". This is just like Physicist, Julian Barbor's Platonia, in which all logically possible universes may indeed occur!
Perry continues with and examination of Good and Evil and what is preserved, and what is remidied. My only caveat, for this book is to those of religious bent who require "scripture" for their emotional needs. R. Michael Perry is a logical positivist, and is atheistic in direction. Yet, I for one, can see this as a plus, because if the author can explore and define possibilities for post-mortem survival; then "God" as the ultimate Mind in existence is practically a given--providing enormous amounts of time for the development of minds and mind that are trans-universal!
As I mentioned before, Perry works at one of the few cryo-preservation labs in the world, do if you need more information on cryo-preservation; or Biostasis, as the author terms it, this is an excellent source of data regarding this. I myself find the "cosmological" areas of the book much more compelling; since much of the biostatsis work seems at this point, in need of much greater research.
The work is a work of an essay into philosophy as much as it is a work of science and sdvocacy. I am glad I purchased it, because good news, even as a bit of purely materialist, good news, this is not a thing to turn down (you can't anyway!). The old phrase; "all this and Heaven too", comes to mind. Worth the bucks, in this reader's opinion.
To say Dr. Perry's book expands your mind is an understatement. As one who has been an atheist almost all my life, from early childhood, this is one of those rare intelligent, scientific journeys into such basic, human questions as "Who are We?", "Where we are going?", and "What we must accomplish before we get there"? It is both forward looking and optimistic. It leaves no intellectual stone unturned, no argument either pro or con unvisited. It's comprehensive, but never boring.
Every thinking person will find this a fascinating sojourn!
Peter H. Christiansen M.Div.
Former Senior Minister
First Unitarian Church of Los Angeles
Mt Diablo (Walnut Creek CA) Unitarian Universalist Church