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Sci-Fi Books Science

Transhumanist Children's Book Argues, "Death Is Wrong" 334

Posted by samzenpus
from the do-you-want-to-live-forever? dept.
destinyland writes "Hoping to inspire life-extending medical research, science fiction author Gennady Stolyarov has launched a campaign to give away 1,000 free copies of his transhumanist picture book for children, Death is Wrong. 'My greatest fear about the future is not of technology running out of control or posing existential risks to humankind,' he explains. 'Rather, my greatest fear is that, in the year 2045, I will be...wondering, "What happened to that Singularity we were promised by now...?"' Along with recent scientific discoveries, the book tells its young readers about long-lived plants and animals '"that point the way toward lengthening lifespans in humans,' in an attempt to avoid a future where children 'would pay no more attention to technological progress and life-extension possibilities than their predecessors did.'"
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Transhumanist Children's Book Argues, "Death Is Wrong"

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  • by zerosomething (1353609) on Sunday March 16, 2014 @12:33PM (#46499311) Homepage

    It's really sad to see the comments about life extension being bad or we are going to overpopulate the planet etc. They truly show the lack of imagination and understanding of much of the /. readership. There are some truly closed minds here among people calling them selves Liberals, Libertarians and Progressives. The reactions are very much like those of a society and system of thinking that thinks a cat can steal the breath of a baby, a society where superstition is given more weight than science.

    The population models of Thomas Malthus were wrong. Paul Ehrlich's reuse of those models was wrong and reusing those same tired models will continue to be wrong. You are placing your hopes in Armageddon and self distraction instead of the creativity and ingenuity of humanity to make more from what we have than the last generation thought possible.

    Stop being small minded lovers of doom!

  • by hey! (33014) on Sunday March 16, 2014 @12:37PM (#46499351) Homepage Journal

    Science fiction author "Gennady Stolyarov" isn't listed in Internet Speculative Fiction Database either, and the book's publisher, "Rational Argumentator Press" has a grand total of *one* publication, and its web presence is a section of Mr. Stolyarov's personal site. So what we're dealing with here is the self-published work by an unpublished crank sci-fi author -- not that there's any dishonor in being an unpublished crank sci-fi author. There's lots of us around.

    I peeked inside the book, and what strikes me is that if you squint, this *looks* like a religious tract pitched toward children, right down to the colorful but stiff illustrations. Take a look at the cover, with it's child dressed in a blue oxford shirt, red tie and khaki chinos banishing death. This is peculiar, in a way that I applaud; an image pitched at children by someone so far out of the mainstream that she has no idea what a culturally "normal" child looks like. That's a good thing for the world, although it may not do much for the author's message. It's more important for people with an oddball streak to write books than people who think like everyone else.

    This book appears to come out of the same impetus that underlies a lot of religious impulse: rage at the fact we're are going to die. It's a fact we *should* be uncomfortable with. Religion does the most damage when it makes us too comfortable with the prospect of death. The afterlife becomes a make-up session where we can do the things we put off line life like reconciling with estranged loved ones.

    Anyone who regards speculation about technological singularity enabling indefinite human life extension as a "promise" is taking far too much comfort in what is, at best, an intriguing idea. But the universe itself has a finite lifespan; any being who could last to the heat death of the universe, or even a single 2 million century "galactic year" would be so far from human that calling it "transhuman" would be like calling ourselves "transprotozoans".

    Whether we just disappear after a mere century or so, or survive as something unrecognizable as human, our opportunity to experience the universe as ourselves, as humans, is brief. We should make the most of it, no matter what we plan to leave behind when our human existence is done.

  • Re:Huh? (Score:2, Informative)

    by PopeRatzo (965947) on Sunday March 16, 2014 @12:47PM (#46499439) Homepage Journal

    This is a nongeek/nerd article.

    Well, it is a little bit. Transhumanism is an artifact of the techie community. It's the geek version of religious extremism.

    Further, transhumanism is strictly a fantasy of the 0.1%, who have now allowed their self-regard to reach a point where there is significant danger of creating a breakaway culture in which access to life-extending and death-defying technologies is strictly apportioned to a very tiny fraction of population, not incidentally, the very same people who benefit from the suffering of others.

    I really don't think anyone should welcome our transhumanist overlords. And any geek here who thinks they're going to be included in this immortalist revolution is delusional.

    There is no one alive whose immortality would be of any benefit to the world.

"Lead us in a few words of silent prayer." -- Bill Peterson, former Houston Oiler football coach

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