Different Views on Physical Immortality
The Prospects For Physical Immortality
In a lecture delivered at the 24th National Convention of American Atheists, Washington, DC, 13 June 1998, Mr Zindler began by asking the question: Must we all die?
Although he continued by saying that, "In the Western world, the answer to this question has almost invariably been “yes.” What is, after all, more obvious than our mortality?". His following presentation showed how scientific advances were making the answer to that question less certain. Despite his obvious disaffection with religion - not surprising, given that he's a contributor to the American Atheist Magazine - he did make some pertinent points about religion's attitude to immortality and human development.
"Our religions, for the most part, have given up hope for physical immortality altogether and have invented “spiritual” immortality as a rather anemic substitute for which to hope. Since eternity with neither bodies nor brains is hard to market, some religions have added the doctrine of bodily resurrection. But ... By the time one subtracts all the activities the resurrected “bodies” are not likely to perform, the bodies seem hardly to be bodies at all!"
However, the main thrust of his argument was that science is continuing to uncover the causes of aging and in his opinion will offer the possibility of indefinite life extension - which he equates with physical immortality - within the next 50 years:
"With reasonably good luck and careful management, you can survive to the year 2010. If you can live that long, scientific progress in the interim should have advanced to the point where it can keep you going until you’re 140. If civilization still exists at that time, and if science has not been eclipsed by religion, you should be able to renew your lease as often thereafter as you wish."
The complete article doesn't seem to be available now, but you could try: American Atheist.org for other articles by Mr Zindler.
All material is the copyright of the various authors.