A fascinating new popular psychology book about how and why were are attracted to the notion of heaven, and how religious and secular people alike look ahead to 'the next life'.
A scientific exploration into humanity's obsession with the afterlife and the quest for immortality from the bestselling author and sceptic Michael Shermer
In his most ambitious work yet, Shermer sets out to discover what drives humans' belief in life after death. For millennia, the awareness of our own mortality and failings has led to religions concocting comforting notions of an afterlife, of heaven and hell, utopias and dystopias, and of the perfectibility of human nature.Heavens on Earth explores the numerous manifestations of the afterlife - a place where souls might go after the death of the physical body. Religious leaders have toiled to make sense of this place that a surprisingly high percentage of people believe exists, but from which no one has ever returned to report what it is really like.
This is one of the most profound questions of the human condition and has long driven philosophers and theologians to try to understand the meaning and purpose of life for mortal beings, and how we can transcend mortality. Shermer details recent scientific attempts to achieve immortality by radical life extentionists, extropians, transhumanists, cryonicists and mind-uploaders, along with utopians who have attempted to create heaven on earth.
Heavens on Earth concludes with an uplifting paean to purpose and progress and what we can do in the here-and-now, whether or not there is a hereafter.
Dr. Michael Shermer is the Founding Publisher of Skeptic magazine, a monthly columnist for Scientific American, and a Presidential Fellow at Chapman University where he teaches Skepticism 101. He is the author of New York Times bestsellers Why People Believe Weird Things and The Believing Brain, Why Darwin Matters, The Science of Good and Evil, and The Moral Arc. His next book is Heavens on Earth: The Scientific Search for the Afterlife, Immortality & Utopia. Michael regularly contributes opinion editorials, essays, and reviews to: the Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times, Science, Nature, and other publications. He appeared on such shows as The Colbert Report, 20/20, Dateline, Charlie Rose, Oprah, and Larry King Live (but, proudly, never Jerry Springer!). He has been interviewed in countless documentaries aired on PBS, A&E, Discovery, The History Channel, The Science Channel, and The Learning Channel. Dr. Shermer was the co-host and co-producer of the 13-hour Family Channel television series, Exploring the Unknown. His two TED talks, seen by millions, were voted in the top 100.Dr. Shermer received his B.A. in psychology from Pepperdine University, M.A. in experimental psychology from California State University, Fullerton, and his Ph.D. in the history of science from Claremont Graduate University. He has been a college professor since 1979, also teaching at Occidental College, Glendale College, and Claremont Graduate University, where he taught a transdisciplinary course for Ph.D. students on Evolution, Economics, and the Brain.