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The Michael Shermer Show

A series of conversations between Dr. Michael Shermer and leading scientists, philosophers, historians, scholars, writers and thinkers about the most important issues of our time.

Watch or listen here or on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Amazon Music, Google Podcasts, iHeartRadio, Stitcher, and TuneIn.

EPISODE # 271

Peter Ward — The Price of Immortality: The Race to Live Forever

The Price of Immortality: The Race to Live Forever (book cover)

Shermer and Ward discuss: religious immortality • Church of Perpetual Life in Florida • what it means to live forever • why lives have doubled in length the past century • Stein’s Law: things that can’t go on forever won’t • Why do we age and die? • how to live to 100, 1000, 10,000 years • escape velocity to reach immortality • Aubrey de Grey’s program • tech billionaires programs • transhumanists/extropians • diet, exercise, supplements, stem cells, telomeres, and other aging hacks • Ray Kurzweil • cryonics • nanotechnology • brain preservation • mind uploading and digital immortality • Ernest Becker and Terror Management Theory

Peter Ward is a British business and technology reporter whose reporting has taken him across the globe. Reporting from Dubai, he covered the energy sector in the Middle East before earning a degree in business journalism from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. His writing has appeared in Wired, The Atlantic, The Economist, GQ, BBC Science Focus, and Newsweek.

About the book

As longevity medicine revolutionizes the lives of many older people, the quest to take the next step — to live as long as we choose — has spurred a scientific arms race in search of the elixir of life, funded by Big Tech and Silicon Valley.

Once the stuff of Mesopotamian mythology and episodes of Star Trek, the effort to make humans immortal is becoming increasingly credible as the pace of technological progress quickens. It has also empowered a wild-eyed fringe of pseudo-scientists, tech visionaries, scam-artists, and religious fanatics who have given their lives over to the pursuit of immortality.

Starting off at the Church of Perpetual Life in Florida and exploring the feuding subcultures around the cryonics industry, Peter Ward immerses himself into an eccentric world of startups, scam artists, scientific institutions, and tech billionaires to deliver this deeply reported, nuanced, and sometimes very funny exploration of the race for immortality — and the potentially devastating consequences should humanity realize its ultimate dream.

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This episode was released on May 14, 2022.

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