“A new study shows that having a severe phobia can hasten aging. But what if my greatest fear is aging?”
– Stephen Colbert
“A group of college students who rejected the idea that consciousness survives death nonetheless told me that someone who had died in a car accident would know he was dead. ‘There is no afterlife,’ one participant said. ‘He sees that now.’”
– Jesse Bering, director of the Institute of Cognition and Culture, Queen’s University, Belfast.
“Considering humanity as a whole, there is nothing about natural selection that suggests our optimal design. We are probably not even optimized for the Paleolithic, much less for life in the twenty-first century. And yet we are now acquiring the tools that will enable us to attempt our own optimization. Many people think this project is fraught with risk. But is it riskier that doing nothing? There may be current threats to civilization that we cannot even perceive, much less resolve, at our current level of intelligence. Could any rational strategy be more dangerous than following the whims of nature? This is not to say that our growing capacity to meddle with the human genome couldn’t present some moments of Faustian overreach. But our fears on this front must be tempered by a sober understanding of how we got here. Mother Nature is not now, nor has she ever been, looking out for us.”
– Sam Harris, neuroscientist; author of The End of Faith.