Heavens on Earth by Michael Shermer

Heavens on Earth

A scientific exploration into humanity’s obsession with the afterlife and quest for immortality from the bestselling author and skeptic Michael ShermerIn his most ambitious work yet, Shermer sets out to discover what drives humans’ belief in life after death, focusing on recent scientific attempts to achieve immortality along with utopian attempts to create heaven on earth.For millennia, religions have concocted numerous manifestations of hea...

Details Heavens on Earth

TitleHeavens on Earth
Release DateJan 9th, 2018
PublisherHenry Holt and Co.
GenreScience, Nonfiction, Religion, Philosophy, History, Biology, Neuroscience, Atheism

Reviews Heavens on Earth

  • Peter Mcloughlin
    In this short book Shermer tackles the human mortality and beliefs about the afterlife with pertinent side forays into transhumanism, religion, and utopian ideologies we substitute for immortality and meaning. For such a short book a lot of ideas are touched upon from the starting point of human mortality we explore what happens physically at death, We move into traditional conceptions of the afterlife from antiquity and in the Abrahamic religion...
  • Book
    Heavens on Earth: The Scientific Search for the Afterlife, Immortality, and Utopia by Michael Shermer “Heavens on Earth” is an intellectually provocative yet accessible book that explores the afterlife. Dr. Michael Shermer is a well-known skeptic, professor and accomplished author of many books. This enlightening 303-page book includes twelve chapters broken out into the following four parts: I. Varieties of Mortal Experiences and Immortal Qu...
  • Dan Graser
    Michael Shermer is simply an indispensable writer and his latest volume is one of his very best. This is a complete survey and analysis of the various notions of the afterlife and immortality divided mainly between:1) How these claims have been scientifically tested and evaluated 2) How such notions have been depicted throughout humanity's history in works of art, philosophy, and literature.3) How we have attempted to transcend our mortal limitat...
  • Andrei Khrapavitski
    Finished reading Michael Shermer’s new book Heavens on Earth: The Scientific Search for the Afterlife, Immortality, and Utopia. I found it a timely read, given my interest in future-related topics. I have had my fair share of arguments with both religious zealots and pseudo-scientific transhumanist believers, but even I needed a dose of high quality skepticism not to get too excited after reading authors like Kevin Kelly or listening to another...
  • Glenngrubb
    When I got my $30 book home and began to read I had to wonder if the supplier had slipped the wrong book into the jacket. But, indeed this was the correct book: “Heavens on Earth, The Scientific Search for the Afterlife, Immortality, and Utopia”; accolades including: “brilliant, filled with profundity, startling facts, and mind-expanding ideas.”In chapter one on page one, within seven words, something does not meet with the authors’ ded...
  • Leonard Singer
    First two parts ugh; last two parts worth the read.
  • Jerry James
    If you're already a skeptic there is not much in this book that's surprising, but Shermer is always enjoyable. The end of the book was the most fun for me as he outlined all the things that provide meaning for life without the use of religion.
  • Tim Gorichanaz
    We're obsessed with what happens after we die. We can't seem to help it. This is an engaging synthesis of different views on the matter, with a New Atheist tilt. It finishes with a "what's the point of life?" section much along the lines of Sean Carroll's The Big Picture: On the Origins of Life, Meaning, and the Universe Itself.
  • Denise Junker
    I selected this book because Seth MacFarlane mentioned it twice on his Twitter/Instagram feeds. I ended up needing to check it out twice from two different libraries. The first checkout: the introduction intrigued me as I have a BS in Computer Science and an MDiv - I am highly intellectual and enjoy data while also looking at all topics from multiple perspectives. But, the format for that checkout was not easy for highlighting or note taking. I w...
  • Kevin Rhodes
    For me, Michael Shermer is an acquired taste. I enjoy his TED talks and read his books, I subscribe to his email newsletter… but he’s one of those guys who absolutely and endlessly loves to debate , and I’m quite sure he’s never lost an argument in his life. For me, that approach to life gets old, and even though I could never win an argument with him, I really don’t want to. For me, reason has its limits, and when he pursues his argume...
  • Malathi Mrinal
    Approximately 100 billion humans have come and gone since the beginning of time, he notes, and not a single one has returned to confirm the existence of an afterlife, “at least not to the high evidentiary standards of science.”“Heavens on Earth” does just that, bringing the high evidentiary standards of science to bear on heavenly claims. Shermer examines the claims of spiritual seekers, who see consciousness as primary, an essence from w...
  • D.C. Lozar
    In his book, “Heavens on Earth,” Michael Shermer does a wonderful job of addressing and debunking many of the anti-aging theories. Additionally, he provides rational arguments as to why humans cling to these theories despite the discouraging evidence. He addresses the ethereal aspects of new-aged religions, the cultish draw of technologic immortality, the way we think as we approach death, and how people are fooled into thinking they've exper...
  • Bilbo
    M. Shermer deals with religious concepts of an afterlife in cultures all over the world, historical attempts to create utopia by various political regimes, but most importantly with scientific attempts to create "heaven on Earth". Radical life extension, cryogenetics, transhumanism, uploading conciousness into the cloud, you named it...I loved the usuall scepticism from Michael as he gives all these wild ideas more critical serious outlook and em...
  • Jc
    This is not Shermer's best book. Of course, his best overall project is Skeptic magazine, but he also has an extensive bibliography of interesting books, lectures, etc.. It is not that I disagree with anything he discusses in this work, it is more that I found it a bit clumsy and weakly organized - he can do better. With that complaint out of the way, I still recommend this book to those who are just starting their exploration of the topics menti...
  • Paul
    I was a little disappointed in that it had more on current attempts to achieve immortality through cryogenics and increasing life expectancies than I cared for (since I won't be around long enough to take advantage of any such advances in science), but I should have been forewarned by the subtitle, "The Scientific Search for the Afterlife, Immortality, and Utopia." But I agree with the author's conclusion: "Facing death--and life--with courage, a...
  • Marge
    Although well written and organized, I can't walk away awestruck. Most of the book presented ideas and facts we mostly know and just organized them for the reader. Concepts of human belief over the years was presented and ways to prolong life or resort to cryonics was touched on. Since no one has come back from death other than Jesus, which I believe, the words of Jesus are the best we have to satisfy our questions.
  • Bon Tom
    Bookmarked to oblivion. It's almost ridiculous. I don't even agree with most of it, or at best, I'm not sure about it. I do, maybe, strongly agree with some of it. But what a ride this book is. What a stimulus for lazy synapses. Really got me thinking, laughing in places, and wanting to cry at brutality of some parts of human condition and self deception we indulge in. This is a gem of a book. Gem like in a punch in the face with a fistful of sto...
  • Ushan
    We are all going to die, most likely around age 70-80. There is no soul separate from the body that can survive the death of the body. Although this is obviously true, many people refuse to accept it and claim to believe the comforting falsehood of afterlife. These simple ideas don't need a whole book to express them, so Shermer fills this book with irrelevant anecdotes and discussion of charlatans.
  • sai
    Good but unevenI felt that the parts where the author tries to faithfully explain religious dogma around death seemed a little hands-off, as if the author didn’t want to go very deep into presenting that dogma because he didn’t truly believe it.The science parts were a breeze to read.
  • Jess Dollar
    I really enjoyed this book. A secular, science-based approach to life’s biggest questions is one of my favorite things, especially when it’s respectful of faith traditions, open to mystery, and based in genuine, open-hearted curiosity for the world around us.Another book in this genre that I absolutely loved is The Big Picture by Sean Carroll.
  • Crystal Ellyson
    I received an ARC copy of this book through Librarything.com Early Review giveaway. I received this book to give an honest review. I found this book to be okay, but not great. It was hard to keep my interest. I kept putting the book down and not wanting to pick it back up. There was some interesting things in the book.
  • Christina Gagliano
    This book contains a lot of information/observations I've read in other books that touch on many of the topics in this book--finding meaning in life without religion and from within youself, scientific arguments against souls, the afterlife, cryogenics, etc., utopias--but the info is nicely ordered and explained in here.
  • Jordan Stern
    Dr. Shermer's Heavens on Earth is beatifully written, thoughtful, and very well-researched. This book is packed with thought-provoking insights and gedanken experiments, and it is peppered with both poignant and awe-inspiring quotes from literature and poetry. Do yourself a favor and read it!
  • Ogan
    Objective and Well Meaning CritiquesI am glad he took the time to address transhumanism and objectively criticize it, we needed this in order not to turn into cult thinking, over all the book increased my hopes in transhumanist thought.
  • Teo 2050
    ~6h @ 1.8x.
  • Daniel Hageman
    A really cool way to touch on a lot of both ancient topics, myths, and modern day Kurzweilian fads.
  • Robert2481
    This is a book that was both thought provoking & accessible. I intend to buy a hard copy to keep & re-read.
  • Thomas Stark
    I read this with interest but then, I am a member of choir.
  • Jeff Rudisel
    Much fun. Much profundity.
  • Karen
    I liked it a lot, some parts were a bit boring but, overall, it was very interesting. We are in Heaven!