Zoltan Istvan’s campaign promises as an atheist candidate for president represent splendid examples of atheist faith in action. Let’s consider example #1 for today.
Zoltan is apparently a single-issue candidate, promising that if he was President, he would get the scientific community to deliver immortality to all of humanity through all kinds of amazing technological breakthroughs. But exactly how would he do this?
So the main goal of the Transhumanist Party is to divert money away from defense — you know, the 20 percent of the national budget that we spend on wars and bombs — and to put a lot of that, or at least some of that, into life extension science.
Why should we have a war in Afghanistan if we can have a war on cancer, or a war on heart disease? About a third of Americans die from heart disease. We should wipe that out! That’s where the war should be. And so that’s my elevator pitch: the Transhumanist Party is going to do everything in its power to shift the resources and the intellect of this country into fighting for the things that affect our health, and not for fighting far-off wars.
America can become the biotechnology powerhouse in the world, and end a lot of suffering, especially needless suffering from disease, if we were just to spend our resources there. You don’t get anywhere from spending money on brand-new cluster bombs. You have to spend that money on science, give it to the scientists.
I see. The only thing preventing immortality is..[cough]…money. If only we could throw more money at the problem, lots and lots of money, we could get rid of cancer and heart disease. And from there, its just a short step toward immortality.
I kid you not. Zolton goes on and on about money:
It’s really just a matter of fast-forwarding that, putting it on overdrive, spending a lot more money — a hundred times the money — and you’re going to get, potentially, at least ten times the results. And I think, literally, as I have said before, if we put a trillion dollars into the life extension field, we will conquer human mortality within ten years.
It’s a numbers game, really. We have so little money going into the field right now. The NIH is putting in just a few billion, and it’s mostly towards Alzheimer’s and things like that. But if we really put in real money, even just put in a fifth of what we put into the Iraq War, we would probably be able to conquer human death.
Oh my. It takes a lot of faith to believe that more money will purchase immortality. But we have heard this kind of pitch before. Anyone else remember California’s Proposition 71 from 2004? Voter’s were told that if they would only fork over 3 billion dollars, stem cell research would cure paralysis and Parkinson’s disease. People who opposed this effort and/or were skeptical of such claims were demonized as “anti-science.”
Well, a few billion dollars and 12 years later, where is the cure for paralysis and Parkinson’s disease?
An Associated Press review of the agency’s accomplishments published in March 2012 said that the main accomplishments so far are:
“the opening of sleek buildings and gleaming labs at a dozen private and public universities built with matching funds.”
“Stanford University unveiled the nation’s largest space dedicated to stem cell research — 200,000 square feet that can hold 550 researchers.”
“There are no cures yet in the pipeline and CIRM has shifted focus, channeling money to projects with the most promise of yielding near-term results.”
A journalist for the LA Times then made the following observations in 2015:
Turning 10 years old may not quite mark adolescence for a human child, but for a major government research effort such as California’s stem cell program, it’s well past middle age.
So it’s a little strange to hear C. Randal Mills, the new president and chief executive of the program known formally as the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine, say it’s time to instill in CIRM “a clear sense of mission.”
Mills, a former biotech company chief executive, took over as CIRM’s president last May. His first task, he told me, was to “take a step back and look broadly at how we do our business.” He reached the conclusion that “there was a lot of room for improvement.”
That’s a striking admission for a program that already has allocated roughly two-thirds of its original $3-billion endowment.
I’m not surprised by any of this. But it shows that Zoltan’s faith that money can purchase immorality is a truly blind faith. And that he would greatly weaken the country’s defenses, especially in these dangerous times, to pursue his pipe dream pegs it as a dangerous form of blind faith.