[ExI] Book review: Technological Resurrection, by Jonathan Jones

Gabe Waggoner gwaggoner at gmail.com
Sun Sep 24 19:29:59 UTC 2017

> On Sep 11, 2017, at 12:43 AM, extropy-chat-request at lists.extropy.org wrote:
> Book review: Technological Resurrection, by Jonathan Jones
> The recently published book ?Technological Resurrection: A Thought
> Experiment,? by Jonathan Jones, is a little gem. It only costs $1.26,
> and provides a short and readable first introduction to our ideas on
> technological resurrection...
> https://turingchurch.net/book-review-technological-resurrection-by-jonathan-jones-e651b8c78fb6 <https://turingchurch.net/book-review-technological-resurrection-by-jonathan-jones-e651b8c78fb6>

Hi, everyone. I’ve never posted to the list, though I’ve enjoyed the digest for years. I’m catching up on messages after some extended hospital stays. I don’t speak up often, but I’m glad this forum exists.

I enjoyed Giulio’s review of Technological Resurrection on turingchurch.net <http://turingchurch.net/> (what a great site) and decided to buy the book. Resurrection in the context of transhumanism and technology is certainly a worthy endeavor. Delving into topics as varied as quantum physics, time travel, spirituality, and morality, the writer clearly is excited about what he has to say. He even includes comparisons of his viewpoints with those in science fiction to help give unfamiliar readers a background grid through which to envision some of the more esoteric concepts.

One consequence of living in the digital age is that vanity publishing has become commonplace. I mean no offense to the author (a fellow Texan in my general age bracket) and hope only to show him the tools that would serve him well in future books.

As much as I enjoyed the book on a conceptual level, it reads much like raw, unfiltered stream of consciousness. The text itself seems disjointed and is full of errors in grammar, punctuation, spelling, usage, and typography. Going to the time and expense of hiring an editor would have helped the book be more cohesive. The lack of professional polish and development is evident. The errors are jarring and detract from the experience of reading what has the potential to be a thought-provoking essay. Sentence fragments, misused words (e.g., "flaunt" for "flout" and "phased" for "fazed") and overused exclamation points abound (among other problems). The narrative feels forced, with far too many inappropriately casual side comments from the author interspersed. And if this were a blog post that people weren't asked to pay for, that would be another thing altogether.

On a more substantive level, the book alludes to scientific studies that the writer claims serve as proof of one point or another, yet the text doesn't formally cite any sources. Even if the author's goal was not to create a document backed up with reference sources, having a bibliography or "for further reading" list would have been helpful and lent some credibility. (I realize that the author does refer in passing to several books, movies, and people by name; I'm not talking about those instances.) The text also claims in various places that 99% of people believe in angels/spirits/demons/aliens and that 99% of people have reported such contacts. Clearly, he meant that most people on Earth have some concept of an afterlife or believe in aliens. But it seems as though "99%" is the default number writers use when they mean "most people," to say nothing of the lack of precision and accuracy in such statements. 

The book's structure is formulaic; the writing, sophomoric. Weak, underdeveloped writing undermines its own message. But with the proper care, it could become a remarkable resource for transhumanism and for people who've begun to sense that science has the power to save us. I applaud the writer for his vision and his courage in putting his work out for scrutiny. The only way to get better at writing is to keep doing it, and I hope he does so.

Gabe Waggoner, MS, ELS
Washington, DC

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