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IEET > Security > Military > SciTech > SpaceThreats > Vision > Artificial Intelligence > Bioculture > Fellows > Russell Blackford > Affiliate Scholar > Phil Torres

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Phil Torres publishes book on Existential Risks

Existential Risks, titled The End: What Science and Religion Tell Us About the Apocalypse.

Posted: Feb 13, 2016

IEET Affiliate Scholar Phil Torres has published a book on Existential Risks, titled The End: What Science and Religion Tell Us About the Apocalypse. The Foreword was written by IEET Fellow Russell Blackford. 


A description and reviews of the book are below:

To date, no scholar has written a non-academic book that explores all the most pressing existential risks to humanity’s future. Phil Torres does precisely this with his forthcoming book, The End: What Science and Religion Tell Us About the Apocalypse (Pitchstone Publishing; Foreword by Russell Blackford). The End provides a comprehensive snapshot of contemporary Existential Risk Studies. It’s replete with new ideas and memorable aphorisms, yet it covers all the old territory — from nuclear weapons to molecular manufacturing, synthetic biology to superintelligence — in entertaining and accessible language. The majority of the book is, indeed, a detailed exploration of these “big-picture hazards.” But Torres argues that the tools of mass destruction are only half the picture: one must also examine the agents who could wield such tools to bring about a catastrophe. This leads to a discussion about the influence and prevalence of apocalyptic extremism in the modern world. From terrorists in the Middle East to “dispensationalists” in the United States, a shocking number of people believe that, in the end, the world must be destroyed in order to be saved. Torres argues that religious beliefs of this sort are especially dangerous in our rapidly changing world situation marked by environmental degradation and increasingly powerful dual-use technologies. The fact is that much of humanity already believes in the apocalypse — they’re just preoccupied with the wrong apocalyptic scenarios, and this “epistemological” failure is nontrivially inflating the probability of an existential catastrophe in the coming decades.

Ultimately, The End is a page-turning adventure through the wilderness of twenty-first century existential risks, and it’s sure to generate a productive conversation between riskologists, transhumanists, and the secular community.

“Phil Torres’ The End is the most chilling reality check on over-optimism I’ve ever read, a gripping narrative that could be a Hollywood blockbuster lm script but in fact is grounded in facts and data about what threatens to send humanity the way of the dinosaurs.” - Michael Shermer, Founding Publisher of Skeptic magazine and author of The Moral Arc.

“Secular Westerners who study catastrophic risks largely ignore the fact that, for the majority of people on the planet, the risks to the future of human existence are seen through a religious lens. Torres makes an enormous contribution with this explanation of the relationship between those eschatological belief systems and attempts to create a science of catastrophic risk estimation around threats from both technology and the natural world.” - James Hughes, Executive Director of the IEET and author of Citizen Cyborg.

Thoughtful, incisive, scholarly  and a pleasure to read.” - David Pearce, co-founder of Humanity+ and author of The Hedonistic Imperative 


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Phil Torres ‘chilling reality check’ is a useful reminder, particularly for the secular community, that they are no more able diminish these risks then are the religious crazies. Like it or not, ‘we’re all in the same boat, stranded by the same limitations, and not quite as far up that great learning curve of understanding necessary resolve any of the great questions of history and being. And while accepting without qualification that all mono-theism is false by nature of their all too human theological foundations and should be relegated to history’s own dustbin of oblivion, as these risks put our species under more immanent and acute threat, however unpalatable it may be, there may be little choice left but to revisit the God question if that is where the search for solutions begins. In fact history has the uncanny feeling of slowing pushing us in that very direction!

That sadly Americans are so deluded to believe the lies of the so-called apocalypse through Armageddon is totally mind boggling. As for Middle Eastern terrorists they belong to a mere 2% of the noise generated in real numbers. I have traveled though not recently across southern-western Asia and people were rather remarkably sane. Nor are there such existential crises prevalent in S.E-E. Asia. In fact it is really the obsession of a minority of Americans who use media and propaganda to peddle unhistorical lies. What is frightening is how they use Israel as a stalking horse to further their hysterical religious ideological EndZeit mind games.

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