The Medical Book: From Witch Doctors to Robot Surgeons

I just received my copy of Clifford A. Pickover's new book The Medical Book: From Witch Doctors to Robot Surgeons, 250 Milestones in the History of Medicine (528 pages; Sterling, New York; 2012) [idiosyncratically, "a" in the word "medical" in the title is actually spelled using the Greek letter "alpha"; Clifford does that sort of thing habitually with many of his other titles {40 books and counting} inserting Greek letters randomly for artistic effect].

This is a must have book despite its expense (Link on, since it provides a profound insight into the power of the exponential that Kurzweil was expressing in his recent DVD [see my last E-mail]. Perspective on medical progress over the centuries regarding where one is in the long eye of history to help us understand the difference between where we are now and where we could be is a form of education that one doesn't get in medical school. Fortunately, we have a brilliant text in which every other page is a photograph, so that even young curious school children could appreciate it; and so they could make the intellectual leap from our current situation (or plight) [what we euphemistically refer to as the "human condition"] as only a pathetic snapshot of our present time along the way to a magical and fabulous future with the unbounded infinitude of immortality. The mortality that we all presently
faces will continue until we identify the secrets encrypted in our DNA sequence and debug the malicious epigenetic code that we inherited from our primitive ancestors. We must strive to overcome mortality. Mortality is not the "blessing of finitude" as suggested by Prof. Leon R. Kass, M.D., Ph.D. former Chairman of President Bush's Bioethics Council. As I have frequently stated, there is nothing in the laws of physics that precludes biological immortality for an individual as a matter of principle. It is only the bluntness of our present instruments and our collective ignorance that stands in our way -- at least for now. So, let's get back to work.

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