Video: 'Wanting to achieve immortality is arrogant'

Evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins, known to the general public for his aversion to religion, sees nothing in the desire of many scientists and technologists to achieve immortality. According to Dawkins, who as a biologist of course realizes the limitations of the Earth's ecosystem, immortality will lead to an ecological disaster. No immortality without stopping having children, Dawkins said. Is Dawkins right and is the pursuit of immortality a dangerous idea? Or is there a way to escape this doom scenario?

Personally, I think Dawkins certainly has a point here. Immortality in a biological sense, without ending childbirth, is a recipe for disaster. If humanity stays on the earth.

On the other hand, there are many alternative options. Colonization of space, virtual worlds, etc. We could also prohibit those who choose immortality from having children (and exclude those who have already had children from becoming immortal).

In short, the coming technology to achieve immortality will pose many ethical problems. Or will the elite decide for us, allowing only those belonging to the elite to become immortal? What do you think?

11 thoughts on “Video: ‘Onsterfelijkheid willen bereiken is arrogant’”

  1. I can assume this is only a fraction of the full interview. If the fear of overpopulation is Dawkins' only fear, I can't help but call it shortsighted and an insult to his own intellect.

    Immortality will eventually lead to the extinction of humanity… how paradoxical. Let us first say that there will never be a scenario where EVERYONE will be immortal. If physical immortality is feasible, it will most likely only be within reach for a select few ...

    Anyway… for the sake of a fun discussion let's assume that humanity has become immortal. Then it is completely unpredictable what that will do to our 'reproductive drive' or the world population. Because does immortality also mean that we can still reproduce ourselves to an extremely old age? Most likely, a one-child policy will then be introduced worldwide.

    OR, suicide will become public disease number 1, because at some point we have seen and experienced everything. OR, if immortality has settled in our genes, do we just want no children at all, because we will experience immortality as a 'divine punishment' and want to spare our children this fate? 

    Immortality is also at odds with evolution, the essence of ALL existence. We can already say that in evolution we almost stand still, or even seem to show decline. Instead of a more intelligent, stronger and healthier, more intuitive and fairer race, we remain stuck in the adolescent phase. In the eyes of some we even get stuck in our 'animal' phase, in which eating or being eaten is the only rule of life. If we were to be immortal, there is no more room for learning, developing, developing… and being reborn. Apart from concepts such as karma or reincarnation, we can assume that there is something like a kind of 'collective consciousness'. What will immortality do to our common soul? Without development, without dying and birth, life is likely to come to a standstill, which will eventually become our downfall.

    For example, there are still many interesting perspectives that we can come up with, which we will never be able to resolve. That's why I tend to quickly forget these silly theories and speculations ...

    1. Hm, I read on this website that within 50 years we would be able to download our brains into a computer (did those dawkins agree or disagree that our mind is a biological computer), and with that, immortality is within reach. If you have full to be is on the internet, almost anything would be possible. Literally anyone could create worlds, as long as there is disk space. I like that.
      And if I don't like it anymore, there will be a delete button.

  2. Interesting considerations. A nice film that ties in with this subject is The Man From Earth, a person who is immortal himself and thus gives a glimpse into what that is like to experience. 

  3. On this point I agree with Richard Dawkins. As far as religion is concerned, although I am a lot less fanatical about it than he is. People do have the right to adhere to religions (nonsense religions, in my view) and even teach them to their children. Dawkins thinks it's child abuse, not me.

    I stand up for the SGP's right to sit in the Chamber, although I loathe their thinking.

    Incidentally, the overpopulation is not so bad in the long term: in many countries fertility is already well below the replacement level:

    Worldwide it is just above 2, I thought, but I no longer see that average in the list. Earlier, in my memory.

  4. We have long been immortal: through our children. (And for those who don't have them themselves, those of others.)

    Wanting to be personally immortal is a mixture of an understandable urge for life and reprehensible arrogance.

    Look around you in nature: everything dies, but is also constantly supplemented with fresh, young life. That's how it should be and always will be. Amen.

  5. I think that wanting to be immortal is in the nature of the beast, so in humans, among other things. This in addition to many other metaphysical, individual creations. Consider the vast majority of the man-made concept, religion. The reward or punishment for existence here was and is presented there as a form of continuation on display for eternity. I could suppose about the collective consciousness; life in itself is immortal in many forms, it arises wherever it is possible. A hypothetical collective consciousness must be universal and calculated for this. The willingness to sacrifice yourself for the survival of the species is one such thing. Where does that come from? It is ingrained in almost all mother animals, even if they still have such a strong survival instinct, but the males also have that. That indicates programming that you can question. The universe could be something collectively living on immatrial levels, to which no species in its material form can reach. Eternal life in collective, immaterial form could be an invention of life itself programmed to preserve the sensations of the physical body. Hedonistic motives, therefore, in which we have to consider the reproductive urges, but also all other motives. Something like that comes down to wanting to continue to experience sensations, whatever they are. Also that of the child that is born is part of this. Beings may die because that may be the only way to those experiences. Incarnation thus also acquires meaning in such a context. Nobody owns the truth, everything can be different than we think, but what does it matter. We are there and may be amazed at the reality as it is visible to us. For the time being, we cannot be conclusive about the imperceptible, hypothetical reality of existence. Whoever wants eternal life must be allowed to do so, and there is plenty of room for that in this universe.

  6. After our organic death, you get the question what is it? NOTHING? maybe we all whirl through the universe as life-atoms, who knows? And then maybe you could talk about being immortal. I would get tired of thinking about that, so let my ashes scatter over the sea and glide over the waves. Wonderfully sleep-inducing. Mvg, paul. :-D

  7. Immortality? Sounds like something as long as there are new things to learn. Perhaps by then we will have a perfect form of knowledge transfer that does not require 'learning', in which case I would rather be dead. 

  8. Immortality is the ultimate goal of the human and other human races, it is the reason why a collaboration of natural forces is present in the universe. If man ever becomes efficient enough and therefore survives, our species will at some point progress so far thanks to technology and consciousness. are that we only consist of energy forms, it will start with gene therapy say reprogramming ourselves and thanks to biotechnology our organs and other parts will be replaced and even upgraded, evolving to a smaller and smaller level until we have rearranged every atom of our body and we just exist as a conscious form of energy. Reproduction is long then non-existent but all that is so far in the future that it is of no importance now.
    Closer to home Overpopulation: the Earth can easily handle many times the number of people it currently has, provided that we become efficient, that is, we respect each other and the Earth by accepting that we are all equal , the earth belongs to everyone and we share everything neatly with respect for nature.Maw away with races, classes and boundaries.
    So the population can still grow if we use technology, the earth and humans efficiently, we can continue for a while until we are ready to colonize space and other planets.
    Another aspect of efficiency is knowledge and thanks to that knowledge among the population, the standard of living is also increasing. You can already see that countries where knowledge and living standards are rising, population growth is declining. Which makes sense as educated people become aware of the influence of population growth / children on the planet, other people, and themselves. So efficiency and the associated higher education and consciousness will regulate this. The effect of religion and culture will also become apparent and disappear. 
    Obviously this will require radical change such as the reform of politics, economics and religion. And I think the logical step towards such a resource-based economy is the step towards such an RBE is possible in 3 generations.

  9. Wouter Drucker

    As mentioned, it is a natural desire. Predictions are always uncertain, but that we want to live is 100% certain, because we can experience that.

    That is why it is always recommended to follow your heart: information that is based on experience / perception offers a relatively high degree of certainty. 

  10. immortality is sure to come, that does not mean that you are immortal. you can still be killed or end up under a truck.
    the people who say there will be overpopulation is nonsense.
    by then we have been colonizing the infinite universe for a long time and we will spread like a virus throughout the universe.
    man is so and so doomed to extinction if they do not colonize the universe.

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