Re: Why Do We Die?

Ian Goddard (
Wed, 03 Feb 1999 03:43:52 -0500

At 01:32 PM 2/2/99 +0100, Anders Sandberg wrote:

>Ian Goddard <> writes:
>> Why do we die?
>> Maybe because a steady flow of new people is the only way
>> for new social structures, paradigms, and ideas to evolve,
>> which may in turn maximize the chance of the survival of life.
>This is a common answer, but rather non-transhumanistic. Can't we
>change without having people die? We want our ideas to die instead of

IAN: Well, death serves some purpose, which is not to say that we couldn't evolve beyond death.

>> As Nobel physicist Max Plank said about evolution in science:
>> "A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its
>> opponents and making them see the light, but rather because
>> its opponents eventually die, and a new generation grows
>> up that is familiar with the idea from the beginning."
>He was probably (not necessarily completely) joking. There are plenty
>of revolutions in science that occur much faster than people die
>off. Just look at quantum mechanics, relativity, Gödel's theorem and
>so on.

IAN: But consider that every year new professors are created, such that the influx of youth is a continuous feature, and I suspect that we would find that the new paradigms would tend to enter and infiltrate the academic community with the entry and infiltration of youth; and most of the hold outs against change will tend to be the older professors. I suspect that's true and if so, then Plank's observation is both rather cynical and scientifically accurate.