Re: Atlanta Philosophical Societ on Death

Technotranscendence (
Fri, 3 Dec 1999 07:23:51 -0800

On Friday, December 03, 1999 12:36 AM Robert Owen wrote:
> > Note how the Atlanta Philosophical Society does not consider
alternatives to
> > dying and death. Maybe some on this list might attend or write to
> > regarding this??? It's one way to bring our ideas into the debate.
> Just wanted to mention a personal emotional catharsis: that
> somebody, somewhere, is taking "death" seriously. A very
> great relief from the strain of reading so many posts on its
> technological evasion.

I think that trying to avoid it is taking it seriously.:) I reflect on how many people there are I work with, who are very smart when it comes to planning their finances, dealing with relationships and doing the jobs, but do nothing to plan to live a lot longer -- other than just paying lip service to whatever health trend in now in vogue.

I also would note that Greg Johnson is not considering life extension in his talk about death.

> This is not meant to be critical of List Extropians; simply a
> rather straightfoward application of Occam's Razor:
> "Pluralitas non est ponenda sine neccesitate"
> Death is nature's way of quantitatively compensating for birth,
> and I claim that the principle of parsimony requires no more
> human beings than absolutely necessary.

I don't think this a "straightforward application of Occam's Razor" so much as a misapplication of it. Occam's Razor is meant to apply to human understanding of reality. Ergo, the implied question in the phrase "absolutely necessary" -- "Whom is it is 'absolutely necessary' for?" -- in the preceding sentence. That is, it is necessary for human understanding to function. However, there is no "straigtforward" answer to whom is it "absolutely necessary" only to have so many humans and no more or less.

Also, the assumption above is that being potentially immortal -- note: potentially; I think actual immortality is unlikley if not impossible; a long lived being can still be killed somehow, I'm sure -- implies we all will decide to reproduce and that we will be unable to handle that. (Uploads, e.g., will be able to repoduce with abandon, given that virtual beings require so much less resources. Or so I speculate.)


Daniel Ust