Immortality & Overpopulation: Explaining the Argument

This article is a prelude to our article, ‘Why Immortality Will Not Cause Overpopulation’.

Human immortality; something that most believe impossible, is becoming progressively popularised as being inevitable, and maybe in as little as 20 years. A common reaction to such a possibility is: “No, we can’t become immortal because we will overpopulate”. Well, overpopulation is certainly a challenge.

   Immortality on the Horizon

The recent surge in excitement about the possibility of immortality being just on the horizon, is due to the rapid speed in which we are beginning to notice our technologies are advancing. The rate of acceleration is described as exponential: Every 18 months the power of our computers doubles. The law of accelerating returns, is used to describe the effect that the increase in computing power has on other technologies; how they themselves advance faster due to computing power being more powerful. It is this law of accelerating returns that is bringing the possibility of immortality fast to our doorsteps.


Exponential GrowthRay Kurzweil has been studying the trends of our technological growth since the 1980’s, when he set out predictions for the future. So far his predictions have had a stunning 86% accuracy rate (the remaining 14% of the predictions are said to be “essentially correct”), which sets him high on the scale of futurist reliability. He predicts that within 40 years, human intelligence levels would have been superseded billions of times over, Immortality within 35 yearsthrough technological means. It seems incomprehensible, but so did his prediction that by 2010 computers would be carried in our pockets, and be billions of times more powerful (in terms of price-performance) than they were in 1980, which in 2010 became a reality.

As well as the law of accelerating returns, we also have the merging of industries. It is the merging of health care industries which, Aubrey de Grey, says is set to have an incredible impact on longevity. He says that within 20 years, we could reach “longevity escape velocity”: For every year that passes, life expectancy will increase by at least one year; the ticking clock towards death would finally stop.

For more information about all things immortality related, visit our central immortality page.


   Dissecting the Argument
As we approach the immortalisation of humanity, the overpopulation argument will become progressively intensified. The argument that we will dissect below is the one which demands the requirement of slowing/halting the endeavour for indefinite life extension. First we list a selection of overpopulation arguments that are subsequently vaguely referenced.

What exactly IS the overpopulation argument?

The curse of immortality: Why anti-aging technology would spell disaster for humankind

Disputing the Idea of Immortality

If physical immortality was perfected tomorrow, what would be the ramifications?

Immortality is Stagnation

7 reasons why a global population of 7 billion means trouble

Eternal Youth, Overpopulation, And Instincts To Reproduce

Ploughing through the confusing plethora of debates concerning the overpopulation argument, has enabled the unearthing of a series of definable subsection arguments:


The ‘Space and Resources on Earth’ Argument

This is the most basic of arguments; it is the most common first thought of a person who is confronted with the possibility of immortality for the first time. The first worry is space, and the second is resources.

Some futurists also display this worry. The argument is present where futurists believe humanity will demand immortality access at a time when it is only possible through bioengineering means. Their argument does not consider the possibility of humanity becoming ‘digitally immortal’, at least for the foreseeable future.

The argument features Malthusian and Neo Malthusian theories, dating back to the 18th century. Malthusian theories though, both old and new, predict carrying capacity based on known trends. Whereas, history has proved, new forms of technology and social organization make carrying capacity a moving target, and a greater population generally equates to a greater incentive to discover new methods for maintaining adequate sustenance.

Further into the space and resources argument, we have the arguments of the how the problem could be further exacerbated:


Elysium future

The ‘Only the Poor Die’ Argument

This argument provides main focuses on the possibility that immortality will only be offered to the rich, which would cause huge divides between the rich and poor. The world that comes to mind is the one seen in the movie, Elysium. Overpopulation would theoretically be controlled by letting the poor continue aging. Should we foresee the possibility of our world becoming so cruel to the poor, we will see rapid progress from protest, to riot, to terrorism, to a complete war. The solution asserted in the argument is that we must make immortality available to nobody.


Evolution Complete

Image Credit: Taze485

The ‘Halting Evolution’ Argument

This argument involves the phenomenon of ‘fresh minds = new ideas’, which is currently very much true. As people age they generally do so while holding on to their traditions, which eventually become outdated and out of sync with evolving modern culture. The force of change occurs with youthful perspectives.

It is argued that with more people holding on to traditions, culture will become stagnant, and humanity will fail to evolve. Without the ability to adjust to societal changes, we would fail to maintain adequate resources and would therefore overpopulate.


The Compulsory Virtual Reality’ Argument

Concern is not made regarding space and resources where the writer observes that people could be immortal through ‘mind uploading’. The argument that is attached though asserts that immortality should not be allowed until humans can exist in virtual environments. But then we have those who assert that they wouldn’t want to live in a ‘fake’ environment, and so they assign immortality as being pointless.


The ‘Alien Encounter’ Argument

This argument accepts that humanity can become immortal with there being enough space and resources for us to expand without the need to limit our growth. Alien EncounterWhere the argument kicks in is at the perceived time when we encounter an alien civilisation, who has also decided to expand in the same way. The threat displayed in the argument explains that we could encounter conflict will alien races, and the longer we go before conflict, the more human suffering it will entail, so we shouldn’t bother even starting on the immortal path.




  Reality of the Argument

So, it’s likely that you were reading those arguments with a tonne of simple solutions racing through your mind. Before we suggest them though, let’s not be naive and wash the overpopulation arguments off as ‘never gonna happen’. We can’t ignore the problems. Problems like to stay out of sight, because that is where they can gain power and make their move. Just as the overpopulation argument dismisses immortality as something that could not become reality; all that causes is blindness to a possible future which could catch us off guard. Either sides of the argument ignoring the other will lead to that other argument becoming a surprising reality realised by its approach being made from the blind spots of ignorance.

Procative! Consider the professional aspects of all arguments and activate rational consideration of all possibilities, allowing proactive preemption of all possible problems. For overpopulation not to happen, we must plan for it not to.


  Countering the Argument

To begin the balancing of the argument, we should display the possibilities which would prevent each eventuality that is asserted as inevitable in the various aspects of the overpopulation arguments. Part 2 of this article presents the reasons why the endeavour for immortality does not need to be hindered for fear of overpopulation.

Part 2: Why Immortality Will Not Cause Overpopulation!


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  • Gabriel Mcpheeters

    I have read allot of articles on this topic for the last 5 hours and In conclusion after reading an unholy metric fuck-ton of comments and ideas
    that people have posted I have decided to post my own views and collectively gather all I have read into a single entity so that people may
    get the Omniversal views of all who shared their views as well as my own views and ideas on this topic.
    #1 So first off to those of you who just randomly searched up something that lead you to this, This topic is about immortality. So before we
    get into the The logistics of how, why, and when Let us First clearly define (Immortality) According to Wikipedia Immortality is

    (“The ability to live forever; eternal life”) This is referring to Eternal Life,never ageing not (Invincibility) please do not confuse the two.

    Now as allot of debates on this subject clearly depict there are actually two types of immortality The first being that of a spiritual one. Where your spirit never dies that when your body dies your spirit simply sheds itself of it’s former body like a piece of clothing and is reincarnated into another life(The Buddhist view of afterlife and death) Or perhaps one of the many monotheistic religions Such as Judaism, Christianity, or Islam where when your body dies your soul leaves your body and is placed in either Heaven,Hell,or (Purgatory based upon the Roman Catholic view of afterlife) Where you are placed is a matter of how well you preformed in your life according to That specific religions rules and guidelines. .Finally when your body dies according to the Greek’s polytheistic view of gods and goddess when your body dies your spirit either goes to Elysium or Tartarus Where your spirit goes is dependent upon how well you preformed in life according to That specific religions rules and guidelines. Now upon reading this article you have seen or should have seen the connection these seemly vastly different religions and timelines all have. They all support the idea that (a) or (the) (Spirit or Soul is Immortal)and cannot die,perish, be consumed or otherwise destroyed. Therefore With all religious views in agreement we can definitely agree that Our souls are immortal. (Sorry Atheist people)

    #2 So now that we have covered spiritual immortality what about physical immortality? 60 years ago this article along with the internet and everything this article represents would have never even been contemplated let alone online published for you to be reading it right now. However as the pendulum of time swings ever in motion new inventions and innovations come to become a reality such is the way with advancement momentum. Every 18 Months our computing power roughly doubles that of it’s former self. As with all things in this last century Bio-engineering has been rapidly advancing and evolving itself in new and innovative ways such as nano-bots.These tiny little robots are currently under experimentation on animals for the purpose of finding hazardous cells or objects such as cancer or blood clots and attach themselves to hazards and alerting you of the hazard at the soonest possible moment.

    These little Robots are just one example of how lives that would of been lost 10 years ago can now be saved by Bio-Engineering. Among other things such as the invention and practical application of Genetic DNA Scissors in 2012 which allows tacticians to modify Our genetic sequences feats only dreamed about in the 1970-1980.Along with the development of stems cells which allow one to regrow a missing limb or an organ. As we continue in our unique paths of destiny we each add our own piece of the puzzle that will ultimately lead to immortality. So one way or another is immortality within our grasp? Yes indeed it is I truly believe that we can achieve immortality within the next 20-40 years the question is no longer about whether or not it’s possible to achieve immortality but Will we? and if we do what happens tomorrow.

    #3 Now that we have firmly established immortality is a very possible feat in the near future what will we do? No matter where you come from or where you may have initially heard of the concept of immortality since the beginning of time all around the world there have been myths and legends of immortal gods, Beings, And even other Humans that have dabbled in dark magic or evil pacts with demons or even the devil to obtain immortality.

    (“Magic is just science yet to be explained”) So there you have it are there any immortals watching us right now as we steadily progress towards immortality Ourselves? I Suppose only time will tell. Much of the truth of immortality is shrouded in darkness or common place misconceptions. However the general view of Immortality is a rather dark and grim cursed existence. Watching, sitting around alive and young while your children and anyone you have ever loved grows old and dies Truly dead to the world. However that may be so for one who acquired immortality from one of the above mentioned methods what would immortality be like if everyone was immortal? I can name a few movie titles that have a similar concept to this one of them is called “Time” The other is called “Elysium”. (Huh guess the Greeks had it right after all) So What do you think it would be like let me know in the reply’s below.

    #4 So now what? What happens tomorrow? Everyone is immortal and continuing to have babies and since no one wants to stop having sex and kids The population is now starting to exceed the maximum limit that the earn can sustain. No one ages so no more death from old age So that tallies death up to disease, accidents, and wars. Well with immortality achieved i doubt there are very many diseases left around that could seriously start dropping a body count. Your now immortal now so you have allot of time to practice anything and everything extensively so i doubt very many accidents will happen now and everyone wants to live forever and will start to realize material goods are worthless when you are eternal so i doubt war will happen very often either. So how do we lower the body count? Well I see only 4 options here either you put a 1 child per 5000 years limit, everyone turns completely single forever, everyone turns gay forever,or we start colonizing space. Which leads us to number 5

    #5 So we fixed the whole not dying overpopulation issue by colonizing space and putting up that whole 1 child per 5000 limit so were all good right up until we run into other alien explorers/Colonizers like us and ……? I never understood the entire argument about other spaces people all it all ever states is that we ‘May’ run into aliens on our path colonizing the stars.This is Extremely Unlikely as the universe is both unfathomably massive and endless as existence itself. As well as a moot point because in all actuality if we did find another explorer like us we would A work with them B Avoid them C Wait them out since you know the whole were Immortal thing or D Kill them so the whole running into another alien argument is entirely moot and pointless. Eventually we wouldn’t even need substance to sustain ourselves as we further continue to modify our genetic code we could very all well eventually reach a point in controlled evolution that we no longer need bodies at all and once that happens none of this will concern anyone anymore ever again.

    #6 So This has been A really fucking long article on this topic I have been researching and reading everyone’s comments , ideas, and views on the Issue of Immortality and I have done my very best to compile all the evidence of such a possibility happening in the near future from various sources. Integrating all of the various peoples views and comments that I found interesting or enlightening and dashed in a side of my own personal views and opinions.

    Please tell me what all you think in the replies below and if there was anything I should of added in i left out and if there are any spelling mistakes or grammatically incorrect sentences I am sorry I have been reading this subject for like 5 hours and writing it for about 3 now Anyways Peace out and Follow your path of destiny to immortality. “Carpe Diem”

    ‘Knowledge is power the Universe is Simply waiting for you to grasp it’ my own quote 🙂

    • liam

      I accept your argument, but my belief is that death is apart of life. Space colonization would be nice for preventing the extinction of humans, but say there is a miracle pill today for immortality. It would probably be kept it scientific labs for awhile longer for testing. After that, the genetic sequencing would probably be released, and large companies would make immortality possible for people. The ones who took the immortality pill, will probably still die from accidents, gun attacks, etc. I agree with you that the amount of deaths from say car crashes or alcohol would go down, because people would perceive their life as more valuable, but people would still die left and right.. What I would think a solution for overpopulation is you can either take an immortality pill of shot, or you can have children. You have children through a medical lab with your wife/husband, once the child is born, the reproductive organs would be removed from your body, and you would not be given a shot/pill. Your child would choose himself if he could get a pill or have children. Space colonization, I agree. would save us this problem.

  • Colby Bauer

    What about the ‘soul-death’ theory, whereby you are essentially ‘killing’ the individual and merely creating a hollow shell that directly mimics the person. Immortality would only be in legacy and not life.

  • Anonymous

    If this really will happen, i’d only join if my parents will still be alive, life would really suck without them.

  • Guest

    Adam wuz here

  • Leo Guba

    hola classe

  • Leo Guba


  • Gear Mentation

    How long do we have to wait??? I’ve needed the second part of this article several times, and keep coming back hoping I can link to it on comment sections.

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