“Fairy tales are more than true: not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten.” – Neil Gaiman
I don’t believe there’s any such thing as a heaven, or a hell. I don’t believe there’s such a thing as a spirit or soul. I don’t believe that my mind is anything other than what my brain does. But I do admire the quest for immortality. In fact, I think it may very well be an inevitable part of our species’ evolution, should we ever make it off this rock.
I’ll take it.
It’s my position that humanity, true humanity, has yet to arrive on the world’s stage. Humanity is waiting to be born from our work, and our discoveries, and to a roll of the dice. It’s our job to create the generation that calls the stars their home. It’s our job to create minds that can raise our species above the level of clever apes with nukes. It’s our job to pave the way for the evolution of humanity. This is the Great Work.
And it requires empirical rationalism and methodological naturalism. The proof is in the pudding, science works. Nobody has ever prayed a new medicine into existence. We’ve never wished our way to a pebble bed reactor. We’ve positive-thinking’d no prosthetic limbs which grant tactile sensation back to their wearers.
There is objective proof that the fruits of science include, but are not limited to; longer lifespans; healthier lives; more comfortable existences; a greater carrying capacity for the planet; and a deeper knowledge of the universe and our place in it. And to date, no other methodology can even hold a candle to those results.
I contend that we have two fundamental choices available to us, as a species. We can search for something from beyond our world to save us, and go to the grave with that as an insurance policy. Or, we can choose to take control of the evolution of our species and achieve actual physical and/or digital immortality. And when it gets here, we will not have to take it on faith. We’ll see the results.
And the results we’ve already seen are staggering.
Today, we can use stem cells to replace and repair grey matter, the only real barrier to physical immortality. Today, we can construct nano-scale robots. Today we can scan thoughts and display them visually. Today we can use quantum computing and holographic data storage. Today, we can build prosthetics that provide the wearer with a sense of touch.
What will we be able to do tomorrow?