The most common question I get is the one about overpopulation. Not that people are interested in this issue in particular, but when they hear about what I do they immediately ask: What about overpopulation? If people would live indefinitely then there will be just too many people around.
Here is the answer.
1. Overpopulation depends more on the amount of kids in a family, not on lifespan. So, no matter if you prolong your life or not, overpopulation may still happen.
2. Let’s deal with problems as they arise. The numer 1 problem now is aging.
3. Theoretically, the problem is not about the amount of people, but about the limitation in resources. The main one is energy. But we have that covered for the next 8 billion years. I mean the energy of the Sun. And the area of the Earth, including the oceans, is enough for 2-3 trillion people to live comfortably.
4. It’s not like the problem itself cannot be solved: one of the solutions is the limitation of birth, for example, via tax regulations.
5. The worst solution to the overpopulation problem (which does not yet even exist!) is the denial of life extension for the currently living generation.
I believe it’s crucial to find out why, actually, this argument arises. I don’t think it’s because of Harry Harrison’s 1966 book “Make room! Make room!,” about future overpopulation. It’s also not because of his explicit and implicit followers – young science fiction writers and sociologists.
In my opinion, the nature of this argument is close to the arguments against unlimited life extension, like: “this contradicts evolution,” “it’s going to be boring to live,” and is one of the imaginary threats. These threats are created only in one’s mind during discussions about immortalism. As a matter of fact, I don’t think a lot of people are ready to give up their own lives for the sake of “evolutionary needs,” or people refuse to take antibiotics when they’re sick, thinking: “what if I get better and become bored? No, I had better not argue with my destiny.” This doesn’t look like an attempt to learn about the issue! Because, in other cases, people do not even think of such absurd arguments. But having heard this answer, the majority does not make the conclusion that it’s about their lives too and that they have to deal with this knowledge.
I am concerned that these arguments originate from the will to brush off the problem and do nothing to solve it. Everyone has got their own list of troubles and they don’t need one more. Moreover, in the average person’s opinion this issue is not urgent at all. Therefore, our main argument should be that fighting aging is the most important and urgent problem of all!