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The idea that only humans have an afterlife has always been one that I find interesting. If only humans have them, at what point in our evolutionary history did we obtain them? Did Neanderthals have them? What about Homo-erectus? If we started having an afterlife at some point, wouldn’t that mean that the first person to be eligible for one couldn’t expect to have their parents there?
I know that many religious believers think animals do have an afterlife. But that just seems to move the line of difficulty. How far back on the evolutionary chain do we have to go before an afterlife doesn’t come into the equation? Is it just animals? Or do plants have them as well? Is the spinach I had on my Subway sandwich at lunch today in spinach heaven? If only animals, what about animal-plant hybrids like green sea slugs?
I personally think it’s unlikely that we have an afterlife waiting for us, but I could see humans conceivably creating one someday. Which raises an interesting question. Suppose we developed technology that would allow us to somehow put the minds of long dead relatives into a technological afterlife*. No doubt those relatives would also want to see their long dead relatives in that afterlife.
How far back would we allow it to go? Would we stop after anatomically modern humans, or continue until whoever was being resurrected wasn’t intelligent enough to care about their parents? Or at some other point?
* No, I don’t know of any laws of physics that would allow this, but some transhumanists have speculated about it.