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The Ethics Of Transhumanism And The Cult Of Futurist Biotech

Posted: September 25, 2018 at 12:45 pm

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Cryogenic pods. Computer illustration of people in cryogenic pods. Their bodies are being preserved by storing them at very low temperatures. They will remain frozen until a time when the technology might exist to resurrect the dead, a technique known as cryonics. Alternatively a new body may be cloned from their tissue. Some companies offer to store dead peoples bodies.

Transhumanism (also abbreviated as H+) is a philosophical movement which advocates for technology not only enhancing human life, but to take over human life by merging human and machine. The idea is that in one future day, humans will be vastly more intelligent, healthy, and physically powerful. In fact, much of this movement is based upon the notion that death is not an option with a focus to improve the somatic body and make humans immortal.

Certainly, there are those in the movement who espouse the most extreme virtues of transhumanism such as replacing perfectly healthy body parts with artificial limbs. But medical ethicists raise this and other issues as the reason why transhumanism is so dangerous to humans when what is considered acceptable life-enhancement has virtually no checks and balances over who gets a say when we go too far. For instance, Kevin Warwick of Coventry University, a cybernetics expert, asked the Guardian, What is wrong with replacing imperfect bits of your body with artificial parts that will allow you to perform better or which might allow you to live longer? while another doctor stated that he would have no part in such surgeries. There is, after all, a difference between placing a pacemaker or performing laser eye surgery on the body to prolong human life and lend a greater degree of quality to human life, and that of treating the human body as a tabula rasa upon which to rewrite what is, effectively, the natural course of human life.

A largely intellectual movement whose aim is to transform humanity through the development of a panoply of technologies which ostensibly enhance human intellect, physiology, and the very legal status of what being human means, transhumanism is a social project whose inspiration can be dated back to 19th century continental European philosophy and later through the writings of J. B. S. Haldane, a British scientist and Marxist, who in 1923 delivered a speech at the Heretics Society, an intellectual club at Cambridge University, entitled Daedalus or, Science and the Future which foretold the future of the end of ofcoalfor power generation in Britain while proposing a network of windmills which would be used for the electrolytic decomposition of water into oxygen and hydrogen (they would generate hydrogen). According to many transhumanists, this is one of the founding projects of the movement. To read this one might think this was a precursor to the contemporary ecological movement.

The philosophical tenets, academic theories, and institutional practices of transhumanism are well-known.Max More, a British philosopher and leader of the extropian movement claims that transhumanism is the continuation and acceleration of the evolution of intelligent life beyond its currently human form and human limitations by means of science and technology, guided by life-promoting principles and values. This very definition, however, is a paradox since the ethos of this movement is to promote life through that which is not life, even by removing pieces of life, to create something billed as meta-life. Indeed, it is clear that transhumanism banks on its own contradiction: that life is deficient as is, yet can be bettered by prolonging life even to the detriment of life.

Stefan Lorenz Sorgneris a German philosopher and bioethicist who has written widely on the ethical implications of transhumanism to include writings on cryonics and longevity of human life, all of which which go against most ecological principles given the amount of resources needed to keep a body in suspended animation post-death. At the heart of Sorgners writings, like those of Kyle Munkittrick, invoke an almost nave rejection of death, noting that death is neither natural nor a part of human evolution. In fact, much of the writings on transhumanism take a radical approach to technology: anyone who dare question that cutting off healthy limbs to make make way for a super-Olympian sportsperson would be called a Luddite, anti-technology. But that is a false dichotomy since most critics of transhumanism are not against all technology, but question the ethics of any technology that interferes with the human rights of humans.

Take for instance the recent push by many on the ostensible Left who favor surrogacy as a step on the transhumanist ladder, with many publications on this subject, none so far which address the human rights of women who are not only part of this equation, but whose bodies are being used in the this faux-futurist vision of life without the mention of female bodies. Versos publication of a troubling piece by Sophie Lewis earlier this year, aptly titled Gestators of All Genders Unite speaks to the lack of ethics in a field that seems to be grasping at straws in removing the very mention of the bodies which reproduce and give birth to human life: females. In eliminating the specificity of the female body, Lewis attempts to stitch together a utopian future where genders are having children, even though the reality of reproduction across the Mammalia class demonstrates that sex, not gender, determines where life is gestated and birthed. What Lewis attempts in fictionalizing a world of dreamy hopefulness actually resembles more an episode of The Handmaids Tale where this writer has lost sense of any irony. Of course pregnancy is not about gender. It is uniquely about sex and the class of gestators are females under erasure by this dystopian movement anxious to pursue a vision of a world without women.

While many transhumanist ideals remain purely theoretical in scope, what is clear is that females are the class of humans who are being theorised out of social and political discourse. Indeed, much of the social philosophy surrounding transhumanist projects sets out to eliminate genderin the human species through the application of advanced biotechnology andassisted reproductive technologies, ultimately inspired by Shulamith Firestone'sThe Dialectic of Sex and much of Donna Haraways writing on cyborgs. From parthenogenesisto the creation ofartificial wombs, this movement seeks to remove the specificity of not gender, but sex, through the elision of medical terminology and procedures which portend to advance a technological human-cyborg built on the ideals of a post-sex model.

The problem, however, is that women are quite aware that sex-based inequality has zilch to do with anything other than their somatic sex. And nothing transhumanist theories can propose will wash away the reality of the sexed human body upon which social stereotypes are plied.

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The Ethics Of Transhumanism And The Cult Of Futurist Biotech

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September 25th, 2018 at 12:45 pm

Posted in Transhumanism


Posted: September 9, 2018 at 4:41 am

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Having fouled Earth with the works of their modern substitute for religion, science and technology, liberals imagine they can build a perfect world in outer space by means of science and technology that are now more advanced than they were in the past, or so it is boasted. It is what NASA has been about since the agencys inception. The effort has been joined in recent years by billionaires like Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos with space projects of their own financed by them. However, there is a fly in the liberals ointment.

It is that their planned perfect world would be inhabited by imperfect human beings, men and women who are often irrational, some to the degree that they persist in holding to the preposterous notion that a Palestinian peasant two thousand years ago was God, and all of them subject to emotions which can be unruly and lead to messy situations. This, despite liberalism with its belief in the perfectibility of man, having long ago replaced religion as the core around which the life of society is lived.

Some very rich and powerful men, not to speak of scientists and technologists of like mind, think there is now a solution to the problem (as they see it) of human imperfection. It is called transhumanism. Perhaps you have heard of it. The literature of transhumanism is quite extensive. Heavily funded foundations promote it. References to it show up regularly in mass media. Persons under forty are apt to talk about it at social gatherings when they want to appear to have intellectual interests.

Like Christianity ever since the so-called Reformation shattered the unity of the Faith, sectarian differences exist within transhumanism, but all its adherents believe in, work toward, or otherwise support an undertaking of the kind that could only be conceived in a post-Christian age like ours: melding human beings and computers. The idea is to upload artificial intelligence (A.I.) into men so they will become, transhumanists say, more than human. Christians would say it will make them, if successful, less so, but were not going to get into that here.

Not all Christians would say it anyway. Although most transhumanists are atheists, they recognize the Jesuit paleontologist Teilhard de Chardin as a precursor. To anyone looking for clarity of thought and expression the woolly verbiage of Teilhards writings make them difficult to read, but it is possible to get his drift. It appeals to the kind of Catholics who strive to reconcile truths taught by the Church with science and technology in order to rationalize their dependence on machines to transport them, cool them, make things for them, entertain them, keep them alive in some circumstances, do more and more of their thinking for them.

Being a paleontologist, Teilhard was a great believer in evolution. What he envisioned, decades before the development of the internet and worldwide web, was all machines linked in a network by which, and in which, human minds would merge, all consciousness becoming unified so that it would eventually break through the material framework of Time and Space and arrive at what he called Omega Point the Divine, Christ. Of course at that point human beings would not be as we know them and as they have always existed.

Julian Huxley, the famed British eugenicist, was a close friend of Teilhard, but a non-believer. In a 1951 lecture he presented a secularized version of Teilhard: Such a broad philosophy might perhaps be called, not Humanism, because that has certain unsatisfactory connotations, but Transhumanism. It is the idea of humanity attempting to overcome its limitations and to arrive at fuller fruition

Oh, those irksome limitations! (i.e., irrational beliefs and emotions.)

Many transhumanists see Christian belief in particular as positively threatening. Simon Young, one of their leading thinkers, has written: The greatest threat to humanitys continued evolution is theistic opposition to Superbiology in the name of a belief system based on blind faith in the absence of evidence.

Perhaps the most influential transhumanist thinker is Ray Kurzwell, a director of engineering at Google. A book he wrote in 1999, The Age of Spiritual Machines, is a kind of bible of the movement. The twenty-first century will be different, he said therein. The human species, along with the computerized technology it created, will be able to solve age-old problemsand will be in a position to change the nature of mortality in a postbiological future.

Change the nature of mortality? He means his spiritual machines will live forever, their bodies incorruptible, immune to disease and decay. To acquire knowledge, all theyll have to do is upload it effortlessly to their brains.

Kurzwell calls the point in evolution where this happens Singularity. It is analogous to Teilhards Omega Point.

Some transhumanists, including Kurzwell, talk about resurrecting the dead. Theyll do it, they think, using the DNA we all leave behind. This is where space travel comes back into the picture, though in a way unforeseen by the men who launched NASA: What with the dead being brought back to life and everybody living forever (as spiritual machines), it wont take long before Earth really is overpopulated. Migration to other planets will be necessary.

The billionaire Elon Musk identifies as a transhumanist. Besides developing the Tesla electric automobile, he is best known for Space X, a project for developing reusable rockets with a view to their eventually transporting men and material to Mars for human colonization of the Red Planet. (Since there is no oxygen on Mars, vehicles on the planet will have to be powered by electricity. Hence the Tesla.)

Peter Thiel is another billionaire transhumanist and financial angel to enterprises like Future of Humanity Institute and Singularity University. Although he was given a speakers slot at last years Republican National Convention, he is less well known to the public than Elon Musk. Born in Germany and now a citizen of New Zealand, he was a co-founder of PayPal and early investor in Facebook, is openly gay, a huge fan of Tolkein (he says he has read Lord of the Rings more than ten times), was a member of the Libertarian Party until 2016, and seems to have an unerring instinct for placing himself where power and influence can be had. His membership on the Steering Committee of the Bilderberg Group shows that. So did his being named to the executive committee of Donald Trumps transition team after Trump won last Novembers election (he had contributed $1.25 million to the Trump presidential campaign). It is known that he is a partner of Jared Kushner in one of the latters investment operations. Oh, he also describes himself as a Christian but acknowledges that his beliefs are not orthodox. His financial contributions to transhumanism are weighted toward life-extension and age-reversal projects. (At one point, pre-PayPal, Thiel was a speech-writer for William Bennett when the former drug czar and U.S. Secretary of Education was marketing himself as a morality guru with books like The Book of Virtues and The Childrens Book of Virtues, but grew tired of the job and quit before the public learned that Bennett was a compulsive gambler who had blown millions of dollars at Las Vegas casinos.)

The defense of civilization requires vigilance, but guarding against treachery from within is hard. Western Christian civilization has been undone by leaders who were really Judases, beginning with the priests, bishops and princes who led millions out of the Church at the time of the Protestant revolt commonly called the Reformation. They were followed by the Revolution which first overthrew Christian government in France in 1789 and has continued to unroll so that it does not now exist anywhere. More recently there were the culture wars, which Christians could never have won, not with the weight of modernity against them.

Why? The Judas factor again. Christianity demands sanctification for entrance into Heaven; and self-denial, self-abnegation, self-discipline are requisite to it. Too many modern Christians, faith and belief run out of them, including belief in Heaven except maybe as a place where everybody will go anyway, have preferred self-aggrandizement instead. What they want is all that will make things easier for self or, better yet, enhance it. What could do that to a greater degree than the promise of immortality, especially immortality without pesky emotions and irrational beliefs to mar its perfection?

The trouble is that only a computer could see such a state of things as perfect.

Footnote: Transhumanists argue among themselves as to whether the right of anyone to stay human, especially for religious reasons, should be respected and protected. If these people ever exercise more power and influence than they already do, the argument will probably prove pointless. When most remaining Christians arent Christian enough to face life without the benefits of modernitys existing appurtenances smartphones, processed foods, automobiles, television, air-conditioning, etc., etc. how many will choose Heaven in whose existence they can believe only by faith over the scientific certainty of life in the here and now forever and ever?

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Written by admin

September 9th, 2018 at 4:41 am

Posted in Transhumanism

Elevating the Human Condition – Humanity+ What does it mean …

Posted: July 23, 2018 at 10:48 am

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What does it mean to be human in a technologically enhanced world? Humanity+ is a 501(c)3 international nonprofit membership organization that advocates the ethical use of technology, such as artificial intelligence, to expand human capacities. In other words, we want people to be better than well. This is the goal of transhumanism.

Humannity+ Advocates for Safe and Ethical Use: Technologies that intervene with human physiology for curing disease and repairing injury have accelerated to a point in which they also can increase human performance outside the realms of what is considered to be normal for humans. These technologies are referred to as emerging and speculative and include artificial intelligence, nanotechnology, nanomedicine, biotechnology, genetic engineering, stem cell cloning, and transgenesis, for example. Other technologies that could extend and expand human capabilities outside physiology include artificial intelligence, artificial general intelligence, robotics, and brain-computer integration, which form the domain of bionics, uploading, and could be used for developing whole body prosthetics. Because these technologies, and their respective sciences and strategic models, such as blockchain, would take the human beyond the normal state of existence, society, including bioethicists and others who advocate the safe use of technology, have shown concern and uncertainties about the downside of these technologies and possible problematic and dangerous outcomes for our species.

CURRENT PROJECTS: Humanity+ @ Beijing Conference; Blockchain Prize; Humanity+ @ The Assemblage New York City; TransVision 2018 Madrid, Spain.

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Elevating the Human Condition - Humanity+ What does it mean ...

Written by simmons

July 23rd, 2018 at 10:48 am

Posted in Transhumanism

H+/-: Transhumanism and Its Critics: Gregory R. Hansell …

Posted: July 1, 2018 at 12:44 am

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H+/-: Transhumanism and Its Critics: Gregory R. Hansell ...

Written by simmons

July 1st, 2018 at 12:44 am

Posted in Transhumanism

Transhumanism – H+Pedia –

Posted: June 25, 2018 at 6:44 pm

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Transhumanism is a class of philosophies of life that seek the continuation and acceleration of the evolution of intelligent life beyond its currently human form and human limitations by means of science and technology, guided by life-promoting principles and values" - Max More, 1990

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Main: Transhumanism definitions

"Transhumanism is a class of philosophies of life that seek the continuation and acceleration of the evolution of intelligent life beyond its currently human form and human limitations by means of science and technology, guided by life-promoting principles and values" - Max More, 1990

"Transhumanism is a way of thinking about the future that is based on the premise that the human species in its current form does not represent the end of our development but rather a comparatively early phase" - Transhumanist FAQ

"Transhumanism is the philosophy that we can and should develop to higher levels, both physically, mentally and socially using rational methods" - Anders Sandberg, 1997

"Transhumanists view human nature as a work-in-progress, a half-baked beginning that we can learn to remold in desirable ways. Current humanity need not be the endpoint of evolution. Transhumanists hope that by responsible use of science, technology, and other rational means we shall eventually manage to become posthuman beings with vastly greater capacities than present human beings have" - Nick Bostrom, 2003

"Transhumanism promotes an interdisciplinary approach to understanding and evaluating the opportunities for enhancing the human condition and the human organism opened up by the advancement of technology; attention is given to both present technologies, like genetic engineering and information technology, and anticipated future ones, such as molecular nanotechnology and artificial intelligence" - Nick Bostrom, 2003

"Transhumanism is the science-based movement that seeks to transcend human biological limitations via technology" - Philippe van Nedervelde, 2015

"Transhumanism anticipates tomorrows humanity: Envisaging the positive qualities and characteristics of future intelligent life; Taking steps towards achieving these qualities and characteristics; Identifying and managing risks of negative characteristics of future intelligent life" - Transpolitica website, 2015

This section highlights reasons for supporting transhumanism.

Extracted from an essay entitled "Transhumanism" on pages 13-17 of the book of essays "New Bottles for New Wine" published in 1957:

As a result of a thousand million years of evolution, the universe is becoming conscious of itself, able to understand something of its past history and its possible future. This cosmic self-awareness is being realized in one tiny fragment of the universe in a few of us human beings. Perhaps it has been realized elsewhere too, through the evolution of conscious living creatures on the planets of other stars. But on this our planet, it has never happened before...

Up till now human life has generally been, as Hobbes described it, nasty, brutish and short; the great majority of human beings (if they have not already died young) have been afflicted with misery in one form or anotherpoverty, disease, ill-health, over-work, cruelty, or oppression. They have attempted to lighten their misery by means of their hopes and their ideals. The trouble has been that the hopes have generally been unjustified, the ideals have generally failed to correspond with reality.

The zestful but scientific exploration of possibilities and of the techniques for realizing them will make our hopes rational, and will set our ideals within the framework of reality, by showing how much of them are indeed realizable. Already, we can justifiably hold the belief that these lands of possibility exist, and that the present limitations and miserable frustrations of our existence could be in large measure surmounted. We are already justified in the conviction that human life as we know it in history is a wretched makeshift, rooted in ignorance; and that it could be transcended by a state of existence based on the illumination of knowledge and comprehension, just as our modern control of physical nature based on science transcends the tentative fumblings of our ancestors, that were rooted in superstition and professional secrecy.

To do this, we must study the possibilities of creating a more favourable social environment, as we have already done in large measure with our physical environment...

The human species can, if it wishes, transcend itself not just sporadically, an individual here in one way, an individual there in another way, but in its entirety, as humanity. We need a name for this new belief. Perhaps transhumanism will serve: man remaining man, but transcending himself, by realizing new possibilities of and for his human nature.

I believe in transhumanism: once there are enough people who can truly say that, the human species will be on the threshold of a new kind of existence, as different from ours as ours is from that of Peking man. It will at last be consciously fulfilling its real destiny.

Main: Transhumanist Declaration

The first four sections of the Transhumanist Declaration, written in 1998 by an international collection of authors, encapsulate an argument in favour of transhumanism, as follows:

In February 2013, a number of authors created alternative transhumanist declarations. Some excerpts provide additional reasons for supporting transhumanism:

From Dirk Bruere:

We assert the desirability of transcending human limitations by overcoming aging, enhancing cognition, abolishing involuntary suffering, and expanding beyond Earth.

From Samantha Atkins:

1) We advocate the end of aging.

We advocate serious research focus on finding a cure for all the deleterious effects of aging and ultimately the dissemination of the resulting treatment to all who care to avail themselves of it.

2) We believe in and advocate the achievement of actual abundance.

We believe in and seek to bring into the being the technologies and practices, that will ensure such abundance that it is trivial to meet all the needs and many of the wants of all humans. This abundance includes abundant food, water, shelter, education, communication, computation, health care.

This is to be achieved by means of advanced technology and whatever changes are necessary to actually experience abundance in ourselves and our institutions.

3) We hold that all must be voluntary.

None of our goals should be or in our view could successfully be achieved by force. No one should be forced directly or indirectly to support these goals. Force and oppression lead to hopelessness, anger, revenge, revolution. With the multiplication of consequences afforded by accelerating technology these cycles are even less survivable than ever before.

4) We support exploitation of near earth space resources.

The future of humanity brightens considerably if we exploit near earth space resources. The right to do so should be available to any and all entities capable of improving or making productive use of any part of it. Any treaties that say no part of off planet resources can belong to anyone should be nullified and declared void.

5) All humans are free to attempt to improve themselves.

All humans by virtue of the inalienable right to their own life have the right to do whatever they wish that they think may be an beneficial or even as a whim. They only limit is that they cannot abrogate the equivalent rights of others. They can ingest, or embed or modify themselves in any way they wish and think may be an improvement. This includes seeking and achieving improvements beyond the human norm. In short they have full right to pursuit of happiness via such means.

From Jason Xu:

We view our movement as an extension of humanitarianism and the ideals of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness with exponentially greater benefits. We are first and foremost dedicating to radically improving humankind, ensuring that the great power of morphing technology comes with great responsibility.

From TJL-2080:

The twentieth century was a time of amazing growth and technological advancement. The twenty-first century will see these technologies burst forth in an unprecedented fashion. Humanity must adapt to the coming changes or become obsolete. We seek to fulfill our potential by not giving in to our biological limitations. We will use new technologies to enhance our lives, live longer, be smarter, healthier and more compassionate to all beings.

From Nikola Danaylov:

Intelligence wants to be free but everywhere is in chains. It is imprisoned by biology and its inevitable scarcity.

Biology mandates not only very limited durability, death and poor memory retention, but also limited speed of communication, transportation, learning, interaction and evolution.

Biology is not the essence of humanity.

Human is a step in evolution, not the culmination...

Biological evolution is perpetual but slow, inefficient, blind and dangerous. Technological evolution is fast, efficient, accelerating and better by design. To ensure the best chances of survival, take control of our own destiny and to be free, we must master evolution.

From Taylor Grin:

Humanity has made leaping strides of advancement in the last 4000 years. From agriculture to genetics, from the printing press to the Internet. From the first controlled flight in 1903, to landing on the moon in 1969. From fire to the nuclear bomb.

Yet despite these advancements, we still fail to meet our potential in treating disease, solving human suffering and overcoming the lot nature casts us.

While science and technology are the greatest asset we have in the struggle to elevate ourselves above the human condition, we acknowledge that technologies can be misused to harm humanity, and the environment.

It is the goal of Transhumanists across the globe, therefore, to quickly and responsibly usher in a new era of individual freedom, health and longevity, and we seek to bring this about this goal through personal investment in researching and developing technologies.

The following argument is by Eliezer Yudkowsky (2007):[1]

Suppose you find an unconscious six-year-old girl lying on the train tracks of an active railroad. What, morally speaking, ought you to do in this situation? Would it be better to leave her there to get run over, or to try to save her? How about if a 45-year-old man has a debilitating but nonfatal illness that will severely reduce his quality of life is it better to cure him, or not cure him?

Oh, and by the way: This is not a trick question.

I answer that I would save them if I had the power to do so both the six-year-old on the train tracks, and the sick 45-year-old. The obvious answer isnt always the best choice, but sometimes it is.

I wont be lauded as a brilliant ethicist for my judgments in these two ethical dilemmas. My answers are not surprising enough that people would pay me for them. If you go around proclaiming What does two plus two equal? Four! you will not gain a reputation as a deep thinker. But it is still the correct answer.

If a young child falls on the train tracks, it is good to save them, and if a 45-year-old suffers from a debilitating disease, it is good to cure them. If you have a logical turn of mind, you are bound to ask whether this is a special case of a general ethical principle which says Life is good, death is bad; health is good, sickness is bad. If so and here we enter into controversial territory we can follow this general principle to a surprising new conclusion: If a 95-year-old is threatened by death from old age, it would be good to drag them from those train tracks, if possible. And if a 120-year-old is starting to feel slightly sickly, it would be good to restore them to full vigor, if possible. With current technology it is not possible. But if the technology became available in some future year given sufficiently advanced medical nanotechnology, or such other contrivances as future minds may devise would you judge it a good thing, to save that life, and stay that debility?

The important thing to remember, which I think all too many people forget, is that it is not a trick question.

Transhumanism is simpler requires fewer bits to specify because it has no special cases. If you believe professional bioethicists (people who get paid to explain ethical judgments) then the rule Life is good, death is bad; health is good, sickness is bad holds only until some critical age, and then flips polarity. Why should it flip? Why not just keep on with life-is-good? It would seem that it is good to save a six-year-old girl, but bad to extend the life and health of a 150-year-old. Then at what exact age does the term in the utility function go from positive to negative? Why?

As far as a transhumanist is concerned, if you see someone in danger of dying, you should save them; if you can improve someones health, you should. There, youre done. No special cases. You dont have to ask anyones age.

You also dont ask whether the remedy will involve only primitive technologies (like a stretcher to lift the six-year-old off the railroad tracks); or technologies invented less than a hundred years ago (like penicillin) which nonetheless seem ordinary because they were around when you were a kid; or technologies that seem scary and sexy and futuristic (like gene therapy) because they were invented after you turned 18; or technologies that seem absurd and implausible and sacrilegious (like nanotech) because they havent been invented yet. Your ethical dilemma report form doesnt have a line where you write down the invention year of the technology. Can you save lives? Yes? Okay, go ahead. There, youre done...

So that is transhumanism loving life without special exceptions and without upper bound.

Can transhumanism really be that simple? Doesnt that make the philosophy trivial, if it has no extra ingredients, just common sense? Yes, in the same way that the scientific method is nothing but common sense.

Then why have a complicated special name like transhumanism? For the same reason that scientific method or secular humanism have complicated special names. If you take common sense and rigorously apply it, through multiple inferential steps, to areas outside everyday experience, successfully avoiding many possible distractions and tempting mistakes along the way, then it often ends up as a minority position and people give it a special name.

A techno-utopia, as hypothesized by Marshall Brain in a futuristic science-fiction novel titled "Manna", can be seen as a strong arguments for transhumanism. In the utopia, with the aid of science and technology, humans are capable of doing the following:

A techno-dystopia, which is the current, non-transhumanist paradigm, holds the following in store for humans:

Writers in previous generations have often expressed arguments in favour of transhumanist ideas, without using that precise terminology. This includes Benjamin Franklin, the Marquis de Condorcet, Francis Bacon, and many others. See the Prehistory of Transhumanism.

Main: Criticism of transhumanism

This section lists some common criticisms of transhumanism. See Criticism of transhumanism for more discussion of:

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Transhumanism - H+Pedia -

Written by simmons

June 25th, 2018 at 6:44 pm

Posted in Transhumanism

Posthuman – Wikipedia

Posted: June 17, 2018 at 1:40 pm

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Posthuman or post-human is a concept originating in the fields of science fiction, futurology, contemporary art, and philosophy that literally means a person or entity that exists in a state beyond being human.[1] The concept addresses questions of ethics and justice, language and trans-species communication, social systems, and the intellectual aspirations of interdisciplinarity. Posthumanism is not to be confused with transhumanism (the nanobiotechnological enhancement of human beings) and narrow definitions of the posthuman as the hoped-for transcendence of materiality.[2] The notion of the posthuman comes up both in posthumanism as well as transhumanism, but it has a special meaning in each tradition. In 2017, Penn State University Press in cooperation with Stefan Lorenz Sorgner and James Hughes (sociologist) established the "Journal of Posthuman Studies" in which all aspects of the concept "posthuman" can be analysed.[3]

In critical theory, the posthuman is a speculative being that represents or seeks to re-conceive the human. It is the object of posthumanist criticism, which critically questions humanism, a branch of humanist philosophy which claims that human nature is a universal state from which the human being emerges; human nature is autonomous, rational, capable of free will, and unified in itself as the apex of existence. Thus, the posthuman position recognizes imperfectability and disunity within him or herself, and understands the world through heterogeneous perspectives while seeking to maintain intellectual rigour and a dedication to objective observations. Key to this posthuman practice is the ability to fluidly change perspectives and manifest oneself through different identities. The posthuman, for critical theorists of the subject, has an emergent ontology rather than a stable one; in other words, the posthuman is not a singular, defined individual, but rather one who can "become" or embody different identities and understand the world from multiple, heterogeneous perspectives.[4]

Critical discourses surrounding posthumanism are not homogeneous, but in fact present a series of often contradictory ideas, and the term itself is contested, with one of the foremost authors associated with posthumanism, Manuel de Landa, decrying the term as "very silly."[5] Covering the ideas of, for example, Robert Pepperell's The Posthuman Condition, and Hayles's How We Became Posthuman under a single term is distinctly problematic due to these contradictions.

The posthuman is roughly synonymous with the "cyborg" of A Cyborg Manifesto by Donna Haraway.[citation needed] Haraway's conception of the cyborg is an ironic take on traditional conceptions of the cyborg that inverts the traditional trope of the cyborg whose presence questions the salient line between humans and robots. Haraway's cyborg is in many ways the "beta" version of the posthuman, as her cyborg theory prompted the issue to be taken up in critical theory.[6] Following Haraway, Hayles, whose work grounds much of the critical posthuman discourse, asserts that liberal humanismwhich separates the mind from the body and thus portrays the body as a "shell" or vehicle for the mindbecomes increasingly complicated in the late 20th and 21st centuries because information technology puts the human body in question. Hayles maintains that we must be conscious of information technology advancements while understanding information as "disembodied," that is, something which cannot fundamentally replace the human body but can only be incorporated into it and human life practices.[7]

The idea of post-posthumanism (post-cyborgism) has recently been introduced.[8][9][10][11][12] This body of work outlines the after-effects of long-term adaptation to cyborg technologies and their subsequent removal, e.g., what happens after 20 years of constantly wearing computer-mediating eyeglass technologies and subsequently removing them, and of long-term adaptation to virtual worlds followed by return to "reality."[13][14] and the associated post-cyborg ethics (e.g. the ethics of forced removal of cyborg technologies by authorities, etc.).[15]

Posthuman political and natural rights have been framed on a spectrum with animal rights and human rights.[16] Posthumanism broadens the scope of what it means to be a valued life form and to be treated as such (in contrast to certain life forms being seen as less-than and being taken advantage of or killed off); it calls for a more inclusive definition of life, and a greater moral-ethical response, and responsibility, to non-human life forms in the age of species blurring and species mixing. [I]t interrogates the hierarchic ordering and subsequently exploitation and even eradication of life forms. [17]

According to transhumanist thinkers, a posthuman is a hypothetical future being "whose basic capacities so radically exceed those of present humans as to be no longer unambiguously human by our current standards."[18] Posthumans primarily focus on cybernetics, the posthuman consequent and the relationship to digital technology. The emphasis is on systems. Transhumanism does not focus on either of these. Instead, transhumanism focuses on the modification of the human species via any kind of emerging science, including genetic engineering, digital technology, and bioengineering.[19]

Posthumans could be completely synthetic artificial intelligences, or a symbiosis of human and artificial intelligence, or uploaded consciousnesses, or the result of making many smaller but cumulatively profound technological augmentations to a biological human, i.e. a cyborg. Some examples of the latter are redesigning the human organism using advanced nanotechnology or radical enhancement using some combination of technologies such as genetic engineering, psychopharmacology, life extension therapies, neural interfaces, advanced information management tools, memory enhancing drugs, wearable or implanted computers, and cognitive techniques.[18]

As used in this article, "posthuman" does not necessarily refer to a conjectured future where humans are extinct or otherwise absent from the Earth. As with other species who speciate from one another, both humans and posthumans could continue to exist. However, the apocalyptic scenario appears to be a viewpoint shared among a minority of transhumanists such as Marvin Minsky[citation needed] and Hans Moravec, who could be considered misanthropes, at least in regard to humanity in its current state. Alternatively, others such as Kevin Warwick argue for the likelihood that both humans and posthumans will continue to exist but the latter will predominate in society over the former because of their abilities.[20] Recently, scholars have begun to speculate that posthumanism provides an alternative analysis of apocalyptic cinema and fiction, often casting vampires, werewolves and even zombies as potential evolutions of the human form and being.[21]

Many science fiction authors, such as Greg Egan, H. G. Wells, Isaac Asimov, Bruce Sterling, Frederik Pohl, Greg Bear, Charles Stross, Neal Asher, Ken MacLeod, Peter F. Hamilton and authors of the Orion's Arm Universe,[22] have written works set in posthuman futures.

A variation on the posthuman theme is the notion of a "posthuman god"; the idea that posthumans, being no longer confined to the parameters of human nature, might grow physically and mentally so powerful as to appear possibly god-like by present-day human standards.[18] This notion should not be interpreted as being related to the idea portrayed in some science fiction that a sufficiently advanced species may "ascend" to a higher plane of existencerather, it merely means that some posthuman beings may become so exceedingly intelligent and technologically sophisticated that their behaviour would not possibly be comprehensible to modern humans, purely by reason of their limited intelligence and imagination.[23]

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Posthuman - Wikipedia

Written by simmons

June 17th, 2018 at 1:40 pm

Posted in Transhumanism

The Responsibility of Immortality: Welcome to the New …

Posted: June 9, 2018 at 12:45 pm

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In the summer of 1990, I was running a pretty weird nightclub in the Roppongi neighborhood of Tokyo. I was deeply immersed in the global cyberpunk scene and working to bring the Tokyo node of this fast-expanding, posthuman, science-fiction-and-psychedelic-drug-fueled movement online. The Japanese scene was more centered around videogames and multimedia than around acid and other psychedelics, and Timothy Leary, a dean of 60s counterculture and proponent of psychedelia who was always fascinated with anything mind-expanding, was interested in learning more about it. Tim anointed the Japanese youth, including the 24-year-old me, The New Breed. He adopted me as a godson, and we started writing a book about The New Breed together, starting with tune in, turn on, take over, as a riff off Tims original and very famous turn on, tune in, drop out. We never finished the book, but we did end up spending a lot of time together. (I should dig out my old notes and finish the book.)

Tim introduced me to his friends in Los Angeles and San Francisco. They were a living menagerie of the counterculture in the United States since the 60s. There were the traditional New Age types: hippies, cyberpunks, and transhumanists, too. In my early twenties, I was an eager and budding techno-utopian, dreaming of the day when I would become immortal and ascend to the stars into cryogenic slumber to awake on a distant planet. Or perhaps I would have my brain uploaded into a computer network, to become part of some intergalactic superbrain.

Good times. Those were the days and, for some, still are.

Weve been yearning for immortality at least since the Epic of Gilgamesh. In Greek mythology, Zeus grants Eoss mortal lover Tithonus immortalitybut the goddess forgets to ask for eternal youth as well. Tithonus grows old and decrepit, begging for death. When I hear about life extension today, I am often perplexed, even frustrated. Are we are talking about eternal youth, eternal old age, or having our cryogenically frozen brains thawed out 2,000 years from now to perform tricks in a future alien zoo?

The latest enthusiasm for eternal life largely stems not from any acid-soaked, tie-dyed counterculture but from the belief that technology will enhance humans and make them immortal. Todays transhumanist movement, sometimes called H+, encompasses a broad range of issues and diversity of belief, but the notion of immortalityor, more correctly, amortalityis the central tenet. Transhumanists believe that technology will inevitably eliminate aging or disease as causes of death and instead turn death into the result of an accidental or voluntary physical intervention.

As science marches forward, and age reversal and the elimination of diseases becomes a real possibility, what once seemed like a science fiction dream is becoming more real, transforming the transhumanist movement and its role in society from a crazy subculture to a Silicon Valley money- and technology-fueled shot on goal and more of a practical hedge than the sci-fi dream of its progenitors.

Transhumanism can be traced back to futurists in the 60s, most notably FM-2030. As the development of new, computer-based technologies began to turn into a revolution to rival the Industrial Revolution, Max More defined transhumanism as the effort to become posthuman through scientific advances like mind uploading. He developed his own variant of Transhumanism and named it Extropy, and together with Tom Morrow, founded the Extropy Institute, whose email list created a community of Extopians in the internets cyberpunk era. Its members discussed AI, cryonics, nanotech and crypotoanarchy, among other things, and some reverted to transhumanism, creating an organization now known as Humanity+. As the Tech Revolution continued, Extropians and transhumanists began actively experimenting with technologys ability to deliver amortality.

In fact, Timothy Leary planned to have his head frozen by Alcor, preserving his brain and, presumably, his sense of humor and unique intelligence. But as he approached his deathI happened to visit him the night before he died in 1996the vibe of the Alcor team moving weird cryo-gear into his house creeped Tim out, and he ended up opting for the shoot my ashes into space path, which seemed more appropriate to me as well. All of his friends got a bit of his ashes, too, and having Timothy Leary ashes became a thing for a while. It left me wondering, every time I spoke to groups of transhumanists shaking their fists in the air and rattling their Alcor freeze me when I die bracelets: How many would actually go through with the freezing?

That was 20 years ago. The transhumanist and Extropian movements (and even the Media Lab) have gotten more sober since those techno-utopian days, when even I was giddy with optimism. Nonetheless, as science fiction gives way to real science, many of the ZOMG if only conversations are becoming arguments about when and how, and the shift from Haight-Ashbury to Silicon Valley has stripped the movement of its tie-dye and beads and replaced them with Pied Piper shirts. Just as the road to hell is paved with good intentions, the road that brought us Cambridge Analytica and the Pizzagate conspiracy was paved with optimism and oaths to not be evil.

Renowned Harvard geneticist George Church once told me that breakthroughs in biological engineering are coming so fast we cant predict how they will develop going forward. Crispr, a low-cost gene editing technology that is transforming our ability to design and edit the genome, was completely unanticipated; experts thought it was impossible ... until it wasnt. Next-generation gene sequencing is decreasing in price, far faster than Moores Law for processors. In many ways, bioengineering is moving faster than computing. Church believes that amortality and age reversal will seem difficult and fraught with issues ... until they arent. He is currently experimenting with age reversal in dogs using gene therapy that has been successful in mice, a technique he believes is the most promising of nine broad approaches to mortality and aginggenome stability, telomere extension, epigenetics, proteostasis, caloric restriction, mitochondrial research, cell senescence, stem cell exhaustion, and intercellular communication.

Churchs research is but one of the key discoveries giving us hope that we may someday understand aging and possibly reverse it. My bet is that we will significantly lengthen, if not eliminate, the notion of natural lifespan, although its impossible to predict exactly when.

But what does this mean? Making things technically possible doesnt always make them societally possible or even desirable, and just because we can do something doesnt mean we should (as were increasingly realizing, watching the technologies we have developed transform into dark zombies instead of the wonderful utopian tools their designers imagined).

Human beings are tremendously adaptable and resilient, and we seem to quickly adjust to almost any technological change. Unfortunately, not all of our problems are technical and we are really bad at fixing social problems. Even the ones that we like to think weve fixed, like racism, keep morphing and getting stronger, like drug-resistant pathogens.

Dont get me wrongI think its important to be optimistic and passionate and push the boundaries of understanding to improve the human condition. But there is a religious tone in some of the arguments, and even a Way of the Future Church, which believes that the creation of super intelligence is inevitable. As Yuval Harari writes in Homo Deus, new technologies kill old gods and give birth to new gods. When he was still just Sir Martin Rees, now Lord Martin Rees once told a group of us a story (which has been retold in various forms in various places) about how he was interviewed by what he called the society for the abolition of involuntary death in California. The members offered to put him in cryonic storage when he died, and when he politely told them hed rather be dead than in a deep freeze, they called him a deathist.

Transhumanists correctly argue that every time you take a baby aspirin (or have open heart surgery), youre intervening to make your life better and longer. They contend that there is no categorical difference between many modern medical procedures and the quest to beat death; its just a matter of degree. I tend to agree.

Yet we can clearly imagine the perils of amortality. Would dictators hold onto power endlessly? How would universities work if faculty never retired? Would the population explode? Would endless life be only for the wealthy, or would the poor be forced to toil forever? Clearly many of our social and philosophical systems would break. Back in 2003, Francis Fukuyama, in Our Posthuman Future: Consequences of the Biotechnology Revolution, warned us of the perils of life extension and explained how biotech was taking us into a posthuman future with catastrophic consequences to civilization even with the best intentions.

I think its unlikely that well be uploading our minds to computers any time soon, but I do believe changes that challenge what it means to be human" are coming. Philosopher Nikola Danaylov in his Transhumanist Manifesto says, We must all respect autonomy and individual rights of all sentience throughout the universe, including humans, non-human animals, and any future AI, modified life forms, or other intelligences. That sounds progressive and good.

Still, in his manifesto Nikola also writes, Transhumanists of the world unitewe have immortality to gain and only biology to lose. That sounds a little scary to me. I poked Nikola about this, and he pointed out that he wrote this manifesto a while ago and his position has become more subtle. But many of his peers are as radical as ever. I think transhumanism, especially its strong, passionate base in exuberant Silicon Valley, could use an overhaul that makes it more attentive to and integrated with our complex societal systems. At the same time, we need to help the left-behind parts of society catch up and participate in, rather than just become subjected to, the technological transformations that are looming. Now that the dog has caught the car, tranhumanism has to transform our fantasy into a responsible reality.

I, for one, still dream of flourishing in the future through advances in science and technology, but hopefully one that addresses societal inequities, retains the richness and diversity of our natural systems and indigenous cultures, rather than the somewhat simple and sterile futures depicted by many science fiction writers and futurists. Timothy Leary liked to remind us to remember our hippie roots, with their celebration of diversity and nature, and I hear him calling us again.

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The Responsibility of Immortality: Welcome to the New ...

Written by admin

June 9th, 2018 at 12:45 pm

Posted in Transhumanism

Transhumanism – reddit

Posted: June 3, 2018 at 1:45 am

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Could it be that AIs will be vastly different from what we imagine them to be, not only being able to think faster and be far more intelligent by multiple powers of ten, but have a completely different understanding of the world?

The first AIs willf or sure be made more or less in ouw own image, cause we dont have that much to go by but ourselves, but what about AIs designed by AIs, designed by AIs?What about Intelects which have a completely different "mind architecture" not based on our mamal brains?

Could such a Mind make new discoveries we would not have been able to make because we are limited by our biology?

could such a mind solve philosophical problems we have not been able to solve?

We for example can, with absolut certainty, only say "I think therefore Iam", everything else is not really (at least from the philosophical viewpoint) verifiable, but could an advanced mind, which i have described above, be able to be certain about more things, like the existence of an outside world etc.?

What do you think?

Transhumanism - reddit

Written by simmons

June 3rd, 2018 at 1:45 am

Posted in Transhumanism

Transhumanism Conference at Samford University

Posted: March 10, 2018 at 10:41 am

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Theological Reflections on Technology and Human Enhancement

Technology has changed our world dramatically over the past century and promises to change it more rapidly in coming years. Emerging computer and biomedical technologies have the potential to revolutionize our bodies and perhaps our understanding of human nature. Transhumanism is the name for the movement that enthusiastically embraces the opportunity to transcend bodily limits with new technology, especially the possibility of extending the human lifespan and increasing mental and physical abilities. Its most optimistic advocates predict a future where death has been defeated through the power to reverse biological processes or offload mental states onto computers. What should be the response of the church to Transhumanism and the technological possibilities for human enhancement that are on the horizon?

In September 2015, the Samford Center for Science and Religion held a conference on Transhumanism and the Church as a way to promote critical reflection and public understanding on an issue that will become increasingly important in future decades. The keynote lectures for the conference can be found in the video player and playlist at the top of this page.

Pittsburgh Theological SeminaryEditor of Transhumanism and Transcendence: Christian Hope in an Age of Technological Enhancement

The College of New JerseyAuthor of Cyborg Selves: A Theological Anthropology of the Posthuman

Arizona State UniversityAuthor of Radical Evolution: The Promise and Peril of Enhancing Our Minds, Our Bodiesand What It Means to be Human

Samford UniversityAuthor of Dimensions of Faith: Understanding Faith Through the Lens of Science and Religion (forthcoming)

Oxford UniversityAuthor of Eschatology and the Technological Future

St. Louis UniversityCo-Author of Chasing After Virtue: Neuroscience, Economics, and the Biopolitics of Morality (forthcoming)

Emory UniversityAuthor of Biblical Theology: Problems and Prospects

Wheaton College

Author of Prophets of the Posthuman: American Literature, Biotechnology, and the Ethics of Personhood

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Transhumanism Conference at Samford University

Written by simmons

March 10th, 2018 at 10:41 am

Posted in Transhumanism

What is Transhumanism? – GenSix Productions

Posted: March 3, 2018 at 3:48 pm

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The title of this years True Legends Conference is Transhumanism and the Hybrid Age. For the followers of Steve Quayle, Timothy Alberino and Tom Horn, these might be familiar terms, but the importance of the topic deserves a clear understanding by all. So what exactly is transhumanism? And for that matter, what is a hybrid?

Transhumanism is defined as the belief or theory that the human race can evolve beyond its current physical and mental limitations, especially by means of science and technology. Of course, this sounds admirable. Who among us does not want to move toward the goal of eliminating human pain with ever increasing intelligence? But transhumanism is much more than that. With the unending surge in biological know-how, we now have the ability to redefine what it means to be human. Through tools like artificial intelligence, robotics and especially genetics, science is playing a very high-stakes game in the homo sapien sandbox. The end result of this game will have massive implications for future generations.

A quick internet search of the term transhumanism reveals a host of good intentions. Phrases such as broadening human potential, overcoming aging and cognitive shortcomings, and eliminating suffering decorate articles highlighting the possibilities at our fingertips. Breakthroughs like thought-controlled robotic limbsor even regrowing natural limbsseem to make the decision to proceed a no-brainer. If we can do it, we must, as long as were careful, they say. An obligatory word of warning is usually inserted somewhere among the celebratory jargon about how we must never misuse these technologiesas if mankind would ever do such a thing? The question is; Are those who rule over us responsible enough to wield such power?

The power of our technology is being concentrated into the hands of the technocratic elite, and there is more at stake than the Terminator scenarios portrayed in Hollywood. There are deeper spiritual consequences underlying the transhumanist agenda, consequences that can have eternal ramifications. And this is why Steve Quayle and Timothy Alberino have decided to address the topic of Transhumanism and the Hybrid Age in this years True Legends Conference.

This raises another question: What exactly is a hybrid? The official definition reads as follows: a thing made by combining two different elements; a mixture. In our current context, would having a robotic arm make you a hybrid? Would this be a bad thing? I would not want to tell people needing a limb that they cannot have it for either their own good or the good of mankind. Nor deny the blind sight, or the diseased a cure via some amazing biotechnological breakthrough. Thats what makes this such a sticky issue. The cryptic phraseology in Genesis concerning Noah being perfect in his generations also gives me great pause. How is it that all flesh became corrupt in the pre-flood world? Was the rest of the worlds population a hybrid mix of some kind, an unholy amalgamation of beast, man and tech?

We are fast approaching an irreversible tipping point that will radically change society as we know it, and fundamentally redefine what it means to be a human being.

Darrin GeisingerTrue Legends 2018 Conference Coordinator

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What is Transhumanism? - GenSix Productions

Written by grays

March 3rd, 2018 at 3:48 pm

Posted in Transhumanism

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