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This has a strange resemblance to the eugenics idea which was @bought@ by so
many leading intellectuals in the 1930s - but turned out to be a suitable
assistance to Nazi "ideology".

 

Paddy

http://apling.freeservers.com

 

 

 

From: Science for the People Discussion List
[mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Robert Mann
Sent: 27 August 2011 9:13 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: The nightmare world of 'trans-humanism'

 

        The nightmare world of 'trans-humanism'

 

WorldNetDaily

 

Joseph Farah

 

August 26, 2011

        Ever since I became a newsman, I've researched events, developments
and trends that are so bizarre, so frightening, so twisted and so
unbelievable that they are nearly impossible to cover without being
dismissed for "sensationalism."

        That's the problem with a
<http://www.wnd.com/index.php?pageId=334589> story earlier this week in WND
about something called "trans-humanism."

        It sounds like science fiction, but tragically it is science fact.

        You've heard of bio-engineering or genetic engineering.  Well, it
doesn't just involve crops and animals any more.  Now there are active
efforts under way to "improve" mankind - even to achieve immortality through
science.

        If you want to get a glimpse of the experiments taking place that
will remind you of "The Island of Dr. Moreau," I suggest you get a copy of a
new video that introduces the brave new world of trans-humanism.

        It's called
<http://superstore.wnd.com/video/Science/Trans-Humanism-Destroying-The-Barri
ers-DVD> "Trans-Humanism: Destroying the Barriers."

        It involves altering human bodies - genetically, mechanically or
both - to make them "better" than they've been for thousands of years, even
affording them Superman-style abilities in both brains and brawn.

        Some scientists involved in this practice refer to it as "the next
step in the evolutionary process."

        Nick Bostrom, an Oxford University philosophy professor and director
of the Future of Humanity Institute, is at the forefront of the
trans-humanist movement.

        "They (trans-humanists) yearn to reach intellectual heights as far
above any current human genius as humans are above other primates," he says.
They want "to be resistant to disease and impervious to aging; to have
unlimited youth and vigor; to exercise control over their own desires, moods
and mental states; to be able to avoid feeling tired, hateful or irritated
about petty things; to have an increased capacity for pleasure, love,
artistic appreciation and serenity; to experience novel states of
consciousness that current human brains cannot access. It seems likely that
the simple fact of living an indefinitely long, healthy, active life would
take anyone to post-humanity if they went on accumulating memories, skills
and intelligence."

        It might sound exciting. It might sound promising. But there's a
darker side to what's going on.

        Author and researcher Tom Horn lays it all out in
<http://superstore.wnd.com/video/Science/Trans-Humanism-Destroying-The-Barri
ers-DVD> "Trans-Humanism: Destroying the Barriers," an hourlong DVD
exploring the radical transformation of humanity.

        Imagine, for instance, the ways the Defense Department - and the
militaries of foreign countries - are trying to use this new science to
create new weapons and even indestructible "soldiers."

        Horn cites concerns by the likes of Stanford political scientist and
author Francis Fukuyama, who reviewed emerging fields of science and the
philosophy of trans-humanism.

        "He wrote a white paper in which he considered the combination of
those two to probably be the most dangerous science and technological and
philosophical concepts in the history of mankind which he believes could
very quickly lead to an extinction-level event," Horn says.

        Horn claims the effort to transform humans into a different style of
being is now being fast-tracked with billions of dollars - in both
government and private funds.

        "One of the first things that President Obama did at the executive
level as soon as he became president," he says in "Trans-Humanism," "[is] he
overturned restrictions that had been put in place by President [George W.]
Bush which would have prohibited federal dollars,  American taxpayer money,
flowing in to pay for experiments to be done on human-animal chimeras
(combinations) and other forms of science such as stem-cell sciences - which
is also important to the trans-humanist movement.

 

 

 

        "But what most of the public doesn't realize is when we're talking
about stem-cell sciences, we're almost always talking about the creation of
a human-animal chimera from which those stem cells are being derived. But
now, tax dollars in the United States from the federal level are flowing
into thousands of laboratories."

        As Joe Kovacs wrote in this week's WND report on trans-humanism, "In
2006, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services even provided
$773,000 to Case Law School in Cleveland for a two-year project to develop
legal standards for tests on human subjects in research involving genetic
technologies to enhance 'normal' individuals - to make them smarter,
stronger or better-looking."

        As researchers have focused on blending animal attributes with human
characteristics, the Reuters news agency published a report in 2009 in which
scientists admitted their comfort with a "50/50 mix."

        "The public mostly is still under the impression that this is being
done at the embryonic level, and that the amount of human DNA in a
transgenic animal is so minute as to be excusable," says Horn. "But where
they want the debate to go now is, 'Can we raise these to full maturity in
the public's knowledge and experiment on part-humans, part-animals that are
fully grown?' And by admitting that that's now where they want the public to
be comfortable with this research, they also said that they knew that there
are some rogue scientists out there that are not operating with federal
dollars, and they're getting ahead of them in this technology, and it could
even become a new kind of a weapon of mass destruction. It could, at a
minimum, become a molecular biological nightmare."

        Are you ready to learn more?

Check out
<http://superstore.wnd.com/video/Science/Trans-Humanism-Destroying-The-Barri
ers-DVD> "Trans-Humanism: Destroying the Barriers."

Read more:
<http://www.wnd.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=%20338217#ixzz1WDDC60Sh>
The nightmare world of 'trans-humanism'
<http://www.wnd.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=%20338217#ixzz1WDDC60Sh>
http://www.wnd.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=%20338217#ixzz1WDDC60Sh

 

 

 

        Transhumanism: The World's Most Dangerous Idea?

Nick Bostrom (2004)  <http://www.nickbostrom.com> www.nickbostrom.com

[Short version: Foreign Policy, in press; Full version: Betterhumans]

 

        "What idea, if embraced, would pose the greatest threat to the
welfare of humanity?" This was the question posed by the editors of Foreign
Policy in the September/October issue to eight prominent policy
intellectuals, among them Francis Fukuyama, professor of international
political economy at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies,
and member of the President's Council on Bioethics.

        And Fukuyama's answer? Transhumanism, "a strange liberation
movement" whose "crusaders aim much higher than civil rights campaigners,
feminists, or gay-rights advocates." This movement, he says, wants "nothing
less than to liberate the human race from its biological constraints."

        More precisely, transhumanists advocate increased funding for
research to radically extend healthy lifespan and favor the development of
medical and technological means to improve memory, concentration, and other
human capacities. Transhumanists propose that everybody should have the
option to use such means to enhance various dimensions of their cognitive,
emotional, and physical well-being. Not only is this a natural extension of
the traditional aims of medicine and technology, but it is also a great
humanitarian opportunity to genuinely improve the human condition.

        According to transhumanists, however, the choice whether to avail
oneself of such enhancement options should generally reside with the
individual. Transhumanists are concerned that the prestige of the
President's Council on Bioethics is being used to push a limiting
bioconservative agenda that is directly hostile to the goal of allowing
people to improve their lives by enhancing their biological capacities.

        So why does Fukuyama nominate this transhumanist ideal, of working
towards making enhancement options universally available, as the most
dangerous idea in the world? His animus against the transhumanist position
is so strong that he even wishes for the death of his adversaries:
"transhumanists," he writes, "are just about the last group that I'd like to
see live forever". Why exactly is it so disturbing for Fukuyama to
contemplate the suggestion that people might use technology to become
smarter, or to live longer and healthier lives?

        Fierce resistance has often accompanied technological or medical
breakthroughs that force us to reconsider some aspects of our worldview.
Just as anesthesia, antibiotics, and global communication networks
transformed our sense of the human condition in fundamental ways, so too we
can anticipate that our capacities, hopes, and problems will change if the
more speculative technologies that transhumanists discuss come to fruition.
But apart from vague feelings of disquiet, which we may all share to varying
degrees, what specific argument does Fukuyama advance that would justify
foregoing the many benefits of allowing people to improve their basic
capacities?

        Fukuyama's objection is that the defense of equal legal and
political rights is incompatible with embracing human enhancement:
"Underlying this idea of the equality of rights is the belief that we all
possess a human essence that dwarfs manifest differences in skin color,
beauty, and even intelligence. This essence, and the view that individuals
therefore have inherent value, is at the heart of political liberalism. But
modifying that essence is the core of the transhumanist project."

        His argument thus depends on three assumptions: (1) there is a
unique "human essence"; (2) only those individuals who have this mysterious
essence can have intrinsic value and deserve equal rights; and (3) the
enhancements that transhumanists advocate would eliminate this essence. From
this, he infers that the transhumanist project would destroy the basis of
equal rights.

        The concept of such a "human essence" is, of course, deeply
problematic. Evolutionary biologists note that the human gene pool is in
constant flux and talk of our genes as giving rise to an "extended
phenotype" that includes not only our bodies but also our artifacts and
institutions.   Ethologists have over the past couple of decades revealed
just how similar we are to our great primate relatives. A thick concept of
human essence has arguably become an anachronism. But we can set these
difficulties aside and focus on the other two premises of Fukuyama's
argument.

        The claim that only individuals who possess the human essence could
have intrinsic value is mistaken. Only the most callous would deny that the
welfare of some non-human animals matters at least to some degree. If a
visitor from outer space arrived on our doorstep, and she had consciousness
and moral agency just like we humans do, surely we would not deny her moral
status or intrinsic value just because she lacked some undefined "human
essence". Similarly, if some persons were to modify their own biology in a
way that alters whatever Fukuyama judges to be their "essence," would we
really want to deprive them of their moral standing and legal rights?
Excluding people from the moral circle merely because they have a different
"essence" from "the rest of us" is akin to excluding people on basis of
their gender or the color of their skin.

        Moral progress in the last two millennia has consisted largely in
our gradually learning to overcome our tendency to make moral
discriminations on such fundamentally irrelevant grounds. We should bear
this hard-earned lesson in mind when we approach the prospect of
technologically modified people. Liberal democracies speak to "human
equality" not in the literal sense that all humans are equal in their
various capacities, but that they are equal under the law. There is no
reason why humans with altered or augmented capacities should not likewise
be equal under the law, nor is there any ground for assuming that the
existence of such people must undermine centuries of legal, political, and
moral refinement.

        The only defensible way of basing moral status on human essence is
by giving "essence" a very broad definition; say as "possessing the capacity
for moral agency". But if we use such an interpretation, then Fukuyama's
third premise fails. The enhancements that transhumanists advocate - longer
healthy lifespan, better memory, more control over emotions, etc. - would
not deprive people of the capacity for moral agency. If anything, these
enhancements would safeguard and expand the reach of moral agency.

        Fukuyama's argument against transhumanism is therefore flawed.
Nevertheless, he is right to draw attention to the social and political
implications of the increasing use of technology to transform human
capacities. We will indeed need to worry about the possibility of
stigmatization and discrimination, either against or on behalf of
technologically enhanced individuals. Social justice is also at stake and we
need to ensure that enhancement options are made available as widely and as
affordably as possible. This is a primary reason why transhumanist movements
have emerged. On a grassroots level, transhumanists are already working to
promote the ideas of morphological, cognitive, and procreative freedoms with
wide access to enhancement options. Despite the occasional rhetorical
overreaches by some of its supporters, transhumanism has a positive and
inclusive vision for how we can ethically embrace new technological
possibilities to lead lives that are better than well.

        The only real danger posed by transhumanism, it seems, is that
people on both the left and the right may find it much more attractive than
the reactionary bioconservatism proffered by Fukuyama and some of the other
members of the President's Council.

 

[For a more developed response, see
<http://www.nickbostrom.com/ethics/dignity.html> In Defense of Posthuman
Dignity, Bioethics, 2005, Vol. 19, No. 3, pp. 202-214.]