Author Topic: Transhumanism  (Read 1251 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline ED

  • Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 353
Transhumanism
« on: December 26, 2007, 07:06:08 pm »
Andres Lomena recently conducted an interview for the Spanish magazine Cronopis with the Chair of the IEET’s Board of directors Nick Bostrom, as well as with IEET friend David Pearce, about their co-founding of the World Transhumanist Association and related topics.

The entire interview is available here: http://ieet.org/index.php/IEET/print/2201/

It is important to understand that transhumanism is basically neoeugenics. You can read more about this movement here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transhumanist

Essentially, just as classical eugenics was fading away, transhumanism emerged. Julian Huxley, brother of author Aldous Huxley, the author of "Brave New World", was the first to use the word Transhumanist


To clarify: Nick Bostrom and David Pearce founded the World Transhumanist Association and Nick Bostrom is one of the founders of the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies (IEET). 

In case you don't want to read the whole interview, here is an important snippet. Bostrom basically denies transhumanism is a form of eugenics, but what he and his cohort refer to is nothing more than a form of liberal/neo-eugenics. Then later on in the interview they discuss their desire to be immortal.

A.L.: Transhumanism and eugenics: Are all transhumanists eugenicist? Do you have a political program in this topic? Do you consider yourself a lobby of future generations?

N.B.: The World Transhumanist Association has officially adopted a statement banning all forms of neo-Nazi eugenicists from the organization.  (This was in response to an incident some years ago when one or two such trolls attempted to infiltrate the WTA.) Transhumanism supports reproductive rights among other human rights.  We tend to think that it is better that reproductive decisions be in the hands of parents, in consultation with their doctor, and within broad guidelines laid down by the state.  It would be ethically unacceptable, as well as potentially very dangerous, to have the state impose a one-size-fits-all formula on what kind of people should exist in the next generation.

If I were a parent, I would consider myself as having a moral duty to take all reasonable steps to ensure that the child which I was about to bring into the world would start his or her life with the best possible chances for a good life.  If a pregnant woman can improve her child’s IQ by taking folic acid or choline supplements, and by avoiding alcohol, tobacco, and lead-contaminated drinking water, I believe would be irresponsible for her to fail to take these easy steps.  Similarly, if I were using in vitro fertilization, and there were a simple genetic test which could select the embryo with the best genes for health and other desirable capacities, then I believe it would be negligent not to make use of the test.  It would be a very small inconvenience for a potentially large gain.

D.P.: Transhumanists aren’t eugenicists in anything resembling the odious traditional sense.  However, humanity is on the brink of a reproductive revolution. Prospective parents will soon be empowered to choose the kinds of children they want to bring into the world. Pre-implantation diagnosis is likely to become routine. Designer genomes will follow. Most parents will aspire to have happier, smarter, healthier children. In principle, a majority of people today would probably support use of genetic medicine to prevent diseases such as cystic fibrosis. By contrast, only a minority of people currently favor “enhancement” technologies. But today’s enhancement technologies are tomorrow’s remedial therapies.

By the standards of our successors, mortal humans will presumably all seem tragically diseased and dysfunctional. At present we think it’s morally acceptable to pass on to our children the lethal hereditary disease of ageing - and a predisposition to various ugly states of mind (e.g. jealousy, low mood, anxiety, resentment, and loneliness) adaptive in the ancestral environment. Yet human life could potentially be so much richer. As technology matures, why not replace the cruel genetic roulette of natural selection with genetically preprogrammed superhappiness, superlongevity and superintelligence? Critically, this transformation needn’t (and shouldn’t) entail oppressing other races or species. Transcending our biological limitations entails transcending the ethnocentric and anthropocentric biases of our ancestors.

One real dilemma lies ahead.  In a post-ageing world, how do we reconcile individual reproductive rights with the finite carrying capacity of our home planet? Will population pressure finally make us “head for the stars”? Or is this scenario just sci-fi?



Read the entire interview here: http://ieet.org/index.php/IEET/print/2201/