Transhumanists, Monkeys and Bionic Man

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1. Responding to an H+ article by Belinda Silbert, Wesley Smith comments on how Transhumanists Want to Be Gods:

Transhumanism is a collective of (mostly) naked materialists who hope science and technology will replace the deeper meaning they lost by rejecting metaphysical beliefs. Transhumanists harbor futuristic dreams of making themselves immortal and possessing what would now be thought of as superpowers through technological recreation. Toward those ends, they spend a lot of time and energy discussing and debating arcane issues such as the ethics of uploading consciousness into computers and living forever.

I find it all rather sad. And worrying. Transhumanism harbors blatantly eugenic ambitions and as part of its theology (more on that in a moment) it angrily rejects human exceptionalism. For example, one of the movement’s high priests, J. Hughes, has yearned to enhance a chimp into human attributes to prove we are not special.

I used the word “theological” above because in many ways transhumanism is a quasi religion. It has dogma, eschatology, and yearns for a material New Jerusalem of immortal life.

Read more.

2. Speaking of chimps. On the one hand, Transhumanists are all about transforming humanity. On the other hand, they also seek to redefine what it means to be a person, extending personhood rights to any kind of intelligence, artificial or otherwise. Recently Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy signed a law granting human rights to great apes:

It is now safer to be a monkey in Spain—at least if you’re one of the larger species—than a man. Thanks to a new law passed by the Spanish parliament and signed into law by Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, the Great Apes are protected from the moment of conception against abortion and fetal experimentation. Human embryos, on the other hand, remain unprotected and the subject of scientific research.

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bionic-man.png3. No doubt, when most people think of “transhumanism” they think of literally infusing the human body with all kinds of nanotechnology. In London a bionic man complete with artificial organs, synthetic blood and robotic limbs has gone on display at the Science Museum. At the Public Discourse, William Carroll talks about “Rex” and why it is impossible for any machine to be a human being.

The bionic man can hear through cochlear ears, see with the aid of a bionic eye, has speech software (similar to Stephen Hawking’s) for verbal responses, and a rudimentary kind of artificial intelligence. Nearly all these developments come from advanced electrical engineering that connects to or mimics electrical signals from muscles and nerves.

Is the Bionic Man Human?

To speak of the bionic man’s being able to “hear,” “see,” and “talk” raises philosophical questions about whether the bionic man is truly performing “human” functions.

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4. All of this ties in nicely to the latest episode of BioTalk in which Rebecca Taylor and I talk about transhumanism, performance enhancing drugs & the purpose of sport. If you’ve got kids involved in sports, you may want to start talking to them about these things.

One Comment on “Transhumanists, Monkeys and Bionic Man”

  1. The “bionic man” is a construct that is easier to imagine than build. Laying aside audio and visual pattern matching, and focusing on reason, for example, it can be swiftly demonstrated that its Cartesian based “intellect” can be “blue-screened” (old MS Windows slang for a system crash) rather swiftly. Adding to that its inability to recognize that it’s well being and existence is dependent on other’s not of its kind, and the fact that the only power source with enough energy density to make it move in a self contained manner for periods greater than 2 minutes, while retaining our strength and agility, are chain saw engines, and you have a pile of junk that is not pleasant to be around. Energy density arguments aside, the real killer is consciousness, and an ability to communicate with God and His people. This sets up a minimum requirement; understanding that the narrative God has left with us is the only real way to describe and know God, and that attempts to “discover” him hiding behind the uncertainty of the position of an electron, or the “fine tuning constants” of the universe, are nothing more than exercises in naturalism. Um, in my humble opinion, that is.

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