Read Richard’s current thoughts about transhumanism and related fringe topics here.
When asked recently “What ideas, if embraced, would pose the greatest threat to the welfare of humanity?” by Foreign Policy magazine, Dr. Francis Fukuyama, professor of international political economy at the John Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, author, and member of the President’s Council on Bioethics, chose transhumanism.
Wikipedia defines transhumanism as “[…] an emergent school of speculative philosophy analysing or favouring the use of technology, especially neurotechnology, biotechnology, and nanotechnology, to improve the human condition.”
Why is this philosophy dangerous? Fukuyama and other critics of transhumanism fear the Pandora’s Box of consequences to be unleashed on the world should technology be used to augment, enhance, and modify humans. It is also a threat to many of today’s prevailing philosophies that have been used to keep certain people and organizations in power. The prevalent philosophy about the self is dualism, the belief that humans consist of two separate but interacting media (brain and mind, body and soul.) These dualists also often belief in a dual universe, one that is physical and one that is supernatural, both ruled by an intelligent designer. They often believe that something survives the death of our bodies. The technologies favored by transhumanists challenge all of these beliefs, not because it was anyone’s plan to do so, but because reality is proving just how wrong these beliefs are.
I am a transhumanist, and like all transhumanists I have enemies who believe that I should not be allowed to use technologies that might extend my life or enhance my abilities or provide answers that directly conflict with their own. This is not their choice and I will not give it to them. I no longer have the need or desire for the supernatural, gods, or spirituality because our knowledge has shown that none of these likely exist. The universe is best approximated by emergent phenomena from simple materialistic building blocks, patterns out of complexity and chaos.
Reality demands transhumanism. It is not dangerous. It is transcendent and necessary.
Fukuyama, Francis. “Transhumanism.” Foreign Policy. September/October 2004: 42-43.