123


Transhumanism – RationalWiki

You know what they say the modern version of Pascal’s Wager is? Sucking up to as many Transhumanists as possible, just in case one of them turns into God. Julie from Crystal Nights by Greg Egan

Transhumanism (or H+), an intellectual movement, is greatly influenced by science fiction and presents an idealistic point of view of what technology could do for humanity in future, not what it can do; it’s all hypothetical.[1] Transhumanism explores the benefits and repercussions of what technology could do for humanity; however, it assumes the technological boundaries are nonexistent.[2]

How plausible is transhumanism? In the 1930s, many sensible people were sure human beings would never get to the Moon and that was just one of many predictions that turned out incorrect.[3] Early 21st century people do not know one way or the other what will be possible in the future. However, the scientific claims of transhumanism still need to be examined critically, because some of these technoscientific prophecies may not be plausible.[4]

While frequently dismissed as mere speculation at best by most rationalists[5] (especially in light of the many failures of artificial intelligence), transhumanism is a strongly-held belief among many computer geeks, notably synthesizer and accessible computing guru Ray Kurzweil, a believer in the “technological singularity,” where technology evolves beyond humanity’s current capacity to understand or anticipate it, and Sun Microsystems founder and Unix demigod Bill Joy, who believes the inevitable result of AI research is the obsolescence of humanity.[6]

Certain recent technological advances are making the possibility of the realization of transhumanism appear more plausible: Scientists funded by the military developed an implant that can translate motor neuron signals into a form that a computer can use, thus opening the door for advanced prosthetics capable of being manipulated like biological limbs and producing sensory information.[7] This is on top of the earlier development of cochlear implants, which translate sound waves into nerve signals; they are often called “bionic ears.”[8]

Even DIY transhumanism or ‘biohacking’ is becoming an option, with people installing magnetic implants, allowing them to feel magnetic and electric fields.[9] Others have taken to wearing belts of magnets, in order to always be able to find magnetic north. Prosthetic limbs with some level of touch are also now being developed, a major milestone. [10] One notable individual whose received magnetic finger implants is Zoe Quinn; [11] the current scientific consensus seems unclear, although humans are not thought to have a magnetic sense, there is a cryptochromeprotein in the eye which could potentially make humans capable of Magnetoreception, like certain other mammals such as mice and cows appear to be. [12]

“Whole brain emulation” (WBE) is a term used by transhumanists to refer to, quite obviously, the emulation of a brain on a computer. While this is no doubt a possibility, it encounters two problems that keep it from being a certainty anytime in the near future.

The first is a philosophical objection: For WBE to work, “strong AI” (i.e. AI equivalent to or greater than human intelligence) must be attainable. A number of philosophical objections have been raised against strong AI, generally contending either that the mind or consciousness is not computable or that a simulation of consciousness is not equivalent to true consciousness (whatever that is). There is still controversy over strong AI in the field of philosophy of mind.[13]

A second possible objection is technological: WBE may not defy physics, but the technology to fully simulate a human brain (in the sense meant by transhumanists, at least) is a long way away. Currently, no computer (or network of computers) is powerful enough to simulate a human brain. Henry Markram, head of the Blue Brain Project, estimates that simulating a brain would require 500 petabytes of data for storage and that the power required to run the simulation would cost about $3 billion annually. (However, in 2008, he optimistically predicts this will be possible in ten years.[14]) In addition to technological limitations in computing, there are also the limits of neuroscience. Neuroscience currently relies on technology that can only scan the brain at the level of gross anatomy (e.g., fMRI, PET). Forms of single neuron imaging (SNI) have been developed recently, but they can only be used on animal subjects (usually rats) because they destroy neural tissue.[15]

First, let me say that Im all in favor of research on aging, and I think science has great potential to prolong healthy livesand Im all for that. But I think immortality, or even a close approximation to it, is both impossible and undesirable.

Another transhumanist goal is mind uploading, which is one way they claim[17][18] we will be able to achieve immortality. Aside from the problems with WBE listed above, mind uploading suffers a philosophical problem, namely the “swamp man problem.” That is, will the “uploaded” mind be “you” or simply a copy or facsimile of your mind? However, one possible way round this problem would be via incremental replacement of parts of the brain with their cybernetic equivalents (the patient being awake during each operation). Then there is no “breaking” of the continuity of the individual’s consciousness, and it becomes difficult for proponents of the “swamp man” hypothesis to pinpoint exactly when the individual stops being “themselves.”

Cryonics is another favorite of many transhumanists. In principle, cryonics is not impossible, but the current form of it is based largely on hypothetical future technologies and costs substantial amounts of money.

Fighting aging and extending life expectancy is possible the field that studies aging and attempts to provide suggestions for anti-aging technology is known as “biogerontology”. Aubrey de Grey has proposed a number of treatments for aging. In 2005, 28 scientists working in biogerontology signed a letter to EMBO Reports pointing out that de Grey’s treatments had never been demonstrated to work and that many of his claims for anti-aging technology were extremely inflated.[19] This article was written in response to a July 2005 EMBO reports article previously published by de Grey[20] and a response from de Grey was published in the same November issue.[21] De Grey summarizes these events in “The biogerontology research community’s evolving view of SENS,” published on the Methuselah Foundation website.[22]

Worst of all, some transhumanists outright ignore[citationneeded] what people in the fields they’re interested in tell them; a few AI boosters, for example, believe that neurobiology is an outdated science because AI researchers can do it themselves anyway. They seem to have taken the analogy used to introduce the computational theory of mind, “the mind (or brain) is like a computer.” Of course, the mind/brain is not a computer in the usual sense.[23] Debates with such people can take on the wearying feel of a debate with a creationist or climate change denialist, as such people will stick to their positions no matter what. Indeed, many critics are simply dismissed as Luddites or woolly-headed romantics who oppose scientific and technological progress.[24]

Transhumanism has often been criticized for not taking ethical issues seriously on a variety of topics,[25] including life extension technology,[26] cryonics,[27] and mind uploading and other enhancements.[28][29] Francis Fukuyama (in his doctrinaire neoconservative days) caused a stir by naming transhumanism “the world’s most dangerous idea.”[30] One of Fukuyama’s criticisms, that implementation of the technologies transhumanists push for will lead to severe inequality, is a rather common one.

A number of political criticisms of transhumanism have been made as well. Transhumanist organizations have been accused of being in the pocket of corporate and military interests.[31] The movement has been identified with Silicon Valley due to the fact that some of its biggest backers, such as Peter Thiel (of PayPal and Bitcoin fame), reside in the region.[32][33] Some writers see transhumanism as a hive of cranky and obnoxious techno-libertarianism.[34][35] The fact that Julian Huxley coined the term “transhumanism” and many transhumanists’ obsession with constructing a Nietzschean ubermensch known as the “posthuman” has led to comparisons with eugenics.[36][31] Like eugenics, it has been characterized as a utopian political ideology.[37] Jaron Lanier slammed it as “cybernetic totalism”.[38]

Some tension has developed between transhumanism and religion, namely Christianity.[citationneeded] Some transhumanists, generally being atheistic naturalists, see all religion as an impediment to scientific and technological advancement and some Christians oppose transhumanism because of its stance on cloning and genetic engineering and label it as a heretical belief system.[39] Other transhumanists, however, have attempted to extend an olive branch to Christians.[40] Some have tried to reconcile their religion and techno-utopian beliefs, calling for a “scientific theology.”[41] There is even a Mormon transhumanist organization.[42]Ironically for the atheistic transhumanists, the movement has itself been characterized as a religion and its rhetoric compared to Christian apologetics.[43][44] Interestingly the word transhuman first appeared in Henry Francis Careys 1814 translation of Paradiso, the last book of the Divine Comedy as Dante ascends to heaven during the resurrection. [45]

The very small transhumanist political movement has gained momentum with Zoltan Istvan announcing his bid for US president, with the Transhumanist Party and other small political parties gaining support internationally.

The important thing about transhumanism is that while a lot of such predictions may in fact be possible (and may even be in their embryonic stages right now), a strong skeptical eye is required for any claimed prediction about the fields it covers. When evaluating such a claim, one will probably need a trip to a library (or Wikipedia, or a relevant scientist’s home page) to get up to speed on the basics.[46]

A common trope in science fiction for decades is that the prospect of transcending the current form may be positive, as in Arthur C. Clarke’s 1953 novel Childhood’s End or negative, as in the film The Matrix, with its barely disguised salvationist theme, or the Terminator series of films, where humanity has been essentially replaced by machine life. Change so radical elicits fear and thus it is unsurprising that many of the portrayals of transhumanism in popular culture are negative. The cyberpunk genre deals extensively with the theme of a transhumanist society gone wrong.

Among the utopian visions of transhumanism (fused with libertarianism) are those found in the collaborative online science fiction setting Orion’s Arm. Temporally located in the post-singularity future, 10,000 years from now, Orion’s Arm is massively optimistic about genetic engineering, continued improvements in computing and materials science. Because only technology which has been demonstrated to be impossible is excluded, even remotely plausible concepts has a tendency to be thrown in. At the highest end of the scale is artificial wormhole creation, baby universes and inertia without mass.[47] Perhaps the only arguably positive depiction of transhumanism in video games is the Megaman ZX series where the line between human and reploids has begun to blur. Defining at what point the definition of the the singularity was met in the centuries long Megaman timeline can be a useful way of illustrating how nebulous the terminology is during a debate.

More here:

Transhumanism – RationalWiki

Bloodborne, Transhumanism and Cosmic Cyberpunk – Kotaku UK (blog)

With all its morbid decadence, the richly-layered Gothic imagination and cosmic horror of Bloodborne tends to overshadow some of its more (post)modern influences. Bloodborne isnt a traditionalist, after all, but a punk: or to be more precise, a cyberpunk. It may not havesinister corporations or hackers, yet this sci-fi renegade still conjures the rebellious ghost in the machine.

Most obviously, theres the overpowering presence of that looming megalopolis Yharnam as dependent on monumental, almost brutalist architecture as any good futuristic urban sprawl. The social dynamics within Yharnam echo the politics of cyberpunk, the hegemonic power of the Healing Church pitted against the social outcasts roaming the grimy streets. Dangerous social experiments and unchecked technological advancements have led to a Victorian dystopia. There are even cyberspaces, simulated, subordinate worlds in the form of the Dreams, which can be accessed and even hacked by those who are privy to secret knowledge.

Yharnham:

Ridley Scott’sBlade Runner:

And just like cyberpunk, the world of Bloodborne is held captive by the promise of transhumanism the idea that humankind will, one day, be able to transcend our fleshlylimitations and become something more. Whether it is Deus Ex or Bloodborne, the tool for this quasi-religious endeavour is cutting edge research and technology. In Deus Ex, that means body modification through nanotech or even merging consciousnesses with an omnipresent AI. In Bloodborne, its the Healing Church and Byrgenwerth researching into the old ones and their blood that drives this change: aiming to transform humans, in theory, into celestial beings that have entirely discarded their humanity. Not unlike in Blade Runner, the eye becomes an omnipresent symbol of self-directed evolution and the dangerous knowledge necessary to pursue it.

However, Bloodborneisa punk that refuses to slavishly follow in the tracks of those that came before. The differences are the most fascinating thing here. The futuristic vision of transhumanism, whether it is presented as a utopian promise or a dystopian threat, is seen as an evolutionary culmination or perhaps even singularity that severs the umbilical cord that connects us to our evolutionary history. The human is a product of natural processes, distant cousin of the apes. The posthuman the product of transhumanism is something different (strangely, it is our human arrogance that leads to this fallacy of teleological evolution.)

Blade Runner

Eye of a Blood-Drunk Hunter

Bloodbornes idea of transhumanism is recognisable, but different. Its still a morally complex idea, both pursued by individuals and institutions while also causing societal upheaval, but its vector is in the opposite direction. The path to transcendence doesnt lead the inhabitants of Yharnam away from humankinds evolutionary history, but confronts it head-on in a retrogressive journey. The first enemies our hunter encounters are beastmen, many of them recognisably human but some, like the werewolves or Vicar Amelia, almost devoid of human characteristics. Theyre hairy and canine, clearly mammalian despite their deformities. So far, this is in keeping with stories like Robert Louis Stevensons The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde or H.P. Lovecrafts tales of human degeneracy, such as Facts Concerning the Late Arthur Jermyn and His Family, in which a British nobleman burns himself alive after discovering that one of his ancestors was an ape goddess from the Congo. These stories play with our post-Darwinian revulsion at being the offspring of mere animals.

But as you progress through Bloodborne, the hunter descends deeper down the evolutionary ladder. Soon, enemies resemble snakes, insects, arachnids. Later, they become more alien still, strange variations of squids, snails, slugs (that is, molluscs) or even fungi. They have names like Celestial Emissary, or Celestial Child and are closely related to the Great Ones, some of whom, like Ebrietas or Kos, share similarities with the games mollusc-like creatures. Bloodborne displays a special fascination with mushrooms and molluscs, as well as the creatures of the ocean (especially in The Old Hunters DLC). These creatures are associated with the primordial, the early origins of life on earth, and their strange forms, both beautiful and disturbing, gives them a semblance of otherworldliness. And since they dont seem to belong to this world, perhaps they originally visited earth from unknown regions of the cosmos?

Kos

Ebrietas, Daughter of the Cosmos

Celestial Child

Nudibranch, Nembrotha Kubaryana. Photo by Nick Hobgood

Nudibranch, Nembrotha Cristata. Photo by Chriswan Sungkono.

Nudibranch, Tritoniopsis Elegans. Photo by Sean Murray.

From this anthropocentric perspective, becoming like these creatures means getting closer to the miraculous origins of life, when the earth and the cosmos had yet to be disentangled. The transhumanism of Bloodborne thus turns the usual teleological view of human evolution on its head; the forces of evolution, whether natural or self-directed, will not bring humans closer to the gods, but have instead distanced them from the celestial spring of life. To fulfil their atavistic yearning to return to the lap of the cosmos, the inhabitants of Yharnam must regress to earlier evolutionary stages. The horror and tragedy of turning into wolf-like beasts, therefore, isnt just due to a revulsion to our animal ancestors or the destruction they cause, but the knowledge that those beastmen didnt regress far enough. If only they hadnt gotten lost in this evolutionary valley, they could have emerged on the other side as transcendental beings, as kin not of the earth, but the cosmos. At least, thats one way of looking at the complex picture Bloodborne paints.

The transcended hunter as slug-like Great One in Bloodbornes true ending

The beautiful thing about this is that it doesnt just fly in the face of transhumanism as it is usually understood, but the most problematic aspects of Lovecrafts work, too. The ugly concept of degeneracy, with all its overt racism, was an integral part of Lovecrafts fictional worlds. The ancient and unambiguously evil powers of the Great Old Ones is tied to primitives and mongrels, marginalised humans seen as genetically impure and degraded. They are easily manipulated by the old gods and worship them in the hidden and remote corners of the earth.

In Bloodborne, the blame of Yharnams ruin is dramatically shifted. The hidden corners of worship arent foreign jungles or secluded villages, but the sacred spaces of a church that is the backbone and centre of a sprawling megalopolis; the mysteries of the Great Ones are still secret knowledge, but secrets of a powerful, manipulative elite (as you would expect in the conspiracy-filled worlds of cyberpunk stories). But while this elites endeavours clearly lead to a horrific dystopia, the moral issues of this regressive transhumanism stay ambiguous throughout. The degenerate beastmen are hapless, unfortunate victims rather than villains. The experiment of transcendence through reverse evolution seems doomed to fail, but it is not at all clear whether that goal is inherently misguided. After all, the Great Ones seem amoral rather than evil (not unlike the people of Yharnam), and the hunter is no stranger to the allure these celestial beings exert through their disturbing kind of beauty. Perhaps their apparent darkness stems purely from the human minds failing to comprehend their true nature? Either way, Lovecrafts ideas of degeneracy doesnt entirely fit into Bloodbornes world.

Being kin to both the Lovecraftian as well as cyberpunk, Bloodborne, too, is a kind of mongrel. But this impurity is precisely what enables it to distinguish itself and comment meaningfully on its ancestral genres. It reshapes its influences by letting disparate ideas collide and creates something fresh from the wreckage. Its not unique in its subversion of transhumanist idealism or Lovecraftian racist tropes, but the way it combines these separate issues in a seamless if ambiguous whole is entirely original.

Bloodborne is both a cyberpunk dystopia in which the end point of self-directed evolution is not a disembodied mind, but a slug or a squid, as well as a tale of cosmic horror where that dubious degeneracy stems not from shady outsiders or social outcasts, but squarely from within organised mainstream religion and science. It shares with cyberpunk an awareness and distaste for the unequal power dynamics in a world governed by the amoral ambitions of hegemonies, but, like Lovecraft, looks backwards to our distant origins rather than to the future. And soBloodborne transcends its influences, and challenges us on new planes of existence.

Excerpt from:

Bloodborne, Transhumanism and Cosmic Cyberpunk – Kotaku UK (blog)

Transhumanism Is Not Libertarian, It’s an Abomination – The American Conservative

Last week in TAC, Zoltan Istvan wrote about The Growing World of Libertarian Transhumanism linking the transhumanist movement with all of its featureslike cyborgs, human robots and designer babiesto the ideas of liberty. To say Mr. Istvan is mistaken in his assessment is an understatement. Transhumanism should be rejected by libertarians as an abomination of human evolution.

We begin with Mr. Istvans definition of transhumanism:

transhumanism is the international movement of using science and technology to radically change the human being and experience. Its primary goal is to deliver and embrace a utopian techno-optimistic worlda world that consists of biohackers, cyborgists, roboticists, life extension advocates, cryonicists, Singularitarians, and other science-devoted people.

The ultimate task, however, is nothing less than overcoming biological human death and to solve all humanitys problems. Throughout much of Mr. Istvans work on this issue, he seems to think these ideas are perfectly compatible with libertarianismself-evident evenso he doesnt care to elaborate for his befuddled readers.

While most advocates of liberty could be considered, as Matt Ridley coined it, rational optimistsmeaning that generally we are optimistic, but not dogmatic, about progressit is easy to get into a state in which everything that is produced by the market is good per se and every new technology is hailed as the next step on the path of progress. In this sense, these libertarians become what Rod Dreher has called Technological Men. For them, choice matters more than what is chosen. [The Technological Man] is not concerned with what he should desire; rather, he is preoccupied with how he can acquire or accomplish what he desires.

Transhumanists including Mr. Istvan are a case in point. In his TAC article he not only endorses such things as the defeat of death, but even robotic hearts, virtual reality sex, and telepathy via mind-reading headsets. Need more of his grand ideas? How about brain implants ectogenesis, artificial intelligence, exoskeleton suits, designer babies, gene editing tech? At no point he wonders if we should even strive for these technologies.

When he does acknowledge potential problems he has quick (and crazy) solutions at hand: For example, what would happen if people never die, while new ones are coming into the world in abundance? His solution to the fear of overpopulation: eugenics. It is here where we see how libertarian Mr. Istvan truly is. When his political philosophythe supposedly libertarian onecomes into conflict with his idea of transhumanism, he suddenly drops the former and argues in favor of state-controlled breeding (or, as he says, controlled breeding by non-profit organizations such as the WHO, which is, by the way, state financed). I cautiously endorse the idea of licensing parents, a process that would be little different than getting a drivers licence. Parents who pass a series of basic tests qualify and get the green light to get pregnant and raise children.

The most frustrating thing is how similar he sounds to communists and socialists in his arguments. In most articles you read by transhumanists, you can see the dream of human perfection. Mr. Istvan says so himself: Transhumanists want more guarantees than just death, consumerism, and offspring. Much More. They want to be better, smarter, strongerperhaps even perfect and immortal if science can make them that way.

Surely it is the goal of transhumanists that, in their world, the average human type will rise to the heights of an Aristotle, a Goethe, or a Marx. You can just edit the genes of the embryo in the way that they are as intelligent as Aristotle, as poetic as Goethe, and as musically talented as Mozart. There are two problems, though: First, the world would become extremely boring, consisting only of perfect human beings who are masters at everything (which perhaps would make human cooperation superfluous). Second, that quote was famously uttered by the socialist Leon Trotsky.

As Ludwig von Mises wrote sarcastically, the socialist paradise will be the kingdom of perfection, populated by completely happy supermen. This has always been the mantra of socialists, starting with utopian thinkers like Charles Fourier, but also being embraced by the scientific ones like Marx, who derived his notion of history in which communism is the final stage of humanity from Hegel. Hegel himself believed in the man-godnot in the way that God became man through Jesus, but that man could become God one day. Intentionally or not, transhumanists sound dangerously similar to that. What they would actually create would be the New Soviet Man through bio-engineering and total environmental control as the highest social goal. In other words, you get inhuman ideological tyranny taken to a whole new level.

It should be noted that sometimes transhumanists recognize this themselvesbut if they do, their solutions only make things worse (much worse). Take Adam Zaretsky as example, who says that these new human beings shouldnt be perfect: Its important to make versions of transgenic human anatomy that are not based on idealism. But his solution is frightening: The idea is that you take a gene, say for pig noses, or ostrich anuses, or aardvark tongue, and you paste that into a human sperm, a human egg, a human zygote. A baby starts to form. And: We could let it flow into our anatomy, and these peoplewho yes, are humansshould be appreciated for who and what they are, after they are forced to be born in a really radically strange way. Its no surprise that Rod Dreher calls Mr. Zaretsky a sick monster, because he truly seems to be one when it comes to his transhumanist vision. He wants to create handicapped human beings on purpose.

If this were what libertarians think should happen, it would be sad (thankfully its mostly not). As Jeff Deist notes, it is important to remember that liberty is natural and organic and comports with human action. It doesnt require a new man. Transhumanists may say that the introduction of their idea is inevitable (in Istvans words, Whether people like it or not, transhumanism has arrived) but that is not true. And in this sense, it is time for libertarians to argue against the notion of extreme transhumanism. Yes, the market has brought it about and yes, the state shouldnt prohibit it (though giving your baby a pig nose could certainly be a violation of rights), but still, one shouldnt be relativist or even nihilist about such frightening developments. It would be a shame if the libertarian maxim of Everyone should be able to do whatever one wants to (as long as no one is hurt by it) becomes Everyone should do whatever one can do just because it is possible.

Finally, it comes as no surprise that transhumanists are largely, if not all, atheists (or as Mr. Istvan says: Im an atheist, therefore Im a transhumanist. This just proves what the classical liberal historian Lord Acton talked about when he said, Progress, the religion of those who have none. In the end, transhumanism is the final step to get God out of the way. It would be the continuation of what Richard Weaver wrote about in Ideas Have Consequences: Instead of seeing nature, the world and life overall as a means to get to know God, humans in the last centuries have become accustomed to seeing the world as something that is only there for humans to take and use for their own pleasures. Transhumanism would be the final step of this process: the conquest of death.

You dont have to be religious to find this abhorrent. As we have seen, it would be the end to all religion, to human cooperation overall, in all likelihood to liberty itself, and even the good-bye to humanity. It would be the starting point of the ultimate dystopia.

Kai Weiss is an International Relations student and works for the Austrian Economics Center and Hayek Institute, two libertarianthink tanks based in Vienna, Austria.

More here:

Transhumanism Is Not Libertarian, It’s an Abomination – The American Conservative

Bloodborne, Transhumanism and Cosmic Cyberpunk – Kotaku UK (blog)

With all its morbid decadence, the richly-layered Gothic imagination and cosmic horror of Bloodborne tends to overshadow some of its more (post)modern influences. Bloodborne isnt a traditionalist, after all, but a punk: or to be more precise, a cyberpunk. It may not havesinister corporations or hackers, yet this sci-fi renegade still conjures the rebellious ghost in the machine.

Most obviously, theres the overpowering presence of that looming megalopolis Yharnam as dependent on monumental, almost brutalist architecture as any good futuristic urban sprawl. The social dynamics within Yharnam echo the politics of cyberpunk, the hegemonic power of the Healing Church pitted against the social outcasts roaming the grimy streets. Dangerous social experiments and unchecked technological advancements have led to a Victorian dystopia. There are even cyberspaces, simulated, subordinate worlds in the form of the Dreams, which can be accessed and even hacked by those who are privy to secret knowledge.

Yharnham:

Ridley Scott’sBlade Runner:

And just like cyberpunk, the world of Bloodborne is held captive by the promise of transhumanism the idea that humankind will, one day, be able to transcend our fleshlylimitations and become something more. Whether it is Deus Ex or Bloodborne, the tool for this quasi-religious endeavour is cutting edge research and technology. In Deus Ex, that means body modification through nanotech or even merging consciousnesses with an omnipresent AI. In Bloodborne, its the Healing Church and Byrgenwerth researching into the old ones and their blood that drives this change: aiming to transform humans, in theory, into celestial beings that have entirely discarded their humanity. Not unlike in Blade Runner, the eye becomes an omnipresent symbol of self-directed evolution and the dangerous knowledge necessary to pursue it.

However, Bloodborneisa punk that refuses to slavishly follow in the tracks of those that came before. The differences are the most fascinating thing here. The futuristic vision of transhumanism, whether it is presented as a utopian promise or a dystopian threat, is seen as an evolutionary culmination or perhaps even singularity that severs the umbilical cord that connects us to our evolutionary history. The human is a product of natural processes, distant cousin of the apes. The posthuman the product of transhumanism is something different (strangely, it is our human arrogance that leads to this fallacy of teleological evolution.)

Blade Runner

Eye of a Blood-Drunk Hunter

Bloodbornes idea of transhumanism is recognisable, but different. Its still a morally complex idea, both pursued by individuals and institutions while also causing societal upheaval, but its vector is in the opposite direction. The path to transcendence doesnt lead the inhabitants of Yharnam away from humankinds evolutionary history, but confronts it head-on in a retrogressive journey. The first enemies our hunter encounters are beastmen, many of them recognisably human but some, like the werewolves or Vicar Amelia, almost devoid of human characteristics. Theyre hairy and canine, clearly mammalian despite their deformities. So far, this is in keeping with stories like Robert Louis Stevensons The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde or H.P. Lovecrafts tales of human degeneracy, such as Facts Concerning the Late Arthur Jermyn and His Family, in which a British nobleman burns himself alive after discovering that one of his ancestors was an ape goddess from the Congo. These stories play with our post-Darwinian revulsion at being the offspring of mere animals.

But as you progress through Bloodborne, the hunter descends deeper down the evolutionary ladder. Soon, enemies resemble snakes, insects, arachnids. Later, they become more alien still, strange variations of squids, snails, slugs (that is, molluscs) or even fungi. They have names like Celestial Emissary, or Celestial Child and are closely related to the Great Ones, some of whom, like Ebrietas or Kos, share similarities with the games mollusc-like creatures. Bloodborne displays a special fascination with mushrooms and molluscs, as well as the creatures of the ocean (especially in The Old Hunters DLC). These creatures are associated with the primordial, the early origins of life on earth, and their strange forms, both beautiful and disturbing, gives them a semblance of otherworldliness. And since they dont seem to belong to this world, perhaps they originally visited earth from unknown regions of the cosmos?

Kos

Ebrietas, Daughter of the Cosmos

Celestial Child

Nudibranch, Nembrotha Kubaryana. Photo by Nick Hobgood

Nudibranch, Nembrotha Cristata. Photo by Chriswan Sungkono.

Nudibranch, Tritoniopsis Elegans. Photo by Sean Murray.

From this anthropocentric perspective, becoming like these creatures means getting closer to the miraculous origins of life, when the earth and the cosmos had yet to be disentangled. The transhumanism of Bloodborne thus turns the usual teleological view of human evolution on its head; the forces of evolution, whether natural or self-directed, will not bring humans closer to the gods, but have instead distanced them from the celestial spring of life. To fulfil their atavistic yearning to return to the lap of the cosmos, the inhabitants of Yharnam must regress to earlier evolutionary stages. The horror and tragedy of turning into wolf-like beasts, therefore, isnt just due to a revulsion to our animal ancestors or the destruction they cause, but the knowledge that those beastmen didnt regress far enough. If only they hadnt gotten lost in this evolutionary valley, they could have emerged on the other side as transcendental beings, as kin not of the earth, but the cosmos. At least, thats one way of looking at the complex picture Bloodborne paints.

The transcended hunter as slug-like Great One in Bloodbornes true ending

The beautiful thing about this is that it doesnt just fly in the face of transhumanism as it is usually understood, but the most problematic aspects of Lovecrafts work, too. The ugly concept of degeneracy, with all its overt racism, was an integral part of Lovecrafts fictional worlds. The ancient and unambiguously evil powers of the Great Old Ones is tied to primitives and mongrels, marginalised humans seen as genetically impure and degraded. They are easily manipulated by the old gods and worship them in the hidden and remote corners of the earth.

In Bloodborne, the blame of Yharnams ruin is dramatically shifted. The hidden corners of worship arent foreign jungles or secluded villages, but the sacred spaces of a church that is the backbone and centre of a sprawling megalopolis; the mysteries of the Great Ones are still secret knowledge, but secrets of a powerful, manipulative elite (as you would expect in the conspiracy-filled worlds of cyberpunk stories). But while this elites endeavours clearly lead to a horrific dystopia, the moral issues of this regressive transhumanism stay ambiguous throughout. The degenerate beastmen are hapless, unfortunate victims rather than villains. The experiment of transcendence through reverse evolution seems doomed to fail, but it is not at all clear whether that goal is inherently misguided. After all, the Great Ones seem amoral rather than evil (not unlike the people of Yharnam), and the hunter is no stranger to the allure these celestial beings exert through their disturbing kind of beauty. Perhaps their apparent darkness stems purely from the human minds failing to comprehend their true nature? Either way, Lovecrafts ideas of degeneracy doesnt entirely fit into Bloodbornes world.

Being kin to both the Lovecraftian as well as cyberpunk, Bloodborne, too, is a kind of mongrel. But this impurity is precisely what enables it to distinguish itself and comment meaningfully on its ancestral genres. It reshapes its influences by letting disparate ideas collide and creates something fresh from the wreckage. Its not unique in its subversion of transhumanist idealism or Lovecraftian racist tropes, but the way it combines these separate issues in a seamless if ambiguous whole is entirely original.

Bloodborne is both a cyberpunk dystopia in which the end point of self-directed evolution is not a disembodied mind, but a slug or a squid, as well as a tale of cosmic horror where that dubious degeneracy stems not from shady outsiders or social outcasts, but squarely from within organised mainstream religion and science. It shares with cyberpunk an awareness and distaste for the unequal power dynamics in a world governed by the amoral ambitions of hegemonies, but, like Lovecraft, looks backwards to our distant origins rather than to the future. And soBloodborne transcends its influences, and challenges us on new planes of existence.

Continue reading here:

Bloodborne, Transhumanism and Cosmic Cyberpunk – Kotaku UK (blog)

Transhumanism – RationalWiki

You know what they say the modern version of Pascal’s Wager is? Sucking up to as many Transhumanists as possible, just in case one of them turns into God. Julie from Crystal Nights by Greg Egan

Transhumanism (or H+), an intellectual movement, is greatly influenced by science fiction and presents an idealistic point of view of what technology could do for humanity in future, not what it can do; it’s all hypothetical.[1] Transhumanism explores the benefits and repercussions of what technology could do for humanity; however, it assumes the technological boundaries are nonexistent.[2]

How plausible is transhumanism? In the 1930s, many sensible people were sure human beings would never get to the Moon and that was just one of many predictions that turned out incorrect.[3] Early 21st century people do not know one way or the other what will be possible in the future. However, the scientific claims of transhumanism still need to be examined critically, because some of these technoscientific prophecies may not be plausible.[4]

While frequently dismissed as mere speculation at best by most rationalists[5] (especially in light of the many failures of artificial intelligence), transhumanism is a strongly-held belief among many computer geeks, notably synthesizer and accessible computing guru Ray Kurzweil, a believer in the “technological singularity,” where technology evolves beyond humanity’s current capacity to understand or anticipate it, and Sun Microsystems founder and Unix demigod Bill Joy, who believes the inevitable result of AI research is the obsolescence of humanity.[6]

Certain recent technological advances are making the possibility of the realization of transhumanism appear more plausible: Scientists funded by the military developed an implant that can translate motor neuron signals into a form that a computer can use, thus opening the door for advanced prosthetics capable of being manipulated like biological limbs and producing sensory information.[7] This is on top of the earlier development of cochlear implants, which translate sound waves into nerve signals; they are often called “bionic ears.”[8]

Even DIY transhumanism or ‘biohacking’ is becoming an option, with people installing magnetic implants, allowing them to feel magnetic and electric fields.[9] Others have taken to wearing belts of magnets, in order to always be able to find magnetic north. Prosthetic limbs with some level of touch are also now being developed, a major milestone. [10] One notable individual whose received magnetic finger implants is Zoe Quinn; [11] the current scientific consensus seems unclear, although humans are not thought to have a magnetic sense, there is a cryptochromeprotein in the eye which could potentially make humans capable of Magnetoreception, like certain other mammals such as mice and cows appear to be. [12]

“Whole brain emulation” (WBE) is a term used by transhumanists to refer to, quite obviously, the emulation of a brain on a computer. While this is no doubt a possibility, it encounters two problems that keep it from being a certainty anytime in the near future.

The first is a philosophical objection: For WBE to work, “strong AI” (i.e. AI equivalent to or greater than human intelligence) must be attainable. A number of philosophical objections have been raised against strong AI, generally contending either that the mind or consciousness is not computable or that a simulation of consciousness is not equivalent to true consciousness (whatever that is). There is still controversy over strong AI in the field of philosophy of mind.[13]

A second possible objection is technological: WBE may not defy physics, but the technology to fully simulate a human brain (in the sense meant by transhumanists, at least) is a long way away. Currently, no computer (or network of computers) is powerful enough to simulate a human brain. Henry Markram, head of the Blue Brain Project, estimates that simulating a brain would require 500 petabytes of data for storage and that the power required to run the simulation would cost about $3 billion annually. (However, in 2008, he optimistically predicts this will be possible in ten years.[14]) In addition to technological limitations in computing, there are also the limits of neuroscience. Neuroscience currently relies on technology that can only scan the brain at the level of gross anatomy (e.g., fMRI, PET). Forms of single neuron imaging (SNI) have been developed recently, but they can only be used on animal subjects (usually rats) because they destroy neural tissue.[15]

First, let me say that Im all in favor of research on aging, and I think science has great potential to prolong healthy livesand Im all for that. But I think immortality, or even a close approximation to it, is both impossible and undesirable.

Another transhumanist goal is mind uploading, which is one way they claim[17][18] we will be able to achieve immortality. Aside from the problems with WBE listed above, mind uploading suffers a philosophical problem, namely the “swamp man problem.” That is, will the “uploaded” mind be “you” or simply a copy or facsimile of your mind? However, one possible way round this problem would be via incremental replacement of parts of the brain with their cybernetic equivalents (the patient being awake during each operation). Then there is no “breaking” of the continuity of the individual’s consciousness, and it becomes difficult for proponents of the “swamp man” hypothesis to pinpoint exactly when the individual stops being “themselves.”

Cryonics is another favorite of many transhumanists. In principle, cryonics is not impossible, but the current form of it is based largely on hypothetical future technologies and costs substantial amounts of money.

Fighting aging and extending life expectancy is possible the field that studies aging and attempts to provide suggestions for anti-aging technology is known as “biogerontology”. Aubrey de Grey has proposed a number of treatments for aging. In 2005, 28 scientists working in biogerontology signed a letter to EMBO Reports pointing out that de Grey’s treatments had never been demonstrated to work and that many of his claims for anti-aging technology were extremely inflated.[19] This article was written in response to a July 2005 EMBO reports article previously published by de Grey[20] and a response from de Grey was published in the same November issue.[21] De Grey summarizes these events in “The biogerontology research community’s evolving view of SENS,” published on the Methuselah Foundation website.[22]

Worst of all, some transhumanists outright ignore[citationneeded] what people in the fields they’re interested in tell them; a few AI boosters, for example, believe that neurobiology is an outdated science because AI researchers can do it themselves anyway. They seem to have taken the analogy used to introduce the computational theory of mind, “the mind (or brain) is like a computer.” Of course, the mind/brain is not a computer in the usual sense.[23] Debates with such people can take on the wearying feel of a debate with a creationist or climate change denialist, as such people will stick to their positions no matter what. Indeed, many critics are simply dismissed as Luddites or woolly-headed romantics who oppose scientific and technological progress.[24]

Transhumanism has often been criticized for not taking ethical issues seriously on a variety of topics,[25] including life extension technology,[26] cryonics,[27] and mind uploading and other enhancements.[28][29] Francis Fukuyama (in his doctrinaire neoconservative days) caused a stir by naming transhumanism “the world’s most dangerous idea.”[30] One of Fukuyama’s criticisms, that implementation of the technologies transhumanists push for will lead to severe inequality, is a rather common one.

A number of political criticisms of transhumanism have been made as well. Transhumanist organizations have been accused of being in the pocket of corporate and military interests.[31] The movement has been identified with Silicon Valley due to the fact that some of its biggest backers, such as Peter Thiel (of PayPal and Bitcoin fame), reside in the region.[32][33] Some writers see transhumanism as a hive of cranky and obnoxious techno-libertarianism.[34][35] The fact that Julian Huxley coined the term “transhumanism” and many transhumanists’ obsession with constructing a Nietzschean ubermensch known as the “posthuman” has led to comparisons with eugenics.[36][31] Like eugenics, it has been characterized as a utopian political ideology.[37] Jaron Lanier slammed it as “cybernetic totalism”.[38]

Some tension has developed between transhumanism and religion, namely Christianity.[citationneeded] Some transhumanists, generally being atheistic naturalists, see all religion as an impediment to scientific and technological advancement and some Christians oppose transhumanism because of its stance on cloning and genetic engineering and label it as a heretical belief system.[39] Other transhumanists, however, have attempted to extend an olive branch to Christians.[40] Some have tried to reconcile their religion and techno-utopian beliefs, calling for a “scientific theology.”[41] There is even a Mormon transhumanist organization.[42]Ironically for the atheistic transhumanists, the movement has itself been characterized as a religion and its rhetoric compared to Christian apologetics.[43][44] Interestingly the word transhuman first appeared in Henry Francis Careys 1814 translation of Paradiso, the last book of the Divine Comedy as Dante ascends to heaven during the resurrection. [45]

The very small transhumanist political movement has gained momentum with Zoltan Istvan announcing his bid for US president, with the Transhumanist Party and other small political parties gaining support internationally.

The important thing about transhumanism is that while a lot of such predictions may in fact be possible (and may even be in their embryonic stages right now), a strong skeptical eye is required for any claimed prediction about the fields it covers. When evaluating such a claim, one will probably need a trip to a library (or Wikipedia, or a relevant scientist’s home page) to get up to speed on the basics.[46]

A common trope in science fiction for decades is that the prospect of transcending the current form may be positive, as in Arthur C. Clarke’s 1953 novel Childhood’s End or negative, as in the film The Matrix, with its barely disguised salvationist theme, or the Terminator series of films, where humanity has been essentially replaced by machine life. Change so radical elicits fear and thus it is unsurprising that many of the portrayals of transhumanism in popular culture are negative. The cyberpunk genre deals extensively with the theme of a transhumanist society gone wrong.

Among the utopian visions of transhumanism (fused with libertarianism) are those found in the collaborative online science fiction setting Orion’s Arm. Temporally located in the post-singularity future, 10,000 years from now, Orion’s Arm is massively optimistic about genetic engineering, continued improvements in computing and materials science. Because only technology which has been demonstrated to be impossible is excluded, even remotely plausible concepts has a tendency to be thrown in. At the highest end of the scale is artificial wormhole creation, baby universes and inertia without mass.[47] Perhaps the only arguably positive depiction of transhumanism in video games is the Megaman ZX series where the line between human and reploids has begun to blur. Defining at what point the definition of the the singularity was met in the centuries long Megaman timeline can be a useful way of illustrating how nebulous the terminology is during a debate.

Read the original post:

Transhumanism – RationalWiki

Transhuman – Wikipedia

Transhuman or trans-human is the concept of an intermediary form between human and posthuman.[1] In other words, a transhuman is a being that resembles a human in most respects but who has powers and abilities beyond those of standard humans.[2] These abilities might include improved intelligence, awareness, strength, or durability. Transhumans sometimes appear in science-fiction as cyborgs or genetically-enhanced humans.

The use of the term “transhuman” goes back to French philosopher Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, who wrote in his 1949 book The Future of Mankind:

Liberty: that is to say, the chance offered to every man (by removing obstacles and placing the appropriate means at his disposal) of ‘trans-humanizing’ himself by developing his potentialities to the fullest extent.[3]

And in a 1951 unpublished revision of the same book:

In consequence one is the less disposed to reject as unscientific the idea that the critical point of planetary Reflection, the fruit of socialization, far from being a mere spark in the darkness, represents our passage, by Translation or dematerialization, to another sphere of the Universe: not an ending of the ultra-human but its accession to some sort of trans-humanity at the ultimate heart of things.[4]

In 1957 book New Bottles for New Wine, English evolutionary biologist Julian Huxley wrote:

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.[5]

One of the first professors of futurology, FM-2030, who taught “new concepts of the Human” at The New School of New York City in the 1960s, used “transhuman” as shorthand for “transitional human”. Calling transhumans the “earliest manifestation of new evolutionary beings”, FM argued that signs of transhumans included physical and mental augmentations including prostheses, reconstructive surgery, intensive use of telecommunications, a cosmopolitan outlook and a globetrotting lifestyle, androgyny, mediated reproduction (such as in vitro fertilisation), absence of religious beliefs, and a rejection of traditional family values.[6]

FM-2030 used the concept of transhuman as an evolutionary transition, outside the confines of academia, in his contributing final chapter to the 1972 anthology Woman, Year 2000.[7] In the same year, American cryonics pioneer Robert Ettinger contributed to conceptualization of “transhumanity” in his book Man into Superman.[8] In 1982, American Natasha Vita-More authored a statement titled Transhumanist Arts Statement and outlined what she perceived as an emerging transhuman culture.[9]

Jacques Attali, writing in 2006, envisaged transhumans as an altruistic vanguard of the later 21st century:

Vanguard players (I shall call them transhumans) will run (they are already running) relational enterprises in which profit will be no more than a hindrance, not a final goal. Each of these transhumans will be altruistic, a citizen of the planet, at once nomadic and sedentary, his neighbor’s equal in rights and obligations, hospitable and respectful of the world. Together, transhumans will give birth to planetary institutions and change the course of industrial enterprises.[10]

In March 2007, American physicist Gregory Cochran and paleoanthropologist John Hawks published a study, alongside other recent research on which it builds, which amounts to a radical reappraisal of traditional views, which tended to assume that humans have reached an evolutionary endpoint. Physical anthropologist Jeffrey McKee argued the new findings of accelerated evolution bear out predictions he made in a 2000 book The Riddled Chain. Based on computer models, he argued that evolution should speed up as a population grows because population growth creates more opportunities for new mutations; and the expanded population occupies new environmental niches, which would drive evolution in new directions. Whatever the implications of the recent findings, McKee concludes that they highlight a ubiquitous point about evolution: “every species is a transitional species”.[11]

Follow this link:

Transhuman – Wikipedia

Transhumanism: Genetic Engineering of Man – the New …

Barbara H. Peterson

Farm Wars

There is a move afoot to reprogram humanity. To redefine it in the limited terms of scientific understanding, place it in a box, and then, all wrapped up in a pretty package, attempt to deliver this convoluted mess to us as progress.

There are those who think that, given the chance, they could and should genetically manipulate the earth and the creatures that inhabit it, including man, to suite a purpose of their own imaginings. They want to experiment on all of our precious resources, turn our rivers into streams of pollution, and take each and every living thing on earth and use it to create something better.

According to whose design? Well, the so-called scientific one, of course. And if this means combining cows and humans, goats and spiders, man and machine in order to achieve the goal? Well, so be it. After all, the only thing that is important is the end result. And the end result is that a few will obtain immortality or so they think. And if a few eggs get broken in the process, well, that is the price paid for success.

This is Transhumanism the natural culmination of something called reprogenetics. Some call it designer evolution.

What is Reprogenetics?

In short, reprogenetics is the genetic engineering of man to create a human race according to scientific design. Here is a definition from Lee M. Silver, author of the book Remaking Eden: How Genetic Engineering and Cloning Will Transform the American Family (1998).

Reprogenetics will involve advances in a number of technologies not yet achieved, but not inherently impossible. Among these are improvements in interpreting the effects of different expressions of DNA, the ability to harvest large numbers of embryos from females, and a far higher rate of reinsertion of embryos into host mothers. The end result, according to Silver, is that those parents who can afford it will be able to pick out the genetic characteristics of their own children, which Silver says will trigger a number of social changes in the decades after its implementation. Possible early applications, however, might be closer to eliminating disease genes passed on to children.

According to Silver, the main differences between reprogenetics and eugenics, the belief in the possibility of improving the gene pool which in the first half of the 20th century became infamous for the brutal policies it inspired, is that most eugenics programs were compulsory programs imposed upon citizens by governments trying to enact an ultimate goal.

It becomes quite apparent, after reading the quote above, that the main difference between reprogenetics and eugenics is consent, according to Lee M. Silver. Eugenics forced. Reprogenetics consented to. Same thing, different mode of action. From the forced culling of those deemed inferior to creating a superior race through genetic engineering, the end result is the same. Those deemed inferior are eventually culled from the system using DNA manipulation techniques.

Eugenics renamed and defined as scientific progress. A life-saving technique that can reprogram the human race and create the ideal human family. Thats the spin. Im sure the promoters said the same thing about nuclear energy. Dangerous? Naw. We know what we are doing. Arrogance.

So, lets take this technique of reprogramming humanity through reprogenetics/eugenics and dig a little deeper, shall we?

Meet Genome Compiler

OUR STORY:

Genome Compiler is built on the idea that biology is information technology. We can design and program living things the same way that we design computer code. Genetic designers today are still writing in 1s and 0s they lack the missing tools to design, debug, and compile the biological code into new living things.

At Genome Compiler, weve built just that a simplified solution for designing DNA.

We are inspired by the breakthrough research done by the JCVI and Harvard with their achievement of whole bacterial genome engineering, as required for functional changes in the form of new codes, new amino acids, safety and virus-resistance and a vision of making biological design easier, cheaper, and open to people outside the research labs.

Genome Compiler Corporation New

After all, when all is said and done, DNA is simply DNA, and mixing it up has no inherent consequences, right? That is what we are supposed to believe. And who is to say what is human and what is not? Arent we all made of molecules?

The Transhumanist Agenda

The following quote pretty much sums up the Transhumanist attitude towards the relationship between you, me, the computer I am using to write this, and the chair I am sitting on:

Whether somebody is implemented on silicon or biological tissue, if it does not affect functionality or consciousness, is of no moral significance. Carbon-chauvinism, in the form of anthropomorphism, speciesism, bioism or even fundamentalist humanism, is objectionable on the same grounds as racism.

http://www.singularityweblog.com/a-transhumanist-manifesto/

If we want to be half human, half frog, isnt that our right? If everything is the same, then anything goes. This is put forth in the guise of freedom of choice, freedom from disease, and freedom from suffering. Actually, this is a sure road to slavery, disease and suffering, and a path towards erasing who we are and simply becoming just another set of molecules on planet earth, much like a chair, or car, or vacuum cleaner.

The Transhumanist goal, based on this oneness of all things biologically and artificially created, is to use science and technology to control evolution of the species, because science is safer than nature.

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.

http://www.singularityweblog.com/a-transhumanist-manifesto/

This mastering of evolution is accomplished through a scientific dictatorship:

Scientific Dictatorship is the utopian concept of scientific managerism whereby all facets of political, social and economic life are managed solely by the scientific method and dictates of science. (Patrick Wood)

And precaution? Well, that goes out the window. Quote from Dr. Max Moore, a leader in Transhumanism:

Many factors conspire to warp our reasoning about risks and benefits as individuals. The bad news is that such foolish thinking has been institutionalized and turned into a principle. Zealous pursuit of precaution has been enshrined in the precautionary principle. Regulators, negotiators, and activists refer to and defer to this principle when considering possible restrictions on productive activity and technological innovation.

In this chapter, I aim to explain how the precautionary principle, and the mindset that underlies it, threaten our well-being and our future.

http://www.maxmore.com/perils.htm

Dr. Max More, the author of The Principles of Extropy, is one of the top leaders of the Transhumanist movement, and the two are tightly interconnected. One could consider Extropy as as the metaphysical backbone of Transhumanism. (Patrick Wood)

In other words, according to one of the top leaders in the transhumanist movement, the precautionary principle actually endangers us. How convoluted can you get?

So, throwing caution aside, onward we go by experimenting through DNA manipulation to create a world where the pseudo-science of a scientific dictatorship rules supreme.

Here are just some examples of DNA mixing going on right now:

http://s-special4you.com/10-insane-cases-of-genetic-engineering/

The future of war is going to look really, really weird. The super soldier research that DARPA (the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) is working on right now is unlike anything we have ever seen before. If DARPA is successful, and if the American people dont object, the soldiers of the future will be genetically modified transhumans capable of superhuman feats.

http://www.jimstonefreelance.com/vanilla/discussion/322/u-s-super-soldiers-of-the-future-will-be-genetically-modified-transhumans-capable-of-superhuman-/p1

We are in for a lot more than those who actually believe in the medical benefits of DNA manipulation bargained for. All these examples are leading us down the road to the real Transhumanist agenda:

Transhumanism is the application of science to the condition of man to achieve characteristics of immortality, omniscience and omnipresence, among others, and to produce a God-like race of post-humans. (Patrick Wood)

Yes, there are people who are actively attempting a complete takeover of humanity in order to set themselves up as supreme beings. To transcend physical boundaries by intermixing any DNA that so-called scientists think is appropriate, discard the precautionary principle as too dangerous for proper evolution, full speed ahead, meld man, machine, computer, and eventually, transcend to Godhood. It doesnt matter if it works, it doesnt matter if it is sane, it is a plan in the works. And the people who are involved think that they know how to create a better man.

Here is a bit of the history of Transhumanism and its ties to eugenics:

Julian Huxley, brother of Aldous who authored Brave New World, first used this word (1957): Transhumanism. Huxley was a member of the British Eugenics Society, eugenics being the foundation of Transhumanism.

Quote:

Eugenics is a science dedicated to a Darwinist philosophy applied to humanity, that the strong should thrive and evolve, while the weak are culled and eradicated.

Eugenics rests on a necessity of there being superior and inferior genetic pools in the human population. It might be very socially unacceptable to speak publicly of there being some races, ethnic or cultural groups who are inferior to the rest, yet in secrecy this is exactly what elite Eugenicists believe.

The public is guided to love the idea of Transhumanism by being persuaded that it is not a goal attached to race or ethnicity, but simply a means of bettering all of humanity. This is quite untrue.

Elite Transhumanists have no desire to evolve all humankind, their goal is one which seeks to advance only their own bloodlines and to leave the rest in disadvantage to them so that these unfortunate ones have no choice but to become their slaves, their lab animals and their labor force.

The lowest strata are reproducing too fast. Therefore they must not have too easy access to relief or hospital treatment lest the removal of the last check on natural selection should make it too easy for children to be produced or to survive; long unemployment should be a ground for sterilization.

Julian Huxley

http://www.zengardner.com/transhumanism-techno-eugenics-usurping-humanity/

And wouldnt you know it, the Rockefeller Foundation can be found providing funding for the eugenics movement:

In 1927, the Rockefeller Foundation provided funds to construct the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Anthropology, Human Heredity, and Eugenics in Berlin, which came under the directorship of the appropriately named Eugen Fischer. Adolf Hitler read Fischers textbook Principles of Human Heredity and Race Hygiene while in prison at Landsberg and used eugenical notions to support the ideal of a pure Aryan society in his manifesto, Mein Kampf (My Struggle).

http://www.eugenicsarchive.org/eugenics/topics_fs.pl?theme=41

What was termed in its early stages as a pure Aryan society, is now being repackaged as a pure Transhumanist society in which DNA is programmed to conform to the design of a scientific dictatorship, and sold as the salvation of man. The New Age of ascention. Same story, new box. When will we learn?

And the motivation for all of this? As usual, there are many:

Profit

Human transcendence

Control

Power

Eternal life immortality

The justification? Thats easy: Progress always requires sacrifice. To quote a famous activist:

Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable. Even a superficial look at history reveals that no social advance rolls in on wheels of inevitability. Every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle; the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals. Without persistent effort, time itself becomes an ally of the insurgent and primitive forces of irrational emotionalism and social destruction. This is no time for apathy or complacency. This is a time for vigorous and positive action. (MLK Jr.)

Except in this case, it is not the beneficiary of the technologys sacrifice that is required, but the sacrifice of dedicated and ignorant servants and an unwitting populace. We sacrifice our health, wealth, and minds to the slavery of junk science that says it is okay to maim, torture, and impoverish millions so that a few may gain. It is okay to run widespread experiments on humanity so that a few may benefit from those experiments and transcend to a God-like state and rule over the universe. It doesnt matter if you believe it, or if I believe it. It doesnt have to be rational or sane. What matters is that people with enough money and power to go forth with this agenda do believe it, are working steadily towards it, and know how to market it in order to get the public to accept it as beneficial.

Transhumanism is being sold to the public as bringing forth a new age of enlightenment. This story is as old as the Biblical account of the Garden of Eden, where Lucifer, masquerading as the angel of light, tells Eve that he knows a better way. It is also being touted as an extension of Darwinism: another step in the evolutionary process the better, scientific way, because the slow, biological way is simply too dangerous and inherently unpredictable.

Humans are about to decommission natural selection in favour of guided evolution. Darwinian processes gave humanity a good start, but Homo sapiens can be improved. Owing to advances in genetics, cybernetics, nanotechnology, computer science, and cognitive science, humans are set to redefine the human condition. Future humans can look forward to longer lives, enhanced intelligence, memory, communication and physical skills, and improved emotional control. Humans may eventually cease to be biological and gendered organisms altogether, giving rise to the posthuman entity. Human enhancement will irrevocably alter social arrangements, interpersonal relationships, and society itself. And theres also the added potential for nonhuman enhancement.

http://www.sentientdevelopments.com/2007/01/must-know-terms-for-21st-century_11.html

Much better to trust in man and his scientific knowledge to create a better evolutionary path, and manipulating our DNA is that way. And just who comes to mind as an expert at manipulating DNA and public perception?

The Monsanto Connection

Remember when Craig Venture of Atlas Venture created Synthia, a synthetic life form, and partnered with Monsanto?

Monsanto and Atlas Venture

And now Monsanto has recently signed a deal with Atlas Venture for funding of, well, who knows? Monsanto does. And Monsanto isnt telling. But we do know that it will most likely be some sort of disruptive innovation because that is Atlas Ventures specialty. Atlas Venture is an early stage investment firm dedicated to financing disruptive innovation in Life Sciences and Technology.

Video of Humvee-Mounted Laser Avenger Killing Bombs [Weapons]

Well, it appears that Monsanto and Atlas Venture are working on a new type of genetic engineering using RNA. Is this the disruptive technology that I mentioned in my article cited above?

Generations of high school kids have been taught that only about 3 percent of the human genome is actually usefulmeaning it contains genes that code proteinsand the rest is junk DNA. Cambridge, MA-based RaNA Therapeutics was founded on the idea that the so-called junk is actually gold, because it contains a type of RNA that can flip genes on inside cells, potentially offering a new approach to modulating diseases.RaNA is coming out of stealth mode today and announcing a $20.7 million Series A financing led by Atlas Venture, SR One, and agricultural giant Monsanto (NYSE: MON). Partners Innovation Fund also participated in the funding.

RaNA Raises $20.7M From Atlas, SR One, Monsanto, for RNA-Based Tech

What is RaNA Therapeutics?

RaNA Therapeutics is pioneering the discovery of a new class of medicines that target RNA to selectively activate protein expression, thereby enabling the body to produce desirable proteins to treat or prevent disease. RaNAs novel therapeutics work by precisely activating the expression of select genes within the patients own cells, increasing the synthesis of therapeutic proteins. The companys proprietary RNA targeting technology works epigenetically to make it possible, for the first time, to increase the expression of therapeutic proteins with exquisite selectivity.

http://ranarx.com/

This has the potential to turn on and silence, with a great degree of accuracy, gene expression in anyones body. For example,

The patchy colours of a tortoiseshell cat are the result of different levels of expression of pigmentation genes in different areas of the skin.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gene_expression

Monsanto is not working at Curing world hunger through biotechnology. That is a successful smokescreen and marketing slogan gone viral. Edward Bernays, the father of marketing propaganda to the masses, would have been proud.

The Inevitable Conclusion

Remember the definition of reprogenetics in the beginning of this article? Reprogenetics is the genetic engineering of man to create a human race according to scientific design. Well, it is 2013, and we now have the tools to silence and turn on genes through RNA manipulation. And its coming to us courtesy of Monsanto, the chemical/life sciences company that brought us Agent Orange, PCBs, and most of the genetically engineered ingredients in 80% of the processed foods we eat every day.

We know that a pseudo-scientific agenda called Transhumanism, which is bankrolled by some very rich and influential people, is intended to change us as a species, knows no bounds, is set to replace biology as we know it and is inexorably connected to eugenics. We know that this Transhumanist agenda is well on its way to changing the world in ways that we cannot fathom, and we know that Monsanto is involved through its research and application of DNA manipulation techniques in our food supply. Happy eating, America

2013 Barbara H. Peterson

Read more from the original source:

Transhumanism: Genetic Engineering of Man – the New …

Bloodborne, Transhumanism and Cosmic Cyberpunk – Kotaku UK (blog)

With all its morbid decadence, the richly-layered Gothic imagination and cosmic horror of Bloodborne tends to overshadow some of its more (post)modern influences. Bloodborne isnt a traditionalist, after all, but a punk: or to be more precise, a cyberpunk. It may not havesinister corporations or hackers, yet this sci-fi renegade still conjures the rebellious ghost in the machine.

Most obviously, theres the overpowering presence of that looming megalopolis Yharnam as dependent on monumental, almost brutalist architecture as any good futuristic urban sprawl. The social dynamics within Yharnam echo the politics of cyberpunk, the hegemonic power of the Healing Church pitted against the social outcasts roaming the grimy streets. Dangerous social experiments and unchecked technological advancements have led to a Victorian dystopia. There are even cyberspaces, simulated, subordinate worlds in the form of the Dreams, which can be accessed and even hacked by those who are privy to secret knowledge.

Yharnham:

Ridley Scott’sBlade Runner:

And just like cyberpunk, the world of Bloodborne is held captive by the promise of transhumanism the idea that humankind will, one day, be able to transcend our fleshlylimitations and become something more. Whether it is Deus Ex or Bloodborne, the tool for this quasi-religious endeavour is cutting edge research and technology. In Deus Ex, that means body modification through nanotech or even merging consciousnesses with an omnipresent AI. In Bloodborne, its the Healing Church and Byrgenwerth researching into the old ones and their blood that drives this change: aiming to transform humans, in theory, into celestial beings that have entirely discarded their humanity. Not unlike in Blade Runner, the eye becomes an omnipresent symbol of self-directed evolution and the dangerous knowledge necessary to pursue it.

However, Bloodborneisa punk that refuses to slavishly follow in the tracks of those that came before. The differences are the most fascinating thing here. The futuristic vision of transhumanism, whether it is presented as a utopian promise or a dystopian threat, is seen as an evolutionary culmination or perhaps even singularity that severs the umbilical cord that connects us to our evolutionary history. The human is a product of natural processes, distant cousin of the apes. The posthuman the product of transhumanism is something different (strangely, it is our human arrogance that leads to this fallacy of teleological evolution.)

Blade Runner

Eye of a Blood-Drunk Hunter

Bloodbornes idea of transhumanism is recognisable, but different. Its still a morally complex idea, both pursued by individuals and institutions while also causing societal upheaval, but its vector is in the opposite direction. The path to transcendence doesnt lead the inhabitants of Yharnam away from humankinds evolutionary history, but confronts it head-on in a retrogressive journey. The first enemies our hunter encounters are beastmen, many of them recognisably human but some, like the werewolves or Vicar Amelia, almost devoid of human characteristics. Theyre hairy and canine, clearly mammalian despite their deformities. So far, this is in keeping with stories like Robert Louis Stevensons The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde or H.P. Lovecrafts tales of human degeneracy, such as Facts Concerning the Late Arthur Jermyn and His Family, in which a British nobleman burns himself alive after discovering that one of his ancestors was an ape goddess from the Congo. These stories play with our post-Darwinian revulsion at being the offspring of mere animals.

But as you progress through Bloodborne, the hunter descends deeper down the evolutionary ladder. Soon, enemies resemble snakes, insects, arachnids. Later, they become more alien still, strange variations of squids, snails, slugs (that is, molluscs) or even fungi. They have names like Celestial Emissary, or Celestial Child and are closely related to the Great Ones, some of whom, like Ebrietas or Kos, share similarities with the games mollusc-like creatures. Bloodborne displays a special fascination with mushrooms and molluscs, as well as the creatures of the ocean (especially in The Old Hunters DLC). These creatures are associated with the primordial, the early origins of life on earth, and their strange forms, both beautiful and disturbing, gives them a semblance of otherworldliness. And since they dont seem to belong to this world, perhaps they originally visited earth from unknown regions of the cosmos?

Kos

Ebrietas, Daughter of the Cosmos

Celestial Child

Nudibranch, Nembrotha Kubaryana. Photo by Nick Hobgood

Nudibranch, Nembrotha Cristata. Photo by Chriswan Sungkono.

Nudibranch, Tritoniopsis Elegans. Photo by Sean Murray.

From this anthropocentric perspective, becoming like these creatures means getting closer to the miraculous origins of life, when the earth and the cosmos had yet to be disentangled. The transhumanism of Bloodborne thus turns the usual teleological view of human evolution on its head; the forces of evolution, whether natural or self-directed, will not bring humans closer to the gods, but have instead distanced them from the celestial spring of life. To fulfil their atavistic yearning to return to the lap of the cosmos, the inhabitants of Yharnam must regress to earlier evolutionary stages. The horror and tragedy of turning into wolf-like beasts, therefore, isnt just due to a revulsion to our animal ancestors or the destruction they cause, but the knowledge that those beastmen didnt regress far enough. If only they hadnt gotten lost in this evolutionary valley, they could have emerged on the other side as transcendental beings, as kin not of the earth, but the cosmos. At least, thats one way of looking at the complex picture Bloodborne paints.

The transcended hunter as slug-like Great One in Bloodbornes true ending

The beautiful thing about this is that it doesnt just fly in the face of transhumanism as it is usually understood, but the most problematic aspects of Lovecrafts work, too. The ugly concept of degeneracy, with all its overt racism, was an integral part of Lovecrafts fictional worlds. The ancient and unambiguously evil powers of the Great Old Ones is tied to primitives and mongrels, marginalised humans seen as genetically impure and degraded. They are easily manipulated by the old gods and worship them in the hidden and remote corners of the earth.

In Bloodborne, the blame of Yharnams ruin is dramatically shifted. The hidden corners of worship arent foreign jungles or secluded villages, but the sacred spaces of a church that is the backbone and centre of a sprawling megalopolis; the mysteries of the Great Ones are still secret knowledge, but secrets of a powerful, manipulative elite (as you would expect in the conspiracy-filled worlds of cyberpunk stories). But while this elites endeavours clearly lead to a horrific dystopia, the moral issues of this regressive transhumanism stay ambiguous throughout. The degenerate beastmen are hapless, unfortunate victims rather than villains. The experiment of transcendence through reverse evolution seems doomed to fail, but it is not at all clear whether that goal is inherently misguided. After all, the Great Ones seem amoral rather than evil (not unlike the people of Yharnam), and the hunter is no stranger to the allure these celestial beings exert through their disturbing kind of beauty. Perhaps their apparent darkness stems purely from the human minds failing to comprehend their true nature? Either way, Lovecrafts ideas of degeneracy doesnt entirely fit into Bloodbornes world.

Being kin to both the Lovecraftian as well as cyberpunk, Bloodborne, too, is a kind of mongrel. But this impurity is precisely what enables it to distinguish itself and comment meaningfully on its ancestral genres. It reshapes its influences by letting disparate ideas collide and creates something fresh from the wreckage. Its not unique in its subversion of transhumanist idealism or Lovecraftian racist tropes, but the way it combines these separate issues in a seamless if ambiguous whole is entirely original.

Bloodborne is both a cyberpunk dystopia in which the end point of self-directed evolution is not a disembodied mind, but a slug or a squid, as well as a tale of cosmic horror where that dubious degeneracy stems not from shady outsiders or social outcasts, but squarely from within organised mainstream religion and science. It shares with cyberpunk an awareness and distaste for the unequal power dynamics in a world governed by the amoral ambitions of hegemonies, but, like Lovecraft, looks backwards to our distant origins rather than to the future. And soBloodborne transcends its influences, and challenges us on new planes of existence.

Read the rest here:

Bloodborne, Transhumanism and Cosmic Cyberpunk – Kotaku UK (blog)

Transhumanism Is Not Libertarian, It’s an Abomination – The American Conservative

Last week in TAC, Zoltan Istvan wrote about The Growing World of Libertarian Transhumanism linking the transhumanist movement with all of its featureslike cyborgs, human robots and designer babiesto the ideas of liberty. To say Mr. Istvan is mistaken in his assessment is an understatement. Transhumanism should be rejected by libertarians as an abomination of human evolution.

We begin with Mr. Istvans definition of transhumanism:

transhumanism is the international movement of using science and technology to radically change the human being and experience. Its primary goal is to deliver and embrace a utopian techno-optimistic worlda world that consists of biohackers, cyborgists, roboticists, life extension advocates, cryonicists, Singularitarians, and other science-devoted people.

The ultimate task, however, is nothing less than overcoming biological human death and to solve all humanitys problems. Throughout much of Mr. Istvans work on this issue, he seems to think these ideas are perfectly compatible with libertarianismself-evident evenso he doesnt care to elaborate for his befuddled readers.

While most advocates of liberty could be considered, as Matt Ridley coined it, rational optimistsmeaning that generally we are optimistic, but not dogmatic, about progressit is easy to get into a state in which everything that is produced by the market is good per se and every new technology is hailed as the next step on the path of progress. In this sense, these libertarians become what Rod Dreher has called Technological Men. For them, choice matters more than what is chosen. [The Technological Man] is not concerned with what he should desire; rather, he is preoccupied with how he can acquire or accomplish what he desires.

Transhumanists including Mr. Istvan are a case in point. In his TAC article he not only endorses such things as the defeat of death, but even robotic hearts, virtual reality sex, and telepathy via mind-reading headsets. Need more of his grand ideas? How about brain implants ectogenesis, artificial intelligence, exoskeleton suits, designer babies, gene editing tech? At no point he wonders if we should even strive for these technologies.

When he does acknowledge potential problems he has quick (and crazy) solutions at hand: For example, what would happen if people never die, while new ones are coming into the world in abundance? His solution to the fear of overpopulation: eugenics. It is here where we see how libertarian Mr. Istvan truly is. When his political philosophythe supposedly libertarian onecomes into conflict with his idea of transhumanism, he suddenly drops the former and argues in favor of state-controlled breeding (or, as he says, controlled breeding by non-profit organizations such as the WHO, which is, by the way, state financed). I cautiously endorse the idea of licensing parents, a process that would be little different than getting a drivers licence. Parents who pass a series of basic tests qualify and get the green light to get pregnant and raise children.

The most frustrating thing is how similar he sounds to communists and socialists in his arguments. In most articles you read by transhumanists, you can see the dream of human perfection. Mr. Istvan says so himself: Transhumanists want more guarantees than just death, consumerism, and offspring. Much More. They want to be better, smarter, strongerperhaps even perfect and immortal if science can make them that way.

Surely it is the goal of transhumanists that, in their world, the average human type will rise to the heights of an Aristotle, a Goethe, or a Marx. You can just edit the genes of the embryo in the way that they are as intelligent as Aristotle, as poetic as Goethe, and as musically talented as Mozart. There are two problems, though: First, the world would become extremely boring, consisting only of perfect human beings who are masters at everything (which perhaps would make human cooperation superfluous). Second, that quote was famously uttered by the socialist Leon Trotsky.

As Ludwig von Mises wrote sarcastically, the socialist paradise will be the kingdom of perfection, populated by completely happy supermen. This has always been the mantra of socialists, starting with utopian thinkers like Charles Fourier, but also being embraced by the scientific ones like Marx, who derived his notion of history in which communism is the final stage of humanity from Hegel. Hegel himself believed in the man-godnot in the way that God became man through Jesus, but that man could become God one day. Intentionally or not, transhumanists sound dangerously similar to that. What they would actually create would be the New Soviet Man through bio-engineering and total environmental control as the highest social goal. In other words, you get inhuman ideological tyranny taken to a whole new level.

It should be noted that sometimes transhumanists recognize this themselvesbut if they do, their solutions only make things worse (much worse). Take Adam Zaretsky as example, who says that these new human beings shouldnt be perfect: Its important to make versions of transgenic human anatomy that are not based on idealism. But his solution is frightening: The idea is that you take a gene, say for pig noses, or ostrich anuses, or aardvark tongue, and you paste that into a human sperm, a human egg, a human zygote. A baby starts to form. And: We could let it flow into our anatomy, and these peoplewho yes, are humansshould be appreciated for who and what they are, after they are forced to be born in a really radically strange way. Its no surprise that Rod Dreher calls Mr. Zaretsky a sick monster, because he truly seems to be one when it comes to his transhumanist vision. He wants to create handicapped human beings on purpose.

If this were what libertarians think should happen, it would be sad (thankfully its mostly not). As Jeff Deist notes, it is important to remember that liberty is natural and organic and comports with human action. It doesnt require a new man. Transhumanists may say that the introduction of their idea is inevitable (in Istvans words, Whether people like it or not, transhumanism has arrived) but that is not true. And in this sense, it is time for libertarians to argue against the notion of extreme transhumanism. Yes, the market has brought it about and yes, the state shouldnt prohibit it (though giving your baby a pig nose could certainly be a violation of rights), but still, one shouldnt be relativist or even nihilist about such frightening developments. It would be a shame if the libertarian maxim of Everyone should be able to do whatever one wants to (as long as no one is hurt by it) becomes Everyone should do whatever one can do just because it is possible.

Finally, it comes as no surprise that transhumanists are largely, if not all, atheists (or as Mr. Istvan says: Im an atheist, therefore Im a transhumanist. This just proves what the classical liberal historian Lord Acton talked about when he said, Progress, the religion of those who have none. In the end, transhumanism is the final step to get God out of the way. It would be the continuation of what Richard Weaver wrote about in Ideas Have Consequences: Instead of seeing nature, the world and life overall as a means to get to know God, humans in the last centuries have become accustomed to seeing the world as something that is only there for humans to take and use for their own pleasures. Transhumanism would be the final step of this process: the conquest of death.

You dont have to be religious to find this abhorrent. As we have seen, it would be the end to all religion, to human cooperation overall, in all likelihood to liberty itself, and even the good-bye to humanity. It would be the starting point of the ultimate dystopia.

Kai Weiss is an International Relations student and works for the Austrian Economics Center and Hayek Institute, two libertarianthink tanks based in Vienna, Austria.

Here is the original post:

Transhumanism Is Not Libertarian, It’s an Abomination – The American Conservative

Transhumanism Australia

Transhumanism Australia is a community that educates and invests in scientific research and technologies which enhance the human biological condition. We are committed to accelerating fundamental research and applications of exponential technologies such as nanotech, biotech and artificial intelligence.

We grow the Australian transhumanist community through collaborations with other organisations and communities.

See the article here:

Transhumanism Australia

TRICOAST ENTERTAINMENT RELEASES FIRST … – Digital Journal – Digital Journal

“AMELIA 2.0 // TriCoast Entertainment”

Los Angeles, CA – August 8, 2017 – TriCoast Entertainment is excited to announce the VOD release of Adam Ortons newest sci-fi thriller, AMELIA 2.0 today on August 8, 2017. From executive producers MORE Productions and WeatherVane Productions, AMELIA 2.0 is the first film to tap into the genre of transhumanism.

Transhumanism (n) The belief or theory that the human race can evolve beyond its currently physical and mental limitations, especially by means of science and technology.

AMELIA 2.0 combines romance, sci-fi and futuristic suspense to illustrate societies need and constant desire for advancements within the technological world.

As Carter Summerland weeps next to his decaying wife in a hospital bed, he is approached by Wesley Enterprises, an experimental program specializing in elongating human life.

The grief in his heart collides with his devastated mind, when he allows Wesley Enterprises to take the risk of high advancements in technology, by allowing them to download his wifes consciousness into an android.

When Amelia awakes, she finds herself within an android that looks just like her human self but she doesnt feel human at all. She battles the internal question of what really makes someone human? while the city breaks out in a public debate over using this high-tech technology, and the extreme opposition and danger to such experiments.

AMELIA 2.0 turns science fiction into a controversial discussion by exploring the genre of transhumanism, or the theory that human life can be extended through advancements in technology and science. Many scientists and other professionals argue about the rights and wrongs of extending human life.

Thats the thing about science fiction it doesnt leave viewers with the thought of aliens taking over Mars or portals to different worlds, but instead, makes us question things that are unordinary, yet seemingly possible. 20 years ago, did anyone predict the self-parking cars? In 20 years, will humans be able to extend their lives through technology?

AMELIA 2.0s all-star cast includes Ed Begley Jr. (Ghostbusters, Pineapple Express), Chris Ellis (The Dark Knight Rises, Apollo 13), Debra Wilson (Avatar), Eddie Jemison (Oceans Eleven, War Dogs) and Kate Vernon (Malcolm X, The Last Song, Pretty in Pink).

Watch AMELIA 2.0 now on: AT&T, Comcast, DirecTV, DISH, FandangoNow, FlixFling, Google, InDemand, iTunes, SlingTV, Sony (Playstation), Vubiquity, Vudu, and Amazon. Stay tuned for the DVD release!

Trailer Link: https://vimeo.com/200433561

For more information, go to: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3831344/?ref_=ttfc_fc_tt

AMELIA 2.0 (2017, 89 min.) Directed by Adam Orton. Editor: Izaak Levinson-Share. Cinematographer: Camrin Petramale. Original Music: Michael A Levine. US, English. MORE Productions, WeatherVane Productions. TriCoast Entertainment.

PRODUCTION COMPANY: MORE Productions, Weather Vane Productions

About TriCoast Entertainment:

A new home for story-driven American films, TriCoast Entertainment is a full service media company that creates, produces, manages and distributes unique and unusual entertainment. Bringing together filmmakers, distributors, financiers, and technologists, TriCoast Entertainment embraces change by redefining the production and distribution model for indie filmmakers, providing them with low cost tools, financing, and worldwide theatrical and digital distribution, along with market feedback and storytelling opportunities.

Media Contact Company Name: TriCoast Entertainment Contact Person: Jenna Wilen Email: jenna@tricoast.com Phone: 3107410070 Address:11124 Washington Blvd City: Culver City State: CA Country: United States Website: http://www.tricoastworldwide.com

Link:

TRICOAST ENTERTAINMENT RELEASES FIRST … – Digital Journal – Digital Journal

Pop music moves a step closer to eternal life – The Columbian

A A

Today, well be discussing how a Selena Gomez song might foreshadow humanitys triumph over biological death but first, raise your hand if you remember EDM. It was short for electronic dance music, a style once poised to eat the planet for lunch, and then eat itself for dessert.

Five summers ago, as a new league of superstar DJs were being paid astronomical amounts of money to perform at packed festivals the world over, the musics sustainability didnt appear to be at the forefront of anyones mind. In 2015, Forbes reported that the EDM bubble was about to burst. In 2016, Pitchfork made the case that it had.

But this unofficial collapse hasnt forced the star producers of EDM to unplug their laptops and register for the GRE. In fact, plenty are faring exceptionally well this summer, taking up residence on the Billboard Hot 100 after partnering up with an array of willing pop vocalists Calvin Harris with Pharrell, the Chainsmokers with Coldplay, David Guetta with Justin Bieber.

These kinds of genre-splicing collaborations arent anything new, but with EDM now in decline, theyve quietly reversed their polarity. Instead of making dance tracks that behave like pop songs, these producers now appear to be making pop songs that behave a little more like dance tracks.

In most instances, the result is just a mirror-image of the same old thing, but for a certain class of pop singers, it seems to be changing the way they apply their physicality to a geometric dance rhythm. You can hear it on the radio this summer whenever Gomez goes hopscotching across the grid of Kygos It Aint Me, or when Alessia Cara leans hard against the right-angles of Zedds Stay, or in the way Halsey seems to be gasping for air in the digital vacuum of her solo single, Now or Never. All three songs are delivered with mechanical clarity, with all three vocalists making direct lyrical references to eternity. Are they singing about transhumanism?

Not long after our species learned how to dream, we were probably dreaming of ways to exceed the limitations of our bodies. Its the stuff of religions and comic books. Now, its the work of Silicon Valley, where a growing number of transhumanists believe that mankinds next evolutionary leap will occur once we figure out how to convert consciousness into code, allowing for a digital transmigration of souls.

In his recent book, To Be a Machine, author Mark OConnell describes transhumanism as a liberation movement advocating nothing less than a total emancipation from biology itself. That emancipation means eternal life inside a supercomputer. Heaven is a hard drive.

The idea isnt so shocking if you watch Black Mirror, or if you listen to pop music. For well over a decade now, Auto-Tune software has been narrowing the musical gap between humans and machines, generating signature hooks for everyone from T-Pain to Future.

However, whether we as listeners embrace Auto-Tune as a tool or denounce it as a crutch often depends on whos singing through it. When Kanye West uses computer software to manipulate his voice, hes an artist. When Britney Spears does the same thing, shes a girl who cant sing.

That double standard helps to explain why Ellie Goulding hasnt been recognized as one of the more significant pop vocalists of our time. The British singer always had bright ideas about phrasing, but it wasnt until she loaned her voice to a few juggernaut EDM singles that her singing began to feel totally frictionless. And it had more to do with Gouldings inflection than whatever digital processing she was applying to it. By the time she released her 2015 album, Delirium, Goulding was weaving the curves of her voice through a world of clean-edged rhythms as if drawing a map to the future.

With Now or Never, Halsey has that map folded-up her back pocket. Its a slower, stronger, smarter, more spacious song than Closer, her massive EDM hit with the Chainsmokers, and it gives the 22-year-old the opportunity to do some captivating things with her breath. When shes breathing in, shes all human, taking sharp little hits of oxygen that dramatize the ballads sustained romantic ache. But when shes breathing out, shes at least half-machine, singing about pain with precision. Listen close to how she lingers on the words now, time and forever. The grain in her voice sounds like its pixelating.

Alessia Caras Stay a collaboration with the German EDM producer, Zedd addresses the gap between data and soul in the form of a simple duet, with a refrain thats delivered in two parts. First comes Cara pushing her voice especially hard into the songs rigid architecture. Then comes a gush of synthesized melodies pantomiming what the 21-year-old just sang. Its a game of call-and-response, but the call sounds big-hearted, and the response sounds no-hearted, giving the dialogue a sinister glint. Cara is singing about forestalling a separation, but she might as well be teaching the HAL 9000 how to sing Daisy.

With It Aint Me, Norwegian producer Kygo isnt playing a game so much as conducting a test one in which Selena Gomez must first coo alongside a gently-plucked guitar, and then over the relentless thuds of sub-woofing bass. As the song builds its graceless crescendo, the coffee shop turns into a rave, with the most promising 25-year-old in pop showing us how she can make her voice feel artificial in an intimate setting and expressive in an anonymous one.

See the rest here:

Pop music moves a step closer to eternal life – The Columbian

How the death of EDM brought pop music one step closer to eternal life – Washington Post

Today, well be discussing how a Selena Gomez song might foreshadow humanitys triumph over biological death but first, raise your hand if you remember EDM. It was short for electronic dance music, a style once poised to eat the planet for lunch and then eat itself for dessert. Five summers ago, as a new league of superstar DJs were being paid astronomical amounts of money to perform at packed festivals the world over, the musics sustainability didnt appear to be at the forefront of anyones mind. In 2015, Forbes reported that the EDM bubble was about to burst . In 2016, Pitchfork made the case that it had .

But this unofficial collapse hasnt forced the star producers of EDM to unplug their laptops and register for the GRE. In fact, plenty are faring exceptionally well this summer, taking up residence on the Billboard Hot 100 after partnering with an array of willing pop vocalists Calvin Harris with Pharrell Williams, the Chainsmokers with Coldplay, David Guetta with Justin Bieber. These kinds of genre-splicing collaborations arent anything new, but with EDM now in decline, theyve quietly reversed their polarity. Instead of making dance tracks that behave like pop songs, these producers appear to be making pop songs that behave a little more like dance tracks.

In most instances, the result is just a mirror-image of the same old thing, but for a certain class of pop singers, it seems to be changing the way they apply their physicality to a geometric dance rhythm. You can hear it on the radio this summer whenever Gomez goes hopscotching across the grid of Kygos It Aint Me, or when Alessia Cara leans hard against the right-angles of Zedds Stay, or in the way Halsey seems to be gasping for air in the digital vacuum of her solo single Now or Never. All three songs are delivered with mechanical clarity, with all three vocalists making direct lyrical references to eternity. Are they singing about transhumanism?

Not long after our species learned how to dream, we were probably dreaming of ways to exceed the limitations of our bodies. Its the stuff of religions and comic books. Now, its the work of Silicon Valley, where a growing number of transhumanists believe that mankinds next evolutionary leap will occur once we figure out how to convert consciousness into code, allowing for a digital transmigration of souls. In his recent book, To Be a Machine, author Mark OConnell describes transhumanism as a liberation movement advocating nothing less than a total emancipation from biology itself. That emancipation means eternal life inside a supercomputer. Heaven is a hard drive.

The idea isnt so shocking if you watch Black Mirror or if you listen to pop music. For well over a decade now, Auto-Tune software has been narrowing the musical gap between humans and machines, generating signature hooks for everyone from T-Pain to Future. However, whether we as listeners embrace Auto-Tune as a tool or denounce it as a crutch often depends on whos singing through it. When Kanye West uses computer software to manipulate his voice, hes an artist. When Britney Spears does the same thing, shes a girl who cant sing.

That double standard helps to explain why Ellie Goulding hasnt been recognized as one of the more significant pop vocalists of our time. The British singer always had bright ideas about phrasing, but it wasnt until she loaned her voice to a few juggernaut EDM singles that her singing began to feel totally frictionless. And it had more to do with Gouldings inflection than whatever digital processing she was applying to it. By the time she released her 2015 album, Delirium, Goulding was weaving the curves of her voice through a world of clean-edged rhythms as if drawing a map to the future.

[Ellie Goulding is singing from inside the pop machine]

With Now or Never, Halsey has that map folded up in her back pocket. Its a slower, stronger, smarter, more spacious song than Closer, her massive EDM hit with the Chainsmokers, and it gives the 22-year-old the opportunity to do some captivating things with her breath. When shes breathing in, shes all human, taking sharp little hits of oxygen that dramatize the ballads sustained romantic ache. But when shes breathing out, shes at least half-machine, singing about pain with precision. Listen close to how she lingers on the words now, time and forever. The grain in her voice sounds like its pixelating.

Alessia Caras Stay a collaboration with the German EDM producer Zedd addresses the gap between data and soul in the form of a simple duet, with a refrain thats delivered in two parts. First comes Cara pushing her voice especially hard into the songs rigid architecture. Then comes a gush of synthesized melodies pantomiming what the 21-year-old just sang. Its a game of call and response, but the call sounds big-hearted, and the response sounds no-hearted, giving the dialogue a sinister glint. Cara is singing about forestalling a separation, but she might as well be teaching the HAL 9000 how to sing Daisy.

With It Aint Me, Norwegian producer Kygo isnt playing a game so much as conducting a test one in which Gomez must first coo alongside a gently plucked guitar and then over the relentless thuds of sub-woofing bass. As the song builds its graceless crescendo, the coffee shop turns into a rave, with the most promising 25-year-old in pop showing us how she can make her voice feel artificial in an intimate setting and expressive in an anonymous one.

That so-real-it-sounds-fake quality in Gomezs singing is put to far better use over the uncluttered beat of Bad Liar, a hit single about an affection that cant be suppressed. The song radiates such indomitable charm, even its bad lyrics ooze weird charisma. In the first verse, Gomez asserts, just like the Battle of Troy, theres nothing subtle here. Sure. In the second verse, she purrs, If youre the art, Ill be the brush. If she says so. And does she? Are these malformed bits of poetry the result of human error, or were they written by a buggy algorithm? Its hard to know for sure, and the pleasure is in the not-knowing.

Youll want to savor that confusion until Gomez reaches the bridge and blurts out the most metaphysical romantic advance to grace the radio in years: Oh, baby, lets make reality. Amazing, amazing, amazing, amazing. The nature of her proposition depends entirely on whether shes pretending to be a machine, but either way, whos going to sayno?

Read more here:

How the death of EDM brought pop music one step closer to eternal life – Washington Post

The MetroSpiritual: Creating super-humans through Transhumanism is becoming a reality – New York Daily News

DAILY NEWS CONTRIBUTOR

Friday, July 28, 2017, 4:30 PM

Super humans created by design will be a reality in the near future.

Imagine if we could create the perfect President Trump by simply upgrading him a little from a “Of the people, for the people” ethical point of view. Throw in an anti-collusion, Don Jr. malware system and weve already got ourselves a better America.

This is not fake news, so saddle up: It’s called Transhumanism. If you’re thinking, “Wow, this sounds like a new culture whose goal is to evolve humans physically and intellectually in order to create life extension through genetic engineering with eternal life at the core,” then you are correct. Good job!

Tranhumanistic thinking means you believe that you can upgrade yourself with a little help from nanotech, which honestly sounds good to meI already bought the headphones! (I wouldn’t frown at a little time management and decision making skills improvements. I freely admit I have a list of complaints for my brain’s manufacturer. I’m ready for some upgrades.)

The MetroSpiritual: Does your DNA code prove youre part alien?

The general public believes we are a good 100 years away from this type of technology, but surprisewe are already there. They can already genetically create superior human beings.

One way, but not the only way, is by using CRISPR Cas- 9 kits. It is a fairly inexpensive, already available system for genome editing. The bare-bones for beginners explanation: It targets and modifies gene sequences and can be used for cloning and reproducing preferred traits as well as reprogramming our current DNA to seek out and destroy traits we don’t like.

Transhumanism manipulates energy waves, which is what we and everything and anything at its core is made up of, the entire universe included. For example, running weak electrical currents through certain areas of the brain speeds up reaction time. It’s called transcranial direct current stimulation, or TDCS, and is already used by the U.S. military to train snipers.

As a Metro-Spiritual, there’s a layered but unique perspective that comes to mind. What if higher beings are already using a form of Transhumanism on millions of humans already and have been for some time?

The MetroSpiritual: Make meditation part of your daily journey

Scientists from the Human Genome project say that our DNA was not written on this planet and is a complex mathematical code. What if we have the ability to upgrade, but haven’t in a while because we didn’t know that we even could?

Without updating the How to be Human software, life would be more confusing and run much slower, don’t you think? Perhaps many of us were born with semi- superhuman abilities by virtue of our past but still can’t warp our minds around the system upgrades. Stay with me

If advanced entities and let’s face it, there are smarter ones then us in this galaxy and universe have already encoded our DNA to allow for upgrades, unarguably this seems like a good anti- corruption software program.

But if available technology for human advancement is just a matter of simple software, is humanity better or worse off? There is likely a built-in level of accountability that is necessary for spiritual growth. I assume expecting anything less always needs to be updated.

The MetroSpiritual: 10 ways to stay spiritually balanced in 2017

Curiously, in the oldest of texts, extraterrestrials have had this Transhumanism thing down since forever ago. Biblical texts even talk about ancient Abraham having his first child when he was 80 years old, because humans supposedly lived for upwards of 200 years way back then. Eternal life might just be sophisticated technology which history, and now science, supports.

Erich von Dniken, who wrote Chariots of the Gods, was one of the first to talk about the ancient alien theory. His research and studies state that thousands of years ago space travelers from other planets visited Earth and taught humans about technology, and influenced their beliefs on religion.

The late Zecharia Sitchin was the first to decode the most ancient texts from the Sumerians. According to his translations, a race of extraterrestrials called the Anunnaki, which means those who are from heaven, came to Earth from a planet beyond Neptune called Nibiru. They have been here long before humans and are the ones responsible for creating the human race. Or so they say

The Greeks, Indians, Mayans, Romans the list goes on all believed in gods who visited Earth and advanced humanity. Their recorded history supports the ancient alien theory. (Are those who learned how to live forever considered gods? Lord help us!)

The MetroSpiritual: How to connect with extraterrestrials

Perhaps the Anunnaki were space travelers. Some believe their home planet was destroyed and their race was dying and so they began to interbreed with humans way, way back then ago. Some believe they created humans. Biblical texts support all this. There are cave drawings dating back more than 5,000 years of alien beings with tall bodies, big heads and big hands interacting with humans. An unnamed source says one looks just like Trump too. Fake news?

Ancient texts talk about the Lyrian Wars and today you can see actual NASA footage of modern day space wars on the internet. Perhaps times don’t change that much when it comes to history repeating itself.

Let’s skip thousands of years ahead and go to the 1930s to the 1980s. UFO sightings were at an all-time high. The scoop was hundreds of everyday common folk being abducted by aliens. Roswell helped top it off with a cherry.

Scientific evidence from notable cases where taken seriously by the general public and for the first time in ages, the taboo subject began to regain acceptance. Abductees usually described little grey humanoids with skinny bodies and big heads with bug-looking eyes. Sound familiar? They seemed to be most interested in the human reproductive organs.

The MetroSpiritual: Why finding your true soulmate is so hard

Biblical texts do talk about the fallen angels always mating with female humans. Even Enoch, Noah’s great grandfather, talked about being abducted by higher beings, but he said that it was spectacular.

But that was then and this is now, and you don’t really hear about those scary abduction stories anymore, right? It’s more of an Enoch connection these days. So why?

Did they complete interbreeding their DNA with ours? Are they back with upgraded models of their creations, aka, us? Help from ETs is not a new thing, but it seems to be back on a familiar rise these days.

Maybe the little grey aliens we always here about are the result of robotic Transhumanism from eons ago, and humans will make similar versions in the future. We are well on our way, if not already there. Maybe the result of yesterdays abductions are the currently updated versions of human hybrid star-seeds, and maybe you are one of them!

Humanitys advancement might be included in our DNA. It does not mean you will be richer or smarter, it only means you can download universal information, once you figure it out. Maybe that will lead to your desires, but there is always a catch!

Many of the ETs are currently described as looking like us and not like the grey, bug-eyed beings described in the past. So is the future now? Time seems all messed up these days. It might be due to the modern day form of Transhumanism from the past that some of us are currently experiencing.

Downloading our brains into a computer and growing body parts for replacement is happening today in all sorts of forms. Google it! To live forever is in the works, but do we want everyone to live forever? What about the mean people?

Maybe higher intelligences are a step ahead of us, using ET-made natural selection via DNA. You can only upgrade if you get it and are worthy. Personally, I might have some cosmic figuring out to do.

If we could live forever how would most people even react? If you can get around to doing anything tomorrow, luxury nap facilities would certainly become popular establishments: the anti-Starbucks!

Then again, even forever would eventually become a race against time. Who will get there first? I doubt me. I’ll be too busy daydreaming about where the finish line is at one of the many napping facilities I hopefully have some stock in.

Maija Polsley began having otherworldly experiences at a young age and began attending metaphysics classes with her mother at age 12. She has since been dedicated to finding the truth and has not stopped exploring. Co-producer of the ghost investigation web series “Paranormal Pursuit” and founder of TheMetroSpiritual.com, Maija is a natural-born, city-dwelling, soul-seeking, independent former teen mom and single woman who is also a dimensionally educated, spiritually empathic writer, actor, poet, standup comic, tarot card reader, Earth lover and quintessential MetroSpiritual.

For more DAILY VIEWS, The News’ contributor network, click here. nydailynews.com/tags/daily-views

Here is the original post:

The MetroSpiritual: Creating super-humans through Transhumanism is becoming a reality – New York Daily News

Luton hate crime probe over St Thomas’s church graffiti – BBC News


BBC News
Luton hate crime probe over St Thomas's church graffiti
BBC News
The vandal also made references to transhumanism – a movement that believes in using technology to improve intellectual, physical and psychological capacities – and wrote: “Anti-Christ” and “Hell awaits”. More news from Bedfordshire. St Thomas's vicar

and more »

See original here:

Luton hate crime probe over St Thomas’s church graffiti – BBC News

Fringe movements key to changing the world – Winnipeg Free Press

“The more things change, the more they stay the same” is a common interpretation of a French quote by critic Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr. Yet, as events of the past year and a half have demonstrated, sometimes things change so much that underlying assumptions must be questioned.

Western society has always had its share of extremist, fringe activists, who are generally dismissed tolerantly or not by the mainstream culture.

British journalist and tech blogger Jamie Bartlett points out that successful radicals of the past are now heroes who changed both history and culture. For instance, in the United States: “American revolutionaries, the abolitionists, the civil rights activists, the LGBTQ rights groups.”

Radicals Chasing Utopia interestingly, if unevenly, chronicles Bartletts experiences embedding himself in various radical groups.

“In streets, halls, fields, chat rooms and even parliaments, more and more people are trying to change the world. And for the last two years, Ive tried to find them.”

Bartletts 2014 book The Dark Net, about underground and sketchy sub-cultures in various corners of the internet, included “transhumanism,” and thats where Radicals Chasing Utopia begins.

Transhumanists “believe that technology can make us physically, intellectually, even morally better.”

Bartlett accompanied other journalists and fellow travellers on Zoltan Istvans quixotic 2016 presidential campaign, in a bus “redesigned to look like a giant coffin.”

Some transhumanists believe even mortality can be overcome by scientific advances and obsessively careful living.

Other chapters cover anti-immigration activists in Europe, psychedelic drug experiences, the Italian Five Star Momentum movement, and a commune in Portugal attempting to establish “a healing biotope, a template of how man could live in harmony with himself, his fellow man and his environment.”

Bartletts reports on most groups achieve his stated goal of “assessing them as honestly and objectively” as possible, but retaining “a degree of scepticism.”

The chapter Interlude: Prevent examines the U.K. governments difficulties attempting to “deal with the spread of radical ideas that directly seek to undermine or destroy” liberal democracy.

His chapter about taking part in direct action to protest a coal mine in Wales somewhat exposes his own bias, but the rest of the book does not come across as a polemic either for or against the radicals he observes.

That chapter, The Activists Paradox, discusses the tendency of some radicals to turn off the general public, whose participation in the machinery of change is so important to fundamental shifts in cultural or political norms.

Engaging as Bartletts coverage is, reading the book can be frustrating, partly due to the overwhelming documentation. Over 50 pages of endnotes often containing additional exposition or explanation, not just attribution compete with numerous explanatory or illustrative footnotes.

Some passages point the reader to both a footnote and an endnote. Much of that information would be less intrusive if it were included in the text, rather than interrupting it.

Bartletts observations and analyses of particular groups culminate in an especially thoughtful and challenging epilogue, discussing the dilemmas and difficulties inherent in radicals who are trying to change the world.

“Their energy, imagination and passion might save us; but those very attributes might also lead to ruin and desperation. Yet, for all this, radicals remain our best hope.”

Whether one agrees or disagrees with this conclusion, Bartletts book is an enjoyable and thought-provoking addition to the conversation.

Bill Rambo teaches at The Laureate Academy in St. Norbert. He adheres to the radical idea that knowledge of Shakespeare could arrest virtually all decay of the English language.

Read more here:

Fringe movements key to changing the world – Winnipeg Free Press

Putting Infants Down Like Dogs – First Things

The Charlie Gard tragedy has renewed public advocacy for legalizing infanticide. Writing in the New York Times earlier this month, Gary Comstock recounted the tragic death of his son, Sam, who was born with a terminal genetic condition. Many years later, Comstock believes that his son should have been killed instead of being taken off of life support:

We should empathize with Comstock in his grief. But emotion must not tempt us to reject the venerable principles of human exceptionalism. Babieseven those with dire prospectsare precious human beings whose lives have intrinsic dignity and inherent moral value beyond that of any nonhuman.

Acceptance of Comstocks premisethat parents should kill babies who are likely to diewould be culturally catastrophic. It would lead to the legalization of murder. At Nuremberg, the German infanticide program was deemed a crime against humanity. Lets not abandon that wisdom.

The death of his son is not the only motive driving Comstocks advocacy. Comstock is a moral philosopher who rejects human exceptionalism and embraces animal rights and transhumanism. From his webpage:

Judging by Comstocks Times column, it seems these practical implications include legalizing infanticide. Indeed, in my decades of work around issues such as euthanasia, utilitarian bioethics, animal rights, transhumanism, and other associated agendas, I have found that the more one rejects human exceptionalism, the more likely one is to declare that immoral and (still) illegal wrongslike infanticideare virtuous.

The evolutionary biologist Jerry Coyne is an even more vivid case in point. Coyne authors ablog titled Why Evolution is True, where he extrapolates evolutionary theoryinto highly questionable conclusions of morality, philosophy, and ethics. Using Comstocks pro-infanticide column as his launching pad, Coyne argues that if we can abort a fetus diagnosed with serious health issues, we should also be allowed to kill born babies with those conditions. He then makes the predictable claim that since we euthanize our sick pets, we should also be permitted to kill seriously ill and disabled babies:

Coyne then brings in anti-human exceptionalism:

Contrary to Coyne, human exceptionalism need not rely on religion to demonstrate its validity. But heres the germane point: To reject human exceptionalism is essentially to claim that we are just another animal in the forest, which leads to the logical conclusion that killing should be an allowable remedy to illness and disability. This view has already infected the Netherlands, where babies born with serious disabilities and terminal conditions are allowed by winked-at practicenot lawto be killed by doctors.

Many no longer believe that human life has ultimate, objective value simply because it is human. With human exceptionalism cast aside, our new prime directive is to eliminate suffering, and eliminating the sufferer is now advocated in high places as a moral good rather than a pernicious harm. As a result, dying and disabled babies are in mortal danger of consignment into a killable caste that canliterallybe put down like dogs.

Wesley J. Smith is a senior fellow at the Discovery Institutes Center on Human Exceptionalism and a consultant to the Patients Rights Council. His most recent book isCulture of Death: The Age of Do Harm Medicine.

Become a fan ofFirst ThingsonFacebook,subscribe toFirst ThingsviaRSS, and followFirst ThingsonTwitter.

See more here:

Putting Infants Down Like Dogs – First Things

Transhumanism – Catholicism.org

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?

Continued here:

Transhumanism – Catholicism.org


123