To Be Or Not To Be Transhumanist

from the playing-with-fire-or-making-life-better? dept

Toronto’s Globe and Mail is running a written debate (which is apparently a prelude to a live debate) between a medical ethicist and a transhumanist over whether or not we should be doing everything possible to extend our lives. The medical ethicist suggests that what the transhumanists want to do is making us less human (which I’m not sure the transhumanists would disagree with). Her general fear is that they will go “too far”. The transhumanist responds with a series of examples of other technology and medical breakthroughs that have made our lives better – and saying that if the opportunity is there, shouldn’t we take it? No matter what the debate on the topic is, it’s not going to stop people from researching ways to extend our lives – so shouldn’t we be more focused on making sure we understand and are prepared for the consequences of that research, rather than worrying whether or not it should be done at all?

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Comments on “To Be Or Not To Be Transhumanist”

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dorpus says:

Cultural Advantages?

Christian/Jewish/Islamic cultures believe in the sanctity of the soul, hence tampering with embryonic tissue is viewed as “unethical”. There are other cultures, e.g. China, where

1. religion is not a big deal, and
2. there are too many people anyway

if we make advances in organ transplant technology, could China turn into the world’s meat grinder?

There are anecdotal reports of people undergoing personality changes after receiving transplants. It’s hypothesized that latent viruses do affect our personality, hence transplanted organs innoculate us. We’ve found viruses that cause schizophrenia or other mental disorders, so it’s no surprise if there are other viruses that cause subtler changes, e.g. really liking the color green.

I wonder if we could have a second generation of biological weapons that induce mass personality changes?

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