[extropy-chat] Templeton Research Lectures on "The Challenge of Transhumanism"

John Grigg desertpaths2003 at yahoo.com
Mon Apr 23 10:33:52 UTC 2007

I recently attended a lecture about "The Challenge of Transhumanism" at Arizona State University.  The speaker was Anthropology Professor John Tooby, who is a Co-Director of the Center for Evolutionary Psychology at the University of California, Santa Barbara.  The main thrust of his argument was that the brain is run by extremely complicated computer software-like programs and that there is still so much we just don't know.  He views Transhumanists as not taking this into serious consideration as they propose to use direct bio/nanotech intervention to greatly augment human cognitive ability.  The lecturer used straw man arguments and I was not overly impressed by either his delivery skills or the message itself.  During the question and answer phase I said that I felt Transhumanism had been misrepresented as the "bogeyman" and I asked him what he personally felt about Transhumanists.  Tooby replied that he ultimately believes in technological development for the cause of
 helping the human race and so he sees a positive connection between himself and Transhumanism.
  This lecture is part of a four year program, which will explore the various aspects of how Transhumanism will eventually impact humanity.  It was been funded by the Metanexus Institute (I had never heard of them before) and also The John Templeton Foundation.  I have long been fascinated by John Templeton and the foundation he created.
  I was happy to see on the links page The World Transhumanist Association, The Extropy Institute, Max More, Vernor Vinge, Nick Bostrom, KurzweilAI and even to my surprise the Mormon Transhumanist Association (go MTA!!, hee).  I just wish Anders Sandberg, Eliezer Yudkowsky and also Natasha Vita-More had been listed.    
  I very much plan to attend the future lectures and look forward to seeing how things progress.  The event was extremely well-attended (usually the public ASU lectures are not), which is a definite indication of public interest in the subject matter.  I will continue to keep readers here informed of developments.  Lastly, I will say the refreshments were excellent!  : ) 
  John Grigg

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