[ExI] [ExtroBritannia] RE: Humanity+ Talk Religion & transhumanism (not the usual!)

Natasha Vita-More natasha at natasha.cc
Tue Sep 6 13:57:51 UTC 2011

- A wrote: 

On 6 September 2011 01:57, Natasha Vita-More <natasha at natasha.cc> wrote:

 Pray is a strange request. 

 > Heh - apologies; apparently my email went through a 16th Century English
filter  ;-)   "Pray tell" just means "please do say"...

Made me laugh. But anyway, I mean that most

transhumanists are not militant atheists. 

 > Ah - ok. Well, I have to say that there is a large overlap with the
increasingly strident atheist community, but it is of course hard to keep
track of how  
> many futurist-inclined atheists identify as transhumanists and vice versa
in the absence of a large, formal survey.  
Yes, but even a strident atheist community or as you say militant atheists
is an aggression I find a turn off.  Why?  Because in my view harsh, shrill,
combative actions are often dismissed as emotional and lacking in logic. It
seems to me that the strategy in The Art of War is based on objective
conditions and subjective understanding of the other.  If were were
militant, I would prefer it be more strategic than reactionary.
>Suffice to say that I'd be extremely   
> surprised if it turned out that the majority of transhumanists identified
as strong religious believers. I am aware of a number of transhumanists with

> religious beliefs of one type of another, but I've always been under the
distinct impression that they are definitely in the minority. 
Just because someone may not be a militant atheist does not make him a
religious believer. And, in my view, it counters the striving more for
intelligence and humanness (transhumane).  Intelligence does not equate to
pursuing and creating adversity, but to finding solutions to problems. 

 > As for the thrust of the piece (obviously I had a long day yesterday, not
spotting that!) - well, I suppose that's why I wondered if it was a
> idea.  
It's an interesting idea.  I am not a techno-Gnostic.  I am a design-Gnostic
interested in design-gnosis.  I think that design is the solution to just
about everything.   I don't think technology is god or the answer to human
problems. It is an element in overcoming odds and a tool for innovating
solutions, but it is how we use the tools that will make a difference, not
the tool itself. Design uses technology, but is not exclusively dependent on
> I knew it certainly was ten years ago (when a number of articles
mentioning the Matrix implied such an idea - that transhumanists are  
> body-hating neo-Gnostics - and Erik Davis explicitly made the point in a
sustained attack on Extropianism in his book "TechGnosis"). The motivation  
> to write the piece came from thinking that rather than being defensive in
the face of such claims, perhaps transhumanists might use the parallel 
>  (however flawed or inaccurate it may be) to our own advantage. 
Davis highlighted the extropian use of the body and interest in health and
fitness and makes fun of the extropic interest in body building, nutrition,
etc..  What is amusing is that he predates the postmodernist argument
against transhumanism is that the transhumanist "hates" the body.
Nevertheless, Davis was one of the first journalists to garnish a style
based on hyperbole.  Others followed. It was not based on a McLuhanist media
is the message, but hyperbole as the activator for a interpretive message,
whether it was true or not.  It was the style of the times and Jerry
Springer and reality TV is part of this vein. Davis' more recent work:
Nomad Codes: Adventures in Modern Esoterica (2010): he does not mention
extropy or transhuman, but he does, however, us phrases such as
"techno-freak" and mentions Burning Man.  The red thread in Davis' work is
religion, spirituality, symbols and myth from a cyberpunk perspective, which
may be more punking us than about the field of cybernetics.
I didn't realize you wrote this blog article.  I thought you were just
brining it to our attention.  If I knew that you wrote it, I would have been
more considerate in my response and I apologize for this. 


 <http://www.natasha.cc/> Natasha Vita-More

Chair, <http://humanityplus.org/>  Humanity+
PhD Researcher, Univ. of Plymouth, UK

Co-Editor, The Transhumanist Reader


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