[extropy-chat] Deseret News article: Shall we enhance?
neuronexmachina at gmail.com
Sun Jan 8 22:17:22 UTC 2006
An interesting article in the Religion & ethics sectino of the Deseret News,
which basically gives an overview of transhumanism and differing
perspectives on it:
I thought this part was particularly interesting, regarding Christians who
promote and oppose transhumanism (a Southern Baptist and a Mormon,
"The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary's R. Albert Mohler Jr. is another
vocal opponent of radical enhancements. It's one thing, he says, to try to
give a person with bad eyesight 20/20 vision, and it's another to try to
create humans whose eyesight is superhuman. The latter, he says, uses
science "to redefine the species."
"From a Christian worldview perspective," he says, "there are two
problems with this. First, you have the normative definition of what it
means to be a human being made in the image of God." To try to exceed normal
human capacities, he says, "is to open, quite literally, a Pandora's Box of
The second problem, Mohler says, is the transhumanist desire to
prolong life beyond normal aging. "The tranhumanists increasingly see death
as an oddity that is to be overcome. Christians certainly do not embrace
death as a good in itself, but we understand that death is a part of what it
means to be human, and that, indeed, the effort to forever forestall death
is itself an act of defiance that will be both unworkable and morally
Richard Sherlock takes a different view. Sherlock is a philosophy
professor at Utah State University, one of only several Utah members of the
World Transhumanist Association — and also a practicing member of The Church
of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
"We ought to be able to look at the future as an opportunity, not a
threat," says Sherlock, who is also a board member of the Journal of
Evolution and Technology. "I don't think you can say God has said 'this, but
no more.' All these technologies are ways in which we become more like our
Creator," he adds. In fact, he says, the idea of a continually advancing
human "fits better within a Mormon context that sees humanity as a
developing structure, aspiring to be more like God.""
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