[extropy-chat] Article: The Trouble With Transhumanism

Neil H. neuronexmachina at gmail.com
Tue Jun 20 02:01:39 UTC 2006

An article by Wesley Smith of the Discovery Institute:

>From the end of the article:

""Personhood as the criterion for moral value would entitle smart
robots, uplifted animals, and artificially intelligent
computers—assuming they ever exist—to equal rights. But the cost would
be high to existing and future human beings, particularly the unborn,
infants, and the profoundly brain injured, who would all be excluded
from the moral community under that ethical paradigm. This could lead
to practices such as cloned fetal farming and killing the
catastrophically brain injured for their organs.

"Unfortunately, such eugenics thinking can be seductive. Indeed, the
government is already flirting with transhumanist fantasies. Thus,
"Converging Technologies for Improving Human Performance," a 2002
report issued by the National Science Foundation and United States
Department of Commerce, recommended the government spend billions
pursuing some of the very technologies that transhumanists crave to
utilize in their morphological quests. And real money is already being
spent on threshold transhumanist agendas: The NIH just issued a
$773,000 grant to Case Law School in Cleveland to determine the
"ethically-acceptable rules" to permit human research into genetic
enhancement technologies."

"... It is easy to laugh at transhumanist fantasies but there is
nothing funny about a movement whose core value is inherently
discriminatory and oppressive. And while we will almost surely never
become a post human society, we could easily devolve into a
post-sanctity-of-life culture. The antidote to such a dystopian future
is to stick with the basics and by recommitting ourselves to the
fundamental concepts of human exceptionalism and the intrinsic value
of all human life."

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