[ExI] I'm not sure I understand..please enlighten me.

Mike Dougherty msd001 at gmail.com
Sat Jan 17 18:33:34 UTC 2009

On Sat, Jan 17, 2009 at 9:54 AM, Eschatoon Magic <eschatoon at gmail.com> wrote:
> Tom, I think a belief in the "supernatural" is hardly compatible with
> transhumanism, or with any system of thought based on the scientific
> method. To me the "supernatural" does not exist as a matter of
> definition: we define "nature" as all that exists, hence nothing
> outside of nature exists. This is grammar, not philosophy.

I'd say this is semantics.  If nature is all that exists, then what of
the future?  Computronium, as commonly conceived on this list, does
not exist - is it outside nature?  Do we hope to bring it into
existence?  Is nature inclusive of all possible futures?  Are we
defining nature to include multiple dimensions of space-time?  If we
stretch the definition beyond it's commonly understood usage, it
becomes nearly meaningless.  If we accept the general SL1-level
understanding of nature as the concept associated with the term, then
the ideas of SL3+ become supernatural by definition.  By this point we
are discussing the denominations of transhumanism as surely as
Protestant and Methodist are denominations of Christianity.

> Transhumanists also think that everything in existence can in
> principle, and should, be studied by science and improved (or built
> from scratch) by engineering.

By that definition, was Pythagoras a transhumanist?

> Having said this, we should bear in mind that reality may well be much
> more complex than we currently know and imagine, and that in this huge
> complexity there may well be room for things that could seem
> "supernatural", including an afterlife and one or more Gods. I am
> referring to Clarke's third law and Shakespeare "there are more things
> in heavens and earth...". But the wonderful things that may well exist
> in the present or future universe are not supernatural, just beyond
> our current understanding.

Yes, and any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable
from magic.  Wielding that advantage over the less advanced raises
morality questions.  To borrow an example from SciFi's SG1 series: the
Goa'uld posing as Egyptian gods was wrong, while the Asgard as Norse
gods presented themselves to be benevolent protectors.  Both lied to
their naive human wards.

I do agree with you (Eschatoon) that transhumanism should be defined
in a way that clearly reinforces the goal of reaching higher.
However, if the goal is only to exceed Humanism - then once humanity
is uplifted (by whatever means) there will be no purpose for
transhumanism as group.

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