[ExI] The pope vs transhumanism

Tomasz Rola rtomek at ceti.pl
Thu Dec 27 23:33:24 UTC 2012

On Tue, 25 Dec 2012, Anders Sandberg wrote:

> Isn't it nice to have a high status, well-read and consistent enemy to 
> fight against? The pope spoke out against gay marriage because it 
> threatens human essence:
> > People dispute the idea that they have a nature, given to them by 
> > their bodily identity, that serves as a defining element of the human 
> > being. They deny their nature and decide that it is not something 
> > previously given to them, but that they make it for themselves. The 
> > manipulation of nature, which we deplore today where our environment 
> > is concerned, now becomes man's fundamental choice where he himself is 
> > concerned.
> I ended up writing an essay analyzing the argument, showing how it links 
> up with criticisms of transhumanism. Spending Christmas Eve arguing that 
> the pope is wrong about metaphysics and ethics is quite fun, if tiring:
> http://www.aleph.se/andart/archives/2012/12/benedict_vs_mirandola_how_gay_rights_and_transhumanism_are_related.html

I think it is rather risky endeavour to "marry" transhumanism to 
homosexualism. And transhumanism is, I think, too small to be on Pope's 
radar. If you go further this way, you may finally conclude the majority 
of humans is against transhumanism, while in fact the majority never heard 
of it. Of those who heard, I guess majority just rises their eyebrows and 
moves on.

The "same sex marriage" thing is different, it is an "issue". Myself, I 
don't feel engaged so much, but I think it is a bit too overblown. There 
is no real cause to label gay relationship as marriage - while the 
proposers point to economic reasons, this and other such issues could be 
easily resolved by accordingly modifying existing laws, perhaps? I think 
the whole stuff is either kind of experiment, which will be cut short in 
twenty-thirty years by children of todays supporters or attention 
distractor, to channel energy into some neutral drainage. In both cases, I 
cannot see a reason for me to care. I mean I stopped caring when I learned 
the law no more dictated that gays should be imprisoned and/or reeducated.

As of gender being cultural construct rather than biological fact, I think 
I have read an article once (in Sci Am?) about how medicine nowadays parts 
with idea that "woman is just a smaller man", and starts recognizing women 
as having their own very different organisms, requiring new studies about 
drug effects and other such things. Sometimes, the whole "cultural 
studies" thing seem like a huge flunk to me (and great moneysucker). I 
side with medicine. And I am a self-proclaimed anthropologist, so one 
would expect me to side otherwise, I guess.

"Choosing the right morality" vs "morality is fixed" - I'd like to say 
that IMHO the only morality ever displayed by any significant group of 
people is the "whatever pleases me" morality (WPMM). Of all other 
moralities claimed by us, we simply (maybe unconsciously) choose a subset 
closest to WPMM, at the same time insisting that we implement all of it.

Importance of families - I think families are important because they give 
memetic resistance to various kinds of fscked up ideologies. Those 
ideologies range from "hang da nigga hi" to "work more, buy more" [1]. Of 
course, this alone makes a family an enemy of a state (no, it is never 
said in straight way) [2]. So I think a family is in a process of being 
undermined, because various groups would rather deal with bunch of lonely, 
out-of-context mental slaves [3]. Whether the said family needs to be 
traditional or not, I cannot say for sure [4]. We will see in fifty years. 
Treat all specialists on the subject with suspicion - just like freudian 
psychoanalysis is poor therapy choice for Innuit fishermen [5], likewise 
implanting other culture's choices into our own without implanting 
associated choices as well is going to end in predictable manner, if 
anybody asks me. Like joining fly genes with human's in one movie, it 
didn't ended in producing an angel (it may be speculated chances of 
producing an angel are closer to zero than chances of producing a 
monstrosity, so random meddling should be avoided).

[1] Likewise, families serve as memetic opponents to any kind of good 
memes, which perhaps should be widely adopted.

[2] At least a families which are unwilling to aknowledge the state 
superiority over their own jurisdiction.

[3] Long term, it is either family will go or marketing will go. But there 
are many kinds of families, good or bad (like disfunctional ones) yet I 
know of only one kind of marketing (the one I don't like), so go figure 
whose side I am supporting.

[4] But I can say that from what I have heard, people raised in atypical 
families (one parent, mother and grandma etc) are more likely to display 
diffences in characters. All of this anecdotical evidence. I don't say 
they are worse, but if we disregard view of parents as role guides, I may 
want to read more about why "we" want to disregard it and what "we" expect 
to accomplish by this. Before I get convincing arguments that role models 
are bad for a child's psychology, I will hint in favour of traditional 

[5] Of course every Innuit fisherman with enough money eventually will be 
talked into visiting a psychoanalyst every week. Because it will make the 
psychoanalyst feel better. If anybody here prays to psychoanalysts but 
dislikes religion, replace psychoanalyst with a priest. Or a stripper.

BTW, of two articles about two different Pope's speeches, I find the 
diffence in number of comments interesting. The first, six days ago, about 
speech given to officials in Vatican, which dealt with the subject of 
family as a God-given concept (as opposed to new concept which is being 
promoted by some circles rather disjoined from the Church). The second, 
two days ago, about "Urbi and Orbi" delivered to the public, which dealt 
with the truth, the justice, ending violence and building societies 
respecting the individual.



If you don't want to see for yourself, I say it here. The "gay message" 
has got ten times as many comments. I find the disparity interesting, but 
don't have any conclusion yet. Perhaps I will wait a week or two and see 
how it ends. Of course from what I could see, a good number of comments 
are emotional, including those whose authors ascribe to Pope some imagined 
actions, AFAIK not necessarily committed by him.

BTW, one of the commenters hints to some circles supporting paedophilia 
under the guise of changing/abolishing age of consent:



Perhaps there is some kind of link between those dots.

Tomasz Rola

** A C programmer asked whether computer had Buddha's nature.      **
** As the answer, master did "rm -rif" on the programmer's home    **
** directory. And then the C programmer became enlightened...      **
**                                                                 **
** Tomasz Rola          mailto:tomasz_rola at bigfoot.com             **

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