The Social Implications of Transhumanism

In the Sunday, June 24th T-N-T (Tacoma News Tribune), Section A4, was an intriguing article on a philosophical movement called transhumanism. It was easy to dismiss these absurd aspirations as so much nonsense, that is, until one starts to seriously look at the Transhumanist Declaration which seeks, “personal growth beyond our current [human] limitations.” In other words, it seeks a “merging of biology and technology.” That Brave New World might already be here in the form of prosthetics, and various implants ranging from microchips containing confidential/sensitive medical information to devices for locating schoolchildren, as well as cloning, genetic engineering, selective breeding, and of course, birth control.

The recent exposure in the media by professional athletes in baseball, track and field, football, on down to athletes in High School does point to the fact that humans have an intrinsic, almost instinctive urge to stretch the boundaries of their normal limitations either naturally or as the case is, artificially. Perhaps the most troubling part of transhumanist philosophy is that it seeks to redefine what it means to be a person,’ because as James Hughes, Director of the World Transhumanist Association states, “human no longer will work as a definition.” Hughes envisions a world where any being’ which demonstrates a capacity for intelligence and self-awareness would qualify as a person, with a certain amount of civil rights, including A.I. robots or computers, talking animals [animals that communicate or use language such as dolphins, chimpanzees, etc.].

Wesley Smith, Senior Fellow at the Discover Institute in Seattle misses the point when it comes to Transhumanist philosophy devaluing humanity by saying it is only viable based upon thinking and reasoning abilities. What Transhumanist philosophy says is that “humanity” should not be the only basis for determining personhood’ and that humanity is constantly reinventing itself. Only time will tell if this movement is benign or will it gain such a foothold in society and become deconstructionist to such an extent that humanity as we have known it for a million years since the primordial Eve was discovered in the interior of Africa as the ancient mother of modern humans will be replaced by the Borg Queen of the old Sci-Fi series, Star Trek: The Next Generation? Remember those chilling and ominous words, “Resistance is futile.”