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Contributory Info: Transhumanism

What is Transhumanism?

Nick Bostrom, Director of the Future of Humanity Institute at the University of Oxford defines transhumanism as “an international, intellectual, and cultural movement that affirms the possibility and desirability of fundamentally transforming the human condition by developing and making widely available technologies to eliminate aging and to greatly enhance human intellectual, physical, and psychological capacities.”

About the transhumanist movement, the World Transhumanist Association is quoted as saying, “Transhumanism is more than just an abstract belief that we are about to transcend our biological limitations by means of technology; it is also an attempt to re-evaluate the entire human predicament as traditionally conceived…Many people are frightened by the rapid changes they are witnessing and respond with denial or by calling for bans on new technologies. It’s worth recalling how pain relief at childbirth through the use of anesthetics was once deplored as unnatural.

“More recently, the idea of ‘test-tube babies’ has been viewed with abhorrence. Genetic engineering is widely seen as interfering with God’s designs. Right now, the biggest moral panic is cloning. We have today a whole breed of well-meaning biofundamentalists, religious leaders and so-called ethical experts who see it as their duty to protect us from whatever ‘unnatural’ possibilities that don’t fit into their preconceived world-view.

“The transhumanist philosophy is a positive alternative to this ban-the-new approach to coping with a changing world. Instead of rejecting the unprecedented opportunities on offer, it invites us to embrace them as vigorously as we can. Transhumanists view technological progress as a joint human effort to invent new tools that we can use to reshape the human condition and overcome our biological limitations, making it possible for those who so want to become ‘post-humans’. Whether the tools are ‘natural’ or ‘unnatural’ is entirely irrelevant.”

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