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Transhumanism’s Utopian Fantasyland

Wesley J. Smith


I wouldn’t mind transhumanism’s fantasies — eternal life, uploading minds into computers, changing our bodies so we can fly. Whatever. Whatever gets people through the night.

I don’t think it will ever happen. But: The movement is driven by a neurotic fear of suffering — terror of death — and a loathing of the normal vicissitudes of human living.

In short, transhumanists are on a quasi-religious quest to gain hyper-control over every aspect of living. Add it up, and you have a distinctly Utopian movement. History tells us clearly that Utopianism is one of humankind’s most dangerous propensities. 

An article at NPR, no less, predicting that the "singularity" will bring an end to the human race as we know it, illustrates my reasons for concern. From "Should Science End Humankind?" by Adam Frank:

But if you’re an optimist, then you think something wonderful is going to happen. With the help of our super-intelligent machines we become more. "More what?" you ask. Well, more than human. We become the next step in evolution — and that will mean humanity, as we know it, will come to an end. What comes next will be a new post-human era.

That would be intelligent design, not "evolution." But I quibble.

Realize that part of this supposed Nirvana includes genetic manipulation of progeny, remaking them in the parents’ image. In other words, they would not be free, but pre-programmed to serve the desires of their manufacturers.

Even more disturbing is the transhumanist belief that "science" can end human death, as well as bring about an end to "suffering":

Given the likely completeness of the post-human transformation, how ready are we to be so completely replaced? It’s a question that has to be on the table because we are, as a culture, rapidly pushing the enabling technologies forward right now.

So even in the most optimistic scenario, does the end of human suffering have to mean the end of human kind (at least this version)?

Now, there’s the nub.

Utopians believe that ends justify means. For example, up-and-comer transhumanist Zoltan Istvan has said that impeding transhumanism would be a just cause for war. And what could be a more Utopian end than no more suffering?

Very dangerous stuff. Fantasies. But if enough people get aboard the transhumanist Fantasyland ride, people could get hurt.

Image: Dumbo the Flying Elephant ride, Fantasyland, Disneyland/Wikipedia.

Cross-posted at Human Exceptionalism.

Wesley J. Smith

Chair and Senior Fellow, Center on Human Exceptionalism
Wesley J. Smith is Chair and Senior Fellow at the Discovery Institute’s Center on Human Exceptionalism. Wesley is a contributor to National Review and is the author of 14 books, in recent years focusing on human dignity, liberty, and equality. Wesley has been recognized as one of America’s premier public intellectuals on bioethics by National Journal and has been honored by the Human Life Foundation as a “Great Defender of Life” for his work against suicide and euthanasia. Wesley’s most recent book is Culture of Death: The Age of “Do Harm” Medicine, a warning about the dangers to patients of the modern bioethics movement.



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