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Technoprogressive? BioConservative? Huh?
Quick overview of biopolitical points of view




whats new at ieet

Transhumanism: The Robot Human: A Self-Generating Ecosystem

Indefinite Life Extension and Broader World Health Collaborations (Part II)

Indefinite Life Extension and Broader World Health Collaborations (Part I)

The Transhumanist Future of Sex (Crimes?)

Is The Ebola Crisis (in the US) As Severe As The Media is Making It Out To Be?

5 Reasons Why Democrats Should Push Social Security Expansion – Now


ieet books

Virtually Human: The Promise—-and the Peril—-of Digital Immortality
Author
Martine Rothblatt

A Taxonomy and Metaphysics of Mind-Uploading
Keith Wiley

A History of Life-Extensionism in the Twentieth Century
Ilia Stambler

Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies
Nick Bostrom


comments

cacarr on 'Book review: Nick Bostrom's "Superintelligence"' (Oct 24, 2014)

jasoncstone on 'Ray Kurzweil, Google's Director Of Engineering, Wants To Bring The Dead Back To Life' (Oct 22, 2014)

pacificmaelstrom on 'Why “Why Transhumanism Won’t Work” Won’t Work' (Oct 21, 2014)

rms on 'Smut in Jesusland: Why Bible Belt States are the Biggest Consumers of Online Porn' (Oct 21, 2014)

instamatic on 'Smut in Jesusland: Why Bible Belt States are the Biggest Consumers of Online Porn' (Oct 21, 2014)

rms on 'Science Fiction and our Dreams of the Future' (Oct 20, 2014)

rms on 'Sousveillance and Surveillance: What kind of future do we want?' (Oct 20, 2014)







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JET

Enframing the Flesh: Heidegger, Transhumanism, and the Body as “Standing Reserve”

Moral Enhancement and Political Realism

Intelligent Technologies and Lost Life

Hottest Articles of the Last Month


Google’s Cold Betrayal of the Internet
Oct 10, 2014
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Dawkins and the “We are going to die” -Argument
Sep 25, 2014
(5674) Hits
(21) Comments

Should we abolish work?
Oct 3, 2014
(5122) Hits
(1) Comments

Will we uplift other species to sapience?
Sep 25, 2014
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RSS feedETHICAL TECHNOLOGY

Tery Spataro

Transhumanism: The Robot Human: A Self-Generating Ecosystem

by Tery Spataro

I will attempt to take the fear out of the future, by giving Transhumanism a digestible definition, while at the same time offering a cautionary note. As an educator, technologist and ethicist, I feel I have a social obligation to provide a rationale for understanding Transhumanism for those people who have questions about our natural evolution and for younger generations who are embracing technology but want know there is a brighter future.

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Eric Schulke

Indefinite Life Extension and Broader World Health Collaborations (Part II)

by Eric Schulke

Review of Health Advocacy in the Post-2015 Millennium Development Goals This review addresses research and advocacy collaboration potential pertaining to the World Health Organization, indefinite life extension and related groups. I begin by explaining how supporters of a generally healthy society and groups interested in world development relate and don’t relate to longevity extension. I then examine papers that are more oriented toward longevity extension. I conclude by reviewing papers that are most closely aligned with the goal. I note that, though we in the movement for indefinite life extension support many of these groups and their positions, none of them go quite far enough.

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Eric Schulke

Indefinite Life Extension and Broader World Health Collaborations (Part I)

by Eric Schulke

Review of Health Advocacy in the Post-2015 Millennium Development Goals This review addresses research and advocacy collaboration potential pertaining to the World Health Organization, indefinite life extension and related groups. I begin by explaining how supporters of a generally healthy society and groups interested in world development relate and don’t relate to longevity extension. I then examine papers that are more oriented toward longevity extension. I conclude by reviewing papers that are most closely aligned with the goal. I note that, though we in the movement for indefinite life extension support many of these groups and their positions, none of them go quite far enough.

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B. J. Murphy

The Transhumanist Future of Sex (Crimes?)

by B. J. Murphy

On August 31 of this year, nearly 200 celebrities had their private images hacked and released for the entire world to see. These images ranged from the normal day-to-day activities, to their utmost private moments – from nudity to sex. This event hit both mainstream and social media airwaves, flooding the online sphere under the hashtags #Celebgate and the #Fappening.

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Is The Ebola Crisis (in the US) As Severe As The Media is Making It Out To Be?

BOSTON PUBLIC RADIO

IEET Advisor and Trustee, Arthur Caplan, talks on Boston Public Radio about the ins and outs of the abola crisis, and what risk really means. 

 

​Please click here if the above audio does not play in your browser.

  • Art Caplan, fresh from WHO conference in Geneva on Ebola, updated us on preparedness and checked in with about the "ignorance is bliss" approach many people are taking about medical ailments. Then we talk to you to see if you believe knowledge is power when it comes to your heath, or if you'd prefer to be kept in the dark.
  • Juliette Kayyem on John Adams' The Death of Klinghoffer, the importance of having an 'Ebola Czar,' and how Rascal Flatts fits into the picture. [53:10]
  • Brian McGrory checks in with us about Jim and Margery's governor's debate, as well as the one Chuck Todd moderated between Scott Brown and Jeanne Shaheen. [1:20:05]
  • Heather Goldstone joined us to discuss the complex (but not untenable) relationship between religion and science. [1:44:40]
  • Sue O'Connell drops by to talk about her decision to home school her middle schooler, then we ask you what you think about homeschooling. [2:05:10]


Arthur L. Caplan, Ph.D., is the Drs. William F and Virginia Connolly Mitty Professor and head of the Division of Bioethics at New York University Langone Medical Center in New York City. Dr. Caplan is the author or editor of 29 books and over 500 papers in refereed journals. His most recent books are Smart Mice Not So Smart People (Rowman Littlefield, 2006) and the Penn Guide to Bioethics (Springer, 2009). Dr. Caplan writes a regular column on bioethics for MSNBC.com and is a frequent guest and commentator on various media outlets.

 

He has served on a number of national and international committees including as the chair of the National Cancer Institute Biobanking Ethics Working Group, the chair of the Advisory Committee to the United Nations on Human Cloning, the chair of the Advisory Committee to the Department of Health and Human Services on Blood Safety and Availability, a member of the Presidential Advisory Committee on Gulf War Illnesses, the special advisory committee to the International Olympic Committee on genetics and gene therapy, the ethics committee of the American Society of Gene Therapy, chair of the advisory committee on bioethics for GlaxoSmithKline, and the special advisory panel to the National Institutes of Mental Health on human experimentation on vulnerable subjects. He is currently the co-director of the Joint Council of Europe/United Nations Study on Trafficking in Organs and Body Parts. He is a member of the board of directors of The Keystone Center, Tengion, the National Center for Policy Research on Women and Families, Octagon, Iron Disorders Foundation, and the National Disease Research Interchange. He is also on the board of visitors of the Columbia University School of Nursing.

 

 

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Richard Eskow

5 Reasons Why Democrats Should Push Social Security Expansion – Now

by Richard Eskow

In two weeks voters will go to the polls in a race that looks increasingly dire for Democrats. It’s not that voters agree with Republicans on the issues. On the contrary, polls show that a majority of voters across the political spectrum agree with core Democratic principles and programs.

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Five Things Worth Knowing About Ebola

University of Michigan: Risk Science Center

There’s something rather human about being scared of the ebola virus.  It’s a “bogeyman” virus – the stuff of nightmares; hovering in the shadows of our imagination like a half-glimpsed specter.  Like most imagined horrors though, the reality of ebola is much more mundane.

The latest episode of Risk Bites takes a look at five things worth knowing about ebola that help demystify the virus:

 

Useful links to additional information:

Updated 10/23/14, 11:03 AM

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Valerie Tarico

Birth Control? There’s an App for That

by Valerie Tarico

Given that 82 percent of teen pregnancies are unintended, it should come as no surprise that sexual health advocates are eager to make information and services even easier to access and more appealing to emerging adults. Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest, which serves Western Washington, Alaska, and Southern Idaho, recently rolled out a telemedicine pilot project that may help to do just that.

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George Dvorsky

12 Technologies We Need To Stop Stalling On And Develop Now

by George Dvorsky

The pace of technological change is governed by many factors — including public demand. Which is why we need to be demanding more. Here are 12 transformative technologies whose development should be expedited right now. To make this list meaningful, I only included those items that are within reasonable technological reach. Sure, it would be nice to have molecular assemblers, warp drives, and the recipe for safe artificial intelligence, but it’ll be decades before we can reasonably embark upon such projects.

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Melanie Swan

iSchools: Contemporary Information Technology Theory Studies

by Melanie Swan

The perfect merger of academic rigor and contemporary thinking has come together in the concept of iSchools, which give practical consideration and interesting learning opportunities to the most relevant issue of our time: information.

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SETI Institute: Risky tales: Talking with Seth Shostak at Big Picture Science

SETI Institute: Big Picture Science

IEET contributor, Andrew Maynard: “I had a roller coaster of an interview with Seth Shostak (Director of the Center for SETI Research and host of Big Picture Science) last week on risk and black swan events. I was poised to talk about rare but high impact events like a mega-eruption at Yellowstone National Park, or a major asteroid hit.”

I was going to put these into context with more common risks – such as getting cancer, dying from excessive heat, or being killed by a dog bite (yes, it happens more than you’d think).

I was prepared to talk with authority about micromorts, and the relative risk of being killed in a fall versus a car crash (surprisingly similar as it turns out).

I’d done my homework.

Not that it mattered.  Like all the best interviews, this one went off piste at frightening speed.

We talked about the risks of new technologies; the dangers (or not) of  using cell phones; probability distributions and sparse risk-event data sets; insurance companies and premiums; to fear – and sharks; dread;  emotional responses to perceived risks; getting your kids vaccinated (do); familiar risks; unfamiliar risks; ebola; confusing concern with fear; making sense of big numbers.  We even talked about how extending our lifespans to centuries might change how we think about risk.

We didn’t talk about micromorts.

But with hindsight, that may have been the wafer thin mint that pushed us over the edge of risk-gluttony.  A black swan event well-avoided.

You can hear the full episode at Big Picture Science on the Tale of the Distribution.  My segment begins at 37:55

(And, just in case you’re wondering, your chances of dying in a mega-eruption at Yellowstone during a one month vacation, are around a tenth of a micromort.  Probably.)


SETI: 

We all have at least some musical talent. But very few of us can play the piano like Vladimir Horowitz. His talent was rarefied, and at the tail end of the bell curve of musical ability – that tiny sliver of the distribution where you find the true outliers. Outliers also exist with natural events: hurricane Katrina, for example, or the asteroid that wiped out the dinosaurs. Such events are rare, but they often have outsized effects.

In this hour we imagine the unimaginable – including the unexpected events labeled “black swans” – and how we weigh the risk for any of them. Also, how a supervolcano explosion at Yellowstone National Park could obliterate the western U.S. but shouldn’t stop you from putting the park on your vacation itinerary.

Guests:

 

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Review The Future: What is the Future of Education?

Review the Future

In this week’s podcast, we discuss the future of education. We examine the advantages and disadvantages of MOOCs and other online courses, and in the process we identify four distinct educational challenges: communicating information, fostering motivation, certifying knowledge, and building community. We also stress the importance of returning to first principles and asking fundamental questions about what the purpose of education is. At the end of the episode we discuss the possibility of augmented reality to revolutionize the practice of “learning by doing.”

Podcast: Play in new window | PLease Click Here if your browser cannot play the above sound

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Neuroscience Symposium: Genetics in psychiatry

Roche

Participants at the Neuroscience Symposium shed light on how genetics are influencing our understanding of psychiatry and what this means for diseases such as schizophrenia.

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Ryan Grim

Drug That Lost High-Stakes Political Fight For Funding Now Being Used Against Ebola

by Ryan Grim

WASHINGTON—An experimental drug now being used by the U.S. government to treat Ebola patients lost a high-stakes battle for federal funding several years ago. The politically connected drug company that won the dispute, meanwhile, filed for bankruptcy in September.

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Seth Baum

Planetary Boundaries And Global Catastrophic Risk

by Seth Baum

Back in 2012, I was invited to spend a few weeks visiting at the Research Institute for Humanity and Nature (RIHN), a federally funded Japanese research institute based in the beautiful city of Kyoto. I was invited by my colleague Itsuki Handoh of RIHN. During my visit, Handoh and I came up with an idea for how to fuse two important lines of research on major global threats.

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Morality and God

Adam Ford

Debate Topic: “If God does not exist, then everything is permitted”

Event Synopsis : In his novel the The Brothers Karamazov, Russian philosopher Fyodor Dostoyevsky asked the question: "how will man be after that? Without God and the future life? It means everything is permitted now, one can do anything?" This quote encapsulates an idea that seems to resonate with many people - if there is no God, there can be no ultimate, objective source for moral values. If there is no God, then everything is permitted.

In this debate, we will meticulously analyse this idea. Can there be an objective grounding for ethics without God? If Atheism is true, does that mean that all moral values are merely subjective opinion? Can there be a secular basis for ethics independent of God? What basis does a naturalist have for thinking one moral system superior to another?

The speakers will first present their arguments, and then each speaker will have an opportunity for rebuttal. There will then be a moderated discussion between the two speakers, promoted by questions from the audience. Join us for what we hope will be both an enlightening and a challenging evening of honest and friendly engagement with this important question.

Links to the slide presentations: John Hudson (Christian) http://goo.gl/3Jv0M6 http://goo.gl/q0d0WY , James Fodor (Atheist) http://goo.gl/yefSnk http://goo.gl/KTob0Z

Speakers

For: John Hudson, Melbourne Evangelical Church

John studied mathematics and computer science at RMIT, worked as a scientific programmer, studied theology at Moore College, and now pastors Melbourne Evangelical Church. John is married to Bek and they have three kids, with a fourth due in early January. John's area of interests include philosophy, ethics, free will and God's sovereignty.

Against: James Fodor, University of Melbourne Secular Society

James is studying a Bachelor of Science degree at the University of Melbourne, with a focus on maths, physics, and computing. He is currently president of the University of Melbourne Secular Society, a student club which strives to promote rationality, skepticism, and secularism on campus. His other interests include interfaith dialogue, epistemology, effective altruism, science communication, emerging technologies, and history.

https://www.facebook.com/events/75978…

Subscribe to this Channel: http://youtube.com/subscription_cente…

Science, Technology & the Future: http://scifuture.org

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Michael Abrams

Random Neuron Connections

by Michael Abrams

With its 100 million neurons per square inch, the brain is a pretty powerful processor, even if we can’t always beat computers at chess these days. But just how the circuits that make up that wondrous seat of consciousness form themselves has long been anybody’s guess.

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Rick Searle

Digital Afterlife: 2045

by Rick Searle

Of all the bewildering diversity of new of consumer choices on offer before the middle of the century that would have stunned people from only a generation earlier, none was perhaps as shocking as the many ways there now were to be dead. As in all things of the 21st century what death looked like was dependent on the wealth question.

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Is the UN up to the job?

United Nations

Statement by H.E. Mr. Ban Ki-moon, United Nations Secretary-General, on the occasion of the United Nations Day (24 October). UN Day marks the anniversary of the entry into force in 1945 of the UN Charter. 24 October has been celebrated as United Nations Day since 1948. In 1971, the United Nations General Assembly recommended that the day be observed by Member States as a public holiday.

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Digital Leaders TV: The Internet of Things (S01E01) - Full Episode (48min)

Digital Leaders

The Pilot Episode of Digital Leaders TV, presented by BBC Click’s +Kate Russell will discuss the Internet of Things with a panel of industry experts including Nick Appleyard, Ewan Dalton and Martin Wright.

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Winning the war on cancer?

nature video

In 1971, the then president of the United States, Richard Nixon, declared ‘war’ on cancer. Since then, billions of dollars have been poured into cancer research worldwide, but a cure for the disease is still a long way off. In this Nature Video, reporter Lorna Stewart marks the scientific milestones of the past four decades. She explores cancer genetics with Nobel laureate Michael Bishop, vaccines with fellow laureate Harald zur Hausen, and two young researchers tell Lorna about some of cancer research’s greatest success stories.

 

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Alex Nichols

Transhumanism and Moral Enhancement

by Alex Nichols

With futurist thinkers supporting the notion of human upgrading through technological enhancement, what parameters are considered in respect to moral enhancement? What cross cultural barriers and variations in moral reasoning are we targeting for such upgrades? Moreover, is moral enhancement simply a term we fear delving into despite the association it arguably has to almost everything our culture produces?

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John Danaher

Algocracy and other Problems with Big Data (Series Index)

by John Danaher

What kind of society are we creating? With the advent of the internet-of-things, advanced data-mining and predictive analytics, and improvements in artificial intelligence and automation, we are the verge of creating a global “neural network”: a constantly-updated, massively interconnected, control system for the world. Imagine what it will be like when every “thing” in your home, place of work, school, city, state and country is connected to a smart device?

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Why Is There Something Rather Than Nothing?

Adam Ford

A Universe from Nothing: Why There Is Something Rather than Nothing is a book by physicist Lawrence M. Krauss, first published in 2012, discussing modern cosmogony and its implications for the debate about the existence of God.

By Nothing, Lawrence Krauss means a Quantum Vacuum - not the philosophical meaning of nothing, which is ‘not anything’ - he certainly does not mean no physics.

Quantum Vacuum (Vacuum State): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vacuum_s…

Nothingness: http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/not…
So, Why is there something rather than nothing?

Well, why not? Why expect nothing rather than something? No experiment could support the hypothesis ‘There is nothing’ because any observation obviously implies the existence of an observer.

Is there any a priori support for ‘There is nothing’? One might respond with a methodological principle that propels the empty world to the top of the agenda. For instance, many feel that whoever asserts the existence of something has the burden of proof. If an astronomer says there is water at the south pole of the Moon, then it is up to him to provide data in support of the lunar water. If we were not required to have evidence to back our existential claims, then a theorist who fully explained the phenomena with one set of things could gratuitously add an extra entity, say, a pebble outside our light cone. We recoil from such add-ons. To prevent the intrusion of superfluous entities, one might demand that metaphysicians start with the empty world and admit only those entities that have credentials. This is the entry requirement imposed by Rene Descartes. He clears everything out and then only lets back in what can be proved to exist.

Bio: Lawrence Maxwell Krauss (born May 27, 1954) is an American theoretical physicist and cosmologist who is Foundation Professor of the School of Earth and Space Exploration at Arizona State University and director of its Origins Project. He is known as an advocate of the public understanding of science, of public policy based on sound empirical data, of scientific skepticism and of science education and works to reduce the impact of superstition and religious dogma in pop culture. He is also the author of several bestselling books, including The Physics of Star Trek and A Universe from Nothing.

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Richard Eskow

Study Shows Big Government Makes People Happy, ‘Free Markets’ Don’t

by Richard Eskow

Forget about feeling "like a room without a roof," or whatever that "Happy" song says. If you want to know "what happiness is to you," try living in a social democracy.

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Valerie Tarico

Smut in Jesusland: Why Bible Belt States are the Biggest Consumers of Online Porn

by Valerie Tarico

Red State conservatives may insist that the rest of us should keep aspirin between our knees and be forced to bear Divine Justice Babies when we don’t. They may refuse to provide cake or flowers for gay weddings, or even to attend. They may pretend that teens won’t do it if we just don’t tell them how.

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The Art of Data Visualization, Design & Information Mapping

Adam Ford

When Martin Krzywinski took a systems administrator job at Canada’s Michael Smith Genome Center, he didn’t plan on becoming a pioneer of 21st century biological data visualization. In fact, he didn’t even have a biology background: He’d done his graduate studies in physics and math. But it was the late 1990s, and he could handle a computer.

Krzywinski built the Center’s first IT system, beefed up their security, designed optimized keyboard layouts, and generally geeked out. Along the way, he started helping researchers with their projects, getting to know their data and its possibilities. The rest is design history.

Falling DNA sequencing prices and a growing appreciation of cellular complexity soon unleashed a torrent of genetic data. The tools for gathering data, though, had outpaced those for portraying it. “I was frustrated, reading a lot of the scientific papers and not understanding what they were saying. I just wanted them to be simpler,” said Krzywinski. “There’s nothing I can do to make biology simpler, but I started telling people to make clearer figures.”

To do this, Krzywinski developed Circos, an open source visualization tool that arranges tabular data in circular form. It was a simple idea, but transformative: It’s since been used for thousands of visualizations, and its distinctive aesthetic is synonymous with the informational richness of our moment.

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Adam A. Ford

Physicist Lawrence Krauss: God is a byproduct of your hard-wired narcissism

by Adam A. Ford

At the Melbourne skeptic’s meeting in Australia last month, theoretical physicist Lawrence Krauss was asked whether spiritual experiences could ever be scientifically validated.

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When Do We Quarantine or Isolate for Ebola?

UM School of Public Health

University of Michigan School of Public Health experts discuss the meaning of quarantine and isolation, and explain when such actions are appropriate to prevent the spread of infectious diseases like Ebola.

About the book:
“A frightening and fascinating masterpiece of science reporting that reads like a detective story.” —Walter Isaacson

In 1976 a deadly virus emerged from the Congo forest. As swiftly as it came, it disappeared, leaving no trace. Over the four decades since, Ebola has emerged sporadically, each time to devastating effect. It can kill up to 90 percent of its victims. In between these outbreaks, it is untraceable, hiding deep in the jungle. The search is on to find Ebola’s elusive host animal. And until we find it, Ebola will continue to strike. Acclaimed science writer and explorer David Quammen first came near the virus while he was traveling in the jungles of Gabon, accompanied by local men whose village had been devastated by a recent outbreak. Here he tells the story of Ebola—its past, present, and its unknowable future.

Extracted from Spillover by David Quammen, updated and with additional material. - Amazon

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Khannea Suntzu

Transhumanism and Celebrating the Unnatural

by Khannea Suntzu

In the year 2014 A.D, the human species may have expanded completely out of bounds. To transcend boundaries is within and out of nature. That is what we do. It is ordained. It is written. We appear to have transcended many limits imposed upon us by nature. Nature imposes, not out of will, because because of the statistical qualities of what nature is. Humans transcend. Nature constrains. There is no free will involved. There is no intelligence or intelligent designer involved. There is no pre-ordained outcome. So we immediately see the arbitrariness of what is natural and what is unnatural. This makes it so strange why we as humans (especially in the western world) still venerate the “natural” and conversely we abhor what’s labeled “unnatural”.

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