Dr. J. chats with Gowri Ramachandran, a professor of Law at the Southwestern Law School in Los Angeles California, and author of “Against the Right to Bodily Integrity: Of Cyborgs and Human Rights.” MP3
Reason is not self-legitimating. Like all Enlightenment advocates for reason, transhumanists find that the project of Reason erodes all premises including the superiority of reason over unreason. Consequently transhumanists, like Enlightenment advocates in general, need to defend our values with nonrational a prioris. Unfortunately some transhumanists continue to advocate a naïve conception of pure rationality as an end in itself.
After eight years of service—since the founding of the World Transhumanist Association’s Board of Directors in 2001—IEETers Nick Bostrom, James Hughes, George Dvorsky and Mike Treder are stepping down from the Board. IEETers Ben Goertzel and Mike LaTorra will remain on the Board, and Ben will be Chair of the Board in 2010. IEET intern Kristi Scott and IEET fellow Natasha Vita-More are running in the Humanity+ Board election next week.
I’m still reeling from the rather anticlimactic finish to the recent Climate Change Conference held in Copenhagen. Like so many others, I was hoping for an internationally binding deal that would, at the very least, compel and motivate the nations of the world to address the climate crisis in a meaningful and precedent setting way.
In a recently concluded poll, IEET readers showed a mix of attitudes toward the “scientific discoveries and technological accomplishments” of the last ten years. Now we want to know what you think about the social and political developments of that same period.
I always like watching movies I haven’t seen in a while. Life changes you and your perspectives, so when you watch a movie again later you bring something new to the viewing experience. Potentially a perspective you didn’t think about the first time you went.
What are the current unresolved issues in transhumanist thought? Which of these issues are peculiar to transhumanist philosophy and the transhumanist movement, and which are more actually general problems of Enlightenment thought? Which of these are simply inevitable differences of opinion among the more or less like-minded, and which need decisive resolution to avoid tragic errors of the past?
I have been lucky enough to swim with dolphins twice in my life. Once it was as a “swim with dolphins” experience in Mexico where I was pushed around by the dolphins in an awesome little display of power and warned not to “pet them on the tummy, or they might get horny, and, by extension, violent.” It is a strange thing to be cautious not to arouse a cetacean.
In recent years, we have witnessed a flood of books, aimed at the popular market, issuing robust challenges to theistic religious belief. A rather puzzling expression, “the New Atheism”, has been applied to this body of work, particularly the contributions of Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett, Sam Harris, and Christopher Hitchens. They, in turn, are sometimes referred to, apparently with affection, as “The Four Horsemen”.
In The Examined Life, Zizek argues that we need to embrace the whole world including our artificial, technological, created self and products. Pastoral romanticism and New Age mysticism are a form of ideological mystification and alienation.
Abstract: If God is morally perfect then He must perform the morally best actions, but creating humans is not the morally best action. If this line of reasoning can be maintained then the mere fact that humans exist contradicts the claim that God exists. This is the “anthropic argument.” The anthropic argument is related to, but distinct from, the traditional argument from evil. The anthropic argument forces us to consider the ‘creation question’: why did God not create other gods rather than humans? That is, if God is omniscient, omnipotent, and morally perfect then why didn’t He create a world populated exclusively by beings that are perfect in the same way that He is—ontological equivalents—rather than choosing to create humans with finite natures and all the suffering that this entails?
Ratatouille is a fantasy, but a fantasy so close to reality that the fantastic bits almost go unnoticed. The moments where the film asks us to suspend our disbelief are so few and so minor that we forget the film is about a talking rat who can cook. Remy’s unbelievable intelligence is what creates the conflict for the whole story.
Peter Singer argues that we should not proceed to develop a hypothetical life-extension drug, based on a scenario where developing the drug would fail to achieve the greatest sum of universal happiness over time. But that’s the wrong test.
When asked in a recently concluded poll, where they would choose to live if they had to leave their current nation of residence, IEET readers made Europe their top choice, at 19%, but outer space was just behind, at 18%.
It is possible to both be a practical technoprogressive, working for safe, equitable consequences of emerging technologies today, and a visionary inspired by a future with immortal lives among the stars.