IEET’s Executive Director James Hughes spoke on “The Compatibility of Religion and Transhumanism” at the Transhumanism and Spirituality 2010, held 1 October 2010 at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City,
Abstract: Transhumanism - the proposition that human beings should use technology to transcend the limitations of the body and brain - is a product of the Enlightenment humanist tradition. As a consequence most avowed transhumanists are secular, and many religious are skeptical or hostile towards the transhumanist project. However there are also many religious transhumanists who find the project of human enhancement at least consistent with, and sometimes a fulfillment of, their metaphysics, soteriologies and eschatologies. Transhumanism appears to be especially compatible with religious traditions that emphasize human agency and evolution to a transcendent state, such as Buddhism, or that have incorporated Enlightenment values, such as liberal Christianity. But elements of the transhumanist worldview and enhancement technologies are compatible with one element or another of most world faiths, even the most fundamentalist. We can thus expect that human enhancement technologies will be adopted creatively into the theologies of groups within all the world’s faiths, producing many flavors of “trans-spirituality.”
A fundamental principle of bioethics requires the consent of a patient to any medical procedure performed upon them. A new patient will exist the moment a conscious mindclone arises in some academic’s laboratory or hacker’s garage. At that moment, ethical rules will be challenged, for the mindclone has not consented to the work being done on eir mind. Does this situation create a catch-22 ethical embargo against developing cyber-consciousness?
On April 4th, 2011 philosopher Slavoj Zizek spoke in New York City on “The Situation Is Catastrophic, but Not Serious.” This is our attitude towards the ongoing crisis: we are aware of the looming (ecological, social) catastrophes, but we somehow don’t take them seriously. What ideology sustains such an attitude?
Marcin Jakubowski, a Polish-American farmer and founder of Open Source Ecology, believes that the only way humanity can transcend its continuing decay of equitable wealth distribution is by endorsing “open source” economic development.
The future of humanity involves a complex combination of technological, psychological, and social factors – and one of the difficulties we face in comprehending and crafting this future is that not many people or organizations are adept at handling all of these aspects.
I work for a US federal agency. Recently I attended a government-mandated class dealing with the use of computers during working hours. The instructor pointed out that emails that leave our Department’s network are being scanned for content. What they are scanning for was left vague.
Henry Markram says the mysteries of the mind can be solved—soon. Mental illness, memory, perception: they’re made of neurons and electric signals, and he plans to find them with a supercomputer that models all the brain’s 100,000,000,000,000 synapses.
Why are SF and Fantasy so often grouped together? Obviously, because they share readership and so are placed together in bookstores. And… heck… some of us write both! Still, there are very real differences.
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (Blade Runner‘s dead-tree forebear) opens with Deckard arguing with his wife about whether or not to alter her crummy attitude with the “mood organ.” She could, if she so desired, dial her mood so that she was happy and content.
Dr. J. chats with Erik Helzer (Dept of Psychology, Cornell University) co-author of the paper “Dirty Liberals!: Reminders of physical cleanliness influence moral and political attitudes” in Psychological Science. They discuss the growing literature on the ways that political attitudes are driven by disgust sensitivity, and by disgust priming such as bad smells and sticky hands. Listen also to the 2004 Changesurfer interview with Martha Nussbaum about her book Hiding from Humanity: Disgust, Shame and the Law.
The second part of Dr. J.‘s chat with Thomas White about the defense of the rights of non-human persons in general, and dolphins in particular. Professor White teaches ethics at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, California, is author of In Defense of Dolphins: The New Moral Frontier (indefenseofdolphins.com) and co-author of the Declaration of Rights for Cetaceans: Whales and Dolphins (cetaceanconservation.com.au/cetaceanrights). Part 2 of 2. Also includes a reading of Cory Doctorow’s short story “Other People’s Money.”