As we continue to exponentially march towards the future, how we use advanced science and technology will become increasingly complex, if not in ways of which appear almost magical. The question we should be asking ourselves: how far can we go? One tech. company believes they’ll be able to resurrect the deceased using artificial intelligence (A.I.), nanotechnology, and cryonics – 30 years from now! Yep. You read that right
In graduate school I was warned not to touch anything to do with homosexuality or transgenderism. By that time I had learned that graduate school and high end science was not the open-minded inquiry I had expected. I was, however, convinced then that most transexuals were in part biologically female.
Transhumanists have multiple goals - to live longer, to be more intelligent, to enhance the physical body physically. But what about our feelings? Do we want to “upgrade” our emotional capacity? James McLean Ledford believes the primary goal of transhumanism is to “increase our capacity to love.” I interviewed him via email below:
The West African Ebola outbreak is finally starting to approach manageable levels, after nearly 18 excruciating months and over 11,000 lost lives. Here’s what the current situation on the ground looks like and how the battle against Ebola finally might be won.
This is the largest and longest Ebola outbreak in human history. At its peak, there were 950 confirmed cases each week, prompting fears of a global pandemic. Officials have reported 28,421 confirmed, probable, and suspected cases in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone. Of these, some 11,300 people have died — a fatality rate of 40%. A total of 881 healthcare workers have been infected; of those, 513 died.
The recent news that womb transplants will be trialled in the UK has sparked much debate regarding the desirability of this and other future infertility interventions. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the idea of artificial wombs has been brought into this discussion, complete with the usual concerns about women’s reproductive liberty.
We asked the IEET audience what they were doing to avoid slow death from too much sitting. For the 200+ respondents the most common answer was exercising 140 minutes per week or more, followed by frequent breaks to stand and walk around.
This is a follow-up to my previous post on Debra Satz’s analysis of commercial surrogacy. In that post, I reviewed three classic objections to surrogacy and presented some of Satz’s critiques of those objections. As I mentioned, this was a ground-clearing exercise. Although Satz’s thinks that the traditional objections are flawed, she is not herself a supporter of commercial surrogacy (to be precise, she is not a supporter of ‘contract pregnancy’, which makes the target and conclusion of her arguments less clear — I’ll return to this point below).
What will the future look like? The further upwards one moves from the basement domain of physics, the harder it often gets to predict long-term trends. Nonetheless, we have some fairly good clues about what to expect moving forward.
Is it best to be perfectly adapted to a given environment? Or, rather, is it better to be able to adapt to the changes in that environment or to a completely new one? Adaptability is a more useful characteristic in a rapidly changing world.
Debra Satz’s book Why some things should not be for sale is an interesting take on the commodification debate. There are some — let’s call them economic imperialists — who think that we should have markets in virtually everything. Satz’s book is an extended debate with the imperialist view. Satz argues that some markets are morally noxious, particularly when they are likely to prey upon weak and vulnerable agents, and result in great harms to both individuals and society at large.
We all know how difficult it is to control our minds. Obsessive, unclear, unwanted, and destructive thought continually invade our minds causing fear, anxiety, indecision, anger and depression. Sometimes we seem powerless to prevent this invasion.
A much better metaphor for gene therapy is space-alien hackers attacking a huge factory covering San Francisco. These hackers shoot canisters of paper-tape instructions for the old computer controlled machinery into this billion year old factory.
There is a serious shortage of kidney donors throughout the developed world. This has obvious consequences for people with severe kidney disease. I’ll use my home country of Ireland as an example. According to one 2009 study, which covered the period 2000-2005, the average waiting time for someone on the transplant list was 8-15 months (with waiting times varying considerably depending on blood type). According to more recent figures from the Health Service Executive’s webpage, the average waiting time is two years, and at present there are over 650 people on the waiting list .
In the quite famous essay of 2001, “L’Chaim [“To Life”] and Its Limits: Why Not Immortality?” the American bioethicist Leon Kass notoriously placed a limit on the possibility and desirability of life extension, claiming that “the finitude of human life is a blessing for every human individual, whether he knows it or not.” He presented such a view as truly and pristinely Jewish. Speaking in the name of true wisdom and true Judaism, he claimed that “the unlimited pursuit of longevity cannot be the counsel of wisdom, and, therefore, should not be the counsel of Jewish wisdom. L’Chaim, but with limits.”
The most recent mass-shooting tragedy sets into stark contrast two national misfortunes. At surface, they seem similar—crazed gunmen opening fire on citizens and lethal misbehavior by a minority of bad cops. But in several important ways, the trends are diametrically opposite.
Birth control options for men lag behind options for women by almost a century. Can changing attitudes and a new generation of researchers change that? Maybe.
Three state-of-the-art birth control methods for women have annual pregnancy rates below1 in 500, and the user doesn’t have to think about them for years at a time. By contrast, the best option available to men (short of sterilization) has an annual pregnancy rate of about 1 in 6 and has to be rolled onto an erect penis during each sexual encounter. A new generation of researchers would like to change that—but change takes money.
In most of the western world we have a prevailing societal model of self-reliance and personal responsibility. It’s easy to see the limitations of this model – people get old and sick, most people have emotional or other vulnerabilities and significant periods in our life we are just unable to protect ourselves.
An international team of scientists has scanned the genomes of 2,504 people from around the world to create the world’s largest catalog of human genetic variation (HGV). The extensive database will help them understand why some people are susceptible to certain diseases.
What prompts a young woman to shout her abortion or live tweet her IUD insertion?
The most lasting effect of the smear campaign against Planned Parenthood may be this: Young women are done–beyond done–with being shamed for the fact that they are sexual beings, with sexual bodies that have tits and asses and twats and vaginas and uteruses.
Although the overall trends regarding the consumption of added sugars as decreased from 1999-2007, the overall mean intake of added sugars continues to be an area of concern as they exceed the U.S. Dietary Guidelines on recommended intake. Numerous studies show the necessity of sugar on the brains function, however socio-cultural factors, which lead to overconsumption on added sugars, contribute to devastating health consequences.
In 2012 I formed a collaboration between IEET, the EvoS Consortium, and Madagascar’s southwestern University of Toliara - to form the highly experimental Positive Education Action-Research (PEAR) Laboratory. Under this umbrella, I worked with students in education sciences and agricultural sciences to explore everything from the big history of the cosmos, to the moral and political psychology of agricultural biotechnology.
Earlier this year, the Christian Transhumanist Association made its public debut with an open invitation to membership, and a small fundraising campaign that brought in approximately $1200. Now, as our first substantial financial act, the membership advisory council, the donors, and the board have decided to contribute that money towards a project that combines technology, compassion, and respect for human life.
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