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Cosmism, Moral Enhancement and the Religious Dialogue with Transhumanism
J. Hughes   Oct 26, 2015   Cosmism Foundation  

IEET Executive Director J. Hughes spoke on spirituality and moral enhancement at the Modern Cosmism conference in New York City on October 10, 2015.



Most people are neurologically incapable of living up to their own moral aspirations. In response to our moral inadequacies religious traditions have developed technologies such as fasting, meditation, special clothing and psychoactive drugs to improve moral cognition and behavior. Today psychopharmacological, social neuroscience and behavioral research are illuminating moral cognition, and generating new electronic, psychopharmaceutical, and genetic technologies for moral self-improvement.

As these technologies of moral enhancement become more common in therapy and criminal rehabilitation they will also be selectively adopted and rejected by religious traditions. Some religious will reject the new moral enhancement technologies on the grounds that, like the transhumanist aspirations for longevity, cognitive enhancement and uploading, they are a distraction from spiritual means and ends. Other technologies, such as treatments for addictions, will likely be widely embraced by the religious.

A dialogue between religious and transhumanists about these projects will help the religious parse which technologies are acceptable. But a religious-transhumanist moral enhancement dialogue will also help the transhumanist movement confront its dangerous lack of distinction between static forms of enhancement, such as hedonic “wireheading,” and forms of enhancement that enhance virtues, explore spiritual experience, and support flourishing lives.




COMMENTS
@RevPeter

I liked Steinhart's book, immensely. His latest paper indicates that he is still focusing on his Revision Theory of Resurrection, which from my point of view, though fascinating, doesn't conclude of the survival of the individual. Clones survive, living in better conditions, progressively, better, with each universe, but the data doesn't travel with us. Steinhart did run an article on his Digital Afterlives book, last year.

My belief is that if someone came out with a tighter theory/proposal, for an afterlife, it would promote a more peaceful human, and transhuman world. If that isn't 'moral' or better, yet, ethical, then nobody knows what is.

Regards,

Mitch
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