[sl4] Re: Transhumanism Rising: Interesting discussion on Humanity+

From: Eschatoon Magic (eschatoon@gmail.com)
Date: Thu Oct 23 2008 - 09:52:11 MDT

Flooded by transhumanist-friendly comments to the first blog post,
Appleyard has written a second blog post:

Let's show him that he will not run away from us so easily!

My comments - links in

In a very interesting blog post on Transhumanism Rising, author Bryan
Appleyard (How to Live Forever or Die Trying) concedes that "What I
like about transhumanists is their naked, unapologetic radicalism…
they simply ask, what's so great about human life as it now is?…
transhumanism is a coming thing, a future faith". But the tone of the
article is mostly negative: "their technophilia is oppressive and
naive. Much of the magazine [H+] is just gadgetry with attitude.".

He also says: "What I don't like about transhumanists is the fact that
they simply refuse to understand certain arguments of their
opponents". He may have a point here, but I don't "refuse" to
understand their arguments - I just don't understand them. I don't
understand why disease should be better than health, and death should
be better than life. I simply don't understand it. I have seen loved
ones dying, and I can tell you that death is ugly. You know that too.
It is understandable that previous generations, unable to imagine life
extension and immortality technologies, forced themselves to accept
death (if you cannot escape something, you'd better like it). But we
are beginning to see that aging and death are engineering problems
waiting for engineering solutions. In reply Appleyard quotes Leon
Kass, Francis Fukuyama and Bill McKibben, who "have attacked this
idea, arguing, in essence, that death is an essential aspect of our
humanity". This is, to say it in good Latin, BULLSHIT. I consider
curiosity, kindness and love for others, and appreciation of beauty
and art, as essential aspects of our humanity. NOT DEATH.

I have to say that Appleyard makes an effort to be as fair and
objective as possible given his bias, and that the comment thread is
surprisingly interesting, with a mix of declared transhumanists, rabid
anti-transhumanists, and neutral interested observers. I especially
liked the comment of the reader who, referring to Appleyard
exhortation "It's time to burnish your best pro-death arguments",
replied "Hey, didn't Auschwitz already make that argument about as
convincingly as it can be made?".

In a followup post on Transhumanism 2 Appleyard concedes that "Our
accelerating power to transform the world will, inevitably, give us
the power to transform ourselves. All sorts of enhancements will
occur, not least enormously increased life span. This may not be
possible but there are good reasons for thinking it will be.". But
then, prehaps surprised by the transhumanist-friendly attidude of many
readers of the first post, he repeats easy and dull non-arguments like
"this is, in part, a consumerist idea - you buy medical immortality
much as you would buy a pair of shoes.".

Disgusting, isn't it. Buying life as easily and affordably like buying
a pair of shoes. It this an outrageous insult to the holiness of
suffering and the tragically beautiful mistery of death? Perhaps, but
this is precisely what I want: to give everyone on the planet easy and
affordable access to more health, more life and, why not, more
happiness. This is what transhumanism is about.

On Wed, Oct 22, 2008 at 5:56 PM, Eschatoon Magic <eschatoon@gmail.com> wrote:
> Transhumanism Rising
> http://www.bryanappleyard.com/blog/2008/10/transhumanism-rising.php#links
> This article triggered by the publication of Humanity+ is basically
> fair, but more negative than positive. Interesting that some of the
> comments are in our favor. Please leave comments.
> --
> Eschatoon Magic
> http://cosmeng.org/index.php/Eschatoon
> aka Giulio Prisco
> http://cosmeng.org/index.php/Giulio_Prisco

Eschatoon Magic
aka Giulio Prisco

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