[sl4] Transhumanism in Flux, a new high profile science magazine

From: Eschatoon Magic (eschatoon@gmail.com)
Date: Fri Nov 21 2008 - 00:11:42 MST

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The Rathenau Institute is an independent organization that concerns
itself with issues on the interface between science, technology and
society, and that provides politicians with timely and well-considered
information. The first issue of their print magazine Flux is now out,
and PDF versions in Dutch and English of this and other publications
are online and available for download - DIRECT DOWNLOAD LINK TO THE
PDF IN ENGLISH. The term 'Flux' represents a flow of inspiring ideas
originating from science, technology, industry and society.

The first issue has a technology assessment section and three dossiers
about climate, nanotechnology and human enhancement. It is always good
to see our ideas on human enhancement discussed, and in positive
terms, on a high profile science magazine. In 'The lure of human
enhancement', the authors argue that as a result of developments in
nano, bio, info and cognitive technology, human enhancement is no
longer science fiction. The British author Nikolas Rose, a sociologist
and Director of the bios centre (study of bioscience, biomedicine,
biotechnology and society) at the London school of economics and
Political science, who serves on the national council of bioethics and
is head of the neuroscience and society network, contends that new
biomedical technology is not only bringing about a change in our
relationship with our own bodies, but also a change on the political
scene. Fragments from the book 'Reshaping the Human
Condition'—Exploring Human Enhancement' show that some scientists are
of the opinion that our current medical thinking model—based on
illness—is no longer adequate. Tech-nomad and Transhumanist Philippe
van Nedervelde reveals that we have a long, dark road to follow before
we definitively liberate ourselves from our biological limitations.

The book 'Reshaping the Human Condition'—Exploring Human Enhancement'
with interviews and essays by leading Dutch and British scientists,
gives an overview of the key directions in which modern science is
pushing out the boundaries of what is possible in the field of human
enhancement. The British ambassador to the Netherlands says about the
book: 'The human drive to better ourselves is nothing new. But what is
new today is the rapidly expanding range of possibilities for human
enhancement that contemporary science now offers'. This is basic
common sense for transhumanists, and it is good to see our ideas
echoed and discussed in the political scene.

Our friend Philippe van Nedervelde says 'We will become managers of
the mixing console of our brains… We will liberate ourselves from our
biological limitations more and more' and defines Transhumanism: 'is
based on the idea that we humans can enhance ourselves both in body
and mind using science and technology. Ultimately we will be able to
free ourselves from our biological limitations. Transhumanism is not a
doctrine or religion. It is a rational vision on human development'.
As one of the founders of the Order of Cosmic Engineers, 'a new
transhumanistic organization that (amongst other things) aims to give
people a scientifically sound 'warm, accessible' alternative to the
'emotional chill' that has arisen due to the disappearance of
religion', Philippe offers a mind boggling cosmic vision:

Transhumanists think that humanity is destined for the universe. We
will be able to leave our biological substrate within the foreseeable
future. We will then transfer our consciousness and intelligence to
other matter. Compare it with buying a new car when your old one
begins to rattle. Our transhuman matter will be intelligent and
conscious and will spread by degrees throughout the universe. Perhaps
civilizations elsewhere in this universe will go the same way.
Ultimately, after a long, long time, all the matter in the cosmos will
be intelligent and conscious. A metaconsciousness or new universal
entity will gradually reach maturity. Christians would deem this being
God. It could indeed be a natural god, but not a supernatural one.
What will happen then? We may become part of a gigantic cosmic
merry-go-round, possibly even a simulation, and then everything will
start all over again either on the same level or a higher one each
time around.

A great launch for a new science magazine, interesting and useful for
scientists, engineers, policy makers and citizens, which now has at
least one more and I hope many more regular readers.

Eschatoon Magic
aka Giulio Prisco

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