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Transhumanism and the Posthuman Future: Will Technological Progress Get Us There? Ted Peters. Center for Theology and the Natural Sciences at the GTU. Transhumanism. “Humanity will be radically changed by technology in the future. We foresee the feasibility of redesigning the

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Presentation Transcript
slide1

Transhumanism and

the Posthuman Future:

Will Technological

Progress Get Us There?

Ted Peters

slide2

Center for Theology

and the

Natural Sciences

at the

GTU

transhumanism
Transhumanism

“Humanity will be radically changed by

technology in the future. We foresee

the feasibility of redesigning the

human condition, including such

parameters as the inevitability of

aging, limitations on human and

artificial intellects, unchosen

psychology, suffering, and our

confinement to the planet earth.”

- Transhumanist Declaration

World Transhumanist Association

slide4

Nanotechnology

Nanobiotechnology

slide5

Nanotechnology

Nano Tech + Genetic Engineering = Nanobiotechnology

Nano = Dwarf

1 Nanometer = One billionth of a meter

10 hydrogen atoms side by side

“Size Matters”

STMX = Scanning Transmission X-Ray Microscope [UCB/LBL]

See 25 to 35 Nanometers – physics prior to emergent life

Nanobots = nano sized robots to move oxygen or clean out cholesterol

Bio Fab = application of nano-engineering to living systems

IA = Intelligence Amplification (or cognitive augmentation)

Cybernetic Immortality? Post-Humanism?

stxm scanning transmission x ray microscopy8

99

STXM = Scanning Transmission X-Ray Microscopy

National Center for X-Ray Tomography, UCB

Electron Microscope for biological imaging

Electrons travel at 99.9% speed of light

Brighter than the sun

Imaging whole cells at 35 nanometers

Imaging structures at 25 nanometers

Future: resolution at 10 nanometers

Merging of the fields of physics and biology

Synthetic Life

in transhumanism we witness a nbic convergence jean pierre dupuy
In Transhumanism we witness aNBIC Convergence- Jean-Pierre Dupuy
  • Nanotechnology
  • Biotechnology
  • Information Technology
  • Cognitive Science
  • AI (Artificial Intelligence)
  • IA (Intelligence Amplification)
  • Capitalism: laissez faire

NBICAIC?

slide11

Singularity: 2045 !

Cybernetic Immortality:

“Uploading a human brain means scanning all of its salient details and

then reinstantiating those details into a suitably powerful

computational substrate. This process would capture a person’s

entire personality, memory, skills, and history.” pp. 198-199

Technological progress extends biological evolution.

“The purpose of the universe reflects the same purpose as our lives:

to move toward greater intelligence and knowledge…we will within

this century be ready to infuse our solar system with our intelligence

through self-replicating non-biological intelligence. It will then

spread out to the rest of the universe.” p.372.

Ray Kurzweil, The Singularity is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology (New York: Penguin, 2005)

h transhumanism a totalized philosophical system
H +Transhumanism = a “totalized philosophical system”
  • Metaphysical or Cosmological Level: the world is a “process of evolutionary complexification toward evermore complex structures, forms, and operations.”
  • Psychological Level: we human beings are “imbued with the innate Will to Evolve…” to expand survivability and well-being.
  • Ethical Level: “we should seek to foster our innate Will to Evolve by continually striving to expand our abilities throughout life…by acting in harmony with the essential nature of the evolutionary process…”

- Simon Young, Designer Evolution, pp. 87, 19, 202.

slide13

Progress within Evolution?“…man in the distant future will be a far more perfect creature than he now is.”– Charles Darwin, Autobiography, p.77

progress within evolution
Progress within Evolution?

NO

Stephen Jay Gould

Francisco Ayala

the eschatological problem
The Eschatological Problem

How do we get there from here?

two views of the future

Two Views of the Future

Futurum& Progress

Adventus& Apocalypse

slide17

Progress is cumulative advance

The backbone of the doctrine of

progress is that “something is

better than it had been and promises

to get better still in the future.”

- Steven Goldman, “Progress,” Encyclopedia of Science, Technology, and Ethics, 3:1519.

slide18

Futurum

  • (Futurology, Futurism)
  • Understanding
  • Decision
  • Control
  • Transhumanists want to replace “Darwinian
  • Evolution with Designer Evolution—from slavery
  • to the selfish genes to conscious self-rule by
  • the human mind.”
  • –Simon Young, Designer Evolution, p. 207.
slide19

The Eschatological Problem

How do we get there

from here?

Can a leopard change

its spots?

Transhumanists want to replace “Darwinian

Evolution with Designer Evolution—from slavery

to the selfish genes to conscious self-rule by

the human mind.”

–Simon Young, Designer Evolution, p. 207.

is religion luddite
Is Religion Luddite?

“I am about

to do a

new thing.”

Isaiah 43:19

slide21

Adventus (Eschatology)

Human progress is subject to divine judgment.

slide22
Sin

Poor Judgment

Graffiti

Computer Virus

Totalitarianism

Genocide

martin luther
Martin Luther

“Original sin really means that human nature has completely fallen…the intellect has become darkened…sins have taken such deep root in our being that in this life they cannot be entirely eradicated.”

Luther’s Works, American Edition, 1:114.

slide27

Christian Realism:

No advance in technology will

overcome history’s ambiguity.

“The idea of progress is…highly dubious….It is false in so

far as all historical processes are ambiguous.” The doctrine

of progress fails to recognize that “history is filled with

endless possibilities of good and evil…every new human

potency may be an instrument of chaos as well as of order;

and history, therefore, has no solution of its own problem.”

- Reinhold Niebuhr, The Nature and Destiny of Man, 2:240, 154-155.

slide29

Christian Realism:

No advance in technology will

overcome history’s ambiguity.

“Morals do not advance in history. Hence, a progress of

technology may in fact augur a regress in social harmony

and social justice…instead of ‘saving’ mankind, can threaten

to become the demonic instrument of mankind’s destruction.

This permanent ambiguity of historical process, this

continuation of sin even in an advancing culture, [means] that

if there be a kingdom, it could not be realized through a

sociohistorical development leading to a perfect society in

history.”

- Langdon Gilkey, Reaping the Whirlwind, 233.

history eschatology
History Eschatology

M. Grunwald, Eisenheim Altar Piece

slide31

The New Jerusalem

Adventus

Albrecht Dürer, 16th Century

Gustav Dore, 19th Century

slide32

He will wipe every tear from

their eyes.

Death will be no more;

mourning and crying and pain

will be no more,

for the first things have

passed away.

- Revelation 21:4

slide33

Conclusions

H+ needs more realism:

No amount of increased

technology or intelligence

will liberate us from sin.

The Bible promises

transformation: this

fosters an ethic that

promotes change in light

of future well-being.