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Transhumanism as Religion

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posted on Jul, 27 2009 @ 06:28 PM
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What is transhumanism?


Transhumanism is an international intellectual and cultural movement supporting the use of science and technology to improve human mental and physical characteristics and capacities. The movement regards aspects of the human condition, such as disability, suffering, disease, aging, and involuntary death as unnecessary and undesirable. Transhumanists look to biotechnologies and other emerging technologies for these purposes. Dangers, as well as benefits, are also of concern to the transhumanist movement.[1]

The term "transhumanism" is symbolized by H+ or h+ and is often used as a synonym for "human enhancement".[2] Although the first known use of the term dates from 1957, the contemporary meaning is a product of the 1980s when futurists in the United States began to organize what has since grown into the transhumanist movement. Transhumanist thinkers predict that human beings may eventually be able to transform themselves into beings with such greatly expanded abilities as to merit the label "posthuman".[1] Transhumanism is therefore sometimes referred to as "posthumanism" or a form of transformational activism influenced by posthumanist ideals.[3]


It is also referred to as Technological Singularity. Namely, the merging of human and technology into a single consciousness.

Transhumanist Declaration


The Declaration was originally written in 1998 by an international group of authors, and then modified and re-adopted by the Humanity+ membership in 2002. This revision was adopted by the Humanity+ Board in March 2009.

(1) Humanity stands to be profoundly affected by science and technology in the future. We envision the possibility of broadening human potential by overcoming aging, cognitive shortcomings, involuntary suffering, and our confinement to planet Earth.

(2) We believe that humanity's potential is still mostly unrealized. There are possible scenarios that lead to wonderful and exceedingly worthwhile enhanced human conditions.

(3) We recognize that humanity faces serious risks, especially from the misuse of new technologies. There are possible realistic scenarios that lead to the loss of most, or even all, of what we hold valuable. Some ofthese scenarios are drastic, others are subtle. Although all progress is change, not all change is progress.

(4) Research effort needs to be invested into understanding these prospects. We need to carefully deliberate how best to reduce risks and expedite beneficial applications. We also need forums where people can constructively discuss what should be done, and a social order where responsible decisions can be implemented.

(5) Reduction of existential risks, and development of means for the preservation of life and health, the alleviation of grave suffering, and the improvement of human foresight and wisdom should be pursued as urgent priorities, and heavily funded.

(6) Policymaking ought to be guided by responsible and inclusive moral vision, taking seriously both opportunities and risks, respecting autonomy and individual rights, and showing solidarity with and concern for the interests and dignity of all people around the globe. We must also consider our moral responsibilities towards generations that will exist in the future.

(7) We advocate the well-being of all sentience, including humans, non-human animals, and any future artificial intellects, modified life forms, or other intelligences to which technological and scientific advance may give rise.

(8) We favour allowing individuals wide personal choice over how they enable their lives. This includes use of techniques that may be developed to assist memory, concentration, and mental energy; life extension therapies; reproductive choice technologies; cryonics procedures; and many other possible human modification and enhancement technologies.


A full exploration on transhumanism/posthumanism can be found here:

www.humanityplus.org...

Including:

Aren't these future technologies very risky? Could they even cause our extinction?

Much to considered and discussed on the above topics, but for the purposes of this thread ...

The question being asked is:


Does the Wall Still Stand?

The Implications of Transhumanism for the Separation of Church and State

That’s the title of a speech given in March 2009 by Steven Goldberg, a Law Professor at Georgetown University. It lays out a fascinating and important challenge to transhumanists, especially relevant to those of us who aspire to think deeply about the meaning of transhumanism and its proper place in the world.

Goldberg opens by posing this hypothetical situation:

Suppose that twenty years from now transhumanists make up the bulk of the population in a small Massachusetts town. They persuade the elected school board to offer a required course in the public high school on transhumanism. The course teaches how nanotechnology can improve brain functioning, how human consciousness might someday be downloadable into computers, and similar topics. The course also surveys earlier steps in the fusing of man and his technology, and it takes a positive, optimistic perspective on the past, present, and future of transhumanism. Its essential theme would be, in the words appearing on the website of the transhumanist Anders Sandberg, that “humans can and should continue to develop … [our] bodies and minds … using science and technology…. In the long run, we will no longer be human anymore, but posthuman beings.”

And then he adds:
Suppose further that a resident of the town who is not a transhumanist argues that this is an unconstitutional establishment of religion. How would such a case be resolved? How ought it to be resolved?

Goldberg asks:

Why does the Constitution forbid establishing religion while allowing the teaching and funding of science? Part of the reason is historical; religion incited passions and led to conflicts incompatible with a diverse democratic society. A modern version of this concern is the worry some have that religious arguments are “conservation stoppers” that do not work well in public policy disputes.

And this is where he brings in the key questions: Do transhumanists hold a set of beliefs that effectively offer an alternative to traditional religions? And if so, is that necessarily a bad thing?
(emphasis mine)

Source: ieet.org...

So can "transhumanism," although secular in nature, be considered a religion for the purposes of the first amendment?

Before answering I urge you to undertake some further reading:

Science, Religion and the Quest for Secular Morality

Technoprogressivism

Does the Wall Still Stand? The Implications of Transhumanism for the Separation of Church and State

Human Enhancement

Introductory Texts about Transhumanism

Acceleratingfuture

Anyhoot, I realize that all of this is a lot to take on in one thread ... but lately, in an effort to step away from the daily trees
, I have become rather enthralled by this vast but essential discussion. I urge to read the linked material, especially the sourced article. These are philosophical questions that are new in our collective consciousness but they are important.

The essence of technological singularity singularity is that humans must enhance themselves to keep up with the pace of their own technological advancements. A clear yet inevitable paradox. With it comes the element of "belief" ... namely the belief that this is the right course for humanity. And if some of you have missed the meteoric rise of Ray Kurzweil, you will find that some people do see him as a "guru" and follow his ideas "religiously."



This isn't a criticism mind you, just a pointer to the fact that the question posed in this OP is surely a valid one.

I look forward to your pov, and as the thread develops I will add my own which I am still in the process of considering and formulating.




posted on Jul, 27 2009 @ 06:35 PM
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I know very little about transhumanism. But I think it's a possibility hardout!!



posted on Jul, 27 2009 @ 06:50 PM
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Transhumanism seems to be more of a metaphysical bent of philosophy that transcends mere science to grapple with the inherent ethical and moral issues that arise therein. I can see it taught as a base for philosophical discussions in the classrooms, but am unable to discern any possible religious connotations.

In fact, transhumanism seems to be nothing more than a dressed up form of moral relativism. Am I wrong in this assumption?



[edit on 7/27/2009 by maria_stardust]



posted on Jul, 27 2009 @ 06:54 PM
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if i could become post human that would be cool.



posted on Jul, 27 2009 @ 07:43 PM
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Originally posted by maria_stardust
In fact, transhumanism seems to be nothing more than a dressed up form of moral relativism. Am I wrong in this assumption?


I think it is accurate...but that won't stop the debate from those religiously inclined and otherwise scientifically challenged.

The day is coming...and naturalists will be challenged.

I for one, as long as disclosure is alotted, embrace it.

But the informing of the population as to this type of tech indicates much more than rote information...as with all social pradigm shifts. It will be slow and likely not in our lifetimes (
) but it will happen...in my opinion....



posted on Jul, 27 2009 @ 08:44 PM
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Can religion and science co-exist peacefully? Many wish they could. But alas, it isn’t so, for science and religion are not actually two sides of the same coin—as many desperately wish to believe—but they’re entirely different currencies. Where science limits its trade to the natural world, religion traffics in the supernatural, and the two just don’t mix.

link

An important thing to keep in mind is that religion does not in any way own morality. It may borrow and embrace it to a certain degree, but it certainly isn't the cornerstone of morality. Huge difference.

As such, it would be hard to argue the separation of Church and State regarding the philosophical stances regarding Transhumanism. The subject matter does not endose a supreme being -- be it God, the Flying Speghetti Monster or Xenu. Without a supreme being as a central focus, there is no religion. Hence, this should be a non-issue.



posted on Jul, 27 2009 @ 08:59 PM
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reply to post by schrodingers dog
 


Transhumanism is just proper devil worship.
What we all want is to live forever, and become God (and in that order, I believe, though that is a fun talk).
Transhumanism is in that direction, just like devil worship (and Mormonism, but that's another fun talk), and those are both obviously religions.
If I started a storefront cult group of local psychos it would be transhumanist, and satanic, (plus several other characteristics that I am failing somehow to mention here) and it would SO obviously be a religion.



posted on Jul, 27 2009 @ 09:06 PM
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Originally posted by maria_stardust
Without a supreme being as a central focus, there is no religion. Hence, this should be a non-issue.


That's what they said about Buddhism.


Never underestimate Man's propensity to generate religion out of philosophy.

www.aleph.se...

Silly stuff? perhaps ... still, we are but at the infancy of such considerations.



posted on Jul, 27 2009 @ 09:11 PM
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Originally posted by nine-eyed-eel
reply to post by schrodingers dog
 


Transhumanism is just proper devil worship.


To those that created the devil perhaps ... but then again, to them, everything is.



posted on Jul, 27 2009 @ 09:28 PM
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If someone came along and offered you the opportunity to upload your consciousness into a machine or an infinitely vast quantum computer capable of simulating a life until eternity, but "YOU" in being transfered over, would leave your physical body behind, to die, would you do it?

There's one problem in this - when you've been in it for millions of year, then what?

Bear in mind that you would not have the ability to pull the plug on your simulation, so suicide would be impossible...

You would be forever trapped in this false reality matrix, for ever and ever, since this computer could be shot into space for example and allowed to drif endlessly between the stars and galaxies.

There is something extremely eerie and disconcerting about what the Tranhumanists like Kerzweil dream about and hope for, it could take some people into a hell of their own making, from which there could be no escape.

Me I would rather die in the universe that God created and leave it up to God as to how things are cycled in eternity - an infinitely wiser choice I think, in the final analysis.



posted on Jul, 27 2009 @ 09:29 PM
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reply to post by schrodingers dog
 


No, no, see, the devil doesn't exist yet...we are building him.
The matter in this universe is the egg cell, all conscious beings are spermatazoa, one of us is going to fertilize/assimilate/eat this universe and cause it all to be realigned according to our pattern.
Those of us who get that this is the only goal are going to work together for a little while (before the scheduled quarrel-and-betrayal-among-ourselves) to facilitate this mutual intention...
Behold here the outlines of a transhumanist satanic religion...yup-yup



It kind of skews toward to the insanely-psychopathic, murderously-selfish demographic...like video games...and a lot of popular music...



posted on Jul, 27 2009 @ 09:41 PM
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reply to post by schrodingers dog
 


And by the way, nice pic of Sri Ramana Maharshi...
It's surprising more people don't use avatars as avatars...



posted on Jul, 27 2009 @ 09:46 PM
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Originally posted by OmegaPoint

Me I would rather die in the universe that God created and leave it up to God as to how things are cycled in eternity - an infinitely wiser choice I think, in the final analysis.


The transhumanist response (not mine):


Isn't death part of the natural order of things?

Transhumanists insist that whether something is natural or not is irrelevant to whether it is good or desirable [see also “Isn’t this tampering with nature?”, “Will extended life worsen overpopulation problems?”, and “Why do transhumanists want to live longer?”].
Average human life span hovered between 20 and 30 years for most of our species’ history. Most people today are thus living highly unnaturally long lives. Because of the high incidence of infectious disease, accidents, starvation, and violent death among our ancestors, very few of them lived much beyond 60 or 70. There was therefore little selection pressure to evolve the cellular repair mechanisms (and pay their metabolic costs) that would be required to keep us going beyond our meager three scores and ten. As a result of these circumstances in the distant past, we now suffer the inevitable decline of old age: damage accumulates at a faster pace than it can be repaired; tissues and organs begin to malfunction; and then we keel over and die.

The quest for immortality is one of the most ancient and deep-rooted of human aspirations. It has been an important theme in human literature from the very earliest preserved written story, The Epic of Gilgamesh, and in innumerable narratives and myths ever since. It underlies the teachings of world religions about spiritual immortality and the hope of an afterlife. If death is part of the natural order, so too is the human desire to overcome death.

Before transhumanism, the only hope of evading death was through reincarnation or otherworldly resurrection. Those who viewed such religious doctrines as figments of our own imagination had no alternative but to accept death as an inevitable fact of our existence. Secular worldviews, including traditional humanism, would typically include some sort of explanation of why death was not such a bad thing after all. Some existentialists even went so far as to maintain that death was necessary to give life meaning!

That people should make excuses for death is understandable. Until recently there was absolutely nothing anybody could do about it, and it made some degree of sense then to create comforting philosophies according to which dying of old age is a fine thing (“deathism”). If such beliefs were once relatively harmless, and perhaps even provided some therapeutic benefit, they have now outlived their purpose. Today, we can foresee the possibility of eventually abolishing aging and we have the option of taking active measures to stay alive until then, through life extension techniques and, as a last resort, cryonics. This makes the illusions of deathist philosophies dangerous, indeed fatal, since they teach helplessness and encourage passivity.

Espousing a deathist viewpoint tends to go with a certain element of hypocrisy. It is to be hoped and expected that a good many of death’s apologists, if they were one day presented with the concrete choice between (A) getting sick, old, and dying, and (B) being given a new shot of life to stay healthy, vigorous and to remain in the company of friends and loved ones to participate in the unfolding of the future, would, when push came to shove, choose this latter alternative.

If some people would still choose death, that’s a choice that is of course to be regretted, but nevertheless this choice must be respected. The transhumanist position on the ethics of death is crystal clear: death should be voluntary. This means that everybody should be free to extend their lives and to arrange for cryonic suspension of their deanimated bodies. It also means that voluntary euthanasia, under conditions of informed consent, is a basic human right.


www.humanityplus.org...

So there you have it ... you my friend are a silly "deathist"

(Presumably unrelated to "birthers")


 



Originally posted by nine-eyed-eel
reply to post by schrodingers dog
 


And by the way, nice pic of Sri Ramana Maharshi...
It's surprising more people don't use avatars as avatars...


Ty for noticing ... finally ... irony can be pretty ironic sometimes.


[edit on 27 Jul 2009 by schrodingers dog]



posted on Jul, 27 2009 @ 10:14 PM
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I think if Transhumanists took [SNIP] they would come to undertstand how only the ego dies, but that otherwise death has no meaning.

 

Mod Edit: Removed drug reference.



2e.) Illicit Activity: Discussion of illicit activities; specifically the use of mind-altering drugs & substances, engaging in computer hacking, promoting criminal hate, dicussing sexual relations with minors, and furtherance of financial schemes and scams are strictly forbidden. You will also not link to sites or online content that contains discussion or advocacy of such material. Any post mentioning or advocating personal use of illicit mind-altering drugs will result in immediate account termination.


[edit on 28-7-2009 by Gemwolf]



posted on Jul, 27 2009 @ 10:29 PM
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At least I watched the video. For those of us who love to watch science fiction programs and movies, this seems to be a future reality for some if not just the few and elites.

What good this immortaility, yet to live forever....in servitude? ( or something like that)

Space travelers, maybe even our distant ancesters, may have done this long ago and seeded this planet. I think it's naive to think another more advanced race or culture hasn't already been successful. Alien visitors have also most lilkely conquered immortality and possibly even worse, such as the alleged harvesting of souls for slave labor in various ways.

Who really knows for sure who the supposed mythical fallen angels really are. Many years ago, science was sacred, as is some technology now is considered to be a threat to national security in the wrong hands.

Putting a name to it is hardly a religion as much as it is an obcession. ( if that makes any sense)

Still, it so reminds me of the Borg and Star Trek, I can't help but admire it. But the lesson of the tree of life and knowledge....and or lust for this godlike power is the fact that we've still yet to know the end game. ( or do we?)

Is God than a super computer guardian in servitude as well?
Are we than Gods alter ego to have free will?


Sounds like just another old Star Trek episode.



posted on Jul, 28 2009 @ 01:11 AM
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Their intentions are sound seen from a mechanistic view of the world. From a spiritual viewpoint its a different story (imo).

[edit on 28-7-2009 by Skyfloating]



posted on Jul, 29 2009 @ 02:40 PM
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en.wikipedia.org...


A religion is an organized approach to human spirituality which usually encompasses a set of narratives, symbols, beliefs and practices, often with a supernatural or transcendent quality, that give meaning to the practitioner's experiences of life through reference to a higher power, God or gods, or ultimate truth.

(emphasis mine)

Everything fits but spirituality.

Could Transhumanism be a Futuristic Philosophy in which predictions are made based on the past/present progression of technology in a non-linear fashion, specifically asymptotic? The philosophy is one of theory and practice, much like modern philosophy which led to the rise of physical science and skepticism.

Or, is Transhumanism the admittance that technological progression has developed evolutionarily to the event horizon, the symbolic point of no return, leading to the inevitable singularity?

The singularity. Chaos or Utopia. Resistance or Coexistence. The singularity is described as either a: Hard take off, accidental and catastrophic, this is chaos and can possibly lead to servitudinal existence or even extinction; Soft take off, the utopia, humans coexisting and possibly even evolving to together as biotechnological beings.

The latter is perhaps the reason for Transhumanism. Understanding what's ahead of us may take us down the path to the soft take off, removing the possibility of an accidental singularity that leads to chaos and resistance.

Is it religion, or is it just evolution? Survival of the fittest in it's most advanced form.

Great thread, SD.
The singularity summit will be one hell of an eye opening event.


-Dev

Edit for Clarity, spelling and punctuation.


[edit on 29-7-2009 by DevolutionEvolvd]



posted on Jul, 29 2009 @ 03:20 PM
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So, can we start a pool on how long it will be before they realize what they attempt to do has already been done, and they are a product of that?

I use to study this field a good bit with AI. I came to the conclusion that this merger would be needed before technology could be truly intelligent and so forth.

But I ended abandoning it all when I realized I was recreating that which is already created.



posted on Aug, 3 2009 @ 04:51 PM
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Originally posted by badmedia
So, can we start a pool on how long it will be before they realize what they attempt to do has already been done, and they are a product of that?




Yeah, see, I go back and forth on this point, this issue...
Overall, I guess, it does seem like most matter is stupid, or else we'd see more singing rocks, and like that...but then again maybe our junk DNA is doing all kinds of quantum-mechanical magic tricks, and we really do have all of our ancestors' memories encoded in some diseased-looking proteins, and like that...and we just haven't noticed this yet...VAMOS A VER...




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