The Transhumanist / Traditionalist Race Heats Up
Published on April 22, 2005 By greywar In Pure Technology

Update : An unlikely tie-in via Instapundit and TCS. Habemus Papam...Ad Perpetuitatem?

(First a not-so-bold prediction)

    

Cloning will replace the abortion debate inside of a decade.

 

Don’t believe me? You can already see career politicians shrewdly framing their positions on cloning, genetic engineering, and transhumanism in general. Some of these folks are motivated by genuine representation of their constituency (Feinstein), others through a canny grasp of  political futures(Graham), and others through a mix of self-interest and the aforementioned factors (Specter).

Cloning and transhumanism are even pervading popular culture in a manner more realistic than in any previous era. Glenn Reynolds has been leading the blogosphere in this are for quite some time and his position largely reflects my own personal conundrum. I am by most accounts a conservative (fiscally) (even a right-wing lunatic according to a few here at JU) and a traditionalist (culturally) but I am also a supporter of genetic research, cloning, and stem cell research. This likely stems from my secular nature and it sets me at odds against many of my erstwhile ideological brethren in much the same manner that the Schiavo case did for much of the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy.

 Now I don’t know the precisely gerrymandered boundaries of this particular philosophical district but I would be willing to wager that it nearly mirrors the South Park Conservative phenomenon. I simply find it difficult to embrace Luddism on this issue. Since I am not religious I find few compelling arguments for enforcing ignorance of this branch of science (as if that were even feasible).

Do you have any? If you do I suggest framing them soon since th debate will only grow more intense and the stakes will only go higher.

 

(Feel free to voice religious abjections if you want but keep in mind that they are quite unlikely to sway anyone who isn’t already a convert so voicing them will bring little new support your side of the argument.)

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Comments (Page 1)
on Apr 22, 2005
Surely you mean the adoption debate?
on Apr 22, 2005

Often the ethics needed for scientific advancement lags the advancement, and so it is with your term of transhumanism.  This is not a cut and dried or right or wrong debate, and it is definitely beyond the grasp of the morons in Washington.  However, those morons will ultimately screw things up enough that the courts will decide the issue to the detriment of every person in the country.

I understand your position and I am not going to argue it here in this reply as the issues are too long and complex for a short response.  This is not to say I necessarily say cloning is wrong, or right.  And you are right there are many religious issues with it, but there are also issues that exceed our current grasp of the ethical nuances dealing with creating our own twins.

I concur (with reservations - I dont think the Abortion debate will abate in the next decade) with your prognostication.

on Apr 22, 2005

that exceed our current grasp of the ethical nuances dealing with creating our own twins.

Dr. Guy - Thats as may be but the genie is out of the bottle now and it won't go back in. The decisions won't wait. Other nation's won't wait. We simply have to decide whether we will use this technology or attempt to legislate it out of study or use inside our borders.

Surely you mean the adoption debate?

Aeryck - I can only assume this was humor?

on Apr 22, 2005
I am in the market for a new body... if anyone you know does cloning, inform me will ya?
on Apr 22, 2005
“It is imperative that the public and members of Congress see the ‘faces’ that represent embryonic stem-cell research,” said Carrie Gordon Earll, senior bioethics analyst for Focus on the Family Action. “Pregnancy-challenged couples across this country long to adopt children, and many of these embryos are available for adoption.”

September 22, 2004 Focus Action - http://www.focusaction.org/press/a0000035.cfm - 'embryo adoption'

Make of it what you will, what really startled me was that as far back as 12 Feb last year the Koreans has already successfully made a stem cell extraction, while over 70 diseases are being successfully treated with adult stem cells.

http://www.family.org/cforum/fosi/bioethics/cloning/a0030546.cfm - url for above stanza

You are right in your basic assumption, but the foundation and certainly the pro-life force will still be that which needs to be overthrown, thereby allowing the Abortion Debate to be examined a lot more closely.

In my opinion, and this is a layman, only having discovered my belly button in the bath this morning, I reckon that the violation of human rights, as I call it, is still the big issue here, and specifically Abortion.

Some really bright scientists are endeavouring to create a cellular enviroment that is pre-embryonic in the endeavour to harvest these stem cells, I think that as was always the case the more they do this the more the theories of us evolving are coming more under scrutiny, so it is a catch 22, my sadness goes out to the little one's who have no say in this manipulation of their very essence.

How long will it be till we anger someone out there, how long till we have the inversion of what Einstein uncovered. At what point do we touch the heart of God Almighty, I fear for us as a species.

http://www.family.org/cforum/citizenmag/features/a0035021.cfm - Dolly now Mikayla ?
on Apr 22, 2005

I am in the market for a new body...

I think this is still legal in Nevada...

 

on Apr 22, 2005

Dr. Guy - Thats as may be but the genie is out of the bottle now and it won't go back in. The decisions won't wait. Other nation's won't wait. We simply have to decide whether we will use this technology or attempt to legislate it out of study or use inside our borders.

Unfortunately, all too true.  It wont wait, but the politicians will legislate it into pigeon holes long before we have a chance to openly and honestly debate it. 

I was agreeing with what you were saying (except about abortion), and unfortunately, I dont see a solution in the near term.  The solution will come after a long and heated debate years after it should have come first.

on Apr 22, 2005
Interesting article. I had to look up a good many words in my trusty WordWeb desktop dictionary.
According to that source, Transhumanism is an emergent philosophy analysing or favouring the use of science and technology, especially neurotechnology, biotechnology, and nanotechnology, to overcome human limitations and improve the human condition. in general.
That is the message of the Gospel. Jesus did everything possible to improve the human condition, especially teaching us how to love and to cherish life all of its stages. We, as His followers, must do likewise if we truly believe in Him and His loving ways.
God has given us the intelligence to improve life, now we need to pray for the wisdom to use the results of our efforts in a way that really does improve life. That is where the debate needs to center: Will this endeavor (what ever it may be) be guided by wise persons who have deep reverence for life?
on Apr 22, 2005
I oddly enough (for my conservatism) don't have much of a moral issue against cloning. However, I don't see much of a point in it. If it's people, you still have to bring them up from children like everyone else, unless they also invent a way to clone them into instant adults, and program them with personalities and skills, or copy people's brains into them.

In addition, although it may be desirable as a tool to reinforce certain positive traits (like find the perfect cow for steak, and make a billion of him), it also produces an overly homogenous population, sometimes with disasterous results.

A fine example of this is the Irish potato famines, in which splitting the potato to plant it, rather than planting from seed caused almost the entire crop for Ireland to be genetically identical, a particularly fine specimen of potato...........that also happened to be extremely susceptible to potato blight.

Cloning seems to be an awfully expensive way to develop children that have to be raised from scratch, and until we need an army of Baba Fetts to back our power bid as we overthrow the Republic and the Jedi Council, I don't really get the point.
on Apr 22, 2005
[oleteach] -'That is the message of the Gospel. Jesus did everything possible to improve the human condition..'

[Moderateman] - 'I am in the market for a new body'

[King Solomon] 'All things have I seen in the days of my vanity: there is a just man that perisheth in his righteousness, and there is a wicked man that prolongeth his life in his wickedness.'

[aeryck] 'The Winter of the embryonic murderers is now upon us. Oh Lord come speedily and bring the Summer of Peace, 'Thy Kingdom Come thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven'
on Apr 23, 2005

'The Winter of the embryonic murderers is now upon us. Oh Lord come speedily and bring the Summer of Peace

You know, oleteach is a lot better at framing theological arguments than you are Aeryck.

on Apr 23, 2005
I agree with you, thanks nevertheless for the compliment. Check out my latest thread, "HARVESTING THE REAPER."
on Apr 23, 2005
greywar, thanks for your compliment about being able to frame a theological argument. But you do know that I am in no way a debater. That is not my gift. I am a believer. That faith gift is one that I have treasured since a very young age. I have grown in faith in my long life. I once took everything without question. I thought blind obedience, blind faith was the true characteristic of a firm believer. Through the years, I have learned that is not what we are called to be. Blind believers can easily become fanatics. I am an enthusiastic believer in Christ and His teaching. How others reach the truth may be far different than my journey of faith. I used to place my faith in an organization. Now, I place my faith in an organism, the living, maturing Body of Christ, where He is the head and we maturing believers are all the members of that Body. We are called to search for the truth by questioning, praying, opening our hearts and minds to what other members of that universal church are speaking out as they, too, search for truth. In the middle of all that searching, discussions, shifting of opinions, I remain at peace with the faith that God will always be that merciful, just, loving Person that I placed my trust in so many, many years ago. He is a faithful God.
on Apr 23, 2005

I remain at peace with the faith that God will always be that merciful, just, loving Person that I placed my trust in so many, many years ago.

This coupled with your liberal position on this issue place you at odds with many religious folks. Certainly at odds with Aeryck...

on Apr 23, 2005
The organization of the church is always slow to accept ideas that may seem to be in conflict with Christ's teaching or its own interpretations of it. It has had to backtrack many times in its condemnation of an individual's ideas. It is a human church and does and will continue to make mistakes. I am not crazy about the idea of cloning, stem cell research that might include advocating the abortion of innocent babies, but I am certainly not in a position to think that I am smarter on this subjects than those who are involved with this kind of new knowledge. I an interested in all topics that will help to improve our lives here as long as they respect life and the laws of nature.
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