Wesley J. Smith, a man who has perfected the art of not thinking and is a paragon of intellectual poltroons, has decided to taunt me a second time. His article “The Trouble with Transhumanism” attempts to take me to task. I suggest you read it in full, because rarely does one have such a wonderful opportunity to laugh.
The structure of Munkittrick’s article is to tell readers when we will know that the age of transhumanism has arrived. First, he writes, we will know we are in a transhumanist world when prosthetics are preferred over natural limbs. A “key social indicator” of the arrival of transhumanism, Munkittrick writes, will be when you “find yourself seriously considering having your birth-given hand lopped off and replaced with a cybernetic one.” Don’t roll your eyes. Serious writers in notable bioethics journals have already sincerely advocated treating Body Identity Integrity Disorder—in which people obsess on becoming amputees—by amputating healthy limbs.
Needless to say, transhumanists support brain implants and other measures taken to “improve” intelligence (never the ability to love, I notice)—including the ludicrous notion of uploading individual human consciousnesses into computers. And, of course, in keeping with the transhumanism’s desperate materialist yearning for a corporeal eternal life, Munkittrick says we will know we are in a transhumanist world when the average age exceeds 120.
Things go downhill steeply from there. Shades of Brave New World and Gattaca—transhumanism would remove reproduction from intimacy and female child bearing. Dripping with eugenics values, Munkittrick expects future children to come into being via IVF or cloning technologies that will permit “genetic modification, health screening, and, eventually synthetic wombs” to allow “the child with the best possibility of a good life to be born.” (Eugenics means “good in birth”.) At the same time, freedom to have children would be legally constrained. Rather than anyone being able to “accidentally spawn a whelp”—the disgusting metaphor is not accidental—our future transhumanist masters would require “parental licensing” before one could cause a child to be brought into the world. Thus state control and official permitting over human manufacturing—including custom design, special order, quality and inventory control—are core goals of the transhumanist social revolution.
I’m so glad he highlighted “Accidentally spawn a whelp.”
What’s astonishing here is how he uses my arguments to springboard into his own fantasy world. I’m reminded of Dale Carrico’s tirade from last year. Where have I ever supported upload? When have I ever been an advocate of state control? How is my defense of gay marriage not an argument for the importance of love? Sir, address the arguments I make. Be certain I will address those you make against me. Soon.
Bioethics is controversial.
No one endorses the ideas or concepts explored here, not even me.
You will develop a strong opinion about something you find here. I want to hear it. Philosophy is a conversation.
popbioethics [at] gmail [dot] com
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