"We Must Choose"

"We are now at the point in history where we must choose whether or not to subject human nature to market forces and industrial production systems."

That's from "Genetic Modification: This Time It's Personal", an excellent issue paper from Human Genetics Alert urging the British Parliament to not allow scientists there to create genetically modified human embryos. The vote on Britian's Human Fertilization and Embryology Bill has been "delayed until Autumn". You can find a link to download the whole HGA paper here at Alliance For Humane Biotechnology.


Some Transhumanism Articles

The cloyingly intellectual webzine The Global Spiral devoted their June issue to Transhumanism; hat tip to Austrailian Transhumanist Russell Blackford who critiqued each of the six articles on his blog MetaMagician3000. The article by Ted Peters starts with a darn good summary of what Transhumanists generally believe and value, but in the second half he winds up pulling his punches so as not to seem a "luddite" and seems to endorse a "careful" version of Transhumanism that keeps a watchful eye out for bad applications. Perhaps that's why Russell thought it was the best article. Katherine Hayles also chickens out, making a point to disagree with Francis Fukayama (who I've emailed a couple times), saying "I do not necessarily agree with Fukuyama’s argument that we should outlaw such developments as human cloning with legislation forbidding it". I think she, like most people in this debate, is making the mistake of not appreciating what a ban would do.

Most Transhumanists frame the question as: should we keep moving toward this post-human future, where we could eradicate diseases and enhance human capabilities and even achieve Universal super-intelligence, or (the sole alternative), should we let the "anti-science" and "luddite" Chicken Littles keep us stuck in this disease-ridden world because they fear change? They never consider that a ban would be change, and they are desperately trying to maintain the status quo. A ban on genetic engineering would be a radical and revolutionary change, not only causing a massive shift in funding to health care and prevention and research aimed at helping existing people today, but it would have an enormous positive effect on every person's sense of responsibility and self-worth, by affirming each of our lives as fully equal and deserving of dignity and respect. Affirming that all people are and forever will be "created equal" as the child of a man and a woman, and have the same right as everyone to reproduce with their unmodified gametes, will be a big change, it will make people stop assuming that technology is our only hope, that we are only in the way. Instead, we will be the only hope, and that affirmation of our responsibility as an integral part of nature will be felt the world over. Choosing to maintain the Transhumanist status quo is missing out on how beautiful life will be in a post-Transhumanism world. We need to put Transhumanism behind us as soon as possible.


Obama Needs Help On Marriage

Barack Obama is rightly taking heat all over the blogosphere for his inconsistencies on same-sex marriage. But could they all be explained by his ignorance of same-sex conception? If it turns out, after learning about the efforts to enable people to conceive genetically-related offspring with a same-sex partner, that he believes that it would be unethical to attempt it and that people should only be allowed to conceive with someone of the other sex, then he could use that distinction to explain his opposition to same-sex marriage. Marriages, he could say, should continue to protect the couple's right to conceive children together, while Civil Unions should provide all the other rights and protections that he has been saying same-sex couples should have access to. Hopefully he does not want to strip the protection of conception rights from marriage and allow states to prohibit a validly married couple from using their own genes to conceive children together.