Futurisms, the anti-transhumanist blog over at The New Atlantis, has been posting regularly with decent content. In the blogosphere, that can be hard to come by.
They posted Roger Holzberg’s “Saying no to aging will require a bold gesture from each of us” image under a post of the title “transhumanist resentment watch”, seemingly expressing confusion over who Roger was flipping off, when it is clearly the aging process that he is directing his anger towards. Here’s a quote:
Beyond the strangeness of that self-loathing, the transhumanists bizarrely seem to be personifying human nature itself in order to antagonize it.
Yes, we do this from time to time.
But, we also glorify parts of humanity that we want to preserve and magnify with transhumanist technologies, like compassion, pleasure, and intelligence. Here is a list of human problems, which we are trying to antagonize and eliminate.
There is another post on the combative rhetoric of transhumanists, which singles out Eliezer Yudkowsky:
Eliezer responds in the comments:
Of *course* we’re fighting the human condition! Bill McKibben? You think our fury is directed at Bill McKibben? What on Earth did you think we were fighting? Death and frailty, darkness and despair, all the ills to which the flesh is heir! Duly acknowledged! Thank you for asking!
Charles, the author of that post, asks “Who is it that they think they’re sticking it to?” Good question. To me, personally, I either think of Mother Nature, about whom Nick Bostrom said, “Had Mother Nature been a real parent, she would have been in jail for child abuse and murder.” To personify less, I more often think of evolution in general, which should be relatively easy to overthrow once we get going, as it’s an unconscious process that operates slowly.
The other potential target would be God. God represents the worship of the status quo, and mass murder and punishment for trying to transcend our own limitations. God represents the endless lists of arbitrary rules found in Judaism and Islam in particular, but also Christianity. God represents the notion that the human body is inherently divine rather than an incomplete work. God represents the unfair bias towards the Holy Family (Adam’s family line, which allegedly includes David and Jesus) rather than equal love towards all human beings. God represents the ethic of “do as I say, not as I do”.
To quote from an h+ magazine article:
Their argument isnâ€™t actually that death is good. Their argument is that heaven is good. All prominent anti-transhumanists â€” Fukuyama, Kass, McKibben — are religious. Their sense of meaning springs from a faith that through suffering they will enter paradise after they are dead. If a bunch of nonbelievers creates a real deathless paradise here in reality, it will ruin that fantasy. It will be like when all the bad kids on your block get better presents from Santa. To work so gleefully for immortality and cessation of pain is to thumb your nose at ancient sources of meaning. Success will demonstrate that such deep sources of meaning are not eternal, but technical solvable problems. Thatâ€™s a real faith-shaker.
These guys want the same damn thing we do, just that they think they can get it through magic, and we think we actually have to achieve it ourselves.