Re: SOC: Opposition to Transhumanism

From: D.den Otter (
Date: Sun Jan 09 2000 - 17:59:23 MST

[this one apparently didn't get trough earlier, so I'm
sending it again].
> From: Anders Sandberg <>

> "D.den Otter" <> writes:

> People who blow things up tend to become disliked and feared by the
> large majority of people, who actually considers it a sign of
> dangerous fanaticism or mental illness. Reasonable people with values
> many people subscribe to, on the other hand, can influence them greatly.

True, but the direct damage caused by, for example, someone
blowing up a transhumanist conference or cryonics faclility would
be very severe, even if the long(er)-term effects could in fact be
> > The man in the above example clearly lacks some crucial data.
> > He is a specialist, and has trouble with looking beyond his own
> > narrow field of interest. He can't see the big picture, lacks
> > vision. A very common problem (even on this list).
> How did you reach that conclusion?

I applied Occam's Razor :-)

> Note that in the above example it
> is not said that he lacks cruicial data (of course, he might lack
> them) but rather that given his prior knowledge his estimation of thje
> likeliehood of various effects differs from our estimation.

True, the example wasn't detailed enough for a truly solid conclusion
either way, but "specialist bias" seemed like a fair educated guess.

> Saying that all opponents to transhumanism are either misinformed or
> illogical is a great way of isolating oneself into an ideological air
> castle isolated from reality. I have seen people taking this view in
> defending everything from communism to objectivism, and the results
> have always been bad.

Well, like I said: I'm yet to hear relevant criticism of core
transhumanist beliefs. I don't think that such criticism will *ever*
be forthcoming, but that doesn't mean that I'm not prepared
to listen to opponent's arguments. Of course there are flaws
in individual transhumanists' thinking (*), and perhaps some
small fringe flaws in the philosophy itself, but the core, i.e.
that we should overcome the limitations on our freedom by
rational means, is "perfect" and "eternal".

No matter what your philosophy is, there will always be one
or more dogmas at its core. This is inevitable, and by no
means bad by defintion; in the absence of a universal
"meaning of life" we must create our own meaning. Seeking
freedom and happiness for now and for all times is currently
the most logical choice. Call it a dogma if you will, so what?
If someone doesn't agree, well, let him suffer and die in
oppression then, if that's what he really wants. It's his
loss, not mine.
(*) mainly naive technophilia.

> That person would not accept your view that the universe is changing -
> the underlying essence for example might be eternal and unchanging and
> the apparent change an illusion. A philosophical view a great deal of
> people have taken, however much we might disagree with them. It cannot
> even be refuted, which makes it silly from a popperian empiricist
> view, but these people do not even feel they have to subscribe to that
> view. People with a different ontology and epistemology can be awfully
> hard to convince that you are right...

Arguments which are not based on reason can (and should, for
practical purposes) be ignored. You might as well say that
transhumanism is wrong because the cosmic pink elephant
says so, or because it's against the leprechaun way of life.
Can't be refuted, can't be substantiated, but *can* be ignored.

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