Re: Are enhancements really at risk?

Technotranscendence (
Tue, 24 Feb 1998 12:25:38 -0500 (EST)

At 08:43 PM 2/23/98 -0500, Michael Lee Bowling <> wrote:
>> What's the evidence that enhancements are likely to be suppressed? Many
>> people seem to assume that anything useful but weird will be attacked
>> and banned. They're probably right on the attack, but banned?
>> Possibly, but can it be said to be certain.
>No, not for certain, but there is cause for alarm and I believe the
>consequences such bannings are not to be taken lightly. Much of my
>concern stems from recent public attacks gene engineering and clonning. I
>know people have reacted negativley in the past to tech that eventually
>was accepted and proved very useful. However, I think that in most
>poeple's minds, the notion of quelling pain with anesthetics is not as
>"unnatural" as more permanent tamperings like clonning, genetic
>engineering, or implants that make you smarter than the avergage
>constituent. Especially when politicians adopt such issues just for
>fun/polical gain and feed the paranioa.

I agree wt\ith you on this. There is no certianty for the prohibition of
transhuman/advanced technology, BUT there are two general
sentiments at large which threaten us, and merit some attention. One
is technophobia, whether directed at all technology or at a particular
set of technologies -- automobiles, genetic engineering, nuclear
power, computers. We've already discussed this one, but I've yet
to see a clear plan or set of plans to combat it.

The other is the desire to seek centrally planned solutions to any
problems, real or imagined, from poverty to cloning. This creates
a culture in which people who fear technological progress or
certain technologies often have the power to prevent others who
have no such fears from using or advancing those very same

>My general outlook on the question whether transhumanist ideals will gain
>enough acceptance to grow more or less unhindered (except where prohibited
>by physical law) is a cost benefit analysis. Which is more trouble:
>Establishing a physical space of refuge, terrestrial or otherwise, or
>fighting/subverting political barriers. Tough call.

Of course, another alternative is to present faits accompli. Clone people
in huge numbers, then foist them upon society, for example. (Sounds
like a good idea for a science fiction story: a society where clones
outnumber nonclones...) In this way, political barriers can be ignored.

Fastforward to the future!

Daniel Ust