Re: SOC: Opposition to Transhumanism

From: D.den Otter (
Date: Wed Jan 05 2000 - 15:10:57 MST

> From: Anders Sandberg <>
> "D.den Otter" <> writes:
> > ----------
> > > From: Anders Sandberg <>
> >
> > > You can be opposed against transhumanism and the things we hold dear
> > > without being fanatic about them.
> >
> > ...but not without being stupid.
> >
> Not at all. I can imagine intelligent and well-educated non-stupid
> people opposing transhumanism too, based on their values and knowledge
> of how the world functions.

In other words, these otherwise intelligent people have some blind
spots of ignorance which cause them to act contrary to their own
enlightened self-interest (which is what transhumanism is all about).

> They are in many ways more troublesome
> than fanatics.

Yes, they can be very annoying indeed, but at least they don't go
around blowing stuff up...

> For example, imagine a sociologist who has studied the incidence of
> burnout in our society who comes into contact with transhumanist
> thinking. He will point out that the psychological effects of the
> tremendous changes and speed-ups we are proposing will lead to burnout
> and psychological distress on a massive scale, maybe so much that
> society will desintegrate. The transhumanists will of course claim
> that this will be fixed by technology , the adoption of transhumanist
> thinking and self-help as well as reconfigurations of human
> psychology. But the sociologist, drawing on his knowledge base in
> social psychology and history, will regard this hypothesis as highly
> unlikely to occur, in fact less likely than the hypothesis that this
> is just transhumanists defending their own worldview (you can do a
> completely correct Bayesian analysis of this situation and come to
> this conclusion - given the priors of the sociologist). We of course
> have slightly different information, and regard the first possibility
> as more likely (even if we should always ask ourselves how much is due
> to possibility two). So in the end he will disagree with us and if he
> considers us dangerous, try to move against us.
> In the above example both sides could try sharing their analysis and
> facts, trying to make an analysis together both could agree on.

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). Anyway, your
example only seems to confirm that all opposition to transhumanism(*)
is either based on incomplete information (or even disinformation)
or on the failure of the subject to process correct and complete
information logically. Therefore, this kind of criticism is of
little practical value (and it certainly isn't "intelligent").
I've yet to see relevant, intelligent opposition to core
transhumanist ideas.

(*) a desire to overcome the limitations of the human condition
by means of reason, science and technology.

> But
> even worse is if the basic values differ - a person valuing the
> eternal and unchanging would be opposed to us in principle,

Ah, but since the natural state of things (the world, the universe) is
far from eternal and unchanging, that person would still need transhuman
technologies to realize his dream. What sweet irony...

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