Re: Are enhancements really at risk?

Michael Lee Bowling (
Mon, 23 Feb 1998 20:43:13 -0500 (EST)

On Sun, 22 Feb 1998, Damien R. Sullivan wrote:

> On Feb 21, 9:38pm, Michael Lee Bowling wrote:
> > What we probably will need is a safe haven where we can perform
> > physical/mental enhancements etc. without state interference. How about
> > just a large biomedical facility dedicated to transhuman augmentations?
> 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 suspect that the outcome of the current cloning and gene engineering
debates will set a presedent for future "ethicly troubling" technologies,
both from entrepeneurial and legislative stand points (Who wants to
develop technology likely to be banned? Who wants to develop technology
for just a small band of futurists somewhere in the middle of the ocean?
We've banned similar technologies, we might as well ban these as well)
If these current rages pass without criminalization then I will be much
more optimistic about future developments gaining acceptance. I agree
that much of the reasoning for keeping drugs illegal is b/c they were
illegal and I expect that attitudes will be no less yeilding to clonning,
genetic enginneering etc. once, if, they are banned. I suspect we will
have a good idea of how willing the legislative bodies of the world are to
accept enhancing technologies before the Extropia Sovereinty Fund is rich
enough to build/buy political refuge. It might not be a bad idea to start
saving now, just in case.

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.

Michael Bowling