Re: STORY: The Transhumanist Racist
Sat, 12 Jun 1999 22:21:11 -0400 wrote:

>I think this is looking at it a little too rationally. It seems to >me that much racism is an instinctive negative reaction towards >people different from yourself.

Exactly. If you favor biological explanations to human behavior (I do), racism and even genocide are very easy to understand, although they of course remain just as reprehensible. There is an interesting book out now entitled The Dark Side of Man: Tracing the Origins of Violence by Michael P. Ghiglieri. I haven't read it yet, but it apparently provides substantial evidence for behavior in apes and other animals which, if observed in humans, would be termed racist, xenophobic, or even genocidal. Many others, including Jane Goodall, have also advanced thinking along these lines.

But, here again, transhumanists could rise above. If the roots of this behavior are biological, so is the "cure." Presumably the genes at the basis for this proclivity could be identified and, I would hope, extinguished. Sort of makes fixing that pesky post nasal drip problem pale in comparison. But modifications to basic psychological biases will no doubt be the most controversial and risky of any genetic engineering. Would there be a downside to eliminating the KKK through better chemistry? There might - no, make that will - be some people who would argue for just the opposite: that any sense of racial identity, and perhaps even hostility, should be enhanced.

Of course, this is I am sure a vast oversimplification of the complex web of environmental and biological factors underlying behavior, but I think the general concept will eventually prove valid.

BTW, loved the story!

Regards -

Pat Inniss