Re: Defining Transhumanism

Hal Finney (
Mon, 19 Oct 1998 11:55:11 -0700

Robin Hanson writes:

> This definition focuses on positive, not normative, beliefs.
> To those who think that a definition should focus on normative
> beliefs I ask: Why do there seem to be so few people who share
> our positive beliefs but not our normative beliefs? That is,
> where are the people who believe that big technology-induced
> change is coming, and think that is a terrible thing?

There are a lot of people who believe this, but the change they foresee is different from what we anticipate. They expect ecological disaster, overpopulation, melting of the ice caps, famine, etc. Everyone would agree that if these things happen, it would be terrible.

These eco-disaster views are very common, in my experience, more so than anything approaching transhumanism. You frequently see it in sci-fi movies and TV, with the Star Trek series being the main exception.

Perhaps what is happening is that people express their differing views more in terms of what changes they expect than in terms of how they would react to changes.