Re: >H gender apartheid and transhumanists

The Baileys (
Thu, 05 Nov 1998 11:58:13 -0500

Kathryn Aegis wrote:

> I hope that transhumanists, individually or in their groups, will
> decide to take some sort of action or make some sort of statement that
> indicates that we do not tolerate this sort of retrograde human abuse.
> If the situation is not reversed in Afghanistan, we will be living in a
> time in which at least one nation on the globe has free rein to
> segregate and punish its citizens based on their biology.

The situation in Afghanistan (and several other areas) is appalling. However, I'm not so certain that racism, sexism and transhumanism are mutually exclusive. Please understand that I deplore racism and sexism and all other forms of bigotry. However, I do not see any intrinsic aspect of transhumanism that would manifest in such a fashion that no transhumanists are bigots. The promise I see in the technological capacities that exist to some extent now and will be superfluous in the near future is the trivialization of "natural" biological configurations (e.g., race, gender, etc.) One the biggest concerns I have is that in the near future, with the advent of physical quasi-immortality, human-level artificial intelligence, molecular nanotechnology and other technologies, the vast bulk of individuals will become unnecessary. What temptations will be there be to justify an "optimization" of our society? Eugenics and such are sourced in irrational bigotry for now. But what happens when strong rational arguments grounded in logic call for filtering of society? For example, instead of trying to destroy the Jews, what happens if a government decides to eradicate all individuals with an IQ below 130?

However, our society has a long way to go. When I voted on November 3, I was alarmed to see a referendum on interracial marriages on the ballot. While I realize that South Carolina is a provincial, conservative state tucked firmly in the "bible" belt, I nevertheless was shocked to see this issue being subject to a vote. Evidently, there is a law in the South Carolina code dating from the 19th century that declares marriage between races to be illegal. I checked the statute and strangely the statute does not define "race". The implied meaning, of course, was race meaning "black" and "white". I was shocked because the fact that such a law remained on the books. It is not enforced, however, and as such as never been subject to judicial review by a South Carolina court. The most amazing aspect of the whole affair was that 38% of South Carolina voters voted to keep the law! It was a referendum on racism. I wager any other state would have at least 15-20% voting for such a law. It's sobering to see how primitive we still are. How would those 38% react when I told them that race is not important because our biological forms are only prostheses for our minds? I'd probably be burned at the stake.

Doug Bailey