Just Because You Don’t Understand Doesn’t Mean Its Not Real: Most Epistemologically Unprepared For Bioenhancement Nightmares
An old adage posits that what you don’t know can’t hurt you. Whoever came up with that one obviously had little imagination to foresee the horrors about to be set loose upon the earth in the years and decades to come.
In my column “Scientists Suggest Bestiality”, I wrote about findings by MIT and Harvard researchers suggesting that millions of years ago ancient humans and chimpanzees engaged in interspecies liaisons resulting in fecund offspring, bolstering the claims by a growing number of geneticists and the like that the boundaries between the species might not be as set in stone (or at least DNA) as at one time thought. It is deplorable enough some would interpret the data in this fashion (as frankly there aren’t that many interspecies pornos dating back that far to serve as irrefutable evidence) to further undermine the uniqueness of man in their attempt to bolster the Darwinian hypothesis that one form of life is essentially no better than any other. However, things grow even more disturbing when one realizes that there are adherents of this particular worldview that believe that it is not enough that all species are the same morally but that they must all be merged into the same species ontologically.
Also in the column, I pointed out the attempts whispered about in hushed tones through the pages of speculative history about attempts overseen by the devotees of perdition seeking to intermingle man and ape hoping to conjure an abomination synthesizing attributes of each such as Stalin’s plot to breed a hybrid ape-man solider, various Chinese experiments, and rumors about what went on behind the closed doors of the Yerkes National Primate Research Center. For daring to comment on the moral implications of the issue and speculating where it might be headed in the future, those of limited imagination accused me of being “mentally sick” and possibly being a member of the John Birch Society (though I am not as I seldom join membership groups for reasons similar to Batman’s one-time leeriness of the Justice League, philosophically, the JBS is not all that bad of a group to belong to).
Call me a kook all you want as sanity is often overrated. However, one cannot attribute my speculations to “having watched Tank Girl one too many times” as I was accused of by one sophisticate so sure of what he thinks reality will be like a few decades hence if the good Lord has not intervened to put a stop to it by then.
If my prognostications are too much for you to handle as some have said at times I am “just too real”, perhaps more down to earth sources such as Albert Mohler (head of Southern Baptist Seminary) and the Boston Globe are more your style. With considerably more to lose in terms of finances and prestige as a result of their writings if they are labeled a lunatic than I do, one will find their conclusions backed by current scientific speculation and academic theorizing.
Both Albert Mohler, in “Listening To The Transhumanists”, and Cathy Young of the Boston Globe, in “Transhumanism : Yearning To Transcend Biology”, analyze a conference held at Stanford Law School titled “Human Enhancement Technologies & Human Rights”. In an age where it is nearly impossible to keep track of the countless laws threatening both human life and liberty, the eggheads in whose hands rest our earthly fates have decided such confusion is not enough to keep them occupied as they endeavor to craft entire new bodies of law akin to as if Judge Judy had set up court in the bar scene from Star Wars.
Employing typical postmodernist rhetoric, conference luminaries claimed to be offering liberation by attempting to prevent us from being seen as mere “biopower” and, in the words of the conferees as reported by Albert Mohler, from the “political struggles that structure the occupation of one’s embodied space (whatever that all means” . But in order to deliver on the promise, postmodernism must cut off humanity’s nose to spite its face.
Usually that statement is meant in a metaphorical sense. However, according to Albert Mohler, the tenured loons to whom high salaries are paid to subvert our culture and brainwash the nation’s young are so unbalanced that they might very well take the adage literally as it was suggested at the conference that individuals should have the right to amputate healthy limbs to prevent themselves from being used as “biopower for the state”, no doubt instead being supported by the remainder of us not quite progressive enough to be ungrateful for an otherwise functioning body.
The average person unaccustomed to the intellectual confusion that today passes as profound scholastic innovation would be shocked by such a proposal. However, some lunatic with a hacksaw thinking he’s Vincent Van Gogh is actually quite mild when compared with the future being planned for us by these deluded technocrats.
Those gathered at the Stanford conference waxed eloquent and no doubt grew misty-eyed about the moral obligation to uplift “non-human animals” (and they aren’t talking about making sure these critters have a full bowl of water, are brought inside on a cold night, or receive an occasional scratch on the belly or behind the ears). Rather, what these theoretical futurists are suggesting is that we should tinker around with these organisms until they are on par with the rest of us in terms of intelligence and reasoning ability. But then again, in light of those gathered at the Transhumanist conference, it wouldn’t be too difficult to engineer such a creature surpassing them in terms of common sense.
Interestingly, while those at the conference speak of the moral obligations of human beings, these are often the very same raconteurs that get all livid about the prospect of one individual imposing morality on someone else, especially if the one being imposed upon happens to belong to a darling minority group. Who, then, are we to assume that animals, even if they could be theoretically progressed to our level of intelligence, will abide by human standards? What is to prevent them from retaining their similar kind of bloodlust while simply turning their intelligence against us?
According to Albert Mohler’s commentary, there would be little ground for the Transhumanists to complain about a lion with a PhD going Hannibal Lector on us. To James Hughes, author of Citizen Cyborg, such refusal to assume a position lower down the food chain simply because of our status as human beings is akin to racism. And we all know how liberals just love to suppress all other rights in their grand crusade to eliminate even the last hint of “racism”.
These technocrats do a good job talking the jargon of science fiction but obviously haven’t been watching the same movies and television programs as the rest of us. From the various incarnations of the Planet of the Apes alone we learn of the potential horrors likely to result should humanity lose its monopoly on rational thought and written communication.
Merging man and machine will prove no better if done so with a helter skelter, willy nilly philosophy seeking to violate traditional conceptions of what it means to be a person just for the sake of violating what it means to be a person. It is one thing to swap a faulty organ with a replacement such as an artificial heart as such an effort would be undertaken out of respect for individual human life.
But that is not what many of the Transhumanists are proposing. For the spirit one discerns in pondering the ruminations of the Transhumanists causes one to conclude that what these thinkers propose is development progressing towards something along the lines of the Borg from Star Trek or the Cybermen or Darleks from Doctor Who.
Transhumanist spokesman (or perhaps I should instead say “spokesbeing” for reasons that will be stated momentarily) claim they want to expand what it means to be human but in reality want to abolish many of those attributes that make each of us distinct individuals without having to rely on the superscience of the elites. According to Albert Mohler, foremost on this movement’s agenda is the obliteration or at least the blurring of the innate gender distinctions that have characterized the human species throughout its history no matter how much cultural roles and expectations might change. For if Transhumanists have their way, one day women might be able to inseminate themselves as well as alter physiology so that your daddy will also be your mommy.
However, not only do many Transhumanists want to obliterate natural physical distinctions but they are even more offended even more by outdated conceptions of individuality. At one time, the Borg, Dahleks, and Cybermen represented just about the most frightening science fiction villains imaginable because of the threat they posed of subsuming the autonomous existential unit into the larger group entity. If things continue on their current philosophical course, it won’t be long until the Borg will come to be seen as the heroes of the Star Trek universe and Captain Picard and the crew of his Enterprise as the bad guys for standing against the unfolding progress of a unified universal consciousness.
In one episode of Deep Space Nine, Commander Sisco and Chief O’brien end up on a planet where a band of deliberately stranded human beings live a cultic Ludditte existence free of technology. And even though this philosophy was imposed by the typical charismatic guru, unlike at Jonestown on the Branch Davidian compound these actions were not justified in the name of God, or even the saucer men as n the case of the Heaven’s Gate group, but rather repeatedly in the name of the COMMUNITY.
One does not have to be a convention-going Trekkie to point out that on the surface that these technophobes and the Borg appear to be about as far apart philosophically as one can get. This sect eschewed technology whereas the Borg literally incorporated it into the very fiber of their being. However, in the later episodes of Star Trek: Voyager, the eponymous vessel of the series making its way back to earth from the Delta Quadrant of the Milky Way came across another group that was essentially a Hegelian synthesis of the two previously mentioned antagonists.
In the episode “Unity“, the Voyager crew --- particularly Commander Chacotay --- came across a group of Borg that had been severed from the Collective (the term used by the Borg for their group consciousness). But instead of living their lives as individuals, the group resorts to a smaller version of the collective they called (drum roll please......) the COMMUNITY.
While these ideas and concepts make for interesting stories, unfortunately the average citizen is coming upon them more and more in their average daily lives. For example, all throughout the year but especially at times designated “holiday” by the radical nonsectarians obsessed with nonoffense to all faiths accepted Biblical Christianity, it has become common place for those making astronomical amounts of money because they look good when layers upon layers of make-up sandblasted into the craters on their faces or because they have mastered the art of dribbling back and forth across a wooden court where at the end they toss it through a meshed hoop to lecture the rest of us on the need to give back to the COMMUNITY. Usually, the average American of good sense can easily tune out such nonsense by simply turning the channel or realizing such celebrities don’t exactly play with a full deck anyway in terms of either intelligence or moral integrity.
However, there are sectors of our culture most of us have been conditioned into accepting without question that are at the forefront of implementing the collectivist agenda. Conservative Evangelical Protestants especially when going to church have been accustomed to hearing sermons focusing on how Christ came into this world born of the Virgin Mary, lived the perfect life that we could not, suffered and died in our place for our sins, and rose from the dead so that we as individuals might be saved.
It was this emphasis upon the distinct individual as a value and a good in himself that in large part empowered the free lands of the West, even if the ideal wasn’t adhered to at every moment in history, to withstand the overwhelming onslaught of world Communism. However, just because one goes to what one would think would be an ecclesiastical assembly of solid theology that is no guarantee one will today hear of this message that those of conviction have willingly given their lives for since the waning days of Rome.
In the postmodern or emerging church of today, one is more likely to hear that the Christian faith is not so much about personal salvation but rather about the sublimation of one’s identity into that of the larger group to bring about the Kingdom of God here on earth prior to or even irrespective of the physical return of Christ. Couple this with how Romans 13 is invoked to insist upon submission in regards to matters over which government was never intended to have any control in our private lives and very few Americans would resist efforts to turn them into something other than what is referred to as “baseline humans”.
Though it is doubtful initial changes would be as dramatic as the time Captain Picard was turned into Locutis by the Borg, government coercion is no doubt on the way. Cathy Young of the Boston Globe writes in a July 10, 2006 article titled “Transhumanism Yearning To Transcend Biology”, “Suppose we get to the point where genetic intervention...can reduce the risk of criminal behavior. Could parents be charged with negligence if they reject such procedures and their child commits a crime? Could a teenager with anti-social tendencies be forced to undergo the treatment? What about the scenario depicted in the film ‘Gattica’, in which prospective parents face tremendous social pressure to genetically engineer their children?”
One might also argue that initially one wouldn’t even have to resort to criminal charges to frighten most parents into compliance. Rather, all you would have to do is craft a series of incentives and penalties similar to those in place coercing those with less fortitude to surrender their offspring to the public school system.
For example, your child doesn’t have that implant guaranteeing both faster cognition and social compliance? That’s too bad, a life of menial labor for them then. We are already see something like this in systems of education where diplomas are being replaced with so-called “certificates of mastery” more concerned about assessing a students political attitudes and adaptability to the commands of the elite or norms of the group than whether or not a body of standardized objective facts or skills have been acquired.
Once the population has been conditioned by this process for awhile (maybe several generations but at the accelerated pace at which things are changing perhaps even less), the state (or whatever organizational entity might be running things by that point) will coerce compliance by declaring that those who do not submit themselves for biomechanicalgenetic enhancement are no longer worthy of the protections granted to whomever the overly educated bestow the rank of human being upon. For while most whose ears are not tuned in will come away thinking that the Transhumanist movement is nothing more than a lobby for those wanting to live their lives with self-inflicted deformities, if one parses every single word uttered by those whose brains have been rewired by this dangerous spiritual delusion, one will have noticed that according to this worldview as Alber Mohler quotes from James Hughes, “Under personhood theory, some humans would be excluded, but all self-aware entities --- whether human, machine, chimera, or robot --- would qualify for the rights, privileges, and protections of citizenship.”
Just as multiculturalists today argue that the only thing unworthy of tolerance is intolerance since no one in their right mind would disagree with the multiculturalists, eventually those that disagree with the Transhumanist position on human enhancements and the like will be accused of enunciating a position so far outside the accepted mainstream that those who utter such things will not be deemed worthy of the privileges of personhood.
Some will dismiss these warnings claiming such nightmares could never become a reality. The same kinds of things use to be said about nuclear weapons and terrorists flying jetliners into skyscrapers as well.
Frederick Meekins is an independent theologian and social critic. Frederick holds a BS in Political Science/History, a MA in Apologetics/Christian Philosophy from Trinity Theological Seminary, and a PhD. in Christian Apologetics from Newburgh Theological Seminary.