This article compares the path of Transhumanism with Christianity, noting similarities and contrasts. The Transhuman’s Holy Grail is achieving immortality, but alas, without a truly human body. Such a post-human dream is a dead end street because it strips away all that it means to be human. ⁃ TN Editor.
Transhumanism’s time seems to have come. The movement’s goals and most prominent personalities are ubiquitously boosted with laudatory stories in the media, its scientific-research projects bounteously funded by the hyper-rich of Silicon Valley, and its potentiality (and consequences) increasingly prominent as Hollywood plotlines. Indeed, the movement is receiving so much positive attention these days that one would think its utopian goals are really achievable.
For those few readers who may still be unaware of this futuristic social movement, transhumanists seek to “seize control of human evolution” by harnessing the naked power of biotech, cyber tech, and computer tech, to engineer into themselves the powers of movie super-heroes and, eventually, achieve life without end. When transhumanism first emerged from the high academy such as Oxford and Yale, the focus was on radical individual redesign. Transhumanists believed that they could genetically alter themselves to increase their intelligence exponentially or, say, harness hawk genes to radically improve their eyesight. Society would, they believed, soon be divided between what Princeton biologist Lee Silver called “naturals” — e.g., the unenhanced — and the superior “gen-rich” post-humans.
Over time, transhumanism’s goals grew even more ambitious and grandiose. No longer satisfied with merely attaining extraordinary capabilities, the movement shifted its primary focus to fulfilling the age-old dream of immortality in the material world, giving a new meaning to Saint Paul’s triumphant declaration, “O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?
Transhumanists believe that as technology grows increasingly sophisticated, particularly research into artificial intelligence (AI), a moment— “the Singularity” — will come in which the cascade of technological advances will become self-generating, unstoppable, and uncontrollable. This crescendo of scientific leaps forward will culminate in everlasting life via the ability to upload our minds into computers. Once safely in cyberspace, transhumans can live indefinitely, perhaps melding their cyber-minds with others, being downloaded into a cyborg, their own cryogenically frozen heads attached to new bodies, or perhaps into their own clones. The details can become a bit murky, but Google’s Ray Kurzweil believes that software heaven will be with us by the 2040s.