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SCIENCE TO THE LIMIT OF POSSIBLE


transhumanismo@sapo.pt

Transhumanism = Scientific current trying to improve Man's Intelligence, and Happiness.

Quarta-feira, 17 de Junho de 2009
TO IMPROVE THE HUMAN BODY...DEEPLY

Rui Barbosa, PhD (U. Grenoble, France), Founder of the First Humanity+ Portuguese Chapter, transhumanismo@sapo.pt.

 

The Evolution is processed, generically speaking, through random mutations of the genes that, facing the Environment, or persist passing to the following generations, thus assuring the survival of the individuals, or are discarded…
We “already were” hunting in the African Savannah to get to feed us and the Evolution adapted us to this situation; currently we keep many rests of this adaptation, in spite of the fact that we live now in a very different environment.
Bostrom, one of the 2 Founders of the World Transhumanist Association (1), considers that we should adapt to the new situation instead of simply living passively the natural evolution. How?
Bostrom says that the evolved complex systems, as the Human Body, are difficult to improve and that our attempts to make it often fail face to a wisdom of Nature that we cannot reach. Against this conservative attitude and its opposite (adventurer), Bostrom tries an intermediate one that allows to identify promising improvements: he shows that important exceptional cases exist in which we could expect to be able to improve Nature using current or future Science. Bostrom says that, when trying to improve a system (developing the functioning of some subsystem beyond its healthful normal functioning, for instance long term memory, or adding a new capacity, for instance a 6th sense), the questions to put are:
1 Why is it that the system is as it is?
2 Why is it that it doesn’t already possess the characteristics that we would want it to have?
Bostrom says afterwards that, if Evolution did not make it and we think to be able to make it, it could be because of 3 reasons:
1 The Environment to have changed in relation to the archaic environment to which we would still be anachronistically adapted, because of the availability of new resources and of the appearance of new demands from the part of the Human being. For example, the abundance of food: the Brain spends 20% of the energy proceeding from this food; because we ceased to need so much to look for food (which does not require much brain) and, on the other hand, we need bigger cerebral activity, could eventually be useful interventions that caused an increase of the availability of mental energy…
2 Our values to be different of those “of the Evolution”: for instance the contraception: although being against the natural evolution, it allows to control the reproductive system thus making easier the familiar planning… but it can be harmful: remember that China made birth control of women and that currently it come across an excess of men of certain ages…
3 To have new tools at our disposal: we could wait to obtain new things because we can make use of new tools, new materials, etc.; example: the Evolution doesn’t give us eyeglasses when we need…
Bostrom concludes that if, for some interventions that we could be intending to carry in the Human Body, we will be able to find justification in the 3 types of reasons that we referred before, for others, however, we will not be able to make it: The first ones do not defy the wisdom of Nature and have greater probabilities of success, whereas the second are suspicious and it could be imprudent to try to make them.
Christian theologians consider that it could obligation for Man to improve its nature in certain domains (2). According to a Declaration of the Vatican of 2002, Man would not have full right to make use of its proper biological nature. Let us not forget, finally, that “the attainment of the fullness and happiness of Man are relative purposes of the Creation” (3), that is, are not the main purpose of the same Creation…
The Combonian Missionaries today commemorate the Day of the African Child: the development of this child could be prior (“Love your neighbour as yourself”) in relation to the improvement of the Human Body in a developed country…
Read me again in 15 days…
 
Totality of my chronicles: Transhumanismo Portugal
 
References
(1) The Wisdom of Nature: An Evolutionary Heuristic will be Human Enhancement, (2007), Nick Bostrom, Anders Sandberg, Oxford Future of Humanity Institute, Faculty of Philosophy & James Martin 21st Century School, Oxford University
(2) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transhumanism#cite_note-Cole-Turner_1993-89 (3) Encyclopedia Catholic Advent

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Music: De Profundis

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