WASHINGTON – Transhumanism may sound like science fiction, yet every day, it seems, a new “breakthrough” is announced by scientists, futurists and philosophers.
Some recent developments:
Scientists from China and the U.S. have found a way to inject a tiny electronic mesh sensor into the brain that fully integrates with cerebral matter and enables computers to monitor brain activity, permitting monitoring of brain functions, according to a new report in the journal Nature Nanotechnology. Is it a stretch to think such sensors could also be used to permit humans to tap into Internet search engines through wireless connections?
Ray Kurzweil, Google’s director of engineering, was in the news last week explaining how we can become more like gods through robotics.
Having previously predicted humans will generally be hybrid robots in 15 years, he recently told an audience at Singularity University our brains will soon be developing as quickly as our smartphones through artificial intelligence: “We’re going to add additional levels of abstraction and create more-profound means of expression. We’re going to be more musical. We’re going to be funnier. We’re going to be better at expressing loving sentiment. Evolution creates structures and patterns that over time are more complicated, more knowledgeable, more intelligent, more creative, more capable of expressing higher sentiments like being loving. So it’s moving in the direction that God has been described as having – these qualities without limit.”
Immortality? Yes, says Medical Daily, thanks to the discovery in 2009 of what is described as a 3.5-million-year-old bacteria strain called Bacillus F, also called “the eternal life bacteria” deep in the permafrost of Siberia’s Sakha Republic. Scientists claim that mice and fruit flies exposed to the bacteria seemed to get a boost to their immune systems, leading to longer lives and fertility even into old age. That prompted , Anatoli Brouchkov, the head of the geocryology department at Moscow State University, to inject himself with some: “After successful experiments on [the] mice and fruit flies, I thought it would be interesting to try the inactivated bacterial culture [on myself].” So far, he says he feels fine and hasn’t had a flu in two years.
But perhaps no one has taken the transhumanism and genetic engineering dream quite so far as bio-ethics philosopher Matthew Liao.
He is most famous for his paper in 2012 called “Human Engineering and Climate Change.”
Matthew Liao — “We’re not suggesting that we should mandate these ideas, but it would be good to make them options for people.”
Liao believes man-made catastrophic climate change represents such a threat to the planet that he is suggesting it’s time to consider human re-engineering as a way to save humanity and the Earth.
The director of the masters program in bioethics and an associate professor at New York University, Liao suggests one key gene editing technique on humans would allow them to see in low light conditions – like cats. This would allow humans to use less artificial lighting and, thus, save on energy and, thus, reduce their “carbon footprints.”
Editors Note: Cat eyes mean cat genes.
“We looked into cat eyes, the technique of giving humans cat eyes or of making their eyes more catlike,” he explained. “The reason is, cat eyes see nearly as well as human eyes during the day, but much better at night. We figured that if everyone had cat eyes, you wouldn’t need so much lighting, and so you could reduce global energy usage considerably. Maybe even by a shocking percentage.”
Liao also proposed genetically inducing an allergy to meat in humans. Why? Because a meat-based diet requires more energy and the meat industry reportedly accounts for 14.5 percent of all so-called “greenhouse gases” introduced into the atmosphere.
“We can artificially induce intolerance to red meat by stimulating the immune system against common bovine proteins,” he says.
Watch Matthew Liao present his scientific paper, “Engineer Humans to Stop Climate Change”
Perhaps the most controversial of all his proposals was genetically reducing the size of human offspring: “Making our children smaller may be unappealing,” he says, “but so is the prospect of having our children grow up in a world blighted by environmental consequences of their ancestors’ choices and lifestyles.”
In the paper, Liao also suggests pharmacological enhancements of human beings to give them more empathy and altruism, because empathy and altruism tend to be highly correlated with positive attitudes toward the environment.
“What we have in mind has more to do with weakness of will,” Liao explains. “For example, I might know that I ought to send a check to Oxfam, but because of a weakness of will I might never write that check. But if we increase my empathetic capacities with drugs, then maybe I might overcome my weakness of will and write that check.”
It may sound like a radical eugenics policy, but Liao is careful to say these are “just ideas” for consideration.
Interested in learning more about transhumanism? Check out these books and movies in the WND Superstore:
“We’re not suggesting that we should mandate these ideas, but it would be good to make them options for people,” says Liao.
The paper prompted Bill McKibbon, a prominent environmental advocate to Tweet that the suggestions in the paper were the “worst climate-change solutions of all time.”
And he’s not even a climate-change skeptic.
Recently, another esteemed scientist joined the growing chorus of those who call climate change a scam.
Harold Warren Lewis, a respected physicist who had previously advised both the U.S. government and the Pentagon on various matters including missile defense and nuclear winter, shocked his peers when he disseminated his letter of resignation from the American Physical Society. Lewis accused the group “the global-warming scam, with the trillions of dollars driving it that has corrupted so many scientists.”
Nevertheless, Liao’s ideas have received far more scrutiny and attention than your average academic paper.
Why is Liao so focused on averting climate change? Isn’t the world sufficiently obsessed with efforts to fight a problem that may not even be real?
“It’s not that I don’t think that some of those solutions could succeed under the right conditions,” he says. “It’s more that I think that they might turn out to be inadequate, or in some cases too risky.
“Take market solutions — so far it seems like it’s pretty difficult to orchestrate workable international agreements to affect international emissions trading. The Kyoto Protocol, for instance, has not produced demonstrable reductions in global emissions, and in any event demand for petrol and for electricity seems to be pretty inelastic. And so it’s questionable whether carbon taxation alone can deliver the kind of reduction that we need to really take on climate change.”