Saturday, July 8, 2017
'YOU SHALL NOT SURELY DIE': MEDICAL RESURRECTION OF THE DEAD
FROM "CLINICALLY DEAD" TO "REANIMATED", WHAT ARE THE PROPONENTS OF "RESURRECTION VIA MEDICINE" REALLY OFFERING HUMANITY?
CAN THEY BRING US BACK FROM THE DEAD?
MEDICAL RESURRECTION, AS OPPOSED TO THE RESUSCITATION OF THE CLINICALLY DEAD, IS, SOME SAY, WITHIN REACH OF MODERN MEDICINE AND SCIENCE.
How science is finding new ways to bring the dead back to life
AUGUST 3, 2014
On June 10, 1986, a 2¹/₂-year-old girl slipped and fell into a creek near her Salt Lake City home. She spent 66 minutes in the freezing water, her body lodged against a rock. Conventional wisdom held that 15 minutes was the maximum anyone could survive drowning. When rescue workers pulled her onto the bank, she had no pulse. Her skin had turned a light blue, the color of oxygen deprivation. Her pupils were fixed and dilated, evidence that her brain had shut down.
Clinically, she was dead.
Out of blind hope, paramedics performed CPR. At the hospital, doctors continued CPR, while also connecting her to a heart-lung bypass machine to help rewarm her body, which had plummeted to 72 degrees.
One hour went by. Then two hours. By the third, the girl took a small, almost undetectable breath. Then her heart began to flutter. She continued recovering in the days and weeks that followed, eventually released after having made a “complete neurological recovery.”
It was miraculous — even staid medical journals agreed. So many questions were raised: How could someone go without a heartbeat, without breathing for 66 minutes and survive neurologically unscathed? Was death more subjective, more open to interpretation, than ever believed?
But here’s the wrinkle: Twelve years after the accident, the Journal of International Neuropsychological Society published a little-seen follow-up of the girl at 14 years old, concluding that she displayed a “broad pattern of neurodevelopmental compromise.”
She had difficulties in keeping up with her peers in school and displayed “dramatic memory impairments,” especially in working memory and motor skill.
We want to believe it’s possible to come back untouched from the dead, and so we do, despite ample evidence to the contrary.
Changing the definition of ‘dead’
If you perished 200 or so years ago, your dead body might have been tickled with feathers, tied to horses for “trotting therapies,” subjected to tobacco cures and flagellation.
Cold therapies, which had been introduced as the “Russian Method” of resurrection two centuries ago, gained clout in the 1950s as a Canadian heart surgeon, Dr. Wilfred Bigelow, began inducing hypothermia on rhesus monkeys before surgery with impressive results (11 of the 13 monkeys survived after removing and replacing their hearts).
Thanks to Bigelow and other follow-up studies, as well as real-world examples like the toddler who fell in the creek and the skier who survived under ice, researchers began to appreciate the important role that cooling plays in halting death and decay. Every second an organ spends oxygen-deprived is a significant step in its death march. When the body is cooled, cells begin to slow, reducing the output of metabolic energy, and curtailing the damage done.
A significant step toward real-life suspended animation is under way at the Safar Center for Resuscitation Research at the University of Pennsylvania. The institute has devoted countless research hours to studying the effects of suspended animation, first on dogs, then on pigs, and now on human gunshot-wound victims.
In their studies, a heart is stopped (in the case of human patients, the heart has likely stopped on its own), and cooling saline solution is injected into the veins, replacing the patient’s blood. This process has allowed pigs and dogs to remain “dead” for upward of two hours, giving ample time for surgeons to dedicate more time to their work.
Results from the study have not yet been released. But Peter Rhee, author of “Trauma Red,” who is a researcher in this study and is perhaps best known for treating Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, told the New Scientist: “After we did those experiments, the definition of ‘dead’ changed. Every day at work I declare people dead . . . I could, right then and there, suspend them.
“But I have to put them in a body bag. It’s frustrating to know there’s a solution.”
But there is a danger in overestimating the advances in resuscitation research, explains Katy Butler, journalist and author of “Knocking on Heaven’s Door: The Path to a Better Way of Death.”
Though technology has undoubtedly improved, she explains, paraphrasing a surgeon, that the quality of death has declined.
“We are warehousing thousands of people who would have died without resuscitation interventions, who are now living in a limbo state, who can’t move or communicate,” Butler says. “So they’ve survived. But at what cost?”
ARE THOSE KEPT 'ALIVE' BY MEANS OF 'LIFE SUPPORT' REALLY ALIVE AS WE HAVE DEFINED THE TERM UP UNTIL NOW?
IF THEY ARE INDEED ALIVE, HOW CAN FAMILIES AND PHYSICIANS MAKE THE DECISION TO "KILL" THEM BY WITHDRAWING LIFE SUPPORT?
IS DOING SO MURDER?
AND IF THEY ARE NEITHER IN ACTUALITY ALIVE NOR CONSIDERED DEAD, WHAT ARE THEY?
IF THESE PEOPLE ARE IN A NOT-ALIVE/NOT-DEAD STATE, IS IT ETHICAL TO HAND THEIR BODIES OVER TO THOSE WHO WOULD "RE-ANIMATE" THEM?
MANY COMPANIES EXIST TODAY WHO MAKE THAT PROMISE, OFFER THAT HOPE, THAT THE DEAD CAN BE "REBORN", THAT HUMANS NO LONGER HAVE TO "DIE".
Many companies, including Google, are working on ways to extend our lives by tens if not hundreds of years, but Humai wants to turn this idea on its head.
Rather than making us live longer, the Los Angeles firm wants to bring people back from the dead using artificial intelligence.
Details about the technology are scarce, and it's not entirely clear whether it is a hoax or not, but the plans would involve freezing a person's brain before fitting it with a 'personality' chip.
Los Angeles-based Humai wants to bring people back from the dead using artificial intelligence.
The firm plans to use artificial intelligence and nanotechnology to store data of conversational styles, behavioral patterns, thought processes and information on a person's body functions from the inside-out
Founder Josh Bocanegra has assured his critics that he is serious about human resurrection and believes it could even be possible within the next 30 years.
According to the Humai website, the company is an: 'AI company with a mission to reinvent the afterlife'.
POPULAR SCIENCE: THE RE-ANIMATORS
One afternoon in February 2011, Kelly Dwyer, a 46-year-old environmental educator, spent 5 hours "medically dead", but she was brought back to life by a new type cardiac bypass machine that more aggressively warmed, filtered, and oxygenated her blood, and rapidly circulated it through her body.
Typically, after just minutes without a heartbeat, brain cells start dying, and an irreversible and lethal process is set in motion. But when a person becomes severely cold before his heart quits, his metabolism slows. The body sips so little oxygen that it can remain in a suspended state for up to seven hours without permanent cell damage. Thanks to improvements in technology (like the cardiac bypass machine that saved Dwyer’s life) and medical understanding, the odds are getting better for coming back from the edge.
They are so good, in fact, that some doctors and scientists are testing a bold new hypothesis: What if you could induce a near-death state in order to save lives?
If it can be done, it could be a game changer for saving some of the nearly 200,000 Americans who die each year due to trauma injuries. By essentially pressing “pause,” doctors might be able to buy precious time that could mean the difference between life and death. Suspended animation is no longer the stuff of Star Wars or Avatar. Bringing people back from the “dead” is not science fiction anymore.
The Department of Defense is also heavily involved, with the hope that thousands of servicemen and servicewomen could benefit as well: Ninety percent of war casualties result from bleeding out on the battlefield. In 2010, it launched a $34 million initiative called Biochronicity—an interdisciplinary research project to figure out how to manipulate the human clock.
“The goal is to examine the way our bodies know that time is progressing,” explains Col. Matthew Martin, a 48-year-old active-duty trauma surgeon whose research is funded through Biochronicity. The battlefield application would be the slowing down or the stopping of time, making a wounded soldier able to survive longer—or even survive indefinitely—“so that we can get somewhere to treat the injury,” says Martin, “and then reverse that suspended state.”
"If you took dead people and gave them state-of-the-art therapy, how many of them would recover?"
BUT WHAT ABOUT THOSE WHO ARE ON LIFE SUPPORT BUT MIGHT BE REMOVED FROM THAT AT ANY MOMENT, PEOPLE WHOM FAMILIES AND MEDICINE HAVE GIVEN UP ON?
CAN THEY BE HANDED OVER TO COMPANIES WHO SAY THEY CAN 'BRING THEM BACK', BE USED AS HUMAN GUINEA PIGS?
THAT ALMOST HAPPENED RECENTLY AND STILL MIGHT HAPPEN.
SEVERAL HEADLINES ANNOUNCED THE PLANNED ATTEMPT...
Dead could be brought 'back to life' in groundbreaking project
Project Approved to Attempt to Reanimate Brain Dead Patients
'Another step towards the eventual reversal of death in our lifetime'
"Scientists are getting ethical permission from health watchdogs to resurrect dead people by using a combination of regeneration therapies.
Starting this year, the groundbreaking 'Project Reanima' will primarily use stem cells to stimulate the regrowth of neurons in clinically dead patients.
Bioquark Inc., an American biotech company, is one of the medical companies given the green light to conduct the trials on 20 patients declared 'brain dead' from traumatic injuries.
Revita Life Sciences will join a team from Bioquark Inc. and they will use a combination of therapies, which include injecting the brain with stem cells and a cocktail of peptides, as well as deploying lasers and nerve stimulation techniques.
The procedure has been shown to bring patients out of comas.
The process is similar to that in creatures like salamanders who can regrow entire limbs.
“This represents the first trial of its kind and another step towards the eventual reversal of death in our lifetime," Dr Ira Pastor, CEO of Bioquark Inc., says. He hopes that the team can start recruiting patients immediately from the hospital they are currently working with to identify families where there may be a religious or medical barrier to organ donation. He adds that the complex initiative can start to yield results within the first two to three months, The Mind Unleashed reports.
The Bioquark team has highly recognized neurological researchers leading the project. Aside from Dr. Bansal, the team also has Dr. Calixto Machado, who has written extensively on brain death and is a member of American Academy of Neurology, the Christian Truther reports.
The trial will begin at Anupam Hospital in India, where the medically certified brain dead recruits are only kept from decomposing by life support machines.
The resurrection technique using stem cells will test whether parts of the dead patients' central nervous system can be brought back to life.
Scientists believe that the brain stem cells may be able to erase their history and re-start life again."
With the easy potential to be dubbed a non-fiction Frankenstein, Pastor and his Bioquark team plan to attempt to revive people who have been pronounced dead.
They intend to use a complex set of translational therapeutic applications of autologous stem cells.
What Pastor is proposing is the reversal of irreversible comas residing in hospitals.
Pastor believes Bioquark Inc. has the capacity to revive hospital patients who have been pronounced brain dead.
The question of whether a person who is brain dead is really dead continues to be debated. In 1980, a Presidential Commission concluded that a brain-dead person is, “an individual who has sustained either (1) irreversible cessation of circulatory and respiratory functions, or (2) irreversible cessation of all functions of the entire brain, including the brain stem. A determination of death must be made in accordance with accepted medical standards.”
The question still remains, is brain dead really dead?
What if there are signs of life?
For example, a large number of brain-dead patients retain function of the posterior pituitary. There is also the fact that a brain-dead body can be kept alive with life support.
Using stem cell and peptide injections, Pastor believes he can induce re-generational growth in the brain, development that may bring back involuntary functions and responses like heartbeat and breathing."
WELL, INDIA BLOCKED THIS "PROJECT" IN NOVEMBER OF 2016.
"The team planned to test this procedure on 20 patients in India, but Ira Pastor, CEO of Bioquark, admitted to Science that the team was having trouble getting permission from family members to enroll their loved ones in the trial.
Additionally, news of the ReAnima trial sparked controversy among other researchers when it was first announced in May.
The question of ethics also came up as the mix of injections the team intended to administer to human patients hadn’t been tested in animal models. Partially reviving brain dead patients may also traumatize family members, researchers argued.
“While there have been numerous demonstrations in recent years that the human brain and nervous system may not be as fixed and irreparable as is typically assumed, the idea that brain death could be easily reversed seems very far-fetched,” Dean Burnett, a neuroscientist at the United Kingdom’s Cardiff University, told The Telegraph.
Medical journals have on occasion carried reports of brain-dead individuals on life support returning to a fully functional state, but researchers have argued that such cases are hard to interpret and often lack evidence of brain death such as the apnea test, a measure of whether the person’s brain stem is making an effort to breathe.
Pastor told Science that despite the setback, the team intends to move forward, even if they have to move the trial outside of India.
“Many road blocks, no doubt, will pop up. But the project will go on,” Pastor said."
IN JUNE OF THIS YEAR, THE COMPANY ANNOUNCED IT WAS RESTARTING THE RESEARCH IN AN "UNNAMED" SOUTH AMERICAN COUNTRY.
"Bioquark has not clarified how it intends to obtain consent from technically dead patients but in spite of the controversy, this study is not alone. The work at Bioquark is part of a larger program concerning neuro-reanimation and regeneration called ReAnima.
“The mission of the ReAnima Project is to focus on clinical research in the state of brain death, or irreversible coma, in subjects who have recently met the Uniform Determination of Death Act criteria, but who are still on cardio-pulmonary or trophic support – a classification in many countries around the world known as a ‘living cadaver’.”
TO BE DEFINED AS A LIVING CADAVER ... IMAGINE THAT, CAN YOU?
ALL THIS TALK FALLS UNDER A THING CALLED 'TRANSHUMANISM'.
TRANSHUMANISM DEFIES TRUE DEFINITION AS MANY TRANSHUMANISTS DISAGREE WITH OTHER TRANSHUMANISTS, BUT MOST AGREE THAT MANKIND, AS A SPECIES, CAN AND MAYBE EVEN MUST BE 'ENHANCED", ADVANCED, "IMPROVED".
Transhumanists support the convergence of technologies including nanotechnology, biotechnology, information technology and cognitive science (NBIC), as well as hypothetical future technologies like simulated reality, artificial intelligence, superintelligence, 3D bioprinting, mind uploading, chemical brain preservation and cryonics. They believe that humans can and should use these technologies to become "more than human". (From the book, More Than Human: Embracing the Promise of Biological Enhancement by Ramez Naam, 2005, Broadway Books)
Transhumanism is a class of philosophies of life that seek the continuation and acceleration of the evolution of intelligent life beyond its currently human form and human limitations by means of science and technology, guided by life-promoting principles and values. – Max More (1990)
Research on brain and body alteration technologies has been accelerated under the sponsorship of the U. S. Department of Defense, which is interested in the battlefield advantages they would provide to the super-soldiers of the United States and its allies.
DARPA, as always, is conducting a myriad of investigations into human "enhancement" technology.
(Source: "Mind Wars: Brain Research and National Defense", by Jonathan Moreno. 2006, Dana Press. This is also available in PDF form, instantly downloads, at <this website>.. An interview with Moreno can be read <here>.)
"Imagine a person severely disabled by a stroke who, with electrodes implanted in his brain, can type on a computer just by thinking about the letters. Or a man, blind for 20 years, driving a car around a parking lot via a camera hard-wired into his brain. Plots for science fiction? No, it’s already happened."
"Wired minds, designer bodies, doubled life spans, a child for every happy couple: the drugs, therapies, products, and procedures of cutting-edge biotech. An optimistic portrayal of the brave new future of scientifically improved life; bioengineering projects underway: gene therapy to cure disease, enhance athletic performance, and lengthen life span; brain implants to allow the paralyzed to move, the mute to speak, the blind to see, and the deaf to hear; brain-computer interfaces to mimic telepathy (“Just as we can e-mail our words . . . we’ll be able to broadcast the inner states of our minds”); political trends that suggest eventual acceptance of initially controversial practices and ideas.
There’s little chance that all of these will ever become mainstream, but some certainly will, and that fact alone is both exciting and frightening."
FROM THE LOS ANGELES TIMES: "ERA OF SOUPED-UP HUMANS IS COMING"
MARCH 7, 2005
"Gene therapy could eliminate genetically based diseases; designer drugs could combat neurological or brain disease, improve intelligence or sculpt personality. A variety of therapies could affect life at its beginning and end, allowing parents to modify the genes that shape an unborn child’s mind and physique, or elders to dramatically slow the aging process. Brain implants already let us use thought to control prostheses and robotic devices. In a few years, they could evolve into machine-mediated brain-to-brain connection — Internet-enabled telepathy and mind reading.
Authors as different as Bill McKibben in “Enough” and Francis Fukuyama in “Our Posthuman Future” argue that technologies could so dramatically alter our bodies, or challenge our capacity for self-determination and free will, that we should be wise enough to refuse — even ban — them.
But in today’s borderless high-tech world, if gene therapies and neural implants are banned in the U.S., they’ll probably be available somewhere else.
Life-extending therapies, despite their likely popularity, probably wouldn’t dramatically change our sense of what it means to be human. In contrast, neurotechnologies that allow a prosthetic device to feel like a part of our bodies, or let us directly share thoughts and senses with others, would scramble our basic notions of body and mind, self and other, individual and community."
THE MILLION DOLLAR QUESTION...
WILL TRANSHUMANISM GIVE TOO MUCH POWER TO THE FEW?
Some critics of transhumanism see the old eugenics, social Darwinist, and master race ideologies and programs of the past as warnings of what the promotion of eugenic enhancement technologies might unintentionally encourage.
(See: 'War Against the Weak: Eugenics and America's Campaign to Create a Master Race' by Edwin Black, 2003)
Some fear future "eugenics wars" as the worst-case scenario: the return of coercive state-sponsored genetic discrimination and human rights violations such as compulsory sterilization of persons with genetic defects, the killing of the institutionalized and, specifically, segregation and genocide of races perceived as inferior.
Health law professor George Annas and technology law professor Lori Andrews are prominent advocates of the position that the use of these technologies could lead to such human-posthuman caste warfare.
(See: "Protecting the endangered human: toward an international treaty prohibiting cloning and inheritable alterations". Am. J. Law & Med. 28: 15)
THAT IS ONLY THE BEGINNING OF THIS TALE WHICH HAD ITS BEGINNINGS LONG AGO HERE IN AMERICA, CIRCA 1884.
FROM THE NEW YORKER, APRIL 20, 2016:
"On April 7, 1844, Joseph Smith, the founder of the Mormon faith, delivered a sermon to twenty thousand of his followers in Nauvoo, Illinois.
The immediate occasion was the funeral of King Follett, a close friend of Smith’s.
“God himself was once as we are now, and is an exalted man, and sits enthroned in yonder heavens!” Smith told the crowd. “That is the great secret.”
He continued: “You have got to learn how to be gods yourselves . . . the same as all gods have done before you, namely, by going from one small degree to another, and from a small capacity to a great one; from grace to grace, from exaltation to exaltation, until you attain to the resurrection of the dead.”
“As God now is, man may be.”
The Mormon Transhumanist Association (MTA) is a group of people who believe that the development and dissemination of advanced technologies—cryogenics, bionics, artificial intelligence, and so on—will raise humanity to the heights of power and immortality that Smith envisioned.
In the early part of the 21st century, as high-ranking members of the Mormon church were looking for ways to involve the church in "radical visions of the future" to enliven lagging membership, a young man named Lincoln Cannon introduced the group to the idea of transhumanism, which he had encountered on various Web sites. That was the beginning of the M.T.A.
Over the next decade, the band of fourteen founders grew to six hundred members, with Cannon as their president.
Some transhumanists have suggested that we may eventually become immortal, as medical science outpaces disease. Others speculate that our corporeal beings will one day be made inorganic. These predictions may seem, to the uninitiated, like the absurd stuff of science fiction, but they will surely gain social acceptance as the tech titans of Silicon Valley push transhumanist ideals.
Google, the second-largest company in the world (by market capitalization), has a director of engineering (the 'futurist' Ray Kurzweil) who believes that humanity will conquer death.
THE GUARDIAN, UK, DID A PIECE ON KURZWEIL'S BOOK AND A LOOK INTO TRANSHUMANISM CALLED "GOD IN THE MACHINE' MY STRANGE JOURNEY INTO TRANSHUMANISM".
"Many transhumanists such as Kurzweil contend that they are carrying on the legacy of the Enlightenment – that theirs is a philosophy grounded in reason and empiricism, even if they do lapse occasionally into metaphysical language about “transcendence” and “eternal life”.
As I read more about the movement, I learned that most transhumanists are atheists who, if they engage at all with monotheistic faith, defer to the familiar antagonisms between science and religion. “The greatest threat to humanity’s continuing evolution,” writes the transhumanist Simon Young, “is theistic opposition to Superbiology in the name of a belief system based on blind faith in the absence of evidence.”
FROM THAT ARTICLE, ONE CAN SEE BOTH THE LURE OF TRAANSHUMANISM AND, PERHAPS, AN INNATE AVERSION TO IT?
IS IT A "GUT REACTION" TO MAN DESIRING TO BE HIS OWN 'GOD'?
IS IT THE VERY REAL THOUGHT THAT SOME WHO PERHAPS COULD FIND A WAY TO CREATE THE "IMMORTAL HUMAN" COULD ALSO "UNCREATE" THOSE OF US WHOM THEY DEEMED "UNFIT" TO BE IMMORTALIZED?
Many transhumanists, including the founder of transhumanism himself, Julian Huxley, have rejected traditional religion (and the morals that go with it).
Here were tech-minded futurists, seers from non-religious worlds, who nonetheless believed that humans would become as powerful as gods—whether via bionic limbs, alterations in our DNA, or computer-assisted superintelligence.
Perhaps, some members of the M.T.A. thought, transhumanism offered a sort of technical explanation for the Millennium, the period after the Second Coming of Christ, when humankind has eradicated death and disease and poverty.
Others wondered whether the Mormon dedication to tracking family trees and amassing genealogical information was a first step in reconstructing all our ancestors in digitally simulated environments.
Some discussed the prophesies, contained in Mormon scripture, that the children of the Millennium will live to the age of a tree, and that those in the afterlife receive a seer stone—some form of technology, perhaps—that allows them to see into kingdoms beyond.
Among the M.T.A.’s ranks are biology professors, employees of major tech companies, patent holders, and an artificial intelligence (A.I.) researcher at Los Alamos National Laboratory.
They reflect a belief that God and his works are subject to natural law.
“Mormonism doesn’t see creation as a magical creation from nothing,” Christopher Bradford, the vice-president of engineering at Ancestry.com and the newly minted president of the M.T.A., told me. There are no miracles at a “snap of the fingers.”
(As the British sci-fi author Arthur C. Clarke put it, “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”)
According to Cannon, Mormons have historically welcomed technological progress. “We built wagons to go west; we irrigated Utah to terraform it; we use computers to store massive amounts of genealogical data,” he said.
The developer who created the programming language Ruby is Mormon, as were the teams behind Iomega and Atari. Cannon’s own father, Layne, was instrumental in designing WordPerfect, an early word-processing application.
There are times when the M.T.A.’s members must negotiate tricky terrain, given that secular transhumanism, almost by definition, invites revisionist notions of sex and gender that run headlong into traditional church doctrine. (If our flesh becomes useless as our minds are made virtual, don’t biologically rooted constructions of gender quickly become useless, too?)
On the flip side, some secular transhumanists skewer the group for its religious leanings.
“The M.T.A. has a way of being a lightning rod for negative perspectives on religion, both from secular anti-religious persons and from religious fundamentalists who’ll demonize us to no end,” Cannon said. For them, he added, “we are the Antichrist, we are the mark of the beast.”
Thus far, Cannon is not aware of anyone who has been disciplined by the church for transhumanist views.
When members have gently introduced their ideas to members of their local congregations, the response, they told me, has often been cautious interest. “We try to remind people that humanity has always been transcending itself through technology,” Bradford said. “If something went wrong with your teeth four hundred years ago, you lost them.”
What is required to bring back the dead?
A lyre and an unwavering gaze?
A monkey’s paw with three wishes?
Faith in God?
Faith in machines?"
Transhumanism has been characterized by one critic, Francis Fukuyama, as among the "world's most dangerous ideas".
"As "transhumanists" see it, humans must wrest their biological destiny from evolution’s blind process of random variation and adaptation and move to the next stage as a species.
The plans of some transhumanists to freeze themselves cryogenically in hopes of being revived in a future age seem only to confirm the movement’s place on the intellectual fringe.
Transhumanism of a sort is implicit in much of the research agenda of contemporary biomedicine.
The new procedures and technologies emerging from research laboratories and hospitals — whether mood-altering drugs, substances to boost muscle mass or selectively erase memory, prenatal genetic screening, or gene therapy — can as easily be used to "enhance" the species as to ease or ameliorate illness.
Although the rapid advances in biotechnology often leave us vaguely uncomfortable, the intellectual or moral threat they represent is not always easy to identify. It is very possible that we will nibble at biotechnology’s tempting offerings without realizing that they come at a frightful moral cost.
Transhumanism’s advocates think they understand what constitutes a good human being, and they are happy to leave behind the limited, mortal, natural beings they see around them in favor of something better. But do they really comprehend ultimate human goods?
For all our obvious faults, we humans are miraculously complex products of a long evolutionary process — products whose whole is much more than the sum of our parts.
Modifying any one of our key characteristics inevitably entails modifying a complex, interlinked package of traits, and we will never be able to anticipate the ultimate outcome. Nobody knows what technological possibilities will emerge for human self-modification.
But we can already see the stirrings of Promethean desires in how we prescribe drugs to alter the behavior and personalities of our children.
We need a humility concerning our human nature. If we do not develop it soon, we may unwittingly invite the transhumanists to deface humanity with their genetic bulldozers and psychotropic shopping malls."
(Francis Fukuyama is an American political scientist, political economist, and author. He is a Senior Fellow at the Center on Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law at Stanford University. Before that, he served as a professor and director of the International Development program at the School of Advanced International Studies of the Johns Hopkins University. He is a council member of the International Forum for Democratic Studies founded by the National Endowment for Democracy and was a member of the Political Science Department of the RAND Corporation.)
Bio-political activist and noted author Jeremy Rifkin and biologist Stuart Newman accept that biotechnology has the power to make profound changes in organismal identity, but they argue against the genetic engineering of human beings because they fear the blurring of the boundary between human and "artifact".
[NOTE: Newman's argument is in PDF form and is instantly downloadable <here>]
How will these technologies affect society?
What will they do to the economy, to politics, and to human identity?
What social policies should we enact to regulate, restrict, or encourage the use of these technologies?
"MORE THAN HUMAN"?
"In 1990, a professor at the University of Colorado discovered that changing a single gene doubles the lifespan of tiny nematode worms.
In 1999, researchers searching for a cure for Alzheimer’s disease genetically engineered a strain of mice that can learn things five times as quickly as their normal kin – super-intelligent mice.
In 2002, scientists looking for ways to help paralyzed patients implanted electrodes into the brain of an owl monkey and trained it to move a robot arm 600 miles awayjust by thinking about it. Over the last decade researchers looking for ways to help the sick and injured have stumbled onto techniques that enhance healthy animals, making them stronger, faster, smarter, longer-lived, even connecting their minds to robots and computers. Now science is on the verge of applying this knowledge to healthy men and women."
“Sixty years ago, human beings gave digital computers the ability to modify their own coded instructions, sparking a revolution that has now given us the ability to modify our own coded instructions, promising revolutions even more extreme.”
--George Dyson, author of Darwin Among the Machines.
MAJOR RELIGIONS VERSUS TRANSHUMANISM.
THE LIE THAT MAN CAN BECOME A GOD.
It has been argued that, in transhumanist thought, humans attempt to substitute themselves for God. The 2002 Vatican statement Communion and Stewardship: Human Persons Created in the Image of God, stated that "changing the genetic identity of man as a human person through the production of an infrahuman being is radically immoral", implying, that "man has full right of disposal over his own biological nature". The statement also argues that creation of a superhuman or spiritually superior being is "unthinkable", since true improvement can come only through religious experience and "realizing more fully the image of God". Christian theologians and lay activists of several churches and denominations have expressed similar objections to transhumanism
WHAT DO CHRISTIAN 'EVANGELICALS' SAY ABOUT ALL THIS?
Jan Markell of Olive Tree Ministries has a hostile view of the technology.
"This is a ‘last days' type of perversion with thinking that was likely going on in the days of Noah," she told WND. "The very idea is an affront to God, who alone gives and takes life. Mankind today wants to be godlike and do away with the one true God. He is an inconvenience. If they are trying to compete with the resurrection, they are really competing with the Rapture and even eternal life. Their efforts will not be successful."
Pastor Carl Gallups, author of "When the Lion Roars", said there is a clear pattern by modern scientists and entrepreneurs of pursuing what is essentially godhood.
"Here is the dirty little secret that few are discussing – all of this goes directly to the deception first implanted in the Garden of Eden – by Satan himself," warned the pastor. "Think of the elements of that anthropic disaster. Adam and Eve were promised, ‘You surely shall not die.' They were told that if they would just follow the ‘promise' that Satan offered that they could be ‘like gods.' They were told that death would not be a hindrance and that the knowledge they would gain would give them everything their hearts desired. But do an Internet search on these topics today. Observe how many of today's godless, arrogant elite are talking about ‘becoming gods,' or ‘we're on the verge of eternal life technologies,' or our ‘knowledge growth rate is becoming almost supernatural.'"
However, as Gallups notes, there is a difference between using medical technology to help someone who has just died and sensational claims that companies will soon be "raising the dead." As the pastor observes, there is not even true agreement on when a person is completely "dead."
"With the modern advancements in medical technologies regarding life-sustaining capabilities, all manner of theological and ethical questions have arisen," he explained. "Is brain-dead really ‘dead?' We can now keep a body ‘alive' on machines that do the breathing, blood circulation, and keep the heart beating artificially for the comatose patient – but is that artificial existence really ‘life?' To make matters more difficult, there have been those extremely rare cases where a patient makes a recovery from such a state, causing even more questions and controversy."
Mark Biltz, author of "God's Day Timer," suggests these kinds of treatments are not necessarily sinful.
"We are to do everything possible to bring life," he told WND. "People become clinically dead after a heart attack and are brought back to life and there is no argument of that medical procedure. If this is a new medical procedure where now the brain can be brought back to life after being declared clinically dead, that is great!"
Biltz also suggested those "brought back from the dead" would not be soulless or something unnatural, as the treatment described would be immediately following clinical death. He suggested there is nothing inherently evil about any form of technology. "Technology is a tool that can be used for good or evil and based on the motivation and the intent of the user will determine the morality," the pastor said.
I HAVE FOLLOWED THE 'ADVANCES' IN GENE THERAPY AND OTHER MEDICAL RESEARCH INTO EXTENDING HUMAN LIFE, CONQUERING 'GENETIC ILLNESSES', ETC, SINCE I WAS ABOUT 20 YEARS OLD, MORE THAN 50 YEARS.
MY FAMILY WAS PLAGUED WITH SEVERAL SUCH GENETICALLY-INDUCED MEDICAL PROBLEMS.
BEING A CANCER SURVIVOR AS WELL AS BEING IN THIS NEW BATTLE AGAINST THAT MONSTER, I AM, OF COURSE, HOPEFUL WE WILL FIND A CURE FOR THAT AND OTHER HATEFUL DISEASES.
I CAN'T IMAGINE ANYONE WANTING TO SUCCUMB TO SUCH DREADFUL THINGS.
BUT...I ALSO CANNOT SEE HOW ANYONE WOULD BE 'OKAY' WITH BEING DECLARED A "LIVING CADAVER"...THAT TERMINOLOGY BLEW ME AWAY.
TO BE MERELY CONSIDERED AN OBJECT FOR EXPERIMENTATION, HANDED OVER TO A COMPANY, TO PERHAPS BE COGNIZANT IN ANY WAY TO WHAT WAS BEING DONE TO ME, TO HAVE NO VOICE TO SPEAK AGAINST IT, TO HAVE NO WAY TO DEFEND MYSELF FROM ANY EXPERIMENTS SUCH A COMPANY MIGHT CHOOSE TO CARRY OUT...?
NO, I CANNOT SEE HOW THAT WOULD BE SOMETHING ANYONE COULD WANT!
IT'S CHILLING TO CONSIDER SUCH A THING TO ME.
I HAVE TO ASK, WHAT HAVE WE DONE AND WHAT ARE WE ABOUT TO DO AND IS IT RIGHT, IS IT ETHICALLY RIGHT TO USE HUMAN BEINGS TO TEST THE THEORIES OR SCHEMES OF COMPANIES WHO ARE MOSTLY IN IT FOR THE MONEY OR THE FAME OF BEING THE FIRST TO "RESURRECT THE DEAD"?
Imagine the World Trade Organization (WTO) striking down a national ban on importing cloned embryos because it is a barrier to trade.
Neither the WTO, nor individual governments, nor scientists, nor ethicists can effectively regulate human biotechnology on a global scale. So who will settle the troubling questions it raises?
Human biotechnology intimately connects good and evil. The same technology that promises to cure your child of cystic fibrosis or your parent of Alzheimer’s disease presents more troubling possibilities as well: human cloning, designer babies, drugs that enhance rather than heal, and the creation of human-animal hybrids. In the face of the challenges this technology poses, only one response is possible: Countries must regulate the development and use of human biotechnology by political means, setting up institutions that will discriminate between those technological advances that help humans flourish and those that threaten human dignity and well-being. These regulatory bodies must first be empowered to enforce these decisions on a national level and then ultimately extend their reach internationally.
Will artificial intelligence bring us utopia or destruction?
“Before the prospect of an intelligence explosion, we humans are like small children playing with a bomb. We have little idea when the detonation will occur, though if we hold the device to our ear we can hear a faint ticking sound.”
The people who say that artificial intelligence is not a problem tend to work in artificial intelligence.
AND, PLEASE, DO READ CAREFULLY THAT "PROTECTING THE ENDANGERED HUMAN" TREATISE...
WE WILL NEED SOMETHING LIKE THIS SOONER THAN WE THOUGHT.
Posted by Waninahi at 1:04 AM