17 January 2008

Kometen kommer

Interesting and eloquent talk by James Hughes on transhumanism and religion/ethics. James identifies three points where transhumanists and what he calls 'bio-conservatives' clash:
  • The Self. What is that something that needs to be preserved? 'Mere' awareness which we share to some degree with other animals and computers(-to-come) or something distinctively human, something like a soul, which should not be tampered with?
  • Taboos. Are there things that simply should not be tampered with? Playing God, Pandora's box, the Tower of Babel, hybris, that kind of thing.
  • Risks. I think this boils down to optimism and pessimism, but please also consider the risks of not 'playing God'. Like melting of the polar icecaps, pancreatic cancer, that kind of thing.
If I get this studentship I've applied for I may just stay in Sweden till September and finally read all them classics I really should have read by now given my inclinations. Freud, B. F. Skinner, Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, José Delgado, William Gibson, Milan Kundera, that sort of thing. I'm starting to think I should add some transhumanist writers to the list, like James here and Nick Bostrom. The lack of actual science is frustrating but at least they seem to be dealing with the right issues, and maybe they've got one or two electrophysiologists on their ship.

Watched (listened to) Dan Dennett talk about (his book) Darwin's Dangerous Idea. Fairly standard pro-evolution consciousness raising but you gotta love Dan. Also I'm running out of videos.

Finally, came across Kicesie's Sex Ed channel on youtube via one of her vids that's had 22.5 million views! Almost as much as the fantastic Battle at Kruger.

Anyway, enough of this day.

.

Post a Comment