ALSO SEE: http://www.greatdreams.com/cats/cats.htm
Dee Finney's blog
start date July 20, 2011
Today's date March 24, 2012
TOPIC: CHIMERAS AND EGYPTIAN DEITIES
Sometimes I wish that other people could get into my world, because it is so fascinating.
3-24-12 - Two dreams combined as they followed one another closely.
I was somewhere that was heavily forested and evidently cold as the people I saw outdoors were very heavily dressed in winter clothes though there was no snow.
It was very deeply muddy as I saw heavy vehicle tracks in rather deep mud around a warehouse near the house I lived in, which I didn't see as it was behind me.
As I watched, coming from the trees were two lines of people, none with hats on, but with heavy clothing. It seemed that even their long pants and boots were thick so ward off the cold. I only remember men in the lines of people. No women. The odd thing was that the men were lined up in a special order because each two people across from each other looked identical to each other - like twins. As these men were checked in by someone else, and the next two people didn't look alike, both lines were stopped and couldn't move forward until the matching person was either found OR created.
This place had the feeling of a foreign country but it could have been Oregon or Washington State as I think back on it.
Dream 2: I was inside the house now, making breakfast fro several people, including my husband. I only saw my husband from the back and he was in another room. He had scant hair on his head, very tall white ears that stuck quite a ways out from his head.
The other man who was just moving in had a beard and rather wavy to curly hair on his head. He brought with him very heavy cotton clothing that was well padded for winter weather. I was helping him get his things tougher to move in upstairs as I needed to get the kitchen clean so I could get breakfast made.
My daughter-in-law Becky was also with us in the room.
I looked into the kitchen drawer for utensils and could barely come up with 4 knives to spread butter on the toast. I had not yet started to cook the eggs I was going to fry.
I wanted to show the man a special dictionary we used in the house. It was very thin, with a green paper cover. I opened it up and the first three entries were a, aa, and Bes. I could also see that in the other pages was quite list of special Deities that we had to be familiar with.
I woke up before I cold learn more about where I was and who these Deities were.
This condition is either inherited, or it is acquired through the infusion of allogeneic hematopoietic cells during transplantation or transfusion. In nonidentical twins, chimerism occurs by means of blood-vessel anastomoses. The likelihood of offspring being a chimera is increased if it is created via in vitro fertilization. Chimeras can often breed, but the fertility and type of offspring depends on which cell line gave rise to the ovaries or testes; varying degrees of intersexuality may result if one set of cells is genetically female and another genetically male.
Tetragametic chimerism is a form of congenital chimerism. This condition occurs through the fertilization of two separate ova by two sperm, followed by the fusion of the two at the blastocyst or zygote stages. This results in the development of an organism with intermingled cell lines. Put another way, the chimera is formed from the merging of two nonidentical twins (although a similar merging presumably occurs with identical twins, but as their DNA is almost identical, the presence would not be immediately detectable in a very early (zygote or blastocyst) phase. As such, they can be male, female, or hermaphroditic.
As the organism develops, it can come to possess organs that have different sets of chromosomes. For example, the chimera may have a liver composed of cells with one set of chromosomes and have a kidney composed of cells with a second set of chromosomes. This has occurred in humans, and at one time was thought to be extremely rare, though more recent evidence suggests that it is not as rare as previously believed.
This is particularly true for the marmoset. Recent research shows most marmosets are chimerae, sharing DNA with their fraternal twins.
Most chimerae will go through life without realizing they are chimeras. The difference in phenotypes may be subtle (e.g., having a hitchhiker's thumb and a straight thumb, eyes of slightly different colors, differential hair growth on opposite sides of the body, etc.) or completely undetectable. Chimera may also show, under a certain spectrum of UV light, distinctive marks on the back resembling that of arrow points pointing downwards from the shoulders down to the lower back; this is one expression of pigment unevenness called Blaschko's lines.
Affected persons may be identified by the finding of two populations of red cells or, if the zygotes are of opposite sex, ambiguous genitalia and hermaphroditism alone or in combination; such persons sometimes also have patchy skin, hair, or eye pigmentation (heterochromia). If the blastocysts are of opposite sex, genitals of both sexes may be formed, either ovary and testis, or combined ovotestes, in one rare form of intersexuality, a condition previously known as true hermaphroditism.
Note that the frequency of this condition does not indicate the true prevalence of chimerism. Most chimerae composed of both male and female cells probably do not have an intersex condition, as might be expected if the two cell populations were evenly blended throughout the body. Often, most or all of the cells of a single cell type will be composed of a single cell line, i.e. The blood may be composed prominently of one cell line, and the internal organs of the other cell line. Genitalia produce the hormones responsible for other sex characteristics. If the sex organs are homogeneous, the individual will not be expected to exhibit any intersex traits.
Natural chimeras are almost never detected unless they exhibit abnormalities such as male/female or hermaphrodite characteristics or uneven skin pigmentation. The most noticeable are some male tortoiseshell cats or animals with ambiguous sex organs.
The existence of chimerism is problematic for DNA testing, a fact with implications for family and criminal law. The Lydia Fairchild case, for example, was brought to court after DNA testing apparently showed that her children could not be hers. Fraud charges were filed against her and her custody of her children was challenged. The charge against her was dismissed when it became clear that Lydia was a chimera, with the matching DNA being found in her cervical tissue. Another case was that of Karen Keegan, who was also in danger of losing her children, after a DNA test for a kidney transplant seemed to show she wasn't the mother of her children.
The tetragametic state has important implications for organ or stem-cell transplantation. Chimeras typically have immunologic tolerance to both cell lines.
Tetragametic chimerism, as it affects homosexuality and transgender identity, is properly termed macro-chimerism since, in theory, it can be hexagametic or more, if more than two embryos merge. But since male cells outgrow female cells in this condition, the majority of male/female chimeras should be phenotypically male. Since the majority of any organ tends to be made from one embryo or the other, while a mixed-sex brain could occur in any proportion, generally the brain would be primarily male or female.
Microchimerism is the presence of a small number of cells that are genetically distinct from those of the host individual. Apparently, this phenomenon is related to certain types of autoimmune diseases, however, the mechanisms responsible for this relationship are unclear.
Chimerism occurs naturally in adult Ceratioid anglerfish and is in fact a natural and essential part of their life cycle. Once a male is born, it begins its search for a female. Using strong olfactory glands, the male searches until it locates a female anglerfish. The male, less than an inch in length, bites into her skin and releases an enzyme that digests the skin of his mouth and her body, fusing the pair down to the blood-vessel level. While this attachment has become necessary for the male's survival, it will eventually consume him, as both anglerfish fuse into a single hermaphroditic individual. Sometimes in this odd ritual, more than one male will attach to a single female as a 'parasite'. They will both be consumed into the body of the larger female angler. Once fused to a female, the males will reach sexual maturity, developing large testicles as their other organs atrophy. This process allows for sperm to be in constant supply when the female produces an egg, so that the chimeric fish is able to have a greater number of offspring.
Germline chimerism occurs when the germ cells (for example, sperm and egg cells) of an organism are not genetically identical to its own. It has recently been discovered that marmosets can carry the reproductive cells of their (fraternal) twin siblings, because of placental fusion during development. (Marmosets almost always give birth to fraternal twins.) 
In 1953 a human chimera was reported in the British Medical Journal. A woman was found to have blood containing two different blood types. Apparently this resulted from cells from her twin brother living in her body. More recently, a study found that such blood group chimerism is not rare. Another report of a human chimera was published in 1998, where a male human had some partially-developed female organs due to chimerism. He was conceived by in-vitro fertilization. In 2006 a woman was denied public assistance when DNA evidence showed that she was not related to her children. After hearing of a human chimera in New England, it was eventually found that she too was a chimera and thus had two sets of DNA.
In biological research, chimeras are artificially produced by selectively transplanting embryonic cells from one organism onto the embryo of another, and allowing the resultant blastocyst to develop. Chimeras are not hybrids, which form from the fusion of gametes from two species that form a single zygote with a combined genetic makeup, or Hybridomas which, as with hybrids, result from fusion of two species' cells into a single cell and artificial propagation of this cell in the laboratory. Essentially, in a chimera, each cell is from either of the parent species, whereas in a hybrid and hybridoma, each cell is derived from both parent species. "Chimera" is a broad term and is often applied to many different mechanisms of the mixing of cells from two different species.
As with cloning, the process of creating and implanting a chimera is imprecise, with the majority of embryos spontaneously terminating. Successes, however, have led to major advancements in the field of embryology, as creating chimeras of one species with different physical traits, such as colour, has allowed researchers to trace the differentiation of embryonic cells through the formation of organ systems in the adult individual.
A major milestone in chimera experimentation occurred in 1984, when a chimeric geep was produced by combining embryos from a goat and a sheep, and survived to adulthood. The creation of the "geep" revealed several complexities to chimera development. In implanting a goat embryo for gestation in a sheep, the sheep's immune system would reject the developing goat embryo, whereas a "geep" embryo, sharing markers of immunity with both sheep and goats, was able to survive implantation in either of its parent species.
In August 2003, researchers at the Shanghai Second Medical University in China reported that they had successfully fused human skin cells and dead rabbit eggs to create the first human chimeric embryos. The embryos were allowed to develop for several days in a laboratory setting, then destroyed to harvest the resulting stem cells. In 2007, scientists at the University of Nevada School of Medicine created a sheep whose blood contained 15% human cells and 85% sheep cells. The implications of increasingly realizable projects using human-animal hybrids for biopharmaceutical production, and potentially for producing cells or organs, have raised a host of ethical and safety issues.
Chimeric mice are important tools in biological research, as they allow the investigation of a variety of biological questions in an animal that has two distinct genetic pools within it. These include insights into such problems as the tissue specific requirements of a gene, cell lineage, and cell potential. The general methods for creating chimeric mice can be summarized either by injection or aggregation of embryonic cells from different origins. The first chimeric mouse was made by Beatrice Mintz in the 1960s through the aggregation of eight cell stage embryos. Injection on the other hand was pioneered by Richard Gardner and Ralph Brinster who injected cells into blastocysts to create chimeric mice with germ lines fully derived from injected ES Cells. Mouse embryos both periimplantation and post implantation can contribute to a chimera. It is post implantation that ES cells from the inner cell mass of a blastocyst can contribute to all cell lineages of a mouse including the germ line. ES cells are also a useful tool in chimeras because genes can be mutated in them through the use of homologous recombination, thus allowing gene targeting. Since this discovery occurred in 1999, ES cells have become a key tool in the generation of specific chimeric mice.
The ability to make mouse chimeras comes from an understanding of early mouse development. Between the stages of fertilization of the egg and the implantation of a blastocyst into the uterus, different parts of the mouse embryo retain the ability to give rise to a variety of cell lineages. Once the embryo has reached the blastocyst stage, it is composed of several parts, mainly the trophectoderm, the inner cell mass, and the primitive endoderm. Each of these parts of the blastocyst gives rise to different parts of the embryo; the inner cell mass gives rise to the embryo proper, while the trophectoderm and primitive endoderm give rise to extra embryonic structures that support growth of the embryo. Two- to eight-cell-stage embryos are competent for making chimeras, since at these stages of development, the cells in the embryos are not yet committed to give rise to any particular cell lineage, and could give rise to the inner cell mass or the trophectoderm. In the case where two diploid eight-cell-stage embryos are used to make a chimera, chimersim can be later found in the epiblast, primitive, endoderm and trophectoderm of the mouse blastocyst. It is possible to dissect the embryo at other stages so as to accordingly give rise to one lineage of cells from an embryo selectively and not the other. For example, subsets of blastomeres can be used to give rise to chimera with specified cell lineage from one embryo. The Inner Cell Mass of a diploid blastocyst for example can be used to make a chimera with another blastocyst of eight-cell diploid embryo; the cells taken from the inner cell mass will give rise to the primitive endoderm and to the epiblast in the chimera mouse. From this knowledge, ES cell contributions to chimeras have been developed. ES cells can be used in combination with eight-cell-and two-cell-stage embryos to make chimeras and exclusively give rise to the embryo proper. Embryos that are to be used in chimeras can further be genetically altered in order to specifically contribute to only one part of chimera. An example is the chimera built off of ES cells and tetraploid embryos, tetraploid embryos which are artificially made by electrofusion of two two-cell diploid embryos. The tetraploid embryo will exclusively give rise to the trophectoderm and primitive endoderm in the chimera 
There are a variety of combinations that can give rise to a successful chimera mouse and — according to the goal of the experiment — an appropriate cell and embryo combination can be picked; they are generally but not limited to diploid embryo and ES cells, diploid embryo and diploid embryo, ES cell and tetraploid embryo, diploid embryo and tetraploid embryo, ES cells and ES cells. The combination of embryonic stem cell and diploid embryo is a common technique used for the making of chimeric mice, since gene targeting can be done in the embryonic stem cell. These kinds of chimeras can be made through either aggregation of stem cells and the diploid embryo or injection of the stem cells into the diploid embryo. If embryonic stem cells are to be used for gene targeting to make a chimera, the following procedure is common: a construct for homologous recombination for the gene targeted will be introduced into cultured mouse embryonic stem cells from the donor mouse, by way of electroporation; cells positive for the recombination event will have antibiotic resistance, provided by the insertion cassette used in the gene targeting; and be able to be positively selected for. ES cells with the correct targeted gene are then injected into a diploid host mouse blastocyst. These injected blastocysts are then implanted into a pseudo pregnant female surrogate mouse which will bring the embryos to term and give birth to a mouse whose germline is derived from the donor mouse's ES cells. This same procedure can be achieved through aggregation of ES cells and diploid embryos, diploid embryos are cultured in aggregation plates in wells were single embryos can fit, to these wells ES cells are added the aggregates are cultured until a single embryo is formed and has progressed to the blastocyst stage, and can then be transferred to the surrogate mouse.
The US and Western Europe have strict codes of ethics and regulations in place that expressly forbid certain subsets of experimentation using human cells, though there is a vast difference in the regulatory framework. In May 2008, a robust debate in the House of Commons of the United Kingdom on the ethics of creating chimeras with human stem cells led to the decision that embryos would be allowed to be made in laboratories, given that they would be destroyed within the first 14 days. No such foundation has been set for chimera research regulation in the US.
Dr. Tom Horn: Transhumanism, Genetically Modified Human, Animals, Grains… Human-Animal Chimera!
Transhumanism, abbreviated as H+ or h+, is an international intellectual and cultural movement that affirms the possibility and desirability of fundamentally transforming the human condition by developing and making widely available technologies to eliminate aging and to greatly enhance human intellectual, physical, and psychological capacities. Transhumanist thinkers study the potential benefits and dangers of emerging technologies that could overcome fundamental human limitations, as well as study the ethical matters involved in developing and using such technologies. They predict that human beings may eventually be able to transform themselves into beings with such greatly expanded abilities as to merit the label "posthuman".
The contemporary meaning of the term transhumanism was foreshadowed by one of the first professors of futurology, FM-2030, who taught "new concepts of the Human" at The New School of New York City in the 1960s, when he began to identify people who adopt technologies, lifestyles and world views transitional to "posthumanity" as "transhuman". This hypothesis would lay the intellectual groundwork for the British philosopher Max More to begin articulating the principles of transhumanism as a futurist philosophy in 1990, and organizing in California an intelligentsia that has since grown into the worldwide transhumanist movement.
Influenced by seminal works of science fiction, the transhumanist vision of a transformed future humanity has attracted many supporters and detractors from a wide range of perspectives. Transhumanism has been condemned by one critic, Francis Fukuyama, as the world's most dangerous idea, while one proponent, Ronald Bailey, counters that it is the "movement that epitomizes the most daring, courageous, imaginative, and idealistic aspirations of humanity".[
According to philosophers who have studied and written about the history of transhumanist thought, transcendentalist impulses have been expressed at least as far back as in the quest for immortality in the Epic of Gilgamesh, as well as historical quests for the Fountain of Youth, Elixir of Life, and other efforts to stave off aging and death. Transhumanist philosophy, however, is rooted in Renaissance humanism and the Enlightenment. For example, Giovanni Pico della Mirandola called on people to "sculpt their own statue", and the Marquis de Condorcet speculated about the use of medical science to indefinitely extend the human life span, while Benjamin Franklin dreamed of suspended animation, and after Charles Darwin "it became increasingly plausible to view the current version of humanity not as the endpoint of evolution but rather as a possibly quite early phase." However, there is ongoing debate within the transhumanist community about whether the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche can be considered an influence, despite its exaltation of the "overman", due to its emphasis on self-actualization rather than technological transformation.
Nikolai Fyodorov, a 19th-century Russian philosopher, advocated radical life extension, physical immortality and even resurrection of the dead using scientific methods. In the 20th century, a direct and influential precursor to transhumanist concepts was geneticist J.B.S. Haldane's 1923 essay Daedalus: Science and the Future, which predicted that great benefits would come from applications of advanced sciences to human biology—and that every such advance would first appear to someone as blasphemy or perversion, "indecent and unnatural". J. D. Bernal speculated about space colonization, bionic implants, and cognitive enhancement, which have been common transhumanist themes since then. Biologist Julian Huxley, brother of author Aldous Huxley (a childhood friend of Haldane's), appears to have been the first to use the actual word "transhumanism". Writing in 1957, he defined transhumanism as "man remaining man, but transcending himself, by realizing new possibilities of and for his human nature". This definition differs, albeit not substantially, from the one commonly in use since the 1980s.
Computer scientist Marvin Minsky wrote on relationships between human and artificial intelligence beginning in the 1960s. Over the succeeding decades, this field continued to generate influential thinkers, such as Hans Moravec and Raymond Kurzweil, who oscillated between the technical arena and futuristic speculations in the transhumanist vein. The coalescence of an identifiable transhumanist movement began in the last decades of the 20th century. In 1966, FM-2030 (formerly F.M. Esfandiary), a futurist who taught "new concepts of the Human" at The New School in New York City, began to identify people who adopt technologies, lifestyles and world views transitional to "posthumanity" as "transhuman". In 1972, Robert Ettinger contributed to the conceptualization of "transhumanity" in his book Man into Superman. FM-2030 published the Upwingers Manifesto in 1973 to stimulate transhumanly conscious activism.
The first self-described transhumanists met formally in the early 1980s at the University of California, Los Angeles, which became the main center of transhumanist thought. Here, FM-2030 lectured on his "Third Way" futurist ideology. At the EZTV Media venue frequented by transhumanists and other futurists, Natasha Vita-More presented Breaking Away, her 1980 experimental film with the theme of humans breaking away from their biological limitations and the Earth's gravity as they head into space. FM-2030 and Vita-More soon began holding gatherings for transhumanists in Los Angeles, which included students from FM-2030's courses and audiences from Vita-More's artistic productions. In 1982, Vita-More authored the Transhumanist Arts Statement, and, six years later, produced the cable TV show TransCentury Update on transhumanity, a program which reached over 100,000 viewers.
In 1986, Eric Drexler published Engines of Creation: The Coming Era of Nanotechnology, which discussed the prospects for nanotechnology and molecular assemblers, and founded the Foresight Institute. As the first non-profit organization to research, advocate for, and perform cryonics, the Southern California offices of the Alcor Life Extension Foundation became a center for futurists. In 1988, the first issue of Extropy Magazine was published by Max More and Tom Morrow. In 1990, More, a strategic philosopher, created his own particular transhumanist doctrine, which took the form of the Principles of Extropy, and laid the foundation of modern transhumanism by giving it a new definition:
In 1992, More and Morrow founded the Extropy Institute, a catalyst for networking futurists and brainstorming new memeplexes by organizing a series of conferences and, more importantly, providing a mailing list, which exposed many to transhumanist views for the first time during the rise of cyberculture and the cyberdelic counterculture. In 1998, philosophers Nick Bostrom and David Pearce founded the World Transhumanist Association (WTA), an international non-governmental organization working toward the recognition of transhumanism as a legitimate subject of scientific inquiry and public policy. In 2002, the WTA modified and adopted The Transhumanist Declaration. The Transhumanist FAQ, prepared by the WTA, gave two formal definitions for transhumanism:
A number of similar definitions have been collected by Anders Sandberg/a>, an academic and prominent transhumanist.]
In possible contrast with other transhumanist organizations, WTA officials considered that social forces could undermine their futurist visions and needed to be addressed. A particular concern is the equal access to human enhancement technologies across classes and borders. In 2006, a political struggle within the transhumanist movement between the libertarian right and the liberal left resulted in a more centre-leftward positioning of the WTA under its former executive director James Hughes. In 2006, the board of directors of the Extropy Institute ceased operations of the organization, stating that its mission was "essentially completed". This left the World Transhumanist Association as the leading international transhumanist organization. In 2008, as part of a rebranding effort, the WTA changed its name to "Humanity+" in order to project a more humane image. Humanity Plus and Betterhumans publish h+ Magazine, a periodical edited by R. U. Sirius which disseminates transhumanist news and ideas.[32heory
It is a matter of debate whether transhumanism is a branch of "posthumanism" and how posthumanism should be conceptualised with regard to transhumanism. The latter is often referred to as a variant or activist form of posthumanism by its conservative, Christian and progressive critics. A common feature of transhumanism and philosophical posthumanism is the future vision of a new intelligent species, into which humanity will evolve, which will supplement humanity or supersede it. Transhumanism stresses the evolutionary perspective, including sometimes the creation of a highly intelligent animal species by way of cognitive enhancement (i.e. biological uplift), but clings to a "posthuman future" as the final goal of participant evolution.
Nevertheless, the idea to create intelligent artificial beings, proposed, for example, by roboticist Hans Moravec, has influenced transhumanism. Moravec's ideas and transhumanism have also been characterised as a "complacent" or "apocalyptic" variant of posthumanism and contrasted with "cultural posthumanism" in humanities and the arts. While such a "cultural posthumanism" would offer resources for rethinking the relations of humans and increasingly sophisticated machines, transhumanism and similar posthumanisms are, in this view, not abandoning obsolete concepts of the "autonomous liberal subject" but are expanding its "prerogatives" into the realm of the posthuman. Transhumanist self-characterisations as a continuation of humanism and Enlightenment thinking correspond with this view.
Some secular humanists conceive transhumanism as an offspring of the humanist freethought movement and argue that transhumanists differ from the humanist mainstream by having a specific focus on technological approaches to resolving human concerns (i.e. technocentrism) and on the issue of mortality. However, other progressives have argued that posthumanism, whether it be its philosophical or activist forms, amount to a shift away from concerns about social justice, from the reform of human institutions and from other Enlightenment preoccupations, toward narcissistic longings for a transcendence of the human body in quest of more exquisite ways of being. In this view, transhumanism is abandoning the goals of humanism, the Enlightenment, and progressive politics.ims "Countdown to Singularity" (Raymond Kurzweil)
While many transhumanist theorists and advocates seek to apply a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reason" title="Reason">reason, science and technology for the purposes of reducing poverty, disease, disability, and malnutrition around the globe, transhumanism is distinctive in its particular focus on the applications of technologies to the improvement of human bodies at the individual level. Many transhumanists actively assess the potential for future technologies and innovative social systems to improve the quality of all life, while seeking to make the material reality of the human condition fulfill the promise of legal and political equality by eliminating congenital mental and physical barriers.
Transhumanist philosophers argue that there not only exists a perfectionist ethical imperative for humans to strive for progress and improvement of the human condition but that it is possible and desirable for humanity to enter a transhuman phase of existence, in which humans are in control of their own evolution. In such a phase, natural evolution would be replaced with deliberate change.
Some theorists, such as Raymond Kurzweil, think that the pace of technological innovation is accelerating and that the next 50 years may yield not only radical technological advances but possibly a technological singularity, which may fundamentally change the nature of human beings. Transhumanists who foresee this massive technological change generally maintain that it is desirable. However, some are also concerned with the possible dangers of extremely rapid technological change and propose options for ensuring that advanced technology is used responsibly. For example, Bostrom has written extensively on existential risks to humanity's future welfare, including risks that could be created by emerging technologies.
Transhumanists engage in interdisciplinary approaches to understanding and evaluating possibilities for overcoming biological limitations. They draw on futurology and various fields of ethics such as bioethics, infoethics, nanoethics, neuroethics, roboethics, and technoethics mainly but not exclusively from a philosophically utilitarian, socially progressive, politically and economically liberal perspective. Unlike many philosophers, social critics, and activists who place a moral value on preservation of natural systems, transhumanists see the very concept of the specifically "natural" as problematically nebulous at best, and an obstacle to progress at worst. In keeping with this, many prominent transhumanist advocates refer to transhumanism's critics on the political right and left jointly as "bioconservatives" or "bioluddites", the latter term alluding to the 19th century anti-industrialisation social movement that opposed the replacement of human manual labourers by machines.rrents
There is a variety of opinion within transhumanist thought. Many of the leading transhumanist thinkers hold views that are under constant revision and development. Some distinctive currents of transhumanism are identified and listed here in alphabetical order:
Although some transhumanists report having religious or spiritual views, they are for the most part atheists, agnostics or secular humanists. A vocal minority of transhumanists, however, follow liberal forms of Eastern philosophies such as Buddhism and Yoga or have merged their transhumanist ideas with established Western religions such as liberal Christianity or Mormonism. Despite the prevailing secular attitude, some transhumanists pursue hopes traditionally espoused by religions, such as "immortality", while several controversial new religious movements, originating in the late 20th century, have explicitly embraced transhumanist goals of transforming the human condition by applying technology to the alteration of the mind and body, such as Raëlism. However, most thinkers associated with the transhumanist movement focus on the practical goals of using technology to help achieve longer and healthier lives; while speculating that future understanding of neurotheology and the application of neurotechnology will enable humans to gain greater control of altered states of consciousness, which were commonly interpreted as "spiritual experiences", and thus achieve more profound self-knowledge.
Secular transhumanists are strong physicalists and naturalists who do not believe in a transcendent human soul. Transhumanist personhood theory (i.e. personism) also argues against the unique identification of moral actors and subjects with biological humans, judging as speciesist the exclusion of non-human and part-human animals, and sophisticated machines, from ethical consideration.
Many transhumanists believe in the compatibility of human minds with computer hardware, with the theoretical implication that human consciousness may someday be transferred to alternative media, a speculative technique commonly known as "mind uploading". One extreme formulation of this idea, which some transhumanists are interested in, is the proposal of the "Omega Point" by Christian cosmologist Frank Tipler. Drawing upon ideas in digitalism, Tipler has advanced the notion that the collapse of the Universe billions of years hence could create the conditions for the perpetuation of humanity in a simulated reality within a megacomputer, and thus achieve a form of "posthuman godhood". Tipler's thought was inspired by the writings of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, a paleontologist and Jesuit theologian who saw an evolutionary telos in the development of an encompassing noosphere, a global consciousness.
The idea of uploading personality to a non-biological substrate and the underlying assumptions are criticised by a wide range of scholars, scientists and activists, sometimes with regard to transhumanism itself, sometimes with regard to thinkers such as Marvin Minsky or Hans Moravec, who are often seen as its originators. Relating the underlying assumptions, for example, to the legacy of cybernetics, some have argued that this materialist hope engenders a spiritual monism, a variant of philosophical idealism. Viewed from the perspective of some Christian fundamentalists, the idea of mind uploading is asserted to represent a denigration of the human body characteristic of gnostic belief. Transhumanism and its presumed intellectual progenitors have also been described as neo-gnostic by non-Christian and secular commentators.
The first dialogue between transhumanism and faith was the focus of an academic seminar held at the University of Toronto in 2004. Because it might serve a few of the same functions that people have traditionally sought in religion, religious and secular critics maintained that transhumanism is itself a religion or, at the very least, a pseudoreligion. Some even dismissed transhumanism as technological utopianism turned into a new religious movement. Religious critics alone faulted the philosophy of transhumanism as offering no eternal truths nor a relationship with the divine. They commented that a philosophy bereft of these beliefs leaves humanity adrift in a foggy sea of postmodern cynicism and anomie. Transhumanists responded that such criticisms reflect a failure to look at the actual content of the transhumanist philosophy, which far from being cynical, is rooted in optimistic, idealistic attitudes that trace back to the Enlightenment. Following this dialogue, William Sims Bainbridge, a sociologist of religion, conducted a pilot study, published in the Journal of Evolution and Technology, suggesting that religious attitudes were negatively correlated with acceptance of transhumanist ideas, and indicating that individuals with highly religious worldviews tended to perceive transhumanism as being a direct, competitive (though ultimately futile) affront to their spiritual beliefs.
Since 2009, the American Academy of Religion holds a “Transhumanism and Religion” consultation during its annual meeting where scholars in the field of religious studies seek to identify and critically evaluate any implicit religious beliefs that might underlie key transhumanist claims and assumptions; consider how transhumanism challenges religious traditions to develop their own ideas of the human future, in particular the prospect of human transformation, whether by technological or other means; and provide critical and constructive assessments of an envisioned future that place greater confidence in nanotechnology, robotics, and information technology to achieve virtual immortality and create a superior posthuman species.
While some transhumanists take an abstract and theoretical approach to the perceived benefits of emerging technologies, others have offered specific proposals for modifications to the human body, including heritable ones. Transhumanists are often concerned with methods of enhancing the human nervous system. Though some propose modification of the peripheral nervous system, the brain is considered the common denominator of personhood and is thus a primary focus of transhumanist ambitions.
As proponents of self-improvement and body modification, transhumanists tend to use existing technologies and techniques that supposedly improve cognitive and physical performance, while engaging in routines and lifestyles designed to improve health and longevity. Depending on their age, some transhumanists express concern that they will not live to reap the benefits of future technologies. However, many have a great interest in life extension strategies, and in funding research in cryonics in order to make the latter a viable option of last resort rather than remaining an unproven method. Regional and global transhumanist networks and communities with a range of objectives exist to provide support and forums for discussion and collaborative projects.
THIS IS A SCULPTURE
Title: The Young Family 2002-3
Notes: A sculpture by Australian artist Patricia Piccinini entitled "The Young Family".
The following is a statement by User:Patriciapiccinini about the work:young Family (2002-3) presents a transgenic creature. The inspiration behind this work is the expectation that we have of growing human organs in other species, especially pigs. Rather than make a didactic image that argues for or against these technologies, I want to address the reality of these possible creatures in a very compassionate way. The question I raise, that I am interested in, relates to the distinction between human and animal characteristics: Not so much her humanity, but the 'animalness' in us. Genetically, we share traits with her, but also we share the fundamental trait of looking after offspring. I am interested in the kinds of ways that we look at the many ethical issues that surround medical technologies. There are two kinds of people who are thinking about these issues; those who are objective observers, and those that are actually affected by the issues, such as somebody who has a family member who is affected by a disease. These two viewpoints are often very different. It is impossible to be objective about these issues when you are emotionally involved, but I don't think that is a bad thing. These are not simple issues with easy answers: It is one thing to talk about an idea and another to be confronted by the emotional reality of a creature, and yet another to be in need of what that creature might provide.
Transhumanists support the emergence and convergence of technologies such as nanotechnology, biotechnology, information technology and cognitive science (NBIC), and hypothetical future technologies such as simulated reality, artificial intelligence, superintelligence, mind uploading, chemical brain preservation, and cryonics. They believe that humans can and should use these technologies to become more than human. They therefore support the recognition and/or protection of cognitive liberty, morphological freedom, and procreative liberty as civil liberties, so as to guarantee individuals the choice of using human enhancement technologies on themselves and their children. Some speculate that human enhancement techniques and other emerging technologies may facilitate more radical human enhancement no later than the midpoint of the 21st century.
A 2002 report, Converging Technologies for Improving Human Performance, commissioned by the National Science Foundation and US Department of Commerce, contains descriptions and commentaries on the state of NBIC science and technology by major contributors to these fields. The report discusses potential uses of these technologies in implementing transhumanist goals of enhanced performance and health, and ongoing work on planned applications of human enhancement technologies in the military and in the rationalization of the human-machine interface in industry.
Some reports on the converging technologies and NBIC concepts have criticised their transhumanist orientation and alleged science fictional character. At the same time, research on brain and body alteration technologies has accelerated under the sponsorship of the US Department of Defense, which is interested in the battlefield advantages they would provide to the "supersoldiers" of the United States and its allies. There has already been a brain research program to "extend the ability to manage information" while military scientists are now looking at stretching the human capacity for combat to a maximum 168 hours without sleep.
Transhumanist themes have become increasingly prominent in various literary forms during the period in which the movement itself has emerged. Contemporary science fiction often contains positive renditions of technologically enhanced human life, set in utopian (especially techno-utopian) societies. However, science fiction's depictions of enhanced humans or other posthuman beings frequently come with a cautionary twist. The more pessimistic scenarios include many horrific or dystopian tales of human bioengineering gone wrong. In the decades immediately before transhumanism emerged as an explicit movement, many transhumanist concepts and themes began appearing in the speculative fiction of authors of the Golden Age of Science Fiction such as Robert A. Heinlein (Lazarus Long series, 1941–87), A. E. van Vogt (Slan, 1946), Isaac Asimov (I, Robot, 1950), Arthur C. Clarke (Childhood's End, 1953) and Stanisław Lem (Cyberiad, 1967).
The cyberpunk genre, exemplified by William Gibson's Neuromancer (1984) and Bruce Sterling's Schismatrix (1985), has particularly been concerned with the modification of human bodies. Other novels dealing with transhumanist themes that have stimulated broad discussion of these issues include Blood Music (1985) by Greg Bear, The Xenogenesis Trilogy (1987–1989) by Octavia Butler; The Beggar's Trilogy (1990–94) by Nancy Kress; much of Greg Egan's work since the early 1990s, such as Permutation City (1994) and Diaspora (1997); The Culture novels of Iain M. Banks; The Bohr Maker (1995) by Linda Nagata; Altered Carbon (2002) by Richard K Morgan; Oryx and Crake (2003) by Margaret Atwood; The Elementary Particles (Eng. trans. 2001) and The Possibility of an Island (Eng. trans. 2006) by Michel Houellebecq; Mindscan (2005) by Robert J. Sawyer; the Commonwealth Saga (2002–10) by Peter F. Hamilton and Glasshouse (2005) by Charles Stross. Some (but not all) of these works are considered part of the cyberpunk genre or its postcyberpunk offshoot.
|“||Your mind is
software. Program it.
Your body is a shell. Change it.
Death is a disease. Cure it.
Extinction is approaching. Fight it.
Fictional transhumanist scenarios have also become popular in other media during the late twentieth and early twenty first centuries. Such treatments are found in comic books (Captain America, 1941; Transmetropolitan, 1997; The Surrogates, 2006), films (2001: A Space Odyssey, 1968; Blade Runner, 1982; Gattaca, 1997; Repo! The Genetic Opera, 2008), television series (the Cybermen of Doctor Who, 1966; The Six Million Dollar Man, 1973; the Borg of Star Trek: The Next Generation, 1989; manga and anime (Galaxy Express 999, 1978; Appleseed, 1985; Ghost in the Shell, 1989; Neon Genesis Evangelion, 1995; and the Gundam metaseries, 1979), video games (System Shock, 1994; Metal Gear Solid, 1998; Deus Ex, 2000; Half-Life 2, 2004; BioShock, 2007; Crysis 2, 2011;Deus Ex: Human Revolution, 2011), and role-playing games (Shadowrun, 1989, Transhuman Space, 2002, Eclipse Phase, 2009). The word "Transhumanism" flashes in the introduction sequence to the television program Fringe.
In addition to the work of Natasha Vita-More, curator of the Transhumanist Arts & Culture center, transhumanist themes appear in the visual and performing arts. Carnal Art, a form of sculpture originated by the French artist Orlan, uses the body as its medium and plastic surgery as its method. Commentators have pointed to American performer Michael Jackson as having used technologies such as plastic surgery, skin-lightening drugs and hyperbaric oxygen therapy over the course of his career, with the effect of transforming his artistic persona so as to blur identifiers of gender, race and age. The work of the Australian artist Stelarc centers on the alteration of his body by robotic prostheses and tissue engineering. Other artists whose work coincided with the emergence and flourishing of transhumanism and who explored themes related to the transformation of the body are the Yugoslavian performance artist Marina Abramovic and the American media artist Matthew Barney. A 2005 show, Becoming Animal, at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, presented exhibits by twelve artists whose work concerns the effects of technology in erasing boundaries between the human and non-human. Steampunk musician and Internet personality Dr. Steel often deals with the subject of transhumanism in his music and videos; he has been interviewed on his views by the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies and has even published a paper on the subject.
The scientific community classifies many elements of transhumanist thought and research to be within the realm of fringe science because it departs significantly from the mainstream and often directly challenges orthodox theories. The very notion and prospect of human enhancement and related issues also arouse public controversy. Criticisms of transhumanism and its proposals take two main forms: those objecting to the likelihood of transhumanist goals being achieved (practical criticisms); and those objecting to the moral principles or world view sustaining transhumanist proposals or underlying transhumanism itself (ethical criticisms). However, these two strains sometimes converge and overlap, particularly when considering the ethics of changing human biology in the face of incomplete knowledge.
Critics or opponents often see transhumanists' goals as posing threats to human values. Some also argue that strong advocacy of a transhumanist approach to improving the human condition might divert attention and resources from social solutions. As most transhumanists support non-technological changes to society, such as the spread of civil rights and civil liberties, and most critics of transhumanism support technological advances in areas such as communications and health care, the difference is often a matter of emphasis. Sometimes, however, there are strong disagreements about the very principles involved, with divergent views on humanity, human nature, and the morality of transhumanist aspirations. At least one public interest organization, the U.S.-based Center for Genetics and Society, was formed, in 2001, with the specific goal of opposing transhumanist agendas that involve transgenerational modification of human biology, such as full-term human cloning and germinal choice technology. The Institute on Biotechnology and the Human Future of the Chicago-Kent College of Law critically scrutinizes proposed applications of genetic and nanotechnologies to human biology in an academic setting.
Some of the most widely known critiques of the transhumanist program refer to novels and fictional films. These works of art, despite presenting imagined worlds rather than philosophical analyses, are used as touchstones for some of the more formal arguments.
In his 1992 book Futurehype: The Tyranny of Prophecy, sociologist Max Dublin points out many past failed predictions of technological progress and argues that modern futurist predictions will prove similarly inaccurate. He also objects to what he sees as scientism, fanaticism, and nihilism by a few in advancing transhumanist causes, and writes that historical parallels exist to millenarian religions and Communist doctrines. Several notable transhumanists have predicted that death-defeating technologies will arrive (usually late) within their own conventionally expected lifetimes. Wired magazine founding executive editor Kevin Kelly has argued these transhumanists have overly optimistic expectations of when dramatic technological breakthroughs will occur because they hope to be saved from their own deaths by those developments. Despite his sympathies for transhumanism, in his 2002 book Redesigning Humans: Our Inevitable Genetic Future, public health professor Gregory Stock is skeptical of the technical feasibility and mass appeal of the cyborgization of humanity predicted by Raymond Kurzweil, Hans Moravec and Kevin Warwick. He believes that throughout the 21st century, many humans will find themselves deeply integrated into systems of machines, but will remain biological. Primary changes to their own form and character will arise not from cyberware but from the direct manipulation of their genetics, metabolism, and biochemistry.
In his 2006 book Future Hype: The Myths of Technology Change, computer scientist and engineer Bob Seidensticker argues that today's technological achievements are not unprecedented. Exposing major myths of technology and examining the history of high tech hype, he aims to uncover inaccuracies and misunderstandings that may characterise the popular and transhumanist views of technology, to explain how and why these views have been created, and to illustrate how technological change in fact proceeds.
Those thinkers who defend the likelihood of massive technological change within a relatively short timeframe emphasize what they describe as a past pattern of exponential increases in humanity's technological capacities. This emphasis appears in the work of popular science writer Damien Broderick, notably his 1997 book, The Spike, which contains his speculations about a radically changed future. Kurzweil develops this position in much detail in his 2005 book, The Singularity Is Near. Broderick points out that many of the seemingly implausible predictions of early science fiction writers have, indeed, come to pass, among them nuclear power and space travel to the moon. He also claims that there is a core rationalism to current predictions of very rapid change, asserting that such observers as Kurzweil have a good track record in predicting the pace of innovation.
There are two distinct categories of criticism, theological and secular, that have been referred to as "playing god" arguments:[improper synthesis?]
The first category is based on the alleged inappropriateness of humans substituting themselves for an actual god. This approach is exemplified by the 2002 Vatican statement Communion and Stewardship: Human Persons Created in the Image of God, in which it is stated that, "Changing the genetic identity of man as a human person through the production of an infrahuman being is radically immoral", implying, as it would, that "man has full right of disposal over his own biological nature". At the same time, this statement 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 and claimed that Christians already enjoy, however post mortem, what radical transhumanism promises such as indefinite life extension or the abolition of suffering. In this view, transhumanism is just another representative of the long line of utopian movements which seek to immanentize the eschaton i.e. try to create "heaven on earth".
The second category is aimed mainly at "algeny", which Jeremy Rifkin defined as "the upgrading of existing organisms and the design of wholly new ones with the intent of 'perfecting' their performance", and, more specifically, attempts to pursue transhumanist goals by way of genetically modifying human embryos in order to create "designer babies". It emphasizes the issue of biocomplexity and the unpredictability of attempts to guide the development of products of biological evolution. This argument, elaborated in particular by the biologist Stuart Newman, is based on the recognition that the cloning and germline genetic engineering of animals are error-prone and inherently disruptive of embryonic development. Accordingly, so it is argued, it would create unacceptable risks to use such methods on human embryos. Performing experiments, particularly ones with permanent biological consequences, on developing humans, would thus be in violation of accepted principles governing research on human subjects (see the 1964 Declaration of Helsinki). Moreover, because improvements in experimental outcomes in one species are not automatically transferable to a new species without further experimentation, there is claimed to be no ethical route to genetic manipulation of humans at early developmental stages.
As a practical matter, however, international protocols on human subject research may not present a legal obstacle to attempts by transhumanists and others to improve their offspring by germinal choice technology. According to legal scholar Kirsten Rabe Smolensky, existing laws would protect parents who choose to enhance their child's genome from future liability arising from adverse outcomes of the procedure.
Religious thinkers allied with transhumanist goals, such as the theologians Ronald Cole-Turner and Ted Peters, reject the first argument, holding that the doctrine of "co-creation" provides an obligation to use genetic engineering to improve human biology.
Transhumanists and other supporters of human genetic engineering do not dismiss the second argument out of hand, insofar as there is a high degree of uncertainty about the likely outcomes of genetic modification experiments in humans. However, bioethicist James Hughes suggests that one possible ethical route to the genetic manipulation of humans at early developmental stages is the building of computer models of the human genome, the proteins it specifies, and the tissue engineering he argues that it also codes for. With the exponential progress in bioinformatics, Hughes believes that a virtual model of genetic expression in the human body will not be far behind and that it will soon be possible to accelerate approval of genetic modifications by simulating their effects on virtual humans. Public health professor Gregory Stock points to artificial chromosomes as an alleged safer alternative to existing genetic engineering techniques. Transhumanists therefore argue that parents have a moral responsibility called procreative beneficence to make use of these methods, if and when they are shown to be reasonably safe and effective, to have the healthiest children possible. They add that this responsibility is a moral judgment best left to individual conscience rather than imposed by law, in all but extreme cases. In this context, the emphasis on freedom of choice is called procreative liberty.
Philosopher Mary Midgley, in her 1992 book Science as Salvation, traces the notion of achieving immortality by transcendence of the material human body (echoed in the transhumanist tenet of mind uploading) to a group of male scientific thinkers of the early 20th century, including J.B.S. Haldane and members of his circle. She characterizes these ideas as "quasi-scientific dreams and prophesies" involving visions of escape from the body coupled with "self-indulgent, uncontrolled power-fantasies". Her argument focuses on what she perceives as the pseudoscientific speculations and irrational, fear-of-death-driven fantasies of these thinkers, their disregard for laymen, and the remoteness of their eschatological visions.
What is perceived as contempt for the flesh in the writings of Marvin Minsky, Hans Moravec, and some transhumanists, has also been the target of other critics for what they claim to be an instrumental conception of the human body. Reflecting a strain of feminist criticism of the transhumanist program, philosopher Susan Bordo points to "contemporary obsessions with slenderness, youth, and physical perfection", which she sees as affecting both men and women, but in distinct ways, as "the logical (if extreme) manifestations of anxieties and fantasies fostered by our culture.” Some critics question other social implications of the movement's focus on body modification. Political scientist Klaus-Gerd Giesen, in particular, has asserted that transhumanism's concentration on altering the human body represents the logical yet tragic consequence of atomized individualism and body commodification within a consumer culture.
Nick Bostrom asserts that the desire to regain youth, specifically, and transcend the natural limitations of the human body, in general, is pan-cultural and pan-historical, and is therefore not uniquely tied to the culture of the 20th century. He argues that the transhumanist program is an attempt to channel that desire into a scientific project on par with the Human Genome Project and achieve humanity's oldest hope, rather than a puerile fantasy or social trend.
In his 2003 book Enough: Staying Human in an Engineered Age, environmental ethicist Bill McKibben argued at length against many of the technologies that are postulated or supported by transhumanists, including germinal choice technology, nanomedicine and life extension strategies. He claims that it would be morally wrong for humans to tamper with fundamental aspects of themselves (or their children) in an attempt to overcome universal human limitations, such as vulnerability to aging, maximum life span, and biological constraints on physical and cognitive ability. Attempts to "improve" themselves through such manipulation would remove limitations that provide a necessary context for the experience of meaningful human choice. He claims that human lives would no longer seem meaningful in a world where such limitations could be overcome technologically. Even the goal of using germinal choice technology for clearly therapeutic purposes should be relinquished, since it would inevitably produce temptations to tamper with such things as cognitive capacities. He argues that it is possible for societies to benefit from renouncing particular technologies, using as examples Ming China, Tokugawa Japan and the contemporary Amish.
Transhumanists and other supporters of technological alteration of human biology, such as science journalist Ronald Bailey, reject as extremely subjective the claim that life would be experienced as meaningless if some human limitations are overcome with enhancement technologies. They argue that these technologies will not remove the bulk of the individual and social challenges humanity faces. They suggest that a person with greater abilities would tackle more advanced and difficult projects and continue to find meaning in the struggle to achieve excellence. Bailey also claims that McKibben's historical examples are flawed, and support different conclusions when studied more closely. For example, few groups are more cautious than the Amish about embracing new technologies, but though they shun television and use horses and buggies, some are welcoming the possibilities of gene therapy since inbreeding has afflicted them with a number of rare genetic diseases.
Some critics of libertarian transhumanism have focused on its likely socioeconomic consequences in societies in which divisions between rich and poor are on the rise. Bill McKibben, for example, suggests that emerging human enhancement technologies would be disproportionately available to those with greater financial resources, thereby exacerbating the gap between rich and poor and creating a "genetic divide". Lee M. Silver, a biologist and science writer who coined the term "reprogenetics" and supports its applications, has nonetheless expressed concern that these methods could create a two-tiered society of genetically engineered "haves" and "have nots" if social democratic reforms lag behind implementation of enhancement technologies. Critics who make these arguments do not thereby necessarily accept the transhumanist assumption that human enhancement is a positive value; in their view, it should be discouraged, or even banned, because it could confer additional power upon the already powerful. The 1997 film Gattaca's depiction of a dystopian society in which one's social class depends entirely on genetic modifications is often cited by critics in support of these views.
These criticisms are also voiced by non-libertarian transhumanist advocates, especially self-described democratic transhumanists, who believe that the majority of current or future social and environmental issues (such as unemployment and resource depletion) need to be addressed by a combination of political and technological solutions (such as a guaranteed minimum income and alternative technology). Therefore, on the specific issue of an emerging genetic divide due to unequal access to human enhancement technologies, bioethicist James Hughes, in his 2004 book Citizen Cyborg: Why Democratic Societies Must Respond to the Redesigned Human of the Future, argues that progressives or, more precisely, techno-progressives must articulate and implement public policies (such as a universal health care voucher system that covers human enhancement technologies) in order to attenuate this problem as much as possible, rather than trying to ban human enhancement technologies. The latter, he argues, might actually worsen the problem by making these technologies unsafe or available only to the wealthy on the local black market or in countries where such a ban is not enforced.
Various arguments have been made to the effect that a society that adopts human enhancement technologies may come to resemble the dystopia depicted in the 1932 novel Brave New World by Aldous Huxley. Sometimes, as in the writings of Leon Kass, the fear is that various institutions and practices judged as fundamental to civilized society would be damaged or destroyed. In his 2002 book Our Posthuman Future and in a 2004 Foreign Policy magazine article, political economist and philosopher Francis Fukuyama designates transhumanism the world's most dangerous idea because he believes that it may undermine the egalitarian ideals of democracy in general and liberal democracy in particular, through a fundamental alteration of "human nature". Social philosopher Jürgen Habermas makes a similar argument in his 2003 book The Future of Human Nature, in which he asserts that moral autonomy depends on not being subject to another's unilaterally imposed specifications. Habermas thus suggests that the human "species ethic" would be undermined by embryo-stage genetic alteration. Critics such as Kass, Fukuyama, and a variety of Christian authors hold that attempts to significantly alter human biology are not only inherently immoral but also threaten the social order. Alternatively, they argue that implementation of such technologies would likely lead to the "naturalizing" of social hierarchies or place new means of control in the hands of totalitarian regimes. The AI pioneer Joseph Weizenbaum criticizes what he sees as misanthropic tendencies in the language and ideas of some of his colleagues, in particular Marvin Minsky and Hans Moravec, which, by devaluing the human organism per se, promotes a discourse that enables divisive and undemocratic social policies.
In a 2004 article in Reason, science journalist Ronald Bailey has contested the assertions of Fukuyama by arguing that political equality has never rested on the facts of human biology. He asserts that liberalism was founded not on the proposition of effective equality of human beings, or de facto equality, but on the assertion of an equality in political rights and before the law, or de jure equality. Bailey asserts that the products of genetic engineering may well ameliorate rather than exacerbate human inequality, giving to the many what were once the privileges of the few. Moreover, he argues, "the crowning achievement of the Enlightenment is the principle of tolerance". In fact, he argues, political liberalism is already the solution to the issue of human and posthuman rights since, in liberal societies, the law is meant to apply equally to all, no matter how rich or poor, powerful or powerless, educated or ignorant, enhanced or unenhanced. Other thinkers who are sympathetic to transhumanist ideas, such as philosopher Russell Blackford, have also objected to the appeal to tradition, and what they see as alarmism, involved in Brave New World-type arguments.
Biopolitical activist Jeremy Rifkin and biologist Stuart Newman accept that biotechnology has the power to make profound changes in organismal identity. They argue against the genetic engineering of human beings, because they fear the blurring of the boundary between human and artifact. Philosopher Keekok Lee sees such developments as part of an accelerating trend in modernization in which technology has been used to transform the "natural" into the "artifactual". In the extreme, this could lead to the manufacturing and enslavement of "monsters" such as human clones, human-animal chimeras or bioroids, but even lesser dislocations of humans and non-humans from social and ecological systems are seen as problematic. The film Blade Runner (1982), the novels The Boys From Brazil (1978) and The Island of Dr. Moreau (1896) depict elements of such scenarios, but Mary Shelley's 1818 novel Frankenstein is most often alluded to by critics who suggest that biotechnologies could create objectified and socially unmoored people and subhumans. Such critics propose that strict measures be implemented to prevent what they portray as dehumanizing possibilities from ever happening, usually in the form of an international ban on human genetic engineering.
Writing in Reason magazine, Ronald Bailey has accused opponents of research involving the modification of animals as indulging in alarmism when they speculate about the creation of subhuman creatures with human-like intelligence and brains resembling those of Homo sapiens. Bailey insists that the aim of conducting research on animals is simply to produce human health care benefits.
A different response comes from transhumanist personhood theorists who object to what they characterize as the anthropomorphobia fueling some criticisms of this research, which science writer Isaac Asimov termed the "Frankenstein complex". They argue that, provided they are self-aware, human clones, human-animal chimeras and uplifted animals would all be unique persons deserving of respect, dignity, rights and citizenship. They conclude that the coming ethical issue is not the creation of so-called monsters but what they characterize as the "yuck factor" and "human-racism" that would judge and treat these creations as monstrous.
Supersoldier is a term often used to describe a soldier that operates beyond normal human limits or abilities. Supersoldiers are common in science fiction literature, films, TV programs, computer, conspiracy theories, and video games, but have also made appearances in other related genres, such as military fiction and spy fiction. Many depictions of supersoldiers treat them as shock troops or heavy infantry, although others feature them as elite commandos or special forces personnel.
Supersoldiers are usually heavily augmented, either through eugenics (especially selective breeding), traumatized victims of any age, genetic engineering, cybernetic implants, drugs, brainwashing, traumatic events, an extreme training regimen (usually with high casualty rates, and often starting from birth or a young age), or other scientific and pseudoscientific means. Occasionally, some instances also use paranormal methods, such as black magic, and/or technology and science of extraterrestrial origin. The creators of such programs are viewed often as mad scientists or stern military men, depending on the emphasis, as their programs will typically go past ethical boundaries in the pursuit of science and/or military might.
JAMES CASBOLT http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GwTnP1VaRqE
MICHAEL PRINCE http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0o7a5KgmCWc
Air Date: 12/02/2009
Robert Duncan O’Finioan is an author and martial artist who was part of a secret government program known as Project Talent, a sub-project of the notorious MK ULTRA Program. The program used severe trauma to split his personality into several alternate personalities, one of whom was trained and enhanced to become a Super Soldier known as Omega Unit 197. SEE http://www.republicmagazine.com/webinar/duncan-ofinioan-project-talent-mk-ultras-new-world-order-super-soldier-mind-control-program.html
Images of the deity were kept in homes and he was depicted quite differently from the other gods. Normally Egyptian gods were shown in a class="extiw" href="http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/profile" title="wikt:profile"> profile, but instead Bes appeared in portrait, ithyphallic, and sometimes in a soldier's tunic, so as to appear ready to launch an attack on any approaching evil. He scared away demons from houses, so his statue was put up as a protector.
Bes was a household protector, throughout ancient Egyptian history becoming responsible for such varied tasks as killing snakes, fighting off evil spirits, watching after children, and aiding (by fighting off evil spirits) women in labour (and thus present with Taweret at births).
Since he drove off evil, Bes also came to symbolize the good things in life - music, dance, and sexual pleasure. Later, in the Ptolemaic period of Egyptian history, chambers were constructed, painted with images of Bes and his wife Beset, thought by Egyptologists to have been for the purpose of curing fertility problems or general healing rituals.
Many instances of Bes masks and costumes from the New Kingdom and later have been uncovered. These show considerable wear, thought to be too great for occasional use at festivals, and are therefore thought to have been used by professional performers, or given out for rent.
The cult of Saint Bessus in northern Italy may represent the Christianization of the cult associated with Bes; St. Bessus was also invoked for fertility, and Bessus and Bes are both associated with an ostrich feather in their iconography.
The Balearic island of Ibiza derives its actual name from this God, brought along with the first Phoenician settlers 654 BC. These settlers, amazed at the lack of any sort of venenous creatures on the island thought it to be the island of Bes (<איבשם> ʔybšm *ʔibošim). Later romans called it Ebusus.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Bes|
Bes (also spelled as Bisu) was an Egyptian deity worshipped in the later periods of dynastic history as a protector of households and in particular mothers and children. In time he would be regarded as the defender of everything good and the enemy of all that is bad. While past studies identified Bes as a Middle Kingdom import from Nubia, some more recent research believes him to be an Egyptian native. Mentions of Bes can be traced to the southern lands of the Old Kingdom; however his cult did not become widespread until well into the New Kingdom.
Modern scholars such as James Romano demonstrated that in its earliest inceptions, Bes was a representation of a lion rearing up on its hind legs.
After the Third Intermediate Period, Bes is often seen as just the head or the face, often worn as amulets. It is theorized that the god Bes came from the Great Lakes Region of Africa, coming from the Twa people (a pygmy group) in Congo or Rwanda. The ancient Twa were about the same height as the depictions of Bes.
Dawn Prince-Hughes lists Bes as fitting with other archetypal long-haired Bigfoot-like ape-man figures from ancient Northern Africa, "a squat, bandy-legged figure depicted with fur about his body, a prominent brow, and short, pug nose." 
Another theory, connected to Bes's role in both the protection of children and women in labour, is that Bes is the figure of a miscarried fetus. Bes is also known to be wearing a lion skin on his back.
The Egyptian religion has a long history. Earliest images include the symbols for the goddess Neith, many fertility figurines and versions of the vulture (Nekhbet) and cobra (Wadjet) goddesses which were borne on Egyptian crowns from predynastic and protodynastic periods through to the Roman period.
The many types of animals native to Northern Africa were immensely influential in nearly every significant aspect of the Ancient Egyptian way of life. The people were highly dependent on, and sometimes equally highly cautious of, different animals in many differing ways. The presence of certain animals (or lack thereof) factored with their behavior and sheer numbers, could easily mean the difference between life and death to an individual Egyptian person in one common type of situation; just as easily as they could mean the difference between prosperity and poverty to a person in another type of situation. Perhaps most importantly, however, certain animals could also mean the difference between peace and war for the entire nation. With regard to religion, there was a vast amount of varying forms of symbolism relating to animals embraced by the Ancient Egyptians—the symbols connoted by various animals were consistently recurring themes in their religious system. For instance, there were many cow goddesses, such as Hathor, reflecting the fact that cattle were domesticated in Egypt by 8,000 B.C.. By 5,500 B.C., stone-roofed subterranean chambers and other subterranean complexes in Nabta Playa were constructed for the express purpose of housing the tombs of ritually sacrificed cattle. Wild, as well as domesticated animals, inspired a truly enormous amount of religious symbolism, take for instance the fierce lioness, personified by Sekhmet as the warrior goddess in the south.
The pharaoh was deified after death, and bore the title of nṯr nfr "the good god". The title, "servant of god" was used for the priesthood, ḥmt-nṯr 'priestesses' and ḥm-nṯr 'priests'. Over the great period of time covered by Ancient Egyptian culture the importance of certain deities would rise and fall, often because of the religious allegiance of the king. However the worship of some deities was more or less continuous.
Many animals were considered sacred to particular deities:
|Ejo or Wadjet||Egyptian cobra|
|Bast or Bastet||Cat|