Monday, November 4, 2013


Reading Dan Brown's Inferno is absolutely amazing. I love Brown's books for his ability to make his characters make a moral stance, especially in Inferno. This is a little bit of a spoiler, so if you were planning on reading the book and haven't, you were warned. If you weren't planning to read it, I'd highly recommend you changing your mind, because it is excellent.

The main antagonist is a person who is a "Transhumanist". I'd never heard of the term before, so I looked it up. In as few words as possible, transhumanists believe that we should use all available technology to enhance the human race. This is mostly genetic alterations that they propose. By playing around with our genetic makeup, transhumanists believe that we can make ourselves stronger, smarter, and increase our natural restorative or regenerative abilities. Essentially, it's boosting human evolution through unnatural means.

Right off the hand, this sounds like playing God. At the risk of attracting more flack to myself, I do think evolution is a natural process, but it takes many generations to see relatively small change. In the Middle Ages the average height for an adult human was about 5'4", whereas today the average height is 5'10". What Transhumanists want to do is speed up the process to where we could see significant changes in the next generation.

What everyone's favorite Harvard Symbologist Robert Langdon brings up when this is explained to him is the Socio-Cultural affect this type of tampering would have, and I have to say I agree with this. No matter what this genetic altering would imply, there would always be those who wouldn't be able to afford it. The rich would certainly be able to afford it, and upper-middle and middle classes would have to work a little harder to afford it, but there would always be the lower classes who would never afford it. These new enhanced individuals, whom Transhumanists call "Posthumans", would not only retain their economic advantage over the lower classes, they are now genetically "better". Differences and tensions that already exist would only be strengthened, and if human history teaches us anything, its that people don't exactly deal with those deemed inferior in a humane manner.

Above is a link to more information on Transhumanism if you wish to form your own opinion. You've heard mine, but think what you will.

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