I am advocate for transhumanism, rightly defined. I am certainly not a technophobe who perceives all technology to be bad. In my opinion, human technology – like all matter – is a tool that can be used for good or evil. That being said – as an advocate of transhumanism – I cannot in good faith advocate that anyone support the Transhumanist Party that has recently been formed in the United States.
In many ways, it pains me to write these words because I so admire the scientific research and technological work of many of the party’s advisors. But being surrounded by brilliance in advisory roles alone does not an excellent presidential candidate make. That is because such expertise isn’t enough to qualify any person, on their own, to unilaterally define the transhumanist movement. And make no mistake about it; that is the Transhumanist Party’s Presidential Candidate, Zoltan Istvan’s goal.
Istvan knows that he has no real chance of winning the U.S. presidency. He has openly admitted that fact. What he is really concerned about is establishing the larger transhumanism movement defined in radical Atheistic and Nietzschean terms. Put simply – we are witnessing tyranny occurring in the transhumanist movement.
Proof of this resides in the fact that Istvan is intentionally trying to exclude from the transhumanist movement 70+% of Americans that associate themselves as Christian persons who believe in God, another 5+% that identify with a non-Christian religion, and anyone who belongs to the remaining 19+% that might not adhere to organized religion but who still believe in God or at least in the possibility of God. More than that, Istvan goes so far as insinuate that historically the faith of elected officials (those who identify with Protestantism specifically) has overwhelmingly hurt our country. Of course this is not an accusation based on any kind of scientific evaluation or even a vague measure of the sincerity of belief of the persons being accused. That is because Istvan’s run for the U.S. presidency isn’t really even an attempt to put transhumanism in the spotlight – it is merely an attempt to globally claim transhumanism as a primarily Atheistic venture which openly rejects organized religion and God.
In this way Istvan is leading transhumanism down a path of unnecessary demonization. He is pitting the vast majority of Americans (as well the world’s population) against the transhumanism movement. Pretending and advocating unnecessarily and unrightly that transhumanism and religion are adversaries is simply a fallacy.
Fortunately, a growing number of people are beginning to reject Istvan’s version of transhumanism and instead are advocating for an integration of religious thought with transhumanism. In particular, Christianity’s interest and adoption of transhumanism is rapidly growing. Every day more and more religious people are adopting a more nuanced version of transhumanism that implies a discovery of what it might mean to be more fully human “across” the a scope of human possibility.
But, if you needed even more proof that Istvan political aspirations are a tyranny happening in the transhumant movement, then you need only to look to one fact: There has never been any offer on his behalf to hold a Transhumanist Party U.S. Presidential Candidate primary. Even if it meant that Istvan publically entered a primary unopposed and was competing only against write-in ballots – this would have been an action of accountability to the larger transhumanist movement – a pro H+ move. Instead, Istvan started the party and imperiously appointed himself as all U.S. transhumanist’s representative.
Fortunately for the U.S. political system, Americans have a well-documented history of rejecting political tyranny. I have no doubt that such rejection will continue as it pertains to Istvan’s self-imposed presidential candidacy. But whether or not transhumanists will rise up and reject ideological tyranny? That still remains to be seen.
initially posted here: http://www.christianpost.com/news/a-vote-for-the-transhumanist-party-presidential-candidate-is-a-vote-for-tyranny-140319/
* hero image from: http://www.filmbuffonline.com/FBOLNewsreel/wordpress/2010/07/18/a-peek-at-odins-throne-room/
June 15, 2015 at 7:05 pm
One man making an effort is not political tyranny. Tyranny is the state or rule of an absolute ruler. If Istvan were to actually become president, he would be part of a checks and balance system, one man among many. Now , the Christian god… he’s more of an absolute single ruler kind of figure, wouldn’t you agree?
I am sure that if someone else wanted to put some effort into getting up there and running, Zoltan would be happy for the exposure and competition. However, Transhumanists do seem to be beset by a good deal of inertia. Just because no one else is making the effort doesn’t mean it’s imperious. It’s just that he’s the only one who has tried.
To be honest, most of the major issues that beset both ours and other nations are driven by religion in some or most parts. Our issues with homosexuality, the fact that women are still payed less and abused, the debate over abortion, the teaching of creatioinism in so many schools… Every president swears to god when he comes into office, and every president has lied, started or continued wars, gone back on their word, killed innocents in the name of the greater good, one nation under god.
That fact that Christians are beginning to accept some “nuanced” forms of tranhumanism is nothing more than the same old religious style cherry picking so you can have it both ways. You want some of the science, but not all of it. Religion with a side of reality.
I’m not particularly on board with everything that Zoltan talks about, but I will admit, it takes a strong man to stand up to centuries of persecution, abuse, murder, and oppression done in the name of a god and say ‘enough is enough’. That’s a good thing. Maybe we’re sick and tired of the tyrannical rule of god and his followers. When you consider that every single president has been Christian (of some flavor), it makes one wonder, what if we had a little less of that going on?
Atheism isn’t tyranny. Christians have, historically, always been the tyrants. There needs to be a lot more reform at home before it’s fair for a Christian to start slinging stones.
June 15, 2015 at 8:38 pm
hmm… I have a hard time disagreeing with Gabriel, to quote Christ… “Judge Yea not least Yea be judged also” further if decisive action means tyranny and tyranny is bad then civilization would not have made much progress I suspect.
While on one hand I agree that Zoltan may be too radical as he is not clear on where he stands on issues and doesn’t have a documented platform which is bad in my mind. By his stance not being made clear it makes me think its possible its more a publicity stunt then anything but at the same time to denigrate his actions for moving the needle by taking unilateral action I would have to commend and I would say I would do the same thing if I thought it would move us forward. Words and all this internet talk mean little to me and I value real life action and if that means a little Tyranny to make it happen so be it.
On another note, it is refreshing to see a wider Transhumanist thought being sent to me to publish on t.net. it is important that we are all nice to each other and hear each other out through logical discussion that hopefully inspires positive action to help others through transhumanism.
June 16, 2015 at 3:36 am
Gabriel – a few things…
a tyrant by definition is merely any person in a position of authority who exercises power oppressively. Zoltan has publicly stated that he wishes to take away immediate aid to the disabled and that religious persons should be treated unequally by the government as a result of their belief. I disagree with both of these measures. I think that we need to try to also meet peoples immediate needs as we simultaneously try to address their future needs. Also, I think that people deserve to be treated fairly by the government and should be – regardless of the their belief or lack thereof.
Per – the question of a primary – it is interesting that you think so. Why don’t you ask Zoltan about that? You might be surprised at the answer you get. I already have.
I don’t think that you are in any position to judge what I perceive to be the teachings of Christ and how they relate to science. Personally I do value science – but science is not all there is to life.
Christians are supposed to be people who try to follow the commands of Christ. And people who weren’t believers first gave Christ’s followers this name “Christian.” Therefore if some folks are regularly and intentionally acting outside the obvious bounds of Christ’s commands – and the general public needs to call them out on that. It also means that, unless you are calling Christ himself a tyrant – an actual follower of Christ couldn’t be one with intentionality and regularity.
Those rules obviously wouldn’t necessarily hold true to a (big “A”) Atheist.
David, I don’t read that Matthew 7 passage as saying “don’t hold each other accountable.” Zoltan can redirect – The question is: Does he care enough about the people that he is trying to represent to actually do so?
June 16, 2015 at 4:34 pm
To some degree it is not our place to hold others accountable or if we do it is limited at best. only through a collective government either locally, regionally or nationally might be ‘judge’ appropriately in my opinion. To Zoltan’s point though we should generally have some kind of merit, while I’m morally obligated to help those around us the government should focus on larger issues and not helping individuals. Certainly we should not be providing various social programs for anyone in my opinion for numerous reasons and such aid should be merit based if given. The government should focus on wider issues. To me I really have mixed feelings about Zoltan as on one side he is over the top but there is merit to the course.
June 16, 2015 at 7:12 pm
First, I echo what DavidJKelly said about it being good to see wider transhumanist thought published. It’s good to see a diversity of opinion and see honest discussion about issues, so I thank Rev. Dr. Benek for bringing up this topic.
Second, I consider myself a firm transhumanist, I sincerely want to transcend the limits that biology has placed on humanity, starting with the too short lifespan we have been burdened with, and going onward from there.
Third, I do think that a primary process and an official process for adopting platform planks will be needed if the Transhumanist Party is to every hope to grow and succeed.
Fourth, I am a US citizen, I vote in most every election I am eligible to vote in, from local school board and city council to US presidential. I intend on voting in the 2016 presidential election, but will not be voting for Mr. Istvan or the Transhumanist Party. My reason may be a little different from Rev. Dr. Benek’s.
My reasoning all comes down to what I think is and is not the proper role of the government.
I find it interesting that the About page of Transhumanity.net quotes from the US Declaration of Independence and says transhumanism includes “protecting the freedom for all to decide for themselves how to be happy in other words ‘Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness’.” I know the Declaration does not set up the structure of the US government the way the Constitution does, but I’ve always thought the Declaration really got it right as a philosophical guide for what government should and should not do. It postulates that we have natural rights, including life, liberty and property, and the sole purpose of government is “to secure these rights” from those who would attempt to take away our lives, liberty, or the property we have peacefully acquired. To my mind — and I’m certainly in the minority, I’ll freely acknowledge that — THAT is the proper role of the government: to secure our rights from those who would attempt to use force against us to deny these rights. I personally do not believe that the government can “legitimately” do anything more than that. I think the government trying to do anything more is overstepping its bounds. And usually when the government tries to do more, it does more HARM than GOOD.
So my reason for not supporting the Transhumanist Party as I understand it to currently stand is: the party’s/Mr. Istvan’s positions far exceed what I think is the proper role of a government. In an article in the Huffington Post, Mr. Istvan says that one of the goals of his candidacy is to “Create a cultural mindset in America that embracing and producing radical technology and science is in the best interest of our nation.” But… I’d say, it’s not a proper role of the government to create ANY cultural mindset in America. The government shouldn’t actively create a mindset IN FAVOR OF technology, and it should not actively create a mindset IN OPPOSITION TO technology. In my opinion, all the government should do is protect the rights of those who want to pursue radical technology and science, so that no one can use force to stop them from pursuing their goals. That’s it. Preserve the right to do what one wishes, but don’t engage in some kind of campaign to change the “cultural mindset”. I would like to see a cultural mindset that values technology and science, but I would not like to see a government that tries to engineer what the “culture” is thinking. A government strong enough to “create a cultural mindset” in favor of technology and science is a government that is strong enough to “create a cultural mindset” in favor of a lot of things that I wouldn’t be in favor of. I’d rather the government not try to create ANY mindset, but just get out of the way and let people do what they desire, so long as they’re not harming others.
A second goal of Mr. Istvan was printed as being, “Attempt to do everything possible to make it so this country’s amazing scientists and technologists have resources to overcome human death and aging within 15-20 years.” Now, I can literally say that I know of NO ONE on Earth that desires to overcome human death more than me. It is a driving force in my life, to the point of signing up for cryonic preservation and being interested in transhumanism. I can’t tell you how much I want to avoid death. HOWEVER, “attempt to do everything possible”? And, “make it so [they] have resources”? What does that look like in the real world? A government that has the power to “do everything possible” to “make it so” life extension scientists have the resources they feel they need… that’s a government that has the power to take from some individuals or groups and give to other groups to “make it so” their goals, that I don’t necessarily agree with, can be realized. I don’t believe it is a proper role of the government to allocate resources.
Mr. Istvan seems to want the government to get more active in science and technology. I hold the opposite view, I think that science and life-extension technology will prosper more if the government stays out of it. Leave alone the scientists that are working on big breakthroughs. Don’t penalize individuals and companies that want to invest in new technologies, or are doing research. Currently the government erects more barriers than anything else, and I’ll cynically observe that the government seems to mess up everything it gets involved in. I’d like the government to tear down any barriers they have previously put up that hinder life-extension technology development, and then other than that, stay far, far away from it.
I simply view the proper role of government differently than Mr. Istvan has expressed in his public statements. And, therefore, I will not vote for a candidate promoting those positions. I would ask Mr. Istvan to reconsider his position, and take the stance that the government should not attempt to help nor hinder science and technology, but should leave it unfettered. Government should protect the right of people to transcend beyond biological limits, but should not encourage it, nor discourage it, should not incentivize it, nor penalize it. That would be a political party I could vote for.
June 16, 2015 at 7:35 pm
ditto… the about page fyi, is how I think things should be and my expectation that a Transhumanist party would be along those lines hence more issues I have with Zoltan’s line of thinking. he is coming up to the event in seattle next month and I hope speak with him about this stuff. Maybe I should run for president but my wife would do something terrible to me if I did.
June 16, 2015 at 8:59 pm
Noticed that we kinda slid into a little round robin of back patting. Think I’ll play devil’s advocate here. Please note that any strong language is directed not at anyone personally but at the larger system as a whole. I will be happy to bring references for any of the points that people might have issue with.
Some people act outside the bounds of what it means to be Christian? So, like, every president so far? The Duggars? Every priest who fondled an alterboy. Every warmongering bastard out there. Sure you may be a good guy, but you’re hanging out with a crowd that has a historical track record of genocide.
Here’s the thing. I agree that everyone is entitled to an opinion. However, I think we can all agree that just because someone has an opinion, doesn’t mean it’s valid.
Take climate change. It’s a thing. Yet for some awful reason we keep debating it. Sadly, a large number of the people on the “we need to keep talking about it” side happen to be religious. Probably a coincidence. I’m all for open dialogue, but sometimes enough is enough.
You say that there is more to life than science. I assume you mean faith or religion. Let’s get this straight. There are hundreds of thousands of recorded pieces of evidence that science is a thing, that you can make a model and then make things work. That you can track the neurons as they flare when you are about to laugh, predict the colour of a paint fromt he two you mix together… hell, you use soap, right? Science. You rub it on your body every day.
There is not one legitimate reproducible piece of evidence for god. In the entirety of human history. So why must we keep hearing about it? When is enough enough? There is nothing wrong with not wanting to be associated with the pile of molesters, rapists, murders, and oppressors who are the religious system. And there’s nothing wrong with taking a stand against them getting their fingers deeper into our societal system.
Enough is enough. I’m tired. Hopefully enough of us are tired. Haven’t you guys done enough? Is it so hard to give someone else a chance?
June 17, 2015 at 5:41 pm
Gabriel – I have no problem with atheists having proper representation. But just as I wouldn’t categorize you as an individual responsible for everything bad that any Atheist has ever done – I don’t think that it is appropriate to lump all Christians into a category of people who have done the things that you allege above. It isn’t a just or accurate in my opinion. I think atheists and transhumanists (and Christians for that matter) can do better than the political candidates that we are being offered.
David – I was merely offering a wider viewpoint on the Scripture you quoted teaching on the concept of judgement. I didn’t think your quote of Christ was particularly in context. The Bible is pretty nuanced on the subject actually. That being said – obviously you are entitled to your own perspective on the issue.
P.C. – Well Said.
June 17, 2015 at 5:49 pm
Christopher, I thought it was in context in the since that as I do not believe we as individuals should be holding each other accountable unless placed in authority as part of the society. While I admit this is a fine line I’m of the opinion I will not speak out actively against one thing or other unless it specifically goes against or in fringes on the rights of others. going back to Zoltan the reason I’m very much aligned with your line of thing is that Zoltan in his thinking I suspect very much would be infringing on the rights of others. Where I differ maybe a bit (and that’s ok) is I do tend to be very draconian in my approach to action and being results driven which that part of Zoltan I can appreciate as a good thing.
June 17, 2015 at 5:28 pm
Personally, we should focus on empirical evidence. While I support Christian Transhumanist or any other religious groups as being Transhumanist as it better aligns with moving forward logically but that is not to say I accept their idea of ‘god’ at face value. I’m certainly not one to argue faith when it should be about logic and evidence. I do feel that there is a spiritual element to being fully sapient and sentient uniformly superior to any other life on earth that does not mean a belief in God. however given the lack of evidence I cant just say that there is no god either as given the fact that the earth is swarming is self replicating nanite based self evolving machinery it certainly is not something I’m going to just uniformly through out the idea of a ‘god’ of some kind. to me this discussion is more about educating people to the point of action with real results that moves us forward and I would think as transhumanists we would be open to helping others get there logically, calmly and be generally open minded without being overly critical one way or the other.
June 17, 2015 at 6:09 pm
David – I hear what you are saying. To be clear though – the Christian is not called to prove their faith – only to testify to the experiences that they believe are of God. So Science and Theology have two different aims. I have written other pieces on my website on this issue – regarding the intersection of Technological Futurism and Theology – and some of what I believe that they have in common.
June 17, 2015 at 7:18 pm
Well that kinda hits the nail on the head. You’re saying basically you can just say whatever you want without proof. I get that. And yeah, there are lots of parallels between Theology and Technological Futurism. It’s all philosophy up in here. Very little action. Very little reality. I’ve written about that before. I think Rich Lee just posted about that again recently. The question is, is that what we want? Sitting around and talking, with no burden to act or back up our beliefs with things we make ourselves?
As for the statement which basically boils down to “not all Christians”, I think you should consider your initial point on how many Christians there are in this country. I looked into it, and the number is more like 80%. Statistically, if a crime is being done, it’s probably being done by a Christian. That’s just the numbers. And since every president has been Christian, well, those numbers are pretty solid too.
I agree that the one Transhumanist atheist candidate we have is not ideal, but I also don’t see anyone else giving it a shot. Yes, it’s possible that Christians could have done better than the political candidates we are being offered. But since you guys have had a chance for the last 250yrs and politicians have continued to just get worse and worse, maybe it’s time to stop beating that particular horse and see if maybe someone else is better at it.
June 17, 2015 at 10:35 pm
To me… Science and Theology should be one and the same. A theology based on logic and provable science. Where morals and ethics and spirituality is unpinned by say this philosophy http://transhumanity.net/new-vulcanism-and-our-moral-obligation-as-technologist-to-transhumanism/ (a previous post) is what I’d like to see us evolve towards… and with that a ‘transhuman’ president just maybe not Zoltan? or a ‘softer’ more user friendly version. 🙂
June 18, 2015 at 1:48 am
That’s a difficult one. As the reverend said, religion has no recourse to reason, “is not called to prove”. The thing your talking about is called science. It stops being theology when you take blind faith out of the picture. Words mean things. Thus the divide, and why we use different words. Reason and facts on one side, storytelling and faith on the other.
We can be ethical and be rational at the same time. We don’t need magic and fear to tell us what to do. It’s legitimate to care about your fellow man because it’s actually a good idea, not because there is a rule about it passed down from space dad. I mean, the good book hasn’t been doing our senators and congressmen much good lately. Maybe a little bit of reason and a little less faith would serve us all well.
It’s also legitimate to tell people to not come to the party cause they have a tendency to talk about imaginary things and have a history killing people. I mean, maybe not this one guy in particular, but Christians have a bad track record, historically, and having imaginary friends gets a bit weird after about 5 yrs old…
And before you respond, the opposite of imaginary is proven or factual, so lets just cut that little talk short. Happy to accept that your aren’t called to bring any factual evidence to your beliefs. Just acknowledge that the literal definition for that kind of thing is called “imaginary”.
So I guess that brings up a pretty important question. Is it really important to make everyone feel welcome and accepted, no matter how imaginary, or our of touch with physical reality they are, or are we going to have some standards here? On the Grinder boards, we have a little rule we like to use: Explain your methods, bring your evidence, all claims need to be backed up by factual information. Doesn’t seem to be to hard.
June 18, 2015 at 7:05 am
the bulk of that I agree with, however…
I do not believe it is difficult to combine religion and science.
While clearly I believe the reverend is wrong on religion and I do require all claims to be proved to be considered valid I also think that it is important to make everyone feel welcome and only in the nicest possible way be critical and then only if needed. His article is fair and a counter point on a particular topic and his opinion valid even if I don’t agree entirely and as far as Christians go his thinking is well reasoned.
While the reverend might not bring facts to his beliefs which is ok, I do base my ‘beliefs’ on fact alone.
as to rules here, everyone is entitled to their opinion, everyone is treated nicely and fairly and anything to way out there I reserve the right to reject or if its ‘offensive’ in some way I reject also . If I do publish and its to way out there I do tend to note that its an opinion in the title or put a disclaimer and further everything we post is related to transhumanism. outside of those rules I don’t find it important to be too critical of people opinions unless asked directly or it otherwise comes up. My goal is to see open, honest and fair communication and help drive interest in transhumanism as per direction of the Foundation which pays for everything.
June 18, 2015 at 8:17 am
Well put. I’m all for open discourse. I mean, it’s a blog, right? As long as everyone keeps their cool, it’s all good. It’s like sitting around talking about philosophy in high school. There’s no real ramifications. And since it’s just philosophizing, I agree, not having any hard facts for your beliefs is ok. Cause who cares?
It’s when it, as the kids say, starts getting real, that it becomes important. When actual people are doing real world activities, it’s time to make some hard calls about what is and isn’t ok. If you want to stick with the biblical theme, Jesus complained constantly about his followers. He thought they were sycophants and sinners and thought the whole thing was a waste of effort. Multiple times he talked with god about just tossing in the towel. He drew hard lines about what was and wasn’t ok. So, I mean, acceptance and all that. But maybe a little bit of common sense? Can we please move out of the stone age, where people used to talk to the opposite sides of their brain by making up deities? Maybe say, hey, let’s start talking about the real things here?
I’m planning on being at the Seattle even since I’m back in town. Let’s talk more about some of these things then.
June 18, 2015 at 2:39 pm
Love to speak at the Seattle event. you might have to point your self out. I’ll be doing the keynote so it shouldn’t be to hard to spot me. 🙂
On the rules and the like, I think for the most part what we are letting out is “real” but a lot of it has been overly skewed. I asked for the Reverend to add his voice so to say as it adds a bit of balance and helps even the tone over all and in that it adds value and I would argue back on the topic of Zoltan… there needs to be ALOT of balance…