The Dangers of Transhumanism, the "World's Most Dangerous Idea"

Brian Clowes
December 21, 2023
Reproduced with Permission
Human Life International

Mortality is the human condition. It is natural for humans to wish to delay or somehow escape death, or at least to forget or ignore their mortality. The ancient tales of the "fountain of youth" or other objects that promise eternal youth or immortality are well-remembered. In the modern day, an escape from death may look like cryogenic freezing, a taboo of death-related topics, or transhumanism.

Transhumanism is defined as "...a philosophy that explores human transcendence above or beyond organic, corporeal limitations through technological and philosophical evolution."

In other words, this is the idea that humans can go beyond their limitations if they utilize technology and implement this technology in their bodies. An example would be brain implants that allow people to move limbs, communicate with one another, or surf the internet with only their thoughts. This far-fetched, science fiction implant is becoming a reality, thanks to several companies that either support transhumanist initiatives or work on such pursuits themselves.

One example is Elon Musk's company, Neuralink, which is the leader in brain implants. OpenAI is attempting to create artificial intelligence that surpasses human abilities. The Alcor Life Extension Foundation seeks to preserve bodies or brains after legal death. They hope to be able to even revive individuals in the future.

This sets a dangerous precedent, and it only brings us closer to the terrifying reality of transhumanism.

Proponents emphasize only the benefits that their movement would supposedly bring to the human race, such as curing diseases. Perhaps they omit possible problems because, like all Culture of Death movements, they lack even the most fundamental understanding of human nature. So, their primary problem seems to be not dishonesty, but ignorance. So, what are the dangers of transhumanism?

#1. Devastating War?

Ever since humanity's beginnings, we seem to have possessed an innate capability to murder each other. This urge manifests itself in many ways. For example, we first thoroughly examine any emerging technology in order to assess its potential to either wage war or to support it (although, to be fair, an amazing number of inventions have emerged from war-related research). These inventions and techniques include computers, nuclear power, tracked vehicles, flashlights, practical jet engines, air traffic control, radar, radio navigation, synthetic rubber and oil, pressurized cabins for aircraft, drones, and countless medical advances such as penicillin and mobile X-ray machines.

Some transhumanists recognize this danger. Julian Savulescu, Director of The Oxford Center for Neuroethics, believes that making humans much more intelligent will endanger our race because of our propensity to evaluate new tech as weaponry as soon as it appears. Without doubt, the practical application of transhumanism would produce devastating weapons of war. Imagine facing a nation that could field entire battalions of Captain Americas! Indeed, the "human enhancement" that proponents promise could very well be our downfall.

#2. "Engineering Morality"

Because of the possibility of "transhumans" bringing mass destruction to our own race, Savulescu would like to accompany our physical enhancements with an improved system of morality via genetic engineering and hormone therapy to make us more cooperative and altruistic.

The problem, of course, is the question of who decides what is "moral." Under a transhumanist regime, the true Christian vision would be entirely shut out because it would refuse to cooperate. Christians know that being artificially "reconstructed" physically, mentally and morally is certainly not God's will for our lives. So, the elite, despite their dismal record, would be left to make the decisions. Savulescu argues that, since we already allow embryo selection and selective abortions to eliminate diseased embryos and fetuses, there should be no objection to using these methods to choose other genetic traits.1

This shows that the Christian vision is already being ignored during the long march to the "Singularity," or the point at which artificial intelligence accelerates and expands at such a pace that human life is changed irreversibly.

The Transhumanist Declaration states, "We recognize that humanity faces serious risks, especially from the misuse of new technologies. There are possible realistic scenarios that lead to the loss of most, or even all, of what we hold valuable."

Christians know that our reliance rests not on ourselves, but on God. To artificially warp humanity in a way that would strip it of all that is meaningful would be miserable. Taking the reliance that we should have on God and putting it on ourselves tells God, "We don't need You, we're able to sustain ourselves apart from You." This echoes Lucifer's famous protest: "Non serviam," or "I will not serve."

Archangel Michael fighting with dragon, engraving of Nazareene School, published in The Holy Bible, St.Vojtech Publishing, Trnava, Slovakia, 1937 If we try to eliminate mortality completely, we reject God's providence and make ourselves into false gods. Such a state of affairs would be the ultimate nightmare.

#3. Social Inequality and Eugenics

Nobody - not even transhumanists - denies that the "Humanity+" movement will lead to even greater disparities between rich and poor. Just look at our record regarding inequality between the developed and developing nations.

The average life span of Americans has improved from 47 years in 1900 to 79 years now.2 The great majority of this is due to the availability of clean drinking water and better healthcare.3 Even multi-billionaires like Bill Gates recognize this disparity. Gates said, "It seems pretty egocentric while we still have malaria and TB [tuberculosis] for rich people to fund things so they can live longer."

Members of the unthinking elite always lead the charge into morally questionable activities. If it makes them feel progressive and good about themselves, they are all for it!

The world has always been populated with Utopians, those who desire a perfect world. This concept has taken many forms, from massive social movements such as communism, socialism and Nazism to tiny communes in Oregon.

These grander visions are invariably doomed to fail because, in order to get to the final point, there must be an intermediate stage where a strictly authoritarian regime takes over and reorganizes society in order to realize the Utopia. The most common of such systems, communism, would be a perfect system for humanity - if not for our pesky imperfect human nature and the worship we owe to our Creator. And so, after the authoritarians take over, they get comfortable on top of the heap and simply cannot let go of control. So, millions die while millions more live in abject misery.

The process of establishing an ideal society must always include the coercion and the exclusion of those who refuse to go along.

Anyone who thinks that life-enhancing and life-extending technology (which will inevitably be hugely expensive) will not also lead to a "have-have not" society is criminally naive. And those who think that transhumanism will not lead to unheard-of atrocities are equally oblivious. As already mentioned, Culture of Death movements cannot admit defeat. They simply claim that their ideas weren't taken far enough and are always eager to try again. As historian Elof Carlson writes, "Eugenics failed because it was not scientific enough....The role of eugenics in our time is in maximizing [hereditary] information and its availability to those who need it and minimizing the temptation to use the State as the means of enforcing eugenic ideals."4

Eugenicists always accompany their bland assurances with such empty promises.

Transhumanism is the World's Most Dangerous Idea

Political scientist Francis Fukuyama recognized the dangers of such an idea. In fact, he called transhumanism the "" in his famous 2004 Foreign Policy article. He foresaw the ethical and moral issues it would bring, as well as how it would create and expand inequality.

Liberals claim to be outraged by the great gulf between the resources allotted to the poor and to the rich. Well, with transhumanism, we can say "they ain't seen nothin' yet!"

We have always had eugenics with us, from societies that simply discarded sick newborns outside the city gates to the social engineers in a dozen European nations who deemed who is worthy of life and who is not. If the transhumanist idea of self-evolution sounds familiar, it should. It is the latest and most virulent expression of the movement that spawned Germany's Holocaust.

#4. Artificial Means of Procreation

Pro-lifers should be particularly concerned about the profound impact upon human procreation if transhumanism becomes the dominant philosophy. The most influential transhumanist thinkers believe that all babies should be conceived via artificial means using the gametes of licensed parents, then thoroughly screened in order to eliminate all defects, and grown in synthetic wombs to ensure that only the "fittest" humans are produced.

As one transhumanist writer has said, "When responsible child rearing is more highly valued than biological parenthood, we will be procreating as transhumans."

This is not a new idea. In 1992, Time Magazine speculated:

It is reasonable to ask whether there will be a family at all. Given the propensity for divorce, the growing number of adults who choose to remain single, the declining popularity of having children and the evaporation of the time families spend together, another way may eventually evolve. It may be quicker and more efficient to dispense with family-based reproduction. Society could then produce its future generations in institutions that might resemble state-sponsored baby hatcheries.5

We have already embarked upon what will become the latest corpse-strewn march to perfection. More than 90% of all Downs syndrome children detected before birth are aborted in most Western nations. Iceland now publicly brags that it has "cured" Down syndrome by entirely eliminating them. In a transhumanist system, perfection is the primary survival trait. And, if the history of earlier eugenics movements is any indication, so will be the color of one's skin.

Futurist Vision of Transhumanism

Interestingly, the 1997 movie Gattaca shows us what a transhumanist society would look like. It depicts a society sharply divided into two categories of people - the "Valids," who have been conceived with IVF and have been thoroughly screened, and the "Invalids," conceived naturally. The Valids have their choice of occupations, and whatever is left over is assigned to the Invalids.

Already, some of the elites are (perhaps) unconsciously imitating the film. One of these is Julian Savulescu, who promotes what he calls "procreative beneficence." He claims that it would be better for society if we allow only genetically superior children to be born: "If we have the power to intervene in the nature of our offspring - rather than consigning them to the natural lottery - then we should."

His general plan, which is eerily reminiscent of the Nazi's Lebensborn eugenics program, is to enlist the genetically superior to create millions of embryos via in-vitro fertilization, apply rigorous preimplantation genetic diagnosis to all of them, and then implant only the best. He does not give us many details on what kind of people he considers superior, but based upon descriptions provided by many previous eugenicists, we can make an educated guess.

In short, in the minds of influential transhumanist thinkers, such a society would be one of "test-tube babies," created apart from the natural environment of human conception.

Final Thoughts

Surely, there is no sadder sight than that of a person who chases after everything to fulfill his longings and, in the process, loses himself. In an interview with Catholic News Agency, Fr. Pacholczyk said, "Catholics cannot accept a vision of man which presupposes an outright 'unacceptability' of his basic human nature, nor a vision that labors to replace it with an alternate bodily structure that is engineered to be 'post-human.'"

He goes on: "Even if our nature were to be radically re-engineered and modified, our innermost self would retain fundamental shards of incompleteness." Instead, we are to work through our imperfections and strive to be united with God, Fr. Pacholczyk explained.

Indeed, is extended one's life truly the measure of its quality? In the case of using transhumanism to defeat death, why would one wish to indefinitely delay one's eternal reward and perfect union with the eternal God? We have a unique and special capacity to enter into a personal relationship with our Creator. Why would we wish to alter His masterpiece? Why the obsessive focus on the future and on technological advancements, at any cost?

The first casualty of such Utopian visions is common sense, brought on by an utter ignorance of human nature. The second thing to be tossed aside is personal choice. It is human nature to want to "keep up" with others. Once some people begin to augment themselves, others will feel compelled to do the same, by removing and replacing perfectly good eyes, ears and limbs just to keep up at their jobs and in their social circles. At this point, transhumanism will make man a slave to the technology he craves. And the wise know that there is no happiness or contentment in slavery, whether it be to drugs, sex, fashion, money, power - or the latest style of artificial arm.

These grand projects may seem ludicrous, but we should remember that revolutions always begin with just a handful of people talking about them - people like Margaret Sanger, , Larry Lader and Bernard Nathanson (before he reformed).

And their revolutions always end in death.