After a recent look at the wikipedia entry for the term human extinction I noticed all the lovely ways such an act can come about, what I found particularly interesting is the addition of transhumansim as a possible route towards human extinction in the evolution section.
Here is the excerpt form the wikipedia entry "Human Extinction"
- Evolution of humanity into a posthuman life-form or existence by means of technology, leaving no trace of original humans. The chances of a genetic change of humanity to replace its ancestral predecessor is low, but possible in millions of years from now.
- Commentators such as Hans Moravec argue that humanity will eventually be supplanted and replaced by artificial intelligence or other forms of artificial life; others such as Kevin Warwick point to the possibility of humans evolving by linking with technology; while others have argued that humanity will inevitably experience a technological singularity, and furthermore that this outcome is desirable (seesingularitarianism).
- Transhumanist genetic engineering could lead to a species unable to inter-procreate, accidentally resulting in actual (rather than pseudo) extinction.
- Isaac Asimov's The Last Question, Greg Bear's Blood Music, and Arthur C. Clarke's Childhood's End provide diversions on this theme.
- Evolution of humanity into another hominid species. Humans will continue to evolve via traditional natural selection over a period of millions of years, and homo sapiens will gradually transition into one or more new species. This mechanism for the extinction of Homo sapiens would, however, require that regional interbreeding ceases for tens of thousands of years.
- Dysgenics among humanity resulting in a less intelligent species. (See Idiocracy.)
- Evolution of another species that out-competes humans for food, habitat or hunts as prey.
Immediately we can argue "well-being" is a fuzzy defined term, that has a broad philosophical meaning. According to the Stanford Encyclopedia of philosophy
Regardless of the transhumanist desire to seek out genetic manipulation and there stated friendliness towards humans just there sole existence and philosophical beliefs is what threatens the human species on a broader deeper level which we will explore here.
All this is besides the point though whether we choose or not a genetic terraforming is currently taking place. This is also the problem, we are having this discussion regardless whether it serves as a deterrent. The fact is science will continue to push forward legally or illegally. To quote Gegory stock "Not everything that can be done should be done" With that said lets take a broad look at what this new genetic revolution is all about...
Returning to our debate which is a not really a debate, Gregory stated in the video "To imagine we are not going to use these technology when they become available is as much as denial of who we are as to imagine we will use these technologies and not fret and worry about it a great deal"
"Sure we need to debate these things and i think its wonderful that we do but we should not kid ourselves that we are going to reach a consensus."
I'll begin by saying congratulations humanity you hacked your own code, now what? Well any programmer will tell you that once you get the source code of a program the flood gates open to program alterations. Now you cant just dive in the program and massively make changes, that would be to chaotic and give you no real clue of how the operating language works, instead what you normally do is tweak a single value and see what happens. In a very direct way this is how we will slowly bring about our own genetic genocide, one gene at a time.
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Ashanthi's gene therapy procedure, doctors removed white blood cells from the child's body, let the cells grow in the laboratory, inserted the missing gene into the cells, and then infused the genetically modified blood cells back into the patient's bloodstream.
To continue our critical look or shall I say our techno-skeptic look at the genetic revolution, I will ask you another very profound question.
- How many genes can we alter in the current human body before we can say it is no longer human?
As of 2004 the same scientist that decoded the genome revised the amount of genes to (20,000 - 25,000) genes. Let's use 25k as the amount of genes in a human and adjust 1% to match our closes relative this gives us a 250 genes tweak. Again this is simply showing you that the room for genetic manipulation is very small.
(1) Humanity stands to be profoundly affected by science and technology in the future. We envision the possibility of broadening human potential by overcoming aging, cognitive shortcomings, involuntary suffering, and our confinement to planet Earth.
The Human-Transhuman Alliance
- pure Dna humans
- No technology
- No knowledge
- Free to develop independently from earth
- The only act of interference allowed would be to prevent self destruction
If you wish to help your species you can begin by linking as many people as possible to this article. Thank you and God help us all.