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    Quote Originally Posted by druid91 View Post
    The technologies are beside the point. It's the concept that matters. That "Hey, it's ok to treat the human body like a machine to be engineered." and our entire modern medical system is BASED on this presumption.
    Ancient ones too. "You have headache? Drink Willowbark Tea. Will take away headache and taste terrible." Honestly, on the surface that sounds more like a bug or an exploit than the intended functioning unless you know why it works
    Quote Originally Posted by Grod_The_Giant View Post
    We should try to make that a thing; I think it might help civility. Hey, GitP, let's try to make this a thing: when you're arguing optimization strategies, RAW-logic, and similar such things that you'd never actually use in a game, tag your post [THEORETICAL] and/or use green text
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jackalias View Post
    I feel like you're getting hung up on what exactly a "true" transhumanist is. You talk about how what scientists do could be considered transhumanism, I would say that while scientists create these technologies it is transhumanists that consume them and encourage their growth/responsible use. You say you're a strong supporter of rationalism and the scientific progress, and in my book that makes you a transhumanist, again loose movement. Wikipedia states that "Transhumanism (abbreviated as H+ or h+) is an international and intellectual movement that aims to transform the human condition by developing and making widely available sophisticated technologies to greatly enhance human intellect and physiology.[1][2]

    Transhumanist thinkers study the potential benefits and dangers of emerging technologies that could overcome fundamental human as well as ethical[3] limitations of using such technologies.[4] The most common transhumanist thesis is that human beings may eventually be able to transform themselves into different beings with abilities so greatly expanded from the natural condition as to merit the label of posthuman beings.[2]

    Immortality isn't required to be a proponent of transhumanism, it's just the one with the most widespread appeal, and as such the one leaders of the movement have decided to latch onto. Finally I think the word for more radical transhumanists Is posthumanists, as in people who want to leave humanity behind rather than improving it.

    Sorry if this ramble a bit, I wrote it piecemeal between driving several places.
    What Druid91 said is similar to how I feel when thinking about Transhumanism. But I have to admit that I find very difficult to blindly "embrace" practically any philosophy, even when I "mostly agree" with them; because I still haven't found a single one that I don't object on a couple crucial points. Which (I think) is what happens with me and transhumanism.

    I sincerely think we Humans have already drastically changed from what we originally were, and most of the changes have been thanks to technological and cultural advances. I am also highly skeptic about the real implications of what is usually called the "Singularity". Most people think it will jeopardize some fundamental aspects of our understanding of reality; while I think it will be as groundbreaking as the discovery of the rational method, or the invention of the engine. Meaning, it would take us some 20-50 years to catch on and truly grok it; then we will continue with the same old petty ambitions and pointless lives.
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    If anything, the encounter of a space faring civilization would qualify as "groundbreaking" in my personal scale


    But more importantly, I don't believe we have reached the pinnacle of what a Human is capable of. I think we still have too much potential and that our culture is still in a child state. We don't need to become "more than Human" to improve, we still have a looooong way in front of us (I give it at least a couple millennia, until our colonies on other planets begin to truly diverge from "Earthling Humanity" and consider each one a subspecies). In any case, I'd rather stay "human" (for now) and improve (current) humanity as a species than waste my time and effort trying to accomplish a goal that is at least ontologically dubious.

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    Quote Originally Posted by joeltion View Post
    What Druid91 said is similar to how I feel when thinking about Transhumanism. But I have to admit that I find very difficult to blindly "embrace" practically any philosophy, even when I "mostly agree" with them; because I still haven't found a single one that I don't object on a couple crucial points. Which (I think) is what happens with me and transhumanism.

    I sincerely think we Humans have already drastically changed from what we originally were, and most of the changes have been thanks to technological and cultural advances. I am also highly skeptic about the real implications of what is usually called the "Singularity". Most people think it will jeopardize some fundamental aspects of our understanding of reality; while I think it will be as groundbreaking as the discovery of the rational method, or the invention of the engine. Meaning, it would take us some 20-50 years to catch on and truly grok it; then we will continue with the same old petty ambitions and pointless lives.
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    If anything, the encounter of a space faring civilization would qualify as "groundbreaking" in my personal scale


    But more importantly, I don't believe we have reached the pinnacle of what a Human is capable of. I think we still have too much potential and that our culture is still in a child state. We don't need to become "more than Human" to improve, we still have a looooong way in front of us (I give it at least a couple millennia, until our colonies on other planets begin to truly diverge from "Earthling Humanity" and consider each one a subspecies). In any case, I'd rather stay "human" (for now) and improve (current) humanity as a species than waste my time and effort trying to accomplish a goal that is at least ontologically dubious.
    Fair enough, my argument would be that reaching the pinnacle of human society is vastly different from that of a transhuman society, the sooner we implement these technologies the sooner we can get over any problems.

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    I personally believe it's the only way forward and am looking for the day when said moving forward becomes both advanced enough and available to me to be worthwhile.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jackalias View Post
    Fair enough, my argument would be that reaching the pinnacle of human society is vastly different from that of a transhuman society, the sooner we implement these technologies the sooner we can get over any problems.
    There are no pinnacles of societies of any sorts. There is entropy, and because of that natural selection, and because of that there is evolution, of all species, humanity, whether we like it or not, amongst the rest. There is no end of evolution, until there is an end of entropy, and entropy ending at the end of the universe is only a maybe.
    The end of what Son? The story? There is no end. There's just the point where the storytellers stop talking.

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    the point of transhumanism is to control evolution, not really sure how entropy factors into it.

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    Controlling evolution's not all of it. Cybernetics and nootropics are part of it too IIRC

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jackalias View Post
    the point of transhumanism is to control evolution, not really sure how entropy factors into it.
    That's just silly. No offence intended, but evolution is what happens when a feature interacts with its environment. Some features thrive, some fail, and that's natural selection, controlling which features fail just isn't logically possible, you can control a limited environment, but that environment can fail compared to the wider universe, and if it does it will take all those adapted exclusively to it with it when it goes.
    The end of what Son? The story? There is no end. There's just the point where the storytellers stop talking.

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    Quote Originally Posted by halfeye View Post
    That's just silly. No offence intended, but evolution is what happens when a feature interacts with its environment. Some features thrive, some fail, and that's natural selection, controlling which features fail just isn't logically possible, you can control a limited environment, but that environment can fail compared to the wider universe, and if it does it will take all those adapted exclusively to it with it when it goes.
    That's what happens in nature, but we can evolve things to suit our needs just fine. Dog Breeds are kind of a thing, to use an obvious example.
    Quote Originally Posted by Grod_The_Giant View Post
    We should try to make that a thing; I think it might help civility. Hey, GitP, let's try to make this a thing: when you're arguing optimization strategies, RAW-logic, and similar such things that you'd never actually use in a game, tag your post [THEORETICAL] and/or use green text
    Quote Originally Posted by Lvl 2 Expert View Post
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    Quote Originally Posted by georgie_leech View Post
    That's what happens in nature, but we can evolve things to suit our needs just fine. Dog Breeds are kind of a thing, to use an obvious example.
    They suit their environment, there are problems with hip displasia for example that would be eliminated in wild populations, but the dogs in question are so successful with humans that the pain isn't the handicap it would be in the wild. It's still evolution if we do it, it's just artificial, natural selection has been recognised since the 19th century, but selective breeding was known to the ancient romans.
    The end of what Son? The story? There is no end. There's just the point where the storytellers stop talking.

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    Quote Originally Posted by halfeye View Post
    They suit their environment, there are problems with hip displasia for example that would be eliminated in wild populations, but the dogs in question are so successful with humans that the pain isn't the handicap it would be in the wild. It's still evolution if we do it, it's just artificial, natural selection has been recognised since the 19th century, but selective breeding was known to the ancient romans.
    ...Right, meaning that we can shape evolution to suit our needs just fine? Heck, we're getting to the point where we can skip the breeding process and start just changing the bits we want directly. I'm not saying I hold track with the idea that we'll become something beyond human, but "That's (controlling evolution) just silly."? As you point out, we've been doing it for thousands of years. Is it really so silly to imagine that directed at humans?
    Quote Originally Posted by Grod_The_Giant View Post
    We should try to make that a thing; I think it might help civility. Hey, GitP, let's try to make this a thing: when you're arguing optimization strategies, RAW-logic, and similar such things that you'd never actually use in a game, tag your post [THEORETICAL] and/or use green text
    Quote Originally Posted by Lvl 2 Expert View Post
    So a ranger is like a Bachelor of Applied Druidology.
    Quote Originally Posted by Kid Jake View Post
    What's the word for 'fear of being eaten by a mounted bear in half-plate' again? Because that's the one I have.

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    Quote Originally Posted by georgie_leech View Post
    ...Right, meaning that we can shape evolution to suit our needs just fine? Heck, we're getting to the point where we can skip the breeding process and start just changing the bits we want directly. I'm not saying I hold track with the idea that we'll become something beyond human, but "That's (controlling evolution) just silly."? As you point out, we've been doing it for thousands of years. Is it really so silly to imagine that directed at humans?
    We can do all sorts of things, probably; centaurs, most of the other mythic monsters (full sized pegasii or dragons would be too heavy to fly on Earth), but once they're made, they will evolve from there onward, and they will never stop evolving. In my view if you can't stop evolution, you're not in control of it, and we can never stop it, short of killing everything, which would be a bad thing.
    Last edited by halfeye; 2017-08-15 at 12:46 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by halfeye View Post
    We can do all sorts of things, probably; centaurs, most of the other mythic monsters (full sized pegasii or dragons would be too heavy to fly on Earth), but once they're made, they will evolve from there onward, and they will never stop evolving. In my view if you can't stop evolution, you're not in control of it, and we can never stop it, short of killing everything, which would be a bad thing.
    So your argument is that we can't truly control something if we can't stop it? I think that's quibbling over language while missing the point. I mean, by this argument we don't control electricity either, as electromagnetic interactions are a fundamental property of nature that can't be stopped unless we destroy everything (which would be a bad thing). But we can still use the stuff to have this long distance communication via a carefully organised series of electric circuits turning on or off, so it seems like we have plenty of "control" anyway.
    Quote Originally Posted by Grod_The_Giant View Post
    We should try to make that a thing; I think it might help civility. Hey, GitP, let's try to make this a thing: when you're arguing optimization strategies, RAW-logic, and similar such things that you'd never actually use in a game, tag your post [THEORETICAL] and/or use green text
    Quote Originally Posted by Lvl 2 Expert View Post
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    Quote Originally Posted by georgie_leech View Post
    So your argument is that we can't truly control something if we can't stop it? I think that's quibbling over language while missing the point. I mean, by this argument we don't control electricity either, as electromagnetic interactions are a fundamental property of nature that can't be stopped unless we destroy everything (which would be a bad thing). But we can still use the stuff to have this long distance communication via a carefully organised series of electric circuits turning on or off, so it seems like we have plenty of "control" anyway.
    We stop electrical things all the time, we turn them off.

    Evolution is like an out of control car or train, with no brakes and infinite fuel. We will perhaps sometimes be able to steer evolution, but it will always keep on keeping on, that's what it does.
    The end of what Son? The story? There is no end. There's just the point where the storytellers stop talking.

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    Quote Originally Posted by halfeye View Post
    Evolution is like an out of control car or train, with no brakes and infinite fuel. We will perhaps sometimes be able to steer evolution, but it will always keep on keeping on, that's what it does.
    What are you talking about? Of course we can stop it. We only have to stop sex-based reproduction and replace it with a method that doesn't allow random mutations to happen.

    And it would be a stupid idea. Stopping evolution is pointless when we're already capable of changing the world too fast for it to keep up.
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    Well, plus there's the whole evolution of things like language and culture which amounts changing to suit one's environment without the crude method of resorting to the modification of genetics.

    Those things happen, and you can't control them. It's the filthy masses which direct the flow of that ongoing cesspool.

    Also, in regards to control. We can't stop lightning. But we can have some limited impact upon where it strikes.
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    Quote Originally Posted by halfeye View Post
    That's just silly. No offence intended, but evolution is what happens when a feature interacts with its environment. Some features thrive, some fail, and that's natural selection, controlling which features fail just isn't logically possible, you can control a limited environment, but that environment can fail compared to the wider universe, and if it does it will take all those adapted exclusively to it with it when it goes.
    Perhaps I phrased that poorly, control isn't really the best word, and evolution isn't going to stop anytime soon. That said I think people's differing ideas on what perfection is would keep enough variety to prevent any major problems, and that there are some traits that are near universally desirable like increased strength, intelligence, etc.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cazero View Post
    What are you talking about? Of course we can stop it. We only have to stop sex-based reproduction and replace it with a method that doesn't allow random mutations to happen.

    And it would be a stupid idea.
    It would be a stupid idea, but there need only be differences between individuals for natural selection to act, and once that's acting, selection of a reproduction method that does allow change will follow, eventually (could be billions of years, but there's time for that).

    Stopping evolution is pointless when we're already capable of changing the world too fast for it to keep up.
    This is mistaken, there is no change fast enough to stop natural selection.
    The end of what Son? The story? There is no end. There's just the point where the storytellers stop talking.

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    I think the point being argued is that we can go "I think people should be able to have extendo-arms" or something and being able to go in and build that, as oppose to breeding people over long periods of time. Do you disagree with that, or with calling that "controlling evolution?"
    Quote Originally Posted by Grod_The_Giant View Post
    We should try to make that a thing; I think it might help civility. Hey, GitP, let's try to make this a thing: when you're arguing optimization strategies, RAW-logic, and similar such things that you'd never actually use in a game, tag your post [THEORETICAL] and/or use green text
    Quote Originally Posted by Lvl 2 Expert View Post
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kid Jake View Post
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    Quote Originally Posted by georgie_leech View Post
    I think the point being argued is that we can go "I think people should be able to have extendo-arms" or something and being able to go in and build that, as oppose to breeding people over long periods of time. Do you disagree with that, or with calling that "controlling evolution?"
    I disagree with calling that controlling evolution. Evolution is change, we could maybe make changes ourselves, but changes which we don't cause will always happen as well.
    The end of what Son? The story? There is no end. There's just the point where the storytellers stop talking.

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    Quote Originally Posted by halfeye View Post
    This is mistaken, there is no change fast enough to stop natural selection.
    Stop it? I'm also talking about outpacing it by several orders of magnitude. Natural selection can requires hundreds (if not thousands, or millions) of generations to produce results.
    Right now, global warming is heating the planet faster than any macro-organism specie I know of can evolve to adapt to the rise in temperature.
    Last edited by Cazero; 2017-08-16 at 12:43 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cazero View Post
    Stop it? I'm also talking about outpacing it by several orders of magnitude. Natural selection can requires hundreds (if not thousands, or millions) of generations to produce results.
    Right now, global warming is heating the planet faster than any macro-organism specie I know of can evolve to adapt to the rise in temperature.
    Now, that is either silly... or a poor example. If the environment is the one changing, that doesn't mean we need to adapt to it by means of evolution (artificial or not). Humans have been adapting ourselves to drastic environmental changes by changing not our genes but our customs/technology. Which are easier to modify and adapt than any biological organism will ever be. It's easier for us to change our customs or develop new technologies that solve/prevent GW scenarios; than it is to redesign the species in order to fit a potential "new" environment.

    In any case, we are still on the point where a successful "entirely artificial" species isn't even plausible on paper; because of the many variables you would have to be juggling to avoid creating new problems for the species or the environment. GMO's are a success because the genetic meddling is minimal compared to what we do when we breed entirely new "races" of X. The more traits you are meddling with, the more undesirable results may occur. Dogs aren't a successful species, and we clearly haven't been doing a very good job with them either. Just take a look at any chihuahua. TAKE A LOOK

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cazero View Post
    Stop it? I'm also talking about outpacing it by several orders of magnitude. Natural selection can requires hundreds (if not thousands, or millions) of generations to produce results.
    Right now, global warming is heating the planet faster than any macro-organism specie I know of can evolve to adapt to the rise in temperature.
    Natural selection is things dying that don't suit their environment. If global warming kills a lot of species, that will be natural selection. I'm not saying it's good or right, but it is most certainly what is.
    The end of what Son? The story? There is no end. There's just the point where the storytellers stop talking.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cazero View Post
    What are you talking about? Of course we can stop it. We only have to stop sex-based reproduction and replace it with a method that doesn't allow random mutations to happen.

    And it would be a stupid idea. Stopping evolution is pointless when we're already capable of changing the world too fast for it to keep up.
    Any form of iterated replication will lead to some kind of evolution. Von Neuman Probes would undergo evolution. You can't stop all mutations because that would violate the 2nd law of thermodynamics (though with an enormous expenditure of energy on double checking I suppose you could reduce them effectively to zero

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    Quote Originally Posted by druid91 View Post
    Exactly like I said. I vehemently disagree with the notion that it's possible to be more than human. It's possible to add functionality onto a Human, but there's no categorical shift that can be made. It's divisive nonsense for the sake of stroking certain peoples egos.
    I agree. A human body to which some changes are made remains a human body. With additional changes. Just as with anything else. You can't change something's fundamental nature. All changes you can do to anything are already inherent in the nature of said thing.

    Considering that humans are the only species that's able to even think about such a thing, it is especially ridiculous to claim that by doing things that only humans can do, humans can change themselves into something that's not human. If the human species evolves to something different, it'll still be called human. Unless the word evolves independently.

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    Quote Originally Posted by halfeye View Post
    This is mistaken, there is no change fast enough to stop natural selection.
    Unless it kills everything

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jackalias View Post
    It's a loosely defined movement, basically what it boils down to is people using technology to improve humanity, whether that means becoming one with the machcine, eliminating genetic defects, or even just getting a new arm is up to the individual.
    Right, so Captain Hook was a transhumanist. And I definitely am, since my laser eye surgery.

    Seriously, this is a silly category. We've had "enhanced humans" since forever, and outside a few regrettable fringe cases, we've come to the consensus that they're humans. Calling them anything else is just asking for a world of hurt. X-Men is not a social blueprint we should aspire to.
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    Quote Originally Posted by halfeye View Post
    We can do all sorts of things, probably; centaurs, most of the other mythic monsters (full sized pegasii or dragons would be too heavy to fly on Earth), but once they're made, they will evolve from there onward, and they will never stop evolving. In my view if you can't stop evolution, you're not in control of it, and we can never stop it, short of killing everything, which would be a bad thing.
    Eh, depends. Once data is digital, it can, at least in theory, live forever, and serve as a permanent save/restore. So, you make some oddball thing, but if you've mapped the genome, and have a consistent process to turn that into a living thing(we currently often rely on incubation with living animals, so at present, it's not fully reproducible in an identical fashion), you can just create the same thing, whenever, evolution be damned.

    This mostly isn't important anyways. As others have said, evolution is a fairly slow process. It works on time scales that *start* at the generational, and increase exponentially from there. Generation to generation drift is usually pretty low, and genetically, you're not so very different from your parents. Or from other humans on the opposite side of the world you've never met. Digitally created/altered content can potentially change MUCH faster.

    If I want fireflies that glow in different colors for a project, I can, given enough tech, just print the whole swarm of them. I don't need to care about how they evolve at all. If I want more in the future, I'll just print more. Who cares if the end product is ideally adapted to the environment if I have no intention to breed them?

    Quote Originally Posted by Themrys View Post
    I agree. A human body to which some changes are made remains a human body. With additional changes. Just as with anything else. You can't change something's fundamental nature. All changes you can do to anything are already inherent in the nature of said thing.
    *shrug* We transplant chunks of DNA pretty freely between plants, animals, insects, etc now.

    What, exactly, is a human body anyways? How much DNA do I have to reuse to count as that, and does it matter what else I splice it with? And what *is* human DNA anyways? Great amounts of what currently are in our DNA originated with various viruses and what not. Possibly some bits were transplanted into us from other things by viruses. We're kind of just a grab bag of random parts.

    We're currently sticking human DNA in plants to make those plants create human-usable substances. http://www.nytimes.com/1990/01/16/sc...ed=all&mcubz=1

    Are they human? Eh, a little bit. But really, who cares? They're useful.

    Quote Originally Posted by Themrys View Post

    Considering that humans are the only species that's able to even think about such a thing, it is especially ridiculous to claim that by doing things that only humans can do, humans can change themselves into something that's not human. If the human species evolves to something different, it'll still be called human. Unless the word evolves independently.
    Nah. Dogs are now dogs, and not wolves. Chimpanzees are still Chimps, and not Humans.

    Progress is rarely a single linear path. We can become whatever, and it will probably not be unified and standardized.

    If you wanna know what counts as "people", well, we may need a better standard than "human" one day.
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    Default Re: Transhumanism

    Quote Originally Posted by Tyndmyr View Post
    Eh, depends. Once data is digital, it can, at least in theory, live forever, and serve as a permanent save/restore.
    I don't disagree with your point, but I just want to be a pedant and say... no, not really. Entropy exists. You'll always have copy errors, data will always spontaneously degrade over time, electrons will occasionally switch positions for no discernible reason, and so forth.

    You need really good error-handling systems and redundant backups is what I'm saying.
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    Quote Originally Posted by archaeo View Post
    Man, this is just one of those things you see and realize, "I live in a weird and banal future."
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