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The Transhumanist Critique/Embrace of ID

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James Pinkerton offers a transhumanist critique of ID at Tech Central Station titled “The Real Intelligent Designers.” Transhumanists believe in enhancing the human person through technology (for some the goal is to upload the human to a more efficient technology, thereby dispensing entirely with our current wetware).

Pinkerton’s critique of ID follows a predictable path: ID is bad when it comes to explaining how we came to our present physical state, whose emergence is in his view better captured by conventional evolutionary theory; but thereafter ID becomes good, as soon as we are the designers and take charge of our destiny, no longer leaving it to evolution.

What I find fascinating about this transhumanist critique of ID is that it commits one to as severe a dualism as one is likely to encounter: evolution qua chance and necessity rule everything up to one point, and thereafter it’s all design. Unnatural dualisms like this usually revert to one pole of the duality or the other. And since transhumanists look for salvation in technologies that will enhance us — and therefore explicitly to design — it is not hard to imagine that transhumanists may be turning increasingly to ID.

To see that I’m not just making this up, consider that ID was represented at the 2003 Accelerating Change Conference, a transhumanist conference held at Stanford (go here). Michael Denton and I were both speakers at this event. Moreover, John Smart, the conference organizer, was clearly sympathetic to ID, even praising my book No Free Lunch.

[...] re are aspects of our reality that exist only because of ID (Bill Dembski comments on this here). He then envisions that these aspects will continue to transform our reality, making [...] Telic Thoughts » Pinkerton’s Mind
I've believed for a long time that we are in the midst of a paradigm shift in evolution - biological to technological. I've argued that with John Davison many times. John is unconvinced that biological evolution is still going on today and that rational man is the terminal point of phylogenesis just as the individual is the terminal point of ontogenesis. I rejoin that it's irrelevant whether or not biological evolution has ceased because technological evolution has taken over. Technological evolution proceeds at a pace so much faster than biological evolution that biological evolution will be lost in the noise even if it is still occurring. Thus, in fine agnostic form, I say even if intelligent design didn't happen in the past it is certainly happening now and in the future. And I stand ready to throw a genetically engineered rotten tomato at anyone who dares to argue otherwise! ;-) DaveScot
Yes, I've seen Dawkins express these sentiments. But the mechanisms of evolution proposed to date give no indication that they can do the design work Dawkins attributes to them. William Dembski
"I think it well may be that we're living in a time when evolution is suddenly starting to become intelligently designed." -- Richard Dawkins http://www.salon.com/news/feature/2005/04/30/dawkins/index_np.html scordova

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