Some are prepared to sacrifice actual humans now for the hope of future immortality:
But will this dream of Human+ end in nightmare? If we accept neo-Darwinian biology as the unimpeachable starting point for defining human personhood, transhumanists like Warwick are committed to some form of the following argument:
Premise 1: Evolving biological systems are the natural explanation for human personhood
Premise 2: Evolving biological systems are indeterminate
Premise 3: All emergent properties (mind, consciousness, soul, etc.…) are contingent on the evolving biological system
Premise 4: Any emergent property that is contingent on an indeterminate biological system is itself indeterminate
Premise 5: Human personhood is a contingent property of the human body
Conclusion: Therefore, human personhood is indeterminate
In premises 1 through 5, human personhood is taken as a contingent property tied to the process of evolution. If these premises are sound, then the definition of “human person” can freely evolve with each new phase in the transhumanist program of self-enhancement.
The moral implications are significant. Without a fixed and final definition of human personhood, there is no foundation for a fixed and final ethic of “human” rights. After all, writes Michael Tennison, “arguments for the moral impermissibility of enhancement fail when morality itself is the capacity to be enhanced.”1 Tennison’s admission may be jarring, but transhumanists consider the evolution of morality as a strength — not a limitation — of their mission.J. R. Miller, “The deadly dream of Human+ Look at the price tag…” at Mind Matters News (January 30, 2022)
Takehome: Without a fixed and final definition of human personhood, there is no foundation for a fixed and final ethic of “human” rights.
You may also wish to read: Is transhumanism really a form of liberation? The central transhumanist doctrine is that the body can be dispensed with. What are the consequences? Post Millennial editor Libby Emmons asks, what horrors will we inflict on others if we have forgotten what it means to inflict pain and to suffer?