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The history of humankind expands and replenishes every day. The knowledge, obtained by people during centuries, not only widens human’s minds, but also improves their abilities. Science, which is one of the engines of transcendence of human nature, makes huge progress every single day, thus, expansion of scientific findings is inevitable. As a result, the matter of fast-expanding human evolution raises debate about changing human’s gene pool that appears on the horizon. Such a controversial issue that can have both positive and negative consequences appears to be the main topic of the chapter called Transcend found in the Radical Evolution by Joel Garreau. This chapter of the book presents two opposite views on the problem of transhumanism. The debates on this issue are held all over the world and the main three possible consequences of the human evolution are identified to be the following: the Hell Scenario, the Heaven Scenario, and the Prevail Scenario.
Despite the fact that a large group of scientists and researchers understand the importance of development and perfection of the human nature, they support the idea of the Hell Scenario with a great number of arguments. The followers of this point of view claim that changes in human nature can be dangerous and they can even have bad impact on children. Bioethicist George Annas stated: “Our mistakes are called children. We should try this on twenty generations of primates first” (230).
People, who want to preserve human nature, do not consider transhumanism to be a progress; they try to concentrate their arguments on the things that can be lost in the process of evolution. Alvin Toffler claims that the first experience with modern technologies have already proven that negative results can occur (233). For instance, the invention of birth control pills decreased the amount of native-born population in the majority of developed countries.
Gregory E. Pence suggests that “adoption of these changes should be voluntary, not state-mandated”(244). Nick Bostrom, who i a co-founder of the World Transhumanist Association, supports the idea of transcendence of people but, at the same time, he describes human nature as an ambiguous, complicated and unpredictable system. Such a system can pose a danger, which can reveal itself in the process of human transformation. Specifically, the scientist concentrates on the issues connected to the situation when there are people who cooperate with GRIN technology on the one side and those who want to preserve their nature on the other side. Possible dangers are associated with different issues. For example: “Women that are able to freeze pieces of their ovary when they are young and fertile, enabling them to have full careers, perhaps culminating in becoming CEO of a big corporation, without fretting about the biological clock” or “kids who come home crying after failing once again to compete against bigger, faster, stronger, smarter, more talented, cuter, better-behaved kids whose rich parents decided to take risks and undergo the idea the process of transhumanism” (247).
What is more, there is a danger that simple desires and marginal wishes can capture human mind if genetic studies let humans create anything they can think of. Betrand Rasell states: “Without more kindliness in the world, technological power would mainly serve to increase men's capacity to inflict harm on one another” (262).
From another point of view, there are a lot of pioneers of the Heaven Scenario. They support the idea that human nature is always in a process of perfection and it cannot remain the same for a long period of time. Artist Natasha Vita-More considers transhumanism to be one of the most influential and important tendencies of the 21st century. She describes an ideal human in the following way: “an optimized human who has built-in sonar, a fiber-optic cable down the spine and a head full of nanotech data storage” (232). R. Buckminister Fuller also supports Natasha’s idea and he states that people are not victims but architects of their future. They should be active in influencing their destiny (234).
Annas’ argument about the bad impact of the genetic changes on next generations includes contradicting theories. As it was already mentioned, GRIN technologies can be used by choice and “parents will use only that treatment which is fully validated and safe”(230).
Nick Bostrom points out the benefits and the prospects of the successful transhumanism process. GRIN technologies can provide the fair society, where all the members of the country contribute to the prosperity and development of the nation. In addition, the transcendence of human nature can partially or even completely help overcome problems connected to education and health. Lastly, Hick Bostrom claims that different social problems and misunderstanding can also be mitigated thanks to GRIN technologies. For instance, these technologies correct disabilities and social inequality can disappear.
A lot of scientists, researchers and sociologists predict the future of the human race only in coexistence with GRIN technologies. In their opinion, transhumanism is a tool of creating the superhuman that, according to the words of Gregory E. Pence, “can have more memory, better immune system, no-aged sells, and stronger skeletons, and who can be extremely talented”(244).
The third possible way of human’s evolution is the Prevail Scenario. This scenario is based on the inevitability of the transhumanism and on the three premises of transcendence proposition. Firstly, it is the fact that this process cannot be stopped and will advance at ever increasing rate. Secondly, all the changes can alter the main mental and physical characteristics of a human being. Such a transformation can make human beings more adoptable to the modern world. Finally, unintended consequences are impossible to avoid. They can be both harmful and beneficial for humanity. However, people should be prepared for all types of results, no matter how they fear it. People have to accept the fact that transformation is coming, but, at the same time, they should understand all the dangers in order to prevail over them (247).