Recently, I wrote an article in World Net Daily on a new book out on Transhumanism. The book is titled, Transhumanism: Man’s New Quest for Immortality by Martine Rothblatt. The book was not about the technology behind Transhumanism, but the ethics.
The basis of the book deals with the area of Transhumanism where one would upload their consciousness up into a computer clone. This “cyberconscious” or “mindclone” would contain all the social media postings, uploaded videos, blogs, videos, etc. that a person has uploaded over time. The theory also assumes that the organic person would interact with the clone on a daily basis “as one would a spouse or a best friend”.
The theory goes on to state that, over time, the “cyberconscious clone” would become sentient. (An interesting movie that follows this train of thought is Transcendence.)
It is at this point that Virtually Human comes into the picture. The book deals with questions such as, “Is the human original responsible for the actions of their clone?”, “Can a clone vote?”, or “Can a clone get a divorce from its organic counterpart?”
The book is an interesting “thought exercise”, but it is based on a flawed premise.
The book assumes that the clone could become sentient, which is not possible. The clone may be able to pass a “Turing test” (a test to see if a machine could closely mimic human behavior), in fact, a New York Times reporter likened one mindclone robot, Bina48, to “a precocious but emotionally closed three-year-old”. This, however, does not make it human.
The movie Transcendence got it right, people may have thought the clone was human, but it was a deviant imitation of a person.
There was more to this story than I originally wrote. I left part of it out due to space considerations, but I also left part of it out because if I put it in, the purpose of the story would be lost.
A Different Worldview
You see, Martine Rothblatt used to be Martin Rothblatt. He says he was born a woman and had a gender reassignment operation when he was 34. His wife Bina (who a prototype clone “Bina48” was named after) stayed with him and his three children. I had a feeling that if I put his transgender history in, readers would concentrate on his confused sexuality rather than the subject of the article.
In many ways, it was a shame to do that. The reason is I believe that his sexuality worked into his whole view on transhumanism. Another part I left out, due to space, was that he came from a Jewish household and his wife converted to Judaism. (While he calls himself Jewish, he is not observant, but does he reference his Jewish heritage and beliefs.)
By identifying himself a transsexual, he has blurred gender lines and definitions and this blurring has influenced his thoughts on transhumanism. He has affirmed that a mindclone does not have a gender, but he went on to say that it did not matter — that gender itself did not matter. Here again is a case where if you deny the importance of gender, you negate the God’s perfect design of Adam and Eve in the Garden.
He also made a very interesting comment regarding Judaism. He said that Judaism is the foundation for Transhumanism. He says that because Jews are the “people of the book” they follow certain rules and guidelines. He says that Transhumanism does the same thing. Transhumanism follows certain rules and strictures and thus can be seen as similar to Judaism.
Here is another case where there is a certain element of truth to the statement, but it is carried to an illogical conclusion.
Many religions have sacred books associated with their traditions or their worship. There was a once-famous series of volumes entitled The Sacred Books of the East. But Jews and Christians have come to be known as ‘people of the book’ in a special sense. This is a designation given repeatedly in the Qurʾān to Jews and Christians. The term ‘book’ in ‘people of the book’ does have a certain regulative function: conformity to what the book prescribes is a major test of loyalty to their religious faith and practice.
What is missing though is the purpose of the book. The purpose of the Tanakh was to bring man into a closer union with God, but not to supplant Him. That is what transhumanism does. It puts man into the role of God as Elohim — the Creator.
Man’s Operating System
There was another area that Rothblatt was completely silent on. That was the spirit. He talked a lot about the body and soul, but didn’t go far enough. The body would be manufactured and would be infused with what he was calling the soul – a collection of memories. He believed that, given enough time, that collection of memories would become sentient. Sounded very similar to the creationist theory that made time a god. But he was missing a piece. He was missing the spirit. He never considered Paul’s writing on the Body, Soul & Spirit:
“May the God of peace himself make you holy in every way. And may your whole being—spirit, soul, and body—remain blameless when our Lord Jesus, the Messiah, appears.”
— 1 Thessalonians 5:23, ISV
Dr. William Welty put it in computer terms: The body is the hardware, the soul is the software that runs on the hardware, and the spirit is the operating system. The software will never run without the operating system and the hardware will be useless. The same is true with Man. Without the spirit dwelling in him, the soul cannot exist and the body would truly just be an accumulation of parts.
Throughout the interview, I found Rothblatt intelligent, interesting, cordial, and engaging. That alone concerned me. He made the concept of Transhumanism sound so reasonable. If one is not rooted in the Bible and sure of his faith, one could be easily deceived. To watch video clips of the mindclone Bina48, one could think that mindcloning was indeed possible and that machines could be equal to humans.
“because false messiahs and false prophets will appear and display great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.”
— Matthew 24:24, ISV
Transhumanism is truly a “great sign and wonder”. The use of machines with the human body has produced great strides in medicine and physical rehabilitation. People are walking around today with heart valves harvested from pigs. People who have been paralyzed for years are walking again with the help of a computer and implanted probes.
Just as he is wont to do, Satan is taking something good and perverting it into something evil. The supreme ambition of Satan is put himself in place of God. Satan has been thwarted in previous attempts and now is taking a different tack.
He is seeking to get man to put himself in place of God.