Escaping the Laws of Sin and Death?
There is a groundswell movement within the scientific community to use science and technology as a means to reach the final frontier: escaping the hand of God, the sinful human con-dition, and even the final human arbiter, death. Impossible, you say? Yes, but such is the nature of deception, trading reality for fantasy.
This article will explore one aspect of a much larger frame-work that has been designated by such diverse terms as technocracy, technopoly or scientific dictatorship. Future articles will explore those topics in more detail.
The focus of this article en¬compasses three individual, but related concepts: Singularity, Convergence and Transhumanism.
Together, these are taking on a new spiritual dimension of epic proportions, wrapping in fragments from new and old religious movements, in an attempt to promote their technologies to divine status. Indeed, worshiping at the altar of science may be the ultimate human expression of post-modern and post-human spirituality.
Four individual and core technologies are being merged together into a new scientific discipline through a process called “convergence.” In common use among its advocates, the word is also used in noun form as “the convergence.”
The four combining technologies, collectively referred to as NBIC, include: Nanotechnology, Biotechnology, Computer In-formation Technology and Cognitive Technology. Why these four particular areas of study? Let’s briefly explore each one.
First, Biotechnology is concerned with the study of life and living organisms. Cells are the building blocks of all life, but scientists believe they have cracked the code to life by success-fully mapping the human genome, or DNA, starting in 1990, and mostly completed in 2003. DNA is the essential building block of all life forms. Scientists subsequently noted how similar the DNA structure is to the principles and logic found in computer information technology.
Secondly, Nanotechnology has recently discovered how to manipulate the building blocks of matter at the atomic and molecular level. A nanometer is one billionth of a meter and is comparable to the size of a marble verses the size of earth. Nanotechnology is already producing a number of sub-disciplines in the fields of medicine (drugs, diagnostics) and engineering (alloys, chemicals), for instance. The key to Nanotechnology in the Convergence, however, is in the ongoing and on-demand manipulation of matter through external means, such as through the use of computer technology.
Third, Computer Information Technology (CIT) is the most well known of these four technologies. Personal computers, smart phones, smart appliances and even automobiles have embedded micro-chips that control processes, collect and process data, enable communications, and so on. Applied computer science is absolutely necessary to design, build and control DNA sequences and nanosized atomic and molecular material. Increasingly fast computer chips are now able to make split-second calculations that would have been completely impossible even 50 years ago. Thus, this CIT is enabling lightening-speed development and application of the other technologies.
Lastly, Cognitive Technology is an interdisciplinary study that includes psychology, artificial intelligence, philosophy, neuroscience, learning sciences, linguistics, anthropology, sociology and education.1 This is the most disturbing inclusion in Convergence because it focuses the application of technology squarely on all the core elements of the human condition: body, soul and spirit.
Thus, Convergence offers to technologists, for the first time ever, the possibility of creating a reality and a future of their own choosing, devoid of God. With the building blocks of life at their disposal, coupled with computer technology to help ar-range them, technologists believe that they are on the right track to creating the final “quantum leap” of evolution where man takes direct control of his destiny, thereby removing the element of random chance from the outcome.
Of course, this does not mean all technologists are pursuing Convergence, just as all technologists are not pursuing global warming. Still, the study of technology remains mostly within the universities of the world and that’s where the practitioners of these disciplines re¬side. Without the university framework, most of which is publicly funded, Convergence would generally be a moot issue and would remain in the fantasy world of science fiction writers.
Private industry would undoubtedly apply technology to products designed to improve the human condition, but that would be based on a for-profit business model without respect to the spiritual dimension found within universities and non-profit research centers.
Largely popularized by inventor and futurist Ray Kurzweil, the Singularity predicts a point in time (circa 2042) when computer intelligence will finally exceed that of humans, resulting in an unpredictable world where machines become autonomous, maintaining themselves and creating new technologies and new machine designs without human intervention.
Singularity was originally suggested by Moore’s Law, named after Intel co-founder Gordon E. Moore, who described the trend in his 1965 paper, “Cramming more components onto integrated circuits.”2 Moore’s Law states that the number of transistors on an integrated circuit doubles approximately every two years. Other elements of computer science have generally kept pace with Moore’s Law, such as complexity in software engineering, speed in computer communications, etc.
In his 2005 book, The Singularity is Near, Kurzweil extrapolates Moore’s law into the future and attaches a distinct spiritual con¬notation by stating,
The Singularity denotes an event that will take place in the material world, the inevitable next step in the evolutionary process that started with biological evolution and has extended through human-directed technological evolution. However, it is precisely in the world of matter and energy that we encounter transcendence, a principal connotation of what people refer to as spirituality.3
Simply put, Transhumanism refers to an evolutionary transition from the human to the posthuman state through the integration of advanced technology and the human body.4 The Transhumanist Declaration, created in 1998 by top leaders of the Transhuman movement, states:
1) “Humanity will be radically changed by technology in the future. We foresee the feasibility of redesigning the human condition, including such parameters as the inevitability of aging, limitations on human and artificial intellects, unchosen psychology, suffering, and our confinement to the planet earth.
2) “Systematic research should be put into understanding these coming developments and their long-term consequences.
3) “Transhumanists think that by being generally open and em¬bracing of new technology we have a better chance of turning it to our advantage than if we try to ban or prohibit it.
4) “Transhumanists advocate the moral right for those who so wish to use technology to extend their mental and physical (including reproductive) capacities and to improve their control over their own lives. We seek personal growth beyond our current biological limitations.
5) “In planning for the future, it is mandatory to take into account the prospect of dramatic progress in technological capabilities. It would be tragic if the potential benefits failed to materialize because of technophobia and unnecessary prohibitions. On the other hand, it would also be tragic if intelligent life went extinct because of some disaster or war involving advanced technologies.
6) “We need to create forums where people can rationally debate what needs to be done, and a social order where responsible decisions can be implemented.
7) “Transhumanism advocates the well-being of all sentience (whether in artificial intellects, humans, posthumans, or non-human animals) and encompasses many principles of modern humanism. Transhumanism does not support any particular party, politician or political platform.”5
Essentially, the ultimate Transhuman envisions that he will be able to recreate himself as a “superman” with unlimited intelligence and information at his disposal (on-demand omniscience), able to escape his human form to travel the universe in electronic form (multi-presence if not omnipresence), to modify physical creation to suit his personal taste (omnipotence) and to escape physical death (immortality).
The fact that these are God-like qualities is not lost on would-be Transhumans. On October 1, 2010 a conference titled Transhumanism and Spirituality6 was hosted by the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, where Transhuman movement leaders from around the world convened to discuss the evolutionary transition to divinity through technology… that is, man becoming God. Attendees represented a mix of Mormonism, Buddhism, Atheism and Christianity. Although Hinduism wasn’t officially represented, the concept was evident.7
Not Science Fiction
If you think this sounds more like science fiction than reality, you are not alone. The Star Trek franchise has produced several related shows, including “Singularity,” which aired on November 20, 2002. Trekkies will also remember several episodes that featured the fictional race called the “Borg,” which consisted of cybernetic humanoids that had a single mind and purpose.
Although Transhumans may appreciate science fiction movies, there is no humor to be poked at those who are ready for the Singularity, the Convergence and the escape from a God-dominated reality.
In fact, hundreds of top scientists around the world, many employed by the best universities and research organizations, are racing against time to bring the Singularity and Convergence to fruition, in order to “create” the new species of Trans-humans.
Why the rush? There are two related lines of thought. First, there is the belief that mankind is rapidly heading to-ward extinction, and that would simply be the end of the trail for everyone. Secondly, there is the thought that the work must be completed before man destroys the environment and thus the resources needed to complete their work.
For Transhumans who have no “extra-worldly” hope (i.e., belief in God, the return of Christ, the Heavenly City, etc.), the answer must lie within themselves, their intellect, their science, their logic, etc. In short, they are on a mission to save the world be¬fore it destroys itself. Even popular media sup-ports this thought: How many movies have been made recently where the hero/heroin must devise a way to save the world from extinction?
The Miriam-Webster dictionary defines science as “knowledge or a system of knowledge covering general truths or the operation of general laws especially as obtained and tested through the scientific method and concerned with the physical world and its phenomena.”
When a scientist lays aside the over-arching principles of science and yet continues to speak as a scientist, the result is hardly scientific. In fact, the theory that postulates the possibility of an ultimate “quantum-leap” evolution to a Transhuman state has no more legitimate science behind it than does the theory of evolution in general.
Many Christians who have synthesized historic evolution into their theology (theistic evolution or evolutionary creation-ism) will be sorely challenged to integrate these new future evolution theories into their existing framework of thinking. Historic evolution quietly removes the omnipotence of God from development of organized matter. Futuristic evolution altogether replaces God with man. Herein is revealed the end-game and strategy of evolution.
However, can man truly escape the laws of sin and death? The Biblical answer is clearly, “No!”
The Bible states “just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, be¬cause all sinned” (Romans 5:12, NIV) and “just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him” (Hebrews 9:27, NIV).
In the end, sides must be chosen. One includes God, the other doesn’t, and never the ‘twain shall meet.
Patrick Wood is editor of The August Review, www. augustreview.com and founder of World Research Library. He is also co-author of Trilaterals Over Washington - Volume I and Tri-laterals Over Washington - Volume II.