The Person, Fully Alive: Transhumanism and the Glory of God

Michael Dominic Taylor – April 17, 2021

In its modern form, “transhumanism” means overcoming the finitude of human nature through the aggressive use of emerging technologies. Take, for example, Elon Musk’s Neuralink AI microchip brain implants, which are set for human trials later this year. Advocates for transhumanism seem to come from many different angles and walks of life. What they hold in common are their allegedly altruistic motives and their radical optimism towards technology. Even according to some environmentalists, we must seriously consider human engineering to prevent climate change. Their suggestions include genetically inducing intolerance for meat products; the “pharmacological enhancement” of empathy for other life forms through the use of antidepressants and hormone treatments; and, having children by in vitro fertilization, selecting for the smallest offspring, thus reducing their ecological footprint.

But as the late Stratford Caldecott warned, the pursuit of technological and political power is fundamentally the wrong approach to solving any environmental problem. This way, environmentalists “will try to get their hands on the relevant levers of power and will be increasingly, and everlastingly frustrated, to discover that all their attempts come to nothing or even make things worse.”

Because “moral questions… always turn out to be epistemological questions, which in turn are determined by… metaphysical realities,” then before asking ourselves what we should do, “it is first necessary to ask the more fundamental question what it is.” The climate-change transhumanists who make the above proposals have very specific visions of both anthropology and metaphysics, of what it means to be a human person, what our ultimate good and final telos is, and the nature and meaning of reality.

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