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Transhumanism comes face-to-face with religion

Wednesday, April 30, 2014 by: Michael Bedar
Tags: transhumanism, religion, consciousness

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(NaturalNews) Transhumanism is a body of thought which Mike Adams discussed (actually, debunked) on Natural News Radio in the past year. It refers to technologies which radically change human beings' capabilities, including the notion of transfering a human being's mind from an organic substrate to a lengthened digital existence. Adams and Robert Scott Bell don't accept this. However, they felt that it was important for people to know about. Specifically, instead of constituting an "upload into immortality" of an actual person, transfering a human being's neural patterns onto a computer network only represents a simulation of the physical brain -- because the part of the person that is his or her non-physical consciousness and soul cannot be uploaded.

Religion and transhumanism collide?

It looks like the transhumanism community is taking on this issue head on. The Religion and Transhumanism Conference, coming May 10 in Oakland, California, explores both the divisions and
the commonalities that religion, God-seeking and spirituality have with transhumanist thought.

The fact that this Religion and Transhumanism Conference -- which appears to welcome speakers who believe in a soul beyond emergent physical properties of matter -- is occurring is reminiscent of the progression of many intellectual movements prior to now.

New intellectual techno-movements historically soften themselves up

Many controversial waves of thinking have often coincided with the advent of major a new technology. Consider the Gutenberg press, and the subsequent intellectual foments that raged across the Renaissance and Enlightenment eras. Proponents of a new intellectual movement typically start off believing and saying radical things about how human nature will change.

These radical statements intentionally polarize the movement from others and draw attention to
themselves. Eventually, the movement may have an effect on society, ranging from a ripple to a revolution. However, in the end, a human being remains a human being, and the unknowable questions of divinity, while they may be looked at from newer and different perspectives, remain unknowable.

Note the softening already. The catchphrase does not say, "we will be uploaded to a quantum computer and discard our organic bodies." It says technologies are "changing -- and will change -- human beings in fundamental ways." This is a notch down in rhetoric from completely disembodying us into silicon. For example, no one can fully espouse yet that the "uploaded brain" will be able to keep its individuality, boundaries and agency. The softening trend correlates with the general pattern of new techno-movements in history relaxing from its formerly drastic pronouncements.

Natural and technological views coexist, with some tension

Technology will be accelerating, and ways of life will be facing modification. For example, you are reading and perhaps sharing this on the Internet, abilities which didn't exist 25 years ago.

People who prioritize conscious and divine awareness, and the organic wholeness that connects body, mind and soul with the cosmos, the living ecosphere, and the diverse natural genetic heritage, will have a lot to say about how new technologies are used. People with natural health viewpoints are wisdom keepers. In fact, wisdom of nature is one of the most important components of religion. Perhaps nature wisdom will be increasingly represented at conferences on religion in general and, of course, to bring dialogue where nature, religion and transhumanism meet, sometimes with tension.

Voltaire is quoted as saying, "Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities." The question is, as technology sells ideas and radical beliefs, and we look with clearer eyes at the capabilities and ethics of both nature and technology, what are the new belief structures? It is up to us to make realities, rather than absurdities, evident, creating the grounds for good and life-affirming deeds, rather than atrocities.

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About the author:
Michael Bedar MA, BS, is the co-founder of YoelMedia.com. He is a writer of both nonfiction and allegories. As a researcher, writer, holistic wellness counselor, certified Live-Food Nutrition Counselor, and filmmaker, he is the associate producer with a founding role in the documentary, "Simply Raw: Reversing Diabetes in 30 Days" and is the writer-director of "EcoParque." Bedar, who studied Cognitive Science and Environmental Chemistry, teaches meditation weekly in the San Francisco Bay Area, and supports people to benefit in their wellness through nutrition support, juice cleanses, and counseling. He has a master's in Live-Food Nutrition from the Cousens School of Holistic Wellness, is a minister, and is co-director of Tree of Life - Bay Area.

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