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Ethics for the 21st century: emerging technologies and the challenge to being human 



On 2009-11-10, 19:30 - 21:30, Professor [Nigel Cameron] of the [Illinois Institute of Technology] gave a talk on behalf of the [Veritas Forum] at King's College, Cambridge

DouglasReay attended.  These are this thoughts...

Dr Cameron is something of a contradiction.  A young-earth creationist, with no scientific training, he spends his time advising governments of the ethical perils of nanotechnology and the 'convergent future' wherein nanotechnology, information technology, biotechnology and cognitive science shall all become as one.

In fact he seems to hold many beliefs in common with the [transhumanists] whom he spent the entire talk alternatively mocking and holding up as a scary future that was possible if right thinking Christians such as himself who hold 'human' values don't step up to join in the argument.  I suspect the transhumanist movement loves him because, even as he sees himself as the biggest threat to their values and moral objectives, he does at least take their science seriously.

And, to be fair, he probably is something of a threat.  He's a very smooth operator at what he called \"re-framing\" questions.  He advises that a movement word its positions in language that other potential allies might also be willing to use.  So, for instance, while his real objections to various types of human enhancement are probably biblical (something he said very little of in the talk - I don't think a single line of scripture was quoted), in order to make common cause with others who might also object, he phrases his objections in terms of non-religious ethical values such as loss of humanity.  In doing so he makes alliance with the humanities branches of academia, which he depicts as being cut out of their 'rightful' role in helping define what it is to be human by naieve greedy technologists who are attempting to usurp this role while others are not paying attention.

His blog has been hacked, but you can still see, in the [internet archive] some of his entries.
([His new blog])--DR

Two articles by him:
 * [The Pursuit of Enhancement]
* [Nanomorality]


Update 2014


DR adds: I've found a bird of the same feather, [Jennifer Lahl].
 * [Who Has the Words of Eternal Life? The Pursuit of Immortality]


Gadzooks - he sounds ghastly. --RobHu

No, very sensible for the most part. Just like the physical threat these days comes from loose terrorist networks rather than the totalitarian states that were the enemy in the mid-twentieth-century, so too have those who wish the abolition of man shifted from authoritarian boots stamping on human faces to spread-out, decentralised ground-up dehumanisation -- and this time sold rather than imposed, so people flock to have their humanity replaced with technology. Good on him for speaking out against it, not that it'll do any good.
Hello '154-71-162-69.reverse.vilayer.com'. Who are you? --RobHu

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