Benek is a Presbyterian pastor in southern Florida and the founding chair of the Christian Transhumanist Association. He stressed in the interview that the healthiest way of interacting with this subject theologically is to take what we know about theology and begin to converse about what is helpful, recognizing that AI can be used for evil or good much in the same way nuclear physics can be utilized to either make murderous weaponry or to provide a clean energy source. “Christ started a redemptive process that we are called to participate in, to actually help in the redemption — Christ has already secured the victory — but as co-creators, like as with a parent and a child, to co-create alongside God. So there is no reason to think that God wouldn’t empower us to create AI and create very powerful AI to help in those redemptive purposes,” Benek said (IMPORTANT NOTE—SkyWatch TV will broadcast a month-long Special Investigative Report in March on major developments in human enhancement THE CHURCH MUST FORCE ITSELF TO UNDERSTAND).(READ MORE)
Congregants come to church with upgraded hips and knees. They have pacemakers surgically installed. Some even combat their substandard vision via Lasik Eye Surgery to enhance their vision to 20/15, better than perfect, vision. Transhumanism is here. Humanity is evolving beyond its current limitations by way of exponentially increasing advances in science and technology. As a matter of fact, transhumanism is so far along technologically that the famed entrepreneur, Elon Musk, is funding a team of people working on developing functional neural-lace to improve human cognition right now. Moreover, I think it’s important to caution folks not to get too far down the “transhumanism is all bad” road. I say this because holding an overly dogmatic position in a quickly developing technological movement is likely to leave one looking hypocritical in the long run. (READ MORE)
EDITOR’S NOTE:In the countdown to the release of the highly anticipated documentary “INHUMAN: THE NEXT AND FINAL PHASE OF MAN IS HERE”(scheduled for release around August 15), SkyWatch TV is running this exclusive online series on transhumanism and the dawn of the Human Hybrid Age.
As the director of the Future of Humanity Institute and a professor of philosophy at Oxford University, Nick Bostrom (www.NickBostrom.com) is a leading advocate of transhumanism who, as a young man, was heavily influenced by the works of Friedrich Nietzsche (from whom the phrase “God is dead” derives) and Goethe, the author of Faust. Nietzsche was the originator of the übermensch or “Overman” that Adolf Hitler dreamed of engineering, and the “entity” that man—who is nothing more than a rope “tied between beast and Overman, a rope over an abyss”—according to Nietzsche, will eventually evolve into. Like the ancient Watchers before him (Watchers, remember, were fallen angels that mingled human dna with animals and their seed to produce Nephilim. More on this will be discussed later), Bostrom envisions giving life to Nietzsche’s Overman (posthumans) by remanufacturing men with animals, plants, and other synthetic life-forms through the use of modern sciences including recombinant dna technology, germ-line engineering, and transgenics (in which the genetic structure of one species is altered by the transfer of genes from another). Given that molecular biologists classify the functions of genes within native species yet remain unsure in most cases how a gene’s coding might react from one species to another, one should expect the genetic structure of the modified animal/humans to be changed in physical appearance, sensory modalities, disease propensity, personality, behavior traits, and more as a result of these modifications.
Despite these unknowns, such genetic tinkering as depicted in the movie Splice is already taking place in thousands of research laboratories around the world, including the United States, Britain, and Australia, where animal eggs are being used to create hybrid human embryos from which stem-cell lines can be produced for medical research. Not counting synthetic biology, where entirely new forms of life are being brewed, there is no limit to the number of human-animal concoctions currently under development within openly contracted as well as top-secret science facilities. A team at Newcastle and Durham universities in the United Kingdom recently illustrated this when they announced plans to create “hybrid rabbit and human embryos, as well as other ‘chimera’ embryos mixing human and cow genes.” The same researchers more alarmingly have already managed to reanimate tissue “from dead human cells in another breakthrough which was heralded as a way of overcoming ethical dilemmas over using living embryos for medical research.”[i] In the United States, similar studies led Irv Weissman, director of Stanford University’s Institute of Cancer/Stem Cell Biology and Medicine in California, to create mice with partly human brains, causing some ethicists to raise the issue of “humanized animals” in the future that could become “self aware” as a result of genetic modification. Even former president of the United States, George W. Bush, in his January 31, 2006, State of the Union address, called for legislation to “prohibit…creating human-animal hybrids, and buying, selling, or patenting human embryos.” His words mostly fell on deaf ears, and now “the chimera, or combination of species, is a subject of serious discussion in certain scientific circles,” writes senior counsel for the Alliance Defense Fund, Joseph Infranco. “We are well beyond the science fiction of H. G. Wells’ tormented hybrids in the Island of Doctor Moreau; we are in a time where scientists are seriously contemplating the creation of human-animal hybrids.”[ii] When describing the benefits of man-with-beast combinations in his online thesis, “Transhumanist Values,” Bostrom cites how animals have “sonar, magnetic orientation, or sensors for electricity and vibration,” among other extrahuman abilities. He goes on to include how the range of sensory modalities for transhumans would not be limited to those among animals, and that there is “no fundamental block to adding, say, a capacity to see infrared radiation or to perceive radio signals and perhaps to add some kind of telepathic sense by augmenting our brains,”[iii] a position verified by the U.S. National Science Foundation and Department of Commerce in the report, Converging Technologies for Improving Human Performance.
Bostrom and the U.S. government are correct in that the animal kingdom has levels of perception beyond human. Some animals can “sense” earthquakes and “smell” tumors. Others, like dogs, can hear sounds as high as 40,000 Hz—and dolphins can hear even higher. It is also known that at least some animals see wavelengths beyond normal human capacity. This is where things start getting interesting, perhaps even supernatural, as Bostrom may understand and anticipate. According to the biblical story of Balaam’s donkey, certain animals see into the spirit world. Contemporary and secular studies likewise indicate animals may at times be reacting to intelligence beyond normal human perception. Will this have peculiar consequences for enhanced humans with animal dna? Elsewhere in this series, we will describe how opening supernatural gateways that exist within the mind can be achieved through altered mental states induced by psychoactive drugs such as dmt and absinthe. Do transhumanists and/or military scientists imagine a more stable pathway or connection with the beyond—the ability to see into other dimensions or the spirit world—as a result of brain enhancement through integrating men with beasts? Do they envision reopening the portions of the mind that some scholars believe were closed off following the fall of man? Late philosopher and scientist Terrance McKenna, originator of “Novelty Theory,” speculated that brain enhancement following Technological Singularity might accomplish this very thing—contact with other-dimensional beings. More recently, at Arizona State University (asu), where the Templeton Foundation has been funding a long series of pro-transhumanist lectures titled “Facing the Challenges of Transhumanism: Religion, Science, Technology,”[iv] some of the instructors agree that radical alteration of Homo sapiens could open a door to unseen intelligence. Consequently, in 2009, asu launched another study, this time to explore discovery of—and communication with—“entities.” Called the Sophia project (after the Greek goddess), the express purpose of this university study is to verify communication “with deceased people, spirit guides, angels, otherworldly entities/extraterrestrials, and/or a Universal Intelligence/God.”[v] Imagine what this could mean if government laboratories with unlimited budgets working beyond congressional review were to decode the gene functions that lead animals to have preternatural capabilities of sense, smell, and sight, and then blended them with Homo sapiens. Among other things, something that perhaps Darpa (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) has envisioned for years could be created for use against entire populations—genetically engineered “Nephilim agents” that appear to be human but that hypothetically see and even interact with invisible forces. Overnight, the rules for spiritual warfare as well as regular warfare would take on an unprecedented (at least in modern times) dimension.
ENHANCED HUMANS: THE NEW (NEPHILIM) ARMS RACE
While the former chairman of the President’s Council on Bioethics, Leon Kass, does not elaborate on issues of spiritual warfare, he provided a status report on how real and how imminent the dangers of Grin technologies could be in the hands of transhumanists. In the introduction to his book, Life, Liberty and the Defense of Dignity: The Challenges of Bioethics, Kass warned:
Human nature itself lies on the operating table, ready for alteration, for eugenic and psychic “enhancement,” for wholesale redesign. In leading laboratories, academic and industrial, new creators are confidently amassing their powers and quietly honing their skills, while on the street their evangelists [transhumanists] are zealously prophesying a posthuman future. For anyone who cares about preserving our humanity, the time has come for paying attention.[vi]
The warning by Kass of the potential hazards of emerging technologies coupled with transhumanist aspirations is not an overreaction. One law school in the United Kingdom where students are taught crime-scene investigation is already discussing the need to add classes in the future devoted to analyzing crime scenes committed by posthumans. The requirement for such specially trained law enforcement personnel will arise due to part-human, part-animal beings possessing behavior patterns not consistent with present-day profiling or forensics understanding. Add to this other unknowns such as “memory transference” (an entirely new field of study suggesting that complex behavior patterns and even memories can be transferred from donors of large human organs to their recipients), and the potential for tomorrow’s human-animal chimera issues multiplies. How would the memories, behavior patterns, and instincts, for instance, of a wolf affect the mind of a human? That such unprecedented questions will have to be dealt with sooner than later has already been illustrated in animal-to-animal experiments, including those conducted by Evan Balaban at McGill University in Montreal, where sections of brain from embryonic quails were transplanted into the brains of chickens, and the resultant chickens exhibited head bobs and vocal trills unique to quail.[vii] The implication from this field of study alone proves that complex behavior patterns can be transferred from one species to another, strongly suggesting that transhumans will likely bear unintended behavior and appetite disorders that could literally produce lycanthropes (werewolves) and other nightmarish Nephilim traits.
As troubling as those thoughts are, some in government and science communities believe these dangers could be just the tip of the iceberg. One-on-one, interpersonal malevolence by human-animals might quickly be overshadowed by global acts of swarm violence. The seriousness of this for the conceivable future is significant enough that a recent House Foreign Affairs (hfa) committee chaired by California Democrat Brad Sherman, best known for his expertise on the spread of nuclear weapons and terrorism, is among a number of government panels currently studying the implications of genetic modification and human-transforming technologies related to future terrorism. Congressional Quarterly columnist Mark Stencel listened to the hfa committee hearings and wrote in his March 15, 2009, article, “Futurist: Genes without Borders,” that the conference “sounded more like a Hollywood pitch for a sci-fi thriller than a sober discussion of scientific reality…with talk of biotech’s potential for creating supersoldiers, superintelligence, and superanimals [that could become] agents of unprecedented lethal force.”[viii] George Annas, Lori Andrews, and Rosario Isasi were even more apocalyptic in their American Journal of Law and Medicine article, “Protecting the Endangered Human: Toward an International Treaty Prohibiting Cloning and Inheritable Alterations,” when they wrote:
The new species, or “posthuman,” will likely view the old “normal” humans as inferior, even savages, and fit for slavery or slaughter. The normals, on the other hand, may see the posthumans as a threat and if they can, may engage in a preemptive strike by killing the posthumans before they themselves are killed or enslaved by them. It is ultimately this predictable potential for genocide that makes species-altering experiments potential weapons of mass destruction, and makes the unaccountable genetic engineer a potential bioterrorist.[ix]
Observations like those of Annas, Andrews, and Isasi support Prof. Hugo de Garis’ nightmarish vision of a near future wherein artilects and posthumans join against “normals” in an incomprehensible war leading to gigadeath. Notwithstanding such warnings, the problem could be unavoidable, as Prof. Gregory Stock, in his well-researched and convincing book, Redesigning Humans: Our Inevitable Genetic Future, argues that stopping what we have already started (planned genetic enhancement of humans) is impossible. “We simply cannot find the brakes.”[x] Verner Vinge agrees, adding, “Even if all the governments of the world were to understand the ‘threat’ and be in deadly fear of it, progress toward the goal would continue. In fact, the competitive advantage—economic, military, even artistic—of every advance in automation is so compelling that passing laws, or having customs, that forbid such things merely assures that someone else will get them first.”[xi] In what the writers of this book found to be a bit unnerving, academic scientists and technical consultants to the U.S. Pentagon have advised the agency that the principal argument by Vinge is correct. As such, the United States could be forced into large-scale species-altering output, including human enhancement for military purposes. This is based on solid military intelligence, which suggests that America’s competitors (and potential enemies) are privately seeking to develop the same this century and use it to dominate the U.S. if they can. This worrisome “government think tank” scenario is even shared by the Jasons—the celebrated scientists on the Pentagon’s most prestigious scientific advisory panel who now perceive “Mankind 2.0” as the next arms race. Just as the old Soviet Union and the United States with their respective allies competed for supremacy in nuclear arms following the Second World War through the 1980s (what is now commonly known as “the nuclear arms race during the cold war”), the Jasons “are worried about adversaries’ ability to exploit advances in Human Performance Modification, and thus create a threat to national security,” wrote military analyst Noah Shachtman in “Top Pentagon Scientists Fear Brain-Modified Foes.” This recent special for Wired magazine was based on a leaked military report in which the Jasons admitted concern over “neuro-pharmaceutical performance enhancement and brain-computer interfaces” technology being developed by other countries ahead of the United States. “The Jasons are recommending that the American military push ahead with its own performance-enhancement research—and monitor foreign studies—to make sure that the U.S.’ enemies don’t suddenly become smarter, faster, or better able to endure the harsh realities of war than American troops,” the article continued. “The Jasons are particularly concerned about [new technologies] that promote ‘brain plasticity’—rewiring the mind, essentially, by helping to ‘permanently establish new neural pathways, and thus new cognitive capabilities.’”[xii] Though it might be tempting to disregard the conclusions by the Jasons as a rush to judgment on the emerging threat of techno-sapiens, it would be a serious mistake to do so. As Grin technologies continue to race toward an exponential curve, parallel to these advances will be the increasingly sophisticated argument that societies must take control of human biological limitations and move the species—or at least some of its members—into new forms of existence. Prof. Nigel M. de S. Cameron, director for the Council for Biotechnology Policy in Washington dc, documents this move, concluding that the genie is out of the bottle and that “the federal government’s National Nanotechnology Initiative’s Web site already gives evidence of this kind of future vision, in which human dignity is undermined by [being transformed into posthumans].”[xiii]Dr. C. Christopher Hook, a member of the government committee on human genetics who has given testimony before the U.S. Congress, offered similar insight on the state of the situation:
[The goal of posthumanism] is most evident in the degree to which the U.S. government has formally embraced transhumanist ideals and is actively supporting the development of transhumanist technologies. The U.S. National Science Foundation, together with the U.S. Department of Commerce, has initiated a major program (nbic) for converging several technologies (including those from which the acronym is derived—nanotechnology, biotechnologies, information technologies and cognitive technologies, e.g., cybernetics and neurotechnologies) for the express purpose of enhancing human performance. The nbic program director, Mihail Roco, declared at the second public meeting of the project¼that the expenditure of financial and human capital to pursue the needs of reengineering humanity by the U.S. government will be second in equivalent value only to the moon landing program.[xiv]
The presentation by Mihail Roco to which Dr. Hook refers is contained in the 482-page report, Converging Technologies for Improving Human Performance, commissioned by the U.S. National Science Foundation and Department of Commerce. Among other things, the report discusses planned applications of human enhancement technologies in the military (and in rationalization of the human-machine interface in industrial settings) wherein Darpa is devising “Nano, Bio, Info, and Cogno” scenarios “focused on enhancing human performance.” The plan echoes a Mephistophelian bargain (a deal with the devil) in which “a golden age” merges technological and human cognition into “a single, distributed and interconnected brain.”[xv] Just visiting the U.S. Army Research Laboratory’s Web site is dizzying in this regard, with its cascading pages of super-soldier technology categories including molecular genetics and genomics; biochemistry, microbiology and biodegradation; and neurophysiology and cognitive neurosciences. If writers like us can so easily discover these facts on the Web, just imagine what is happening in Special Access Programs (saps) where, according to the Senate’s own Commission on Protecting and Reducing Government Secrecy, there are hundreds of “waived saps”—the blackest of black programs—functioning at any given time beyond congressional oversight. Because of this and given the seriousness of weaponized biology and human enhancement technology blossoming so quickly, on May 24, 2010, a wide range of experts from the military, the private sector, and academia gathered in Washington dc for an important conference titled “Warring Futures: A Future Tense Event: How Biotech and Robotics are Transforming Today’s Military—and How That Will Change the Rest of Us.” Participants explored how human enhancement and related technologies are unfolding as an emerging battlefield strategy that will inevitably migrate to the broader culture, and what that means for the future of humanity. As the conference Web site noted:
New technologies are changing warfare as profoundly as did gunpowder. How are everything from flying robots as small as birds to “peak warrior performance” biology [human enhancement] altering the nature of the military as an institution, as well as the ethics and strategy of combat? How will the adoption of emerging technologies by our forces or others affect our understanding of asymmetrical conflict? New technologies are always embraced wherever there is the greatest competition for advantage, but quickly move out to the rest of us not engaged in sport or warfare.[xvi]
The impressive list of speakers at the dc conference included Vice Admiral Joseph W. Dyer (U.S. Navy, retired), president of the Government and Industrial Robots Division at iRobot; Major General Robert E. Schmidle Jr., United States Marine Corps lead for the 2010 Quadrennial Defense Review; Robert Wright, author of The Evolution of God and a Global Governance Fellow; P. W. Singer, Senior Fellow and director of the Twenty-First Century Defense Initiative at the Brookings Institution; Stephen Tillery from the Harrington Department of Bioengineering at Arizona State University; and Jon Mogford, acting deputy director of the Defense Sciences Office at Darpa.
Having taken the lead in human-enhancement studies as a U.S. military objective decades ago, Darpa saw the writing on the wall and in scenes reminiscent of Saruman the wizard creating monstrous Uruk-Hai to wage unending, merciless war (from J. R. R. Tolkein’s Lord of the Rings), began investing billions of American tax dollars into the Pentagon’s Frankensteinian dream of “super-soldiers” and “extended performance war fighter” programs. Not only has this research led to diagrams of soldiers “with hormonal, neurological, and genetic concoctions; implanting microchips and electrodes in their bodies to control their internal organs and brain functions; and plying them with drugs that deaden some of their normal human tendencies: the need for sleep, the fear of death, [and] the reluctance to kill their fellow human beings,” but as Chris Floyd, in an article for CounterPunch a while back, continued, “some of the research now underway involves actually altering the genetic code of soldiers, modifying bits of dna to fashion a new type of human specimen, one that functions like a machine, killing tirelessly for days and nights on end…mutations [that] will ‘revolutionize the contemporary order of battle’ and guarantee ‘operational dominance across the whole range of potential U.S. military employments.’”[xvii]
(article continues below video)
WATCH THE INHUMAN TRAILER
Related to these developments and unknown to most Americans was a series of hushed events following the sacking of Admiral John Poindexter (who served as the director of the Darpa Information Awareness Office from 2002 to 2003) during a series of flaps, which resulted in public interest into the goings-on at the agency and brief discovery of Darpa’s advanced human enhancement research. When the ensuing political pressure led the Senate Appropriations Committee to take a deeper look into just how money was flowing through Darpa, the staffers were shocked to find “time-reversal methods” in the special focus area, and unstoppable super-soldiers—enhanced warriors with extra-human physical, physiological, and cognitive abilities that even allowed for “communication by thought alone” on the drawing board. Prof. Joel Garreau, investigative journalist, provides a summary of what happened next:
The staffers went down the list of Darpa’s projects, found the ones with titles that sounded frighteningly as though they involved the creation of a master race of superhumans, and zeroed out their budgets from the defense appropriations bill. There is scant evidence they knew much, if anything, about these projects. But we will probably never know the details, because significant people are determined that the whole affair be forever shrouded in mystery. The levels of secrecy were remarkable even for Darpa; they were astounding by the standards of the notoriously leaky Senate. Even insiders said it was hard to get a feel for what the facts really were. It took months of reporting and questioning, poking, and prodding even to get a formal “no comment” either from the leadership of the Senate Appropriations Committee or from Anthony J. Tether, the director of Darpa.
A careful study of Darpa’s programs a year later, however, showed little change. Considerable creative budgetary maneuvering ensued. The peas of quite a few programs now reside under new, and much better camouflaged, shells. “They’re saying, ‘Okay, this is the second strike. Do we have to go three strikes?’” one manager said. “It doesn’t stop anything. We’ll be smarter about how we position things.” Meanwhile, he said, new human enhancement programs are in the pipeline, “as bold or bolder” than the ones that preceded them.[xviii]
Recent hints at Darpa’s “bold or bolder” investment in human enhancement as part of an emerging arms race is reflected in two of its newest projects, titled “Biochronicity and Temporal Mechanisms Arising in Nature” and “Robustness of Biologically-Inspired Networks,” in which the express intention of transforming “biology from a descriptive to a predictive field of science” in order to boost “biological design principles” in troop performance is made.[xix] Darpa’s Department of Defense Fiscal Years 2011-2014 President’s Budgets also includes funding for science that will lead to “editing a soldier’s dna”[xx] while more exotically providing millions of dollars for the creation of “BioDesign,” a mysterious artificial life project with military applications in which Darpa plans to eliminate the randomness of natural evolution “by advanced genetic engineering and molecular biology technologies,” the budget reports state. The language in this section of the documents actually speaks of eliminating “cell death” through creation of “a new generation of regenerative cells that could ultimately be programmed to live indefinitely.” In other words, whatever this synthetic life application is (Wired magazine described it as “living, breathing creatures”), the plan is to make it immortal.[xxi] To this end, the producers of the upcoming documentary “INHUMAN” believe the “it” that man may soon uncover through its species-barrier-crossing technologies dates back to ancient times, and that the science of human enhancement and transhumanism is unwittingly playing into the hands of powerful supernaturalism toward a Luciferian endgame—something “it” tried once before, and which “it” was prophesied to attempt again just before the end of time.
TO BE CONTINUED…
CHECK THIS OUT! Inspired by Tom and Nita Horn’s book “Forbidden Gates” and the upcoming documentary “INHUMAN” British band Dissident Prophet is to release a new album featuring the song HUMAN 2.0 that NAILS THE ISSUE ON THE HEAD!
[i] Jane Picken, “Medical Marvels,” The Evening Chronicle (April 13, 2007).
[ii] Joseph Infranco, “President Barack Obama Warped and Twisted Science with Embryonic Stem Cell Order,” LifeNews (4/13/09) http://www.lifenews.com/bio2823.html.
[iii] Nick Bostrom, “Transhumanist Values,” www.nickbostrom.com.
[iv] “Facing the Challenges of Transhumanism: Religion, Science, Technology,” Arizona State University, http://transhumanism.asu.edu/.
[ix] American Journal of Law and Medicine, vol. 28, nos. 2 and 3 (2002), 162.
[x] As quoted by Margaret McLean, phd., “Redesigning Humans: The Final Frontier,” http://www.elca.org/What-We-Believe/Social-Issues/Journal-of-Lutheran-Ethics/Book-Reviews/Redesigning-Humans-by-Gregory-Stock/Redesigning-Humans-The-Final-Frontier.aspx.
[xi] “The Coming Technological Singularity,” presented at the Vision-21 Symposium sponsored by Nasa Lewis Research Center and the Ohio Aerospace Institute (3/30–31/93).