My wife knows at least two things about the Christmas presents she will receive in the morning: first, she will receive a firewire; and second, she does not want a firewire. Well, she doesn't really know what a firewire is, yet. It began as a new word in the subject line of an email that she saw over my shoulder. It became something to ask her friends about. Currently, it is perhaps a cable for a bigger computer monitor, or maybe something that would enable her to share recorded video on multiple televisions ... but not something she really wants.
On 29 November, author and lawyer Wesley J. Smith posted an article criticizing Transhumanism as follows: (1) Transhumanism is incorrect in its position that modern humans have become fundamentally different from their ancestors. (2) Transhumanism is arrogantly presumptuous in its position that one should impose her will on others.
Add hasty generalization to the bag of tricks from which Transhumanism antagonists are conjuring their criticisms. In a recent opinion piece published by the North Country Gazette, Pamela Hennessy, founder of the Partnership for Medical Ethics Reform, described Transhumanists in the following terms:
Mormons generally describe salvation as consisting of two parts: physical and spiritual. Simply put, physical salvation is immortality, and spiritual salvation is eternal life with God. A common modern view is that physical salvation is free through the grace of God, whereas spiritual salvation requires a combination of grace and human work. All humans, moral or otherwise, will eventually attain physical salvation: the living will be transfigured and the dead resurrected to immortality, without any work on our part. Almost all humans will eventually attain spiritual salvation, through the grace of God; however, the degree of our spiritual salvation depends on the morality of our works.
In his 18 July 2006 article, "Radical Religion", Jamais Cascio of the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies reflects on the results of a USA Today poll of religious adherence in the USA. He observes that the percentage of persons identifying themselves with "No religion" is among the top few segments in each state. He extrapolates from there that these persons must represent non-theism, and suggests that our models of the future should be adjusted to account for higher percentages of non-theists than previously acknowledged.
Another common weakness among Transhumanism antagonists, particularly those that are religious, is that they overlook how their arguments apply to their own ideologies. In a recent article entitled "Listening to the Transhumanists", Albert Mohler, President of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, casts Transhumanists as the most recent manifestation of an ancient and ongoing trend among humans to go astray after temptation to escape our finitude. He also remarks that it is strange for ideas once mostly associated with science fiction to be seriously considered among some scientists. There are at least two ironies here.
In the article, "The Trouble With Transhumanism", author Wesley Smith demonstrates a common weakness among Transhumanism antagonists: lack of a convincing understanding of Transhumanism, as demonstrated by appeals to straw-man representations of the ideology, inaccurate interpretations of its proponents' statements, and unjustified slippery-slope criticisms of its effects.