September 25, 2004

Catholic Register on transhumanism, TV04

Bernard Daly has published his report of TransVision 2004 in The Catholic Register. Called "Opening religion up to the 'brave new world' of science and technology," he comments both critically and in support of the transhumanist mission. Ultimately, Daly doesn't dismiss human enhancement out of hand, and instead calls Catholics to open a dialogue with transhumanists. Daly writes:
Besides optimistic and even utopian reports, there was also some questioning and debate with, for example, both scornful criticism and tentative support of the US President's Council on Bioethics and its cautionary stance. One WTA member identified as a Catholic was Tihamer Toth-Fejel, a US research engineer. In his view, "enhancements that degrade our humanity are not good for us because they contradict who we are as persons and, therefore, should be prohibited and discouraged. Our difficulty is in recognizing which enhancements are degrading us, discovering how this degradation occurs, and finally, finding the strength to resist the alluring promises they make," - an opinion he wrote for the Summer 2004 issue of The National Catholic Bioethics
Daly continues,
Perhaps because the transhumanist message is largely disseminated by the Internet, and perhaps also because of their call for total freedom in scientific exploration and technical engineering, many of the non-member participants in the Toronto weekend were university students preparing for high-tech careers. This conference made the faith views of the transhumanists easily accessible to these students. As they move their 2005 conference to Caracas, Venezuela, the tiny band of transhumanists will continue to challenge all larger faith communities to review what they have to say to such groups, and how best to say it.

One post-Vatican II challenge for Catholics, especially lay specialists in science and technology, is to enter "interfaith dialogue" with transhumanists, perhaps especially via the Internet, searching for "those seeds of the Word which lie hidden among them," while rejecting "nothing that is true and holy" in what they have to say.

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