A new documentary film, featuring your author, exploring how biotech is changing who we are
I was very pleased to be a part of this new documentary film, Altered Humans, by director Shaista Justin. The film also features my longtime friend and collaborator Jennifer Lahl, founding director of the Center for Bioethics and Culture (and herself a documentary filmmaker). For anyone interested in the transhumanist movement, and related trends in science and technology, this film provides important ethical and philosophical reflections on these developments. Here’s a quick summary of the film:
Many Americans rely on drugs, medical devices, and surgery at some point in their lives to combat sickness or disease. But despite medical advances, lifespans are shortening, cancer rates are skyrocketing, and rare diseases are becoming more widespread. Simultaneously, cutting-edge medical research is no longer seeking to address these alarming concerns. Instead, “medical science is focused on making us better than well,” argues Dr. Aaron Kheriaty—on making us “stronger, faster, and smarter.”
New medical innovations herald gene editing technologies, reproductive technologies, and longevity innovations as the future of health. And yet, not only have many of these experimental products and devices failed, but they’ve also resulted in irreversible harm to the people they’ve been tested on.
In the documentary, “Altered Humans: How Biotech is Changing Who We Are,” Director Shaista Justin examines these claims with a slew of renowned technological industry experts. Delving deeper, she probes the moral and ethical questions surrounding these technologies, asking not only whether the science is plausible, but if it is even desirable. Does progress for the sake of progress really move the needle forward for us as a species, or are we merely unwitting victims of medical experimentation that shouldn’t be pursued in the first place?
I hope you enjoy it.
Altered Humans, great title. C.S.Lewis addressed this some time ago,
For the wise people of old the cardinal problem had been how to conform the soul to reality, and the solution had been knowledge, self-discipline, and virtue,” Lewis writes. “For some scientists/politicians the problem is how to subdue reality to the wishes of people: the solution is a technique; and both, in the practice of this technique, are ready to do things hitherto regarded as disgusting and impious…”
But because in this “objective” view there is nothing whatsoever to separate humans from the material of the natural world – nothing that humans permanently is – humans themselves become material available to be altered at will, just as the natural world can be altered and reshaped. And while it “is in humans power to treat themselves as a mere ‘natural objects’ and their own judgements of value as raw material for scientific manipulation to alter at will,” Lewis warns that indeed, “if humans choose to treat themselves as raw material, raw material they will be…”
In such a world, in which techniques of technological control must come to be applied to people just as they are applied to tree or iron, it is not humankind as a whole that will gain such power. Rather, inevitably, “the power of humans to make themselves what they please” means in truth “the power of some people to make other people what they please.”
And if, “What we call humans power over Nature turns out to be a power exercised by some people over other people with Nature as its instrument,” then ultimately:
Humans conquest of Nature, if the dreams of some scientific planners are realized, means the rule of a few hundred people over billions upon billions of people. There neither is nor can be any simple increase of power on humans side. Each new power won by people is a power over people as well.
The motives for altering humans as far as some people are concerned, are wholly rational. Indeed, “The original desire for altering had really envisaged the physical well-being of people,” and all the “ordering and planning and organization was intended for the good of all.” Thus, “He had gone the way of all tyrants: beginning well, at least on the level that while desiring to alter all things according to his own wisdom he still at first considered the well-being of other people.” Inevitably, however, in time “his plans, the idea coming from his own isolated mind, became the sole object of his will, and an end, the End, in itself.”
Hi Dr. Kheriaty- Are you familiar with the investigative journalism by feminist, Jennifer Bilek, regarding transgender ideology? She outlines the money-engine behind the top-down techno-capitalistic movement (as opposed to being a grass-roots movement) and how transgender ideology is being used as a fulcrum to leverage the normalization of transhumanism... a new colonialism, but of the human body and causing mass acceptance of disembodiment ...