Friday, February 17, 2017

Three New Possibilities for Improving the Human

As a writer who enjoys the stranger side of fiction, I’m always interested in the latest developments from the minds of our most prominent thinkers. These are the leaders in science who, I assume, have the best interests of the human race in mind. In my novel,Wake the Dead, I take an average guy and turn him into a transhuman. A good deal of the nonsense I made up was based on research of transhumanism and, in the plans of a great number of regular humans, it’s not nonsense. The story of the world’s first transhuman continues in Killswitch, and the trilogy will wrap up in a few months with Transfusion.

Even though I enjoy the weird subjects, I must put my own spin on the oddities. And that means addressing each aspect of mind-blowing science from a Christian worldview. I see the transhuman future coming, but I see the King of Kings returning before we turn ourselves into a new race of cyborgs.

Every few months I like to take a look at what’s new in the world of tranhumanism. Not many people—hardly any Christians—have ever heard of the subject I chose for my first three novels written for the Christian market. Maybe not the best plan for marketing novels, but I saw a need for something different, and I like to think I helped meet that need. 

Here' s the dictionary definition of transhumanism:

The belief or theory that the human race can evolve beyond its current physical and mental limitations, especially by means of science and technology.

My latest search into what’s coming soon for the improvement of humanity led me to three articles. You can read the articles by clicking the links at the end of this post.

First, some corporations have gifted their employees with RDIF chips, replacing their ID cards with implants which allow them to accomplish various tasks without waving the plastic. A wave of the hand is all that’s needed. The article tells the number of humans who’ve already chipped themselves for “safety and security” and refers to a recent bill passed by the House of Representatives that makes chipping the mentally ill sound like a great idea.

Second, an article reveals that scientists have created, and I use the word loosely, a pig-human hybrid. Of course, the purpose is not to make a monster. The reasoning behind the new life form is to save human lives by growing enough transplantable organs to meet the growing demand. But what is this being, so far only presented to the public as an embryo? If the chimera (part man/part animal) thrives beyond this stage, will it be more pig than man? Or will the mind of this “creation” have a reasonable understanding of its manhood? In which case, will pulling out its designer organs infringe upon its…upon his rights?

And third, if the pig-man doesn’t meet your needs in the future, scientists have developed the first stable semi-synthetic organism. It doesn’t mean much right now, but in theory it could mean everything in the future. As with most advancements, including the pig-man and the microchipped populace, it has the potential of leading to wonderful benefits for the human race. Life as we know it could be radically altered for the better. In this article one of the scientists who helped accomplish the impossible is quoted as saying, “Now we can get the light of life to stay on.”

Now here’s where the lover of pop-science takes a step back, and the Christian says, “Hey, there’s something familiar about the way he put that.” The scientist refers to the light of life. His insinuation is, I believe, to take hold of that light. To control it. But here’s what I know about the light of life:

Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life."   John 8:12

The maker of light and giver of life is not handing over His sovereignty to anyone. He may give us enough knowledge to make discoveries, enough fortitude to improve our existence, and enough fear to try to avoid death, but we are still at best inventive, even creative, creatures. Not the Creator. The light of life is Christ. The light is mine because I follow Him, and it’s enough for me. I don’t worry about the pig-man or the microchips. I don’t even worry about all the things that happen to my poor fictitious transhuman. In the end (spoiler alert) the light of life is enough for him, too.


2  First human-pig 'chimera' created in milestone study      

3  First-Ever Semi-Synthetic Organism Opens the Door to New Forms of Life

Friday, February 3, 2017

The Liberation of the American Woman

In 1848, a small gathering of both women and men formulated a plan. The righteous endeavor called for the fair treatment of half the population of the United States. What we now take for granted was initiated with a document patterned after our Declaration of Independence. It was called the Declaration of Sentiments.

So began a long battle for equal rights. It expressly demanded the right of women to vote. Seventy-two years passed before federal law amended voting rights to include the voice of women. Over time, other mandates of that original movement were met satisfactorily by the law. Of course, more demands of an absolutely fair nature were added to the complaint and requirement of the American woman. But the tone of that first cry for change now clashes with our culture, and the vision of the document which was the foundation of a movement is now clouded.

From Resolutions in the Declaration of Sentiments:

Resolved, that woman has too long rested satisfied in the circumscribed limits which corrupt customs and a perverted application of the Scriptures have marked out for her, and that it is time she should move in the enlarged sphere which her great Creator has assigned her.

Resolved, therefore, that, being invested by the Creator with the same capabilities and same consciousness of responsibility for their exercise, it is demonstrably the right and duty of woman, equally with man, to promote every righteous cause by every righteous means; and especially in regard to the great subjects of morals and religion, it is self-evidently her right to participate with her brother in teaching them, both in private and in public, by writing and by speaking, by any instrumentalities proper to be used, and in any assemblies proper to be held; and this being a self-evident truth growing out of the divinely implanted principles of human nature, any custom or authority adverse to it, whether modern or wearing the hoary sanction of antiquity, is to be regarded as a self-evident falsehood, and at war with mankind.

What is deemed righteous by society certainly alters over time. No doubt, the women who recently marched to voice their demands consider themselves agents of morality. They require the law maintain their rights, which they feel are now encroached upon by a perceived change to the atmosphere of ethics. The thoughts and ideals of the writers of the Declaration of Sentiments mean little now in the history of the American woman demanding change. Her demands have been met, but did she lose sight of the burden which now whispers from that sanction of antiquity? 

How did she move so far from considering the great subjects of morals and religion? She is now free to live as she chooses. Perhaps she must still fight to keep herself free. She must struggle to rise above the assertion that she is not who she proclaims herself to be. She is still, after all her wars, a woman. And she still must yield life to the next generation.

Is this what the fight for equality has become? Have we taken a step too far into a modern battle of women against womanhood? The women’s movement in this country brought an end to the law prohibiting birth control, first among married couples, then later among single women. A plausible grievance met by a reasonable change to the law, though some may disagree. It didn’t keep abortion from becoming the focal point of the condition of the American woman. Instead, the right to end life by choice has usurped every other consideration. At least that’s how it appears. If it is not the entitlement most desperately demanding preservation by this recent movement, then they are not representing themselves well enough to be understood.

Are those early demands which evolved into the current angry cry now irrelevant? They have at least some basis in a much older documentation of equality. Liberation first occurred, and perhaps a movement began, when Christ broke the agreements and constraints of culture and cast aside the exclusion of women from His plans. No matter how much we kick against our great Creator, He desires to draw us near without bias. He does not offer grace to one group above another. We are all equal. More equal in the eyes of God than in the opinion of society, or the appraisal of government, or by our own pensive declarations. 

There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. Galatians 3:28