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Facing the Challenges of Transhumanism: Religion, Science, Technology

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Social and Legal Implications

If the transhumanist vision becomes a reality, all our social institutions—the family, the workplace, the political system—could be profoundly affected. According to transhumanists, the enhancement of cognitive abilities (e.g., verbal fluency, memory, abstract reasoning, social intelligence, spatial cognition, numerical ability or musical talent) is ethically good and socially beneficial. We hypothesize that while transhumanism seeks to benefit all human beings, it could in fact increase inequality and undermine the most cherished value of American democracy—equality of opportunity. The transhumanist vision reflects the interests, life–style, and political preferences of affluent, secular, Caucasian males in Western post–industrial societies. Moreover, the transhumanist vision does not take into consideration the social needs of people in developing societies, for whom the new technologies are either irrelevant or even harmful. Even for members in materially advanced societies, the promises of tranhumanism need to be carefully examined in light of our belief in equal opportunity and fairness for all individuals and our concern for communal well–being and human dignity.