All ... Created Equal
by Beverly Nuckols on July 4, 2010 at 12:19 PM
July 4, 2010, the United States commemorated the signing of the Declaration of Independence. It has been 234 years since Jefferson and his co-signers found it “self-evident that all men are created equal and endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights.” So far, we humans are the only ones having this conversation.
What if our Posterity (mentioned a few years later in the Preamble to the Constitution) is post-human?
Francis Fukuyama, economist, futurist and member of former President Bush's Bioethics Council from 2001 to 2005, has written that transhumanism is the most dangerous idea, one that threatens the equality of us all. Transhumanists do pose new debates which are eagerly entered into by bioethicists. However, those bioethicists are still re-hashing the old debates. Which of our offspring, mental and physical, organic and non-organic are human enough to deserve our protection and aide. Who gets the use and benefit of all that new technology? Do we change only our own bodies or may we manipulate the bodies and (possibly) the minds of our children – and then their children. What will divide the haves and have-nots? Where is the line between enhancement and disfiguration?
It’s probably not the technology or the use of it that threatens to infringe on Jefferson’s self-evident rights. The danger – or at least the beginnings of it - is the philosophical and legal contemplation that rights are ideas and word games, not endowed by our Creator, not “unalienable,” and certainly not "self-evident." Rights become dependent on might, artifacts that the most powerful or numerous decide to recognize.
My concern is that the "bio-ethicists" underscore our lack of seriousness and consistency when contemplating our children of tomorrow. And that we are not giving them a good example for how we would like them to treat us.