Our society’s increasing ability to manipulate a person’s sex organs is surprising, but there is another community, known as transhumanists, that envisions a day when the very function of our sex organs will become obsolete. In this vision, our internal sex organs will be replaced with technology, thus allowing transsexuals to focus entirely upon appearance and sexual experience. Here too, scientific advances have made this a realistic future scenario. Science blog io9 reports, “As time passes, we’re inching closer and closer to the day when it will finally become possible to grow a baby entirely outside the human body.” Cornell University’s Hung-Ching Liu has worked toward achieving a tissue-based inner lining of an artificial uterus, and a primitive attempt at developing an artificial placenta has resulted in goats being “kept alive for up to 237 hours in amniotic tanks through a process called extracorporeal membrane oxygenation” (emphasis removed).
“Transhumanism and Transgenderism enjoy a close relationship due to mutual interest in enhancement technology.” Transhumanists George Dvorsky and Dr. James Hughes co-authored a paper titled “Postgenderism: Beyond the Gender Binary.” According this paper’s abstract:
Postgenderism is an extrapolation of ways that technology is eroding the biological, psychological and social role of gender, and an argument for why the erosion of binary gender will be liberatory. Postgenderists argue that gender is an arbitrary and unnecessary limitation on human potential, and foresee the elimination of involuntary biological and psychological gendering in the human species through the application of neurotechnology, biotechnology and reproductive technologies. Postgenderists contend that dyadic gender roles and sexual dimorphisms are generally to the detriment of individuals and society. Assisted reproduction will make it possible for individuals of any sex to reproduce in any combinations they choose, with or without “mothers” and “fathers,” and artificial wombs will make biological wombs unnecessary for reproduction. Greater biological fluidity and psychological androgyny will allow future persons to explore both masculine and feminine aspects of personality. Postgenderists do not call for the end of all gender traits, or universal androgyny, but rather that those traits become a matter of choice. Bodies and personalities in our postgender future will no longer be constrained and circumscribed by gendered traits, but enriched by their use in the palette of diverse self-expression.
Clearly, the questions associated with gender fluidity, sex-reassignment, and sex roles in reproduction span far more territory than how people perceive themselves, a person’s mental health, and social tolerance. The 21st century’s obsession with sex-reassignment procedures are fundamentally redefining the concept of humanity. Bioethicist Dr. Leon Kass, who formerly served as Chairman of the President’s Council on Bioethics, warns in his book:
Human nature itself lies on the operating table, ready for alteration, for eugenic and neuropsychic “enhancement,” for wholesale redesign. In leading laboratories, academic and industrial, new creators are confidently amassing their powers and quietly honing their skills, while on the street their evangelists are zealously prophesying a posthuman future. For anyone who cares about preserving our humanity, the time has come to pay attention.
He also warns, “All of the boundaries are up for grabs. All of the boundaries that have defined us as human beings.”
At the heart of these transformative issues is the question, “Is the human body sacred?” In other words, how far are humans permitted to travel along the path of biological alteration and enhancement?
1. Dvorsky, George. “How to Build an Artificial Womb.” io9, April 19, 2013, 2:01 p.m. Accessed June 3, 2016. http://io9.gizmodo.com/how-to-build-an-artificial-womb-476464703.
3. Pellissier, Hank. “Transgender and Transhuman – The Alliance, the Complaints and the Future.” Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies, June 15, 2012. Accessed June 3, 2016. http://ieet.org/index.php/IEET/more/pellissier20120615.
4. Divorsky, George and James Hughes. “Postgenderism: beyond the Gender Binary.” Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies, March 2008. Accessed June 3, 2016. http://ieet.org/archive/IEET-03-PostGender.pdf.
5. Kass, Leon. Life, Liberty and the Defense of Dignity. San Francisco: Encounter Books, 2004.
6. Wesley Smith, “A Conversation with Leon Kass: Science Doesn’t Trump All,” San Francisco Chronicle, October 20, 2002, Source: Smith, “Stupider and Worse?” University Dialogue, Paper 62, 2010. Accessed March 18, 2014. http://unh.edu/discovery/sites/unh.edu.discovery/files/dialogue/2010/pdf/2010_Dialogues_smith.pdf.
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