Terrifying Future - Scientists Mixing Human & Animal DNA ???
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By Thomas R. Horn
October 10, 2010
SPLICING & DICING THE NEXT STEP IN EVOLUTION
In 1993, critical thinking about the timing of the Singularity concerning the emergence of strong artificial intelligence led retired San Diego State University professor and computer scientist Vernor Vinge, in his often-quoted and now-famous lecture, “The Coming Technological Singularity,” (delivered at Vision-21 Symposium sponsored by Nasa Lewis Research Center and the Ohio Aerospace Institute), to add that when science achieves “the technological means to create superhuman intelligence[,] shortly after, the human era will be ended.” In contrast to Vinge, cyborgists like Kevin Warwick, professor of cybernetics at Reading University in England who endorsed de Garis’ book, believe Singularity will not so much represent the end of the human era as it will the assimilation of man with machine intelligence, like the Borg of Star Trek fame.
This is because, according to Warwick, Technological Singularity will not occur as a result of freestanding independent machines, but inside human cyborgs where human-machine integration is realized and enhanced biology is recombined to include living brains that are cybernetic, machine readable, and interfaced with artificial neural networks where transhumans with amplified intelligence become so completely superior to their biological counterparts (normal humans) as to be incomprehensible—ultimately “posthuman.” The technology to accomplish this task is already well underway and is considered by researchers like Warwick to be one of the most important scientific utilities currently under employment toward man’s posthuman future.
As a result of this bridge between technology and human biology being attained this century, nothing less than the wholesale redesign of humans, including genetic integration with other life-forms—plants, animals, and synthetic creations—will be realized. This vision—the borgification (marriage between biology and machine) of man—is supported in the latest “State of the Future” report (2010) by the global think tank, the Millennium Project, founded after a three-year feasibility study with the United Nations University, Smithsonian Institution, and the Futures Group International, where synthetic biologists affirm that “as computer code is written to create software to augment human capabilities, so too genetic code will be written to create life forms to augment civilization.” Furthermore, as biotech, infotech, nanotech, and cognotech breakthroughs quickly migrate with appropriate synergies to create widespread man-machine adaptation within society, a “global collective intelligence system [hive supermind] will be needed to track all these science and technology advances,” the report goes on to say.
I (Tom) have personally debated leading transhumanist, Dr. James Hughes, concerning this inevitable techno-sapien future on his weekly syndicated talk show, Changesurfer Radio. Hughes is executive director of the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies and teaches at Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut. He is the author of Citizen Cyborg: Why Democratic Societies Must Respond to the Redesigned Human of the Future, a sort of bible for transhumanist values. Dr. Hughes joins a growing body of academics, bioethicists, and sociologists who support:
Large-scale genetic and neurological engineering of ourselves…[a] new chapter in evolution [as] the result of accelerating developments in the fields of genomics, stem-cell research, genetic enhancement, germ-line engineering, neuro-pharmacology, artificial intelligence, robotics, pattern recognition technologies, and nanotechnology…at the intersection of science and religion [which has begun to question] what it means to be human.
Though the transformation of man to this posthuman condition is in its fledgling state, complete integration of the technology necessary to replace existing Homo sapiens as the dominant life-form on earth is approaching Kurzweil’s exponential curve. A Reuters article dated November 9, 2009, titled “Scientists Want Debate on Animals with Human Genes,” hinted at just how far scientists have come and how far they intend to go. The news piece started out, “A mouse that can speak? A monkey with Down’s Syndrome? Dogs with human hands or feet? British scientists want to know if such experiments are acceptable,” and it continued with revelations that scientists inside Britain are comfortable now with up to 50/50 animal-human integration. The article implied that not all the research currently under design is kept at the embryonic level, and that fully mature monstrosities (like the creature in the 2010 movie Splice) may be under study as “some scientists in some places want to push boundaries.” National Geographic magazine speculated in 2007 that within ten years, the first of such human-animals would walk the earth, and Vernor Vinge agreed recently that we are entering that period in history when questions like “What is the meaning of life?” will be nothing more than an engineering question.
Most readers may be surprised to learn that in preparation of this posthuman revolution, the United States government, through the National Institute of Health, recently granted Case Law School in Cleveland $773,000 of American taxpayers’ money to begin developing the actual guidelines that will be used for setting government policy on the next step in human evolution–“genetic enhancement” (read more about this in my OPEN LETTER TO CHRISTIAN LEADERS) Maxwell Mehlman, Arthur E. Petersilge Professor of Law, director of the Law-Medicine Center at the Case Western Reserve University School of Law, and professor of bioethics in the Case School of Medicine, led the team of law professors, physicians, and bioethicists over the two-year project “to develop standards for tests on human subjects in research that involves the use of genetic technologies to enhance ‘normal’ individuals.” Following the initial study, Mehlman began offering two university lectures: “Directed Evolution: Public Policy and Human Enhancement” and “Transhumanism and the Future of Democracy,” addressing the need for society to comprehend how emerging fields of science will, in approaching years, alter what it means to be human, and what this means to democracy, individual rights, free will, eugenics, and equality. Other law schools, including Stanford and Oxford, are now hosting similar annual “Human Enhancement and Technology” conferences, where transhumanists, futurists, bioethicists, and legal scholars are busying themselves with the ethical, legal, and inevitable ramifications of posthumanity.
As the director of the Future of Humanity Institute and a professor of philosophy at Oxford University, Nick Bostrom (www.NickBostrom.com) is a leading advocate of transhumanism who, as a young man, was heavily influenced by the works of Friedrich Nietzsche (from whom the phrase “God is dead” derives) and Goethe, the author of Faust. Nietzsche was the originator of the übermensch or “Overman” that Adolf Hitler dreamed of engineering, and the “entity” that man—who is nothing more than a rope “tied between beast and Overman, a rope over an abyss”—according to Nietzsche, will eventually evolve into. Like the ancient Watchers before him (Watchers were fallen angels that mingled human dna with animals and their seed to produce Nephilim. More on this will be discussed later), Bostrom envisions giving life to Nietzsche’s Overman (posthumans) by remanufacturing men with animals, plants, and other synthetic life-forms through the use of modern sciences including recombinant dna technology, germ-line engineering, and transgenics (in which the genetic structure of one species is altered by the transfer of genes from another). Given that molecular biologists classify the functions of genes within native species yet remain unsure in most cases how a gene’s coding might react from one species to another, one should expect the genetic structure of the modified animal/humans to be changed in physical appearance, sensory modalities, disease propensity, personality, behavior traits, and more as a result of these modifications.
Despite these unknowns, such genetic tinkering as depicted in the movie Splice is already taking place in thousands of research laboratories around the world, including the United States, Britain, and Australia, where animal eggs are being used to create hybrid human embryos from which stem-cell lines can be produced for medical research. Not counting synthetic biology, where entirely new forms of life are being brewed, there is no limit to the number of human-animal concoctions currently under development within openly contracted as well as top-secret science facilities.
A team at Newcastle and Durham universities in the United Kingdom recently illustrated this when they announced plans to create “hybrid rabbit and human embryos, as well as other ‘chimera’ embryos mixing human and cow genes.” The same researchers more alarmingly have already managed to reanimate tissue “from dead human cells in another breakthrough which was heralded as a way of overcoming ethical dilemmas over using living embryos for medical research.” In the United States, similar studies led Irv Weissman, director of Stanford University’s Institute of Cancer/Stem Cell Biology and Medicine in California, to create mice with partly human brains, causing some ethicists to raise the issue of “humanized animals” in the future that could become “self aware” as a result of genetic modification. Even former president of the United States, George W. Bush, in his January 31, 2006, State of the Union address, called for legislation to “prohibit…creating human-animal hybrids, and buying, selling, or patenting human embryos.” His words mostly fell on deaf ears, and now “the chimera, or combination of species, is a subject of serious discussion in certain scientific circles,” writes senior counsel for the Alliance Defense Fund, Joseph Infranco.
“We are well beyond the science fiction of H. G. Wells’ tormented hybrids in the Island of Doctor Moreau; we are in a time where scientists are seriously contemplating the creation of human-animal hybrids.” When describing the benefits of man-with-beast combinations in his online thesis, “Transhumanist Values,” Bostrom cites how animals have “sonar, magnetic orientation, or sensors for electricity and vibration,” among other extrahuman abilities. He goes on to include how the range of sensory modalities for transhumans would not be limited to those among animals, and that there is “no fundamental block to adding, say, a capacity to see infrared radiation or to perceive radio signals and perhaps to add some kind of telepathic sense by augmenting our brains,” a position verified by the U.S. National Science Foundation and Department of Commerce in the report, Converging Technologies for Improving Human Performance.
Bostrom and the U.S. government are correct in that the animal kingdom has levels of perception beyond human. Some animals can “sense” earthquakes and “smell” tumors. Others, like dogs, can hear sounds as high as 40,000 Hz—and dolphins can hear even higher. It is also known that at least some animals see wavelengths beyond normal human capacity. This is where things start getting interesting, perhaps even supernatural, as Bostrom may understand and anticipate. According to the biblical story of Balaam’s donkey, certain animals see into the spirit world.
Contemporary and secular studies likewise indicate animals may at times be reacting to intelligence beyond normal human perception. Will this have peculiar consequences for enhanced humans with animal dna? Earlier in this series, we described how opening supernatural gateways that exist within the mind can be achieved through altered mental states induced by psychoactive drugs such as dmt and absinthe.
Do transhumanists and/or military scientists imagine a more stable pathway or connection with the beyond—the ability to see into other dimensions or the spirit world—as a result of brain enhancement through integrating men with beasts? Do they envision reopening the portions of the mind that some scholars believe were closed off following the fall of man? Late philosopher and scientist Terrance McKenna, originator of “Novelty Theory,” speculated that brain enhancement following Technological Singularity might accomplish this very thing—contact with other-dimensional beings. More recently, at Arizona State University (asu), where the Templeton Foundation has been funding a long series of pro-transhumanist lectures titled “Facing the Challenges of Transhumanism: Religion, Science, Technology,” some of the instructors agree that radical alteration of Homo sapiens could open a door to unseen intelligence.
Consequently, in 2009, asu launched another study, this time to explore discovery of—and communication with—“entities.” Called the Sophia project (after the Greek goddess), the express purpose of this university study is to verify communication “with deceased people, spirit guides, angels, otherworldly entities/extraterrestrials, and/or a Universal Intelligence/God.” Imagine what this could mean if government laboratories with unlimited budgets working beyond congressional review were to decode the gene functions that lead animals to have preternatural capabilities of sense, smell, and sight, and then blended them with Homo sapiens.
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Among other things, something that perhaps Darpa (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) has envisioned for years could be created for use against entire populations—genetically engineered “Nephilim agents” that appear to be human but that hypothetically see and even interact with invisible forces. Overnight, the rules for spiritual warfare as well as regular warfare would take on an unprecedented (at least in modern times) dimension.
Sound too fantastic to be true? Wait until you read what leaked documents from the highest think-tank at the Pentagon has to say on the subject.