Extropy Institute invites top scientific, technological, philosophical, and cultural thinkers to share knowledge and exchange ideas about working to improve the world’s understanding of biotechnology and science of human enhancement to improve and extend life. Beginning Sunday, February 15 through 29th, the Summit presents a 2-week virtual discussion and debate of President Bush's Bioethics Council's ultraconservative Beyond Therapy report. Summit keynotes are addressing the use of the well-known "Precautionary Principle" by anti-biotech activists as a rallying tool to turn people against the science, medicine and biotechnology that could cure disease and improve life.
President of Extropy Institute and Chair of the VP Summit, Natasha Vita-More says, "We have a responsibility to protect ourselves, our children and our loved ones in determining what choices to make about the future of our health. We must research and develop ethical means for the investigations of emergent sciences and technologies of human enhancement. No one has the right to tell any human that he or she must go into the later years of life in crippled or feeble states with no resolve. No organization, no policy, no person should have the absolute power and authority to hinder scientific and medical advances that can and do help millions of people throughout the world. Yet it is our responsibility to seek out ways to make sure that ethics is primary and human enhancement is available to all that seek it."
The Increasing Threat to Human Advancement.
ABOUT THE SUMMIT
"In keeping with our mission, we have undertaken an inquiry into the potential implications of using biotechnology 'beyond therapy,' in order to try to satisfy deep and familiar human desires: for better children, superior performance, ageless bodies, and happy souls. Such uses of biotechnology, some of which are now possible and some of which may become possible in the future, are likely to present us with profound and highly consequential ethical challenges and choices. They may play a crucial role in shaping human experience in the fast-approaching age of biotechnology."
Many other organizations with similar goals have added
their agreement to this report. These voices are often promoted in
The New Atlantis, which seems appropriately named after the Platonic
vision of a perfect, unchanging society now lost. This publication
aims to shape "the nation's moral and political understanding of all
areas of technology", but does so by opposing technological advances
at every turn. These groups often use the sensible-sounding
"Precautionary Principle" to block technology. This
principle correctly warns that technology can be dangerous. But
instead of focusing on methods to safely advance technology, proponents
of this principle demand absolute proof of complete safety before any
technology can be developed. This allows a variety of political
extremists such as extreme environmentalists, extreme bioconservatives, and modern Luddites movements to block technological
advancement based on scare-tactics and unproven "what-if"
To counter these anti-technology initiatives, Extropy Institute presents the VP Summit to be accomplished in several phases. The first phase will be a collaborative, multi-disciplinary online event in February which will bring together all kinds of transhumanists, future-friendly promoters, and ideas from advocacy groups such as the Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation. The people need technology to fix biological problems, and they need your help. As Christopher Reeve has said, "I never thought politics would get in the way of hope."
SUMMIT INFRASTRUCTURE: WEB
We can harness this newest form of Internet communication as an effective forum to launch this project with the people, resources and perspectives needed to debate and publish our carefully addressed pro-technology message for the future!
Watch for more details about the Summit in the next update. You can read the core materials produced by invited keynote bloggers during the two-week online event. Then others can participate in related forums, make comments on the keynote blogs, and help develop associated resources. Your participation is vital to secure your future! You can join the Summit with a $15 donation here.
Don't let future progress stop!