This discussion builds upon my previous recent articles which deal with transgenderism & the military’s quest for cyborgs for combat (A), yet don’t discuss some of the ethical & moral issues involved. Just as transgenderism confronts us with what is a man or a woman, cyborgs confront us with what is a person & what is a machine? Does a stone have a soul? Does a machine that is self-aware have a soul? Is a Brain-Machine interface that restores sight or movement (where there was paralysis) doing a miracle similar to Christ restoring sight or curing paralysis? Are these miracles of technology tainted because they change us from being human towards being cyborgs?? Christ performed his miracles as a sign of the coming Kingdom of God. Are cyborgs a sign of a coming dystopia like Brave New World?? Are scientists “playing God”? What are humans morally allowed to create? Is the World’s desire for & creation of cyborgs inevitable, thereby making any ethical discussion pointless? The reader can now begin to sense the enormous range of moral & ethical questions that cyborgs raise.
PROPONENTS. There are a certain set of people who embrace any technology. There is no point in discussing such narrow mindedness, and morally reprobate minds. These people automatically declare anything to be morally neutral. These are the same set of people who tell me that it is only my opinion that Satanic ritual sacrifices of children is evil. In spite of their views, truth is still truth, and the truth is that not everything is “value-neutral”. Feminist Donna Haraway was the first to gain widespread public attention on cyborgs when she wrote the Cyborg Manifesto (1985). Her view of mankind was so low, she claimed that the first cyborg rat should be treated as human.(B) She invited feminists to support transgenderism, hybridization of people with animals and cyborgs to destroy the order in the world. She strongly advocated that the normal boundaries of life be intentionally blurred. She writes (in Simian, Cyborgs & Women: The Reinvention of Nature, 1991, p. 173), “…we can learn from our fusions with animals and machines how not to be man, the embodiment of western logos.” According to her, destroying all the traditional boundaries will make the world a better place, including destroying the traditional relationship between man & God. This is in stark contrast to the Scriptures which advocate that traditional boundaries be respected (C), and which overall are negative about the mixing of genetics.(D) The Scriptures also advocate that men be men, and women be women. One question I have for each of these new technologies: do they draw us closer to Christ? do they help our inner spiritual life? Those questions are NOT being asked by the proponents & supporters of cyborgs. Indeed, Haraway hates the Christian God.
IN DAILY LIFE. During this last week, I was reminded of these issues twice. Once when a young woman was talking to someone about robots & cyborgs saying, “People should pay attention to the movies. It always turns out bad with these technologies.” I had to think of the movie A.I. where a robot boy is programmed to love a family with unconditional love…the result is a disaster. There are many movies which have been made on cyborgs: BiCentennial Man, Space Odyssey’s Hal, Frankenstein, Robocop (’87), X-men, The Six Million Dollar Man, Star Trek’s The Borg, Bladerunner (’82), Terminator (’84), and I am sure others. Now the other event was on the Interstate while going under an overpass, where a young man was holding a sign “Sin=Death” with a teeshirt that read “Ex-Gay”. Products are coming out… “Human-centered” products that exploit the human brains & bodies are being sold. And people are being morphed into products. In the comic “Transmetropolitan” (E), the topless dancer has bar codes on her breasts, as if she is a trackable commodity. Augmented Reality products are coming out, which is where digital info is added to real life, for instance Boeing workers installing complex wiring would see the diagrams superimposed on the plane showing where to place things. People are getting so wrapped up with technology, the Pokeman app on their cell phones have them scrambling all over cities just for the thrill of finding an actual place where a virtual Pokeman is hiding. A no. of deaths from the mania of Pokeman searching have been occurring around the nation.
BACK TO ETHICAL QUESTIONS. There are serious concerns that mankind will in some way lose control over cyborgs & robots, and lose control over defining human destiny. (Of course, believers know that Almighty Creator YHWH God will have the defining say.) Another concern is overload. Technology does tend to want to overload us–for instance, all the communication that comes at us. My concern is that children will begin to lose track of what it means to be human, and to be male & female. Our world views and consciounesses are being manipulated, and will increasing be so. Nonhuman intelligences are now going into chat rooms and pretending to be humans–real people. Some of these cyber-bots are going to online polls and skewing their polling results. On the flip side, most people are in favor of the artificial: muscles, skin, limbs, blood, heart and in the development stage, artificial nerves. At what point do they have enough parts simply to build a bionic robot? They now have implants that will produce orgasms in women, and others to cause or block pain. Who is going to be responsible that these technological inventions will be used for good, and not get out of hand? And back to the questions of where man ends and robot begins…it has always been taken for granted that people deserve consideration we don’t give machines. It is simply wrong to do certain things to people. I am concerned that if the line is blurred…it will be easier to treat people like robots.
FINAL THOUGHTS. Man was created in God’s image and tampering with the way humanity was created is basically saying God made mistakes. Few would take issue with the use of technology to heal people, it’s when it steps beyond that healing role and is used to create super soldiers and bionic robots that I think the line has been crossed. Brain-machine interfaces are becoming more widespread. Humanity is being corralled into becoming parts of a global brain with the central part of it being the BEAST computer system.
(A) One example would be McDonnell-Douglas hooking pilot brains up to onboard computers in their Advanced Tactical Aircraft Program. An example of human-robot interfacing are the robots which mimic their human operator from a distance called teleoperator systems, used in bases & DUMBs for handling dangerous material. (B) Haraway, Donna. “Cyborgs and Symbionts,” The Cyborg Handbook (London, Routledge, 1995), pg. xv (C) PRV 22:28, I COR 6:8, & others (D) while not well known, literally hundreds of Scriptures address genetic mixing (E) DC comics, 1997, pg. 4