Transhumanism debunked: Why drinking the Kurzweil Kool-Aid will only make you dead, not immortal

Mike Adams
Natural News
June 25, 2013

In this article, I’m going to reveal how transhumanism is a dangerous, irrational death cult shrouded in the language of geeky cybernetics. In fact, the entire idea that you can “upload your mind to a computer” is complete junk science quackery, as you’ll soon see.

In case you’re new to the term, “transhumanism” means uploading your mind to a machine, discarding your body, then achieving immortality by living forever through machines and robots. Google’s director of engineering, Ray Kurzweil, has been pushing this cult for many years, and just recently he promised that by 2045, humanity would achieve what he calls the “singularity,” where our minds can be uploaded to computers. (Click here for the source of this claim.) In less than a century, Kurzweil says, we could all discard our “fragile” human bodies and inhabit advanced robotic systems as our new immortal selves.

Kurzweil’s cult is so bizarre and dangerous that following it can only lead to a lunatrocity of mass death and deception. Kurzweil’s sci-fi cybernetic mind-meld theories are so outlandish that they make Scientology’s galactic narratives sound like Christian Sunday school.

Where to even begin the debunking of it all? Let’s start with its claims…

How would transhumanism even work?

Let’s examine the claims of the transhumanism cult leaders like Kurzweil. They are saying that by 2045, all the following technology will exist:

Technology #1) A way to “scan” your entire brain and record every neuron and holographic patterning that exists in your brain.

Technology #2) A way to build an equally complex computing system that has equivalent computational capabilities as your brain.

Technology #3) A way to COPY your brain scan into the computing system. This is called “uploading” your brain to the machine.

Once these three technologies exist, we are promised, we can all transfer our minds to computer systems and experience “digital immortality!”

But wait a second. Something’s already missing here, do you see it? In this plan there is no mechanism to transfer your consciousness to the machine. So even if all three of these technologies are adequately developed (which is possible, by the way), they still don’t provide a way to merge your mind with a machine.

Nothing more than a computer simulation of your brain

All you’ve really done, even if all three technologies are developed and working by 2045, is made a copy of your brain. This copy may, indeed, be able to run on the machine, but it’s nothing more than a simulation of your brain. It is not you.

Similarly, if someone takes a photo of you and posts a print of the photo on the wall, they can say they’ve made you “immortal” through photography, but your mind is obviously not living inside the photograph.

If you’re a star in a motion picture, you may be “immortalized” by your fans who see you as “living forever” in your famous films, but your consciousness does not live inside the movie. The real “you” is still inhabiting your human body.

No matter how complex the depicted simulation, a “scan” of you that is replicated in another medium (a photo, a movie, or a highly advanced computer) is not you. Thus, the promise of transhumanism is a fraudulent one, and “uploading” is the wrong metaphor. You aren’t uploading your consciousness to a machine; you’re simply creating a non-conscious computer simulation of your brain.

And how do we know that’s true? To answer that question, we have to dig deeper… into the definition of YOU.

What are YOU?

I’ll keep this short by beginning with the ending: You are not merely your body.

“You” are far more than your body. And the way we know this is because the instant you die, your body is still the same it was, but the “you” is no longer present.

“You” are actually a non-physical consciousness interfaced with a physical brain. “You” are a non-physical consciousness sometimes called a soul or spirit. This consciousness experiences the world through your physical sensory organs.

This discussion of consciousness is the part that drives the transhumanists bonkers because to be a member of their cult, you have to believe that there is no such thing as consciousness… or a soul… or free will. You have to believe that consciousness is an artifact of the brain itself – a kind of “ghost in the machine,” if you will, that somehow gives rise to the self-delusion of awareness.

This means you have to believe free will is an illusion and that if you copy the brain and paste it somewhere else, then somehow magically that other thing becomes “you.”

But this makes no sense. There is no mechanism for the transfer of the focal point of consciousness. If you copy and paste your brain (i.e. “upload” your brain) to another machine, but your human body is still alive and breathing, then you haven’t “uploaded” your consciousness anywhere. You have only made a complex facsimile of your neurology.

Transhumanism debunked

Such is the great gap in the theory of transhumanism: There is no mechanism to transfer your consciousness (your soul) from your body to the machine. How do you “transplant” your soul? The transhumanists have no answer for that. They simply pretend your soul doesn’t exist and therefore need not be considered at all.

There is nothing in their plan to transplant your soul. So what’s actually going to happen to all these transhumanism cult members — and here’s the hilarious part in all this — is that people like Ray Kurzweil will just DIE, and if they did manage to copy their brain to a machine, that machine will simply run as a simulation, carrying on the computational appearance of Ray Kurzweil, but doing so mindlessly, with no soul or consciousness.

What do you call fifty transhumanists who have uploaded their brains to machines and then killed off their physical bodies? A busy day at the morgue.

Transhumanism is a death cult, much like Heaven’s Gate

Ultimately, transhumanism is a death cult much like the infamous Heaven’s Gate cult led by Marshal Applewhite. Marshal promised his followers that their minds would merge with space aliens who were hiding in a mothership piggybacked on the Hale-Bopp comet. Just like Ray Kurzweil, Marshal Applewhite promised immortality and said that disconnecting from your body (via suicide, of course) was the path to enlightenment.

Believe it or not, Applewhite said that he was actually an alien spirit who hijacked a human body, taking it over for his own delusional purposes. (He never explains what he did with the previous soul that once occupied the body.) You can watch a video of him explaining this here:

Mirroring all this kookiness, Ray Kurzweil promises that you will live forever if you discard your body and merge your brain with machines that have yet to be invented. At some point, just like with Heaven’s Gate, you will need to “kill” your physical body in order to complete the “upload” to Kurzweil’s cybernetic computers. There’s probably some Kool-Aid involved in all this, no doubt. Kurzweil-Kool-Aid.

Both Applewhite and Kurzweil are obviously insane. Both are also extremely convincing and charismatic. Kurzweil’s shtick is that he’s very convincing to techno-geeks at Google… people who have now put him in charge of Google’s technology. This alone is frightening, realizing that Google has been suckered into the cult of transhumanism — a cult based on such bizarre sci-fi distortions that it makes Scientology look downright conservative by comparison.

Perhaps Google will soon announce its own cult: Googletology. Or Kurzweilianism.

But there’s something even more frightening in all this: The transhumanists may succeed in creating such convincing simulations that they fool huge numbers of other people into thinking the mind-meld with machines actually works! And they may then commit suicide to “merge with the machines” as Kurzweil describes.

Are you getting this yet?

A convincing simulation is still not you

See, if you do manage to scan a human brain and copy it over to a highly-complex computer system — and this very well may be possible by 2045 — it may create a strongly convincing simulation that appears to be alive. It may be able to talk with you, reason with you and even inhabit a humanoid robot that walks around the world much like a human. This illusion of consciousness may be so convincing that large numbers of individuals are convinced to kill themselves as part of some sort of “transference” to the machine. It will be given a friendly-sounding name, of course, such as “You 2.0.” Drink the Kool-Aid, kill off your physical body, and then your brain pattern gets copied to a digital simulation of you while the Kurzweil cultists stand back and say, “Shazam! You’ve been uploaded into a machine!” Ain’t it trendy?

Not really. You’re actually dead, and now the machine is running a “convincing simulation” of your personality. This simulation may manage to convince your friends that you’re still “alive” inside the machine, but your spirit is actually long gone, having departed the earthly realm when your physical body died (from drinking the Kool-Aid).

Realistically, the task of creating computer systems capable of fooling human beings into thinking they’re “real people” is not so astonishing given a timeframe of 30 years or so. But the Turing test never took into account the existence of a non-physical consciousness or soul. Turing’s theories were missing something vital to existence: consciousness!

So if you see a computer system running an on-screen personality that claims to be Ray Kurzweil, and it invites you to drink some Kool-Aid and merge with the machines, just hit delete and go back to playing Farmville.

Views: 512

Replies to This Discussion

Tech 1.- Noetic sciences and other disciplines have shown that "the mind" exists well beyond the limits of the brain, including the heart, stomach, liver and other organs which are related to what ancient indians called "chakras"

Tech 2.- Computers no matter how advanced constantly break down, freeze and are vulnerable to viruses and hackers.

Tech 3.-  Same shit as 1 and 2

Maybe we should encourage transhumanists to go ahead and take politicians and bankers along with them, those two have always lacked a soul anyways

Sorry Maria, but your list of points makes no sense whatsoever.

re (1): you can remove and replace almost every part of a human - legs, eyes, fingers, spleens, stomachs, heart/lungs/livers/kidneys... without changing the individual's personality (or mind). "Chakras" are a primitive people's pre-scientific attempt to understand the nervous system - you fall for the standard New Age fallacy of imbuing primitive Eastern nonsense with a significance it does not merit.

re (2): human bodies break down too - often in ways that can't be fixed regardless of what you try to put in your 'chakras'. They freeze and overheat (they need to operate in a smaller temperature range than a motor vehicle: you can die in temperatures where you car will still run). As for vulnerability to viruses - you do know that the name 'virus' started in the health sciences, right?

(3) didn't say anything.

One additional note about my comment re your (1) - obviously removing an individual's leg/arm/eye/hearing etc has an impact on the person's life and worldview, but that impact is not because they're losing a bit of their mind or because one of their 'chakras' got dinged. People understand that the loss of a limb or important organ means reduced functionality, which gives them reduced expectations (and disabled folks' attempts at self-delusion don't work long-term) - in the opposite direction, heart-lung (and kidney and liver) transplant recipients understand that they will have augmented functionality, and so they respond with an uplifted 'affect'.

You come from a very logical standpoint though your view is narrow. The notion of chakras my not be as hokey and primitive as you think. There is no doubt volumes of new age nonsense that could rival the misinformation that science has erroneously espoused time and time again. Tough to argue with that. But because you have narrowed it down to science verses religion, tells me you have missed something profoundly key in anyone's advanced understanding of the real secrets of the New World Order/Global Elite. I would liken it to left verses right politics. If you fall for any facet of either party's archetype, you have failed to understand the true nature of what it is you adhere to.

Interesting to see what your response will be. 

I think that when it's all boiled down, the 'real secret' of the New World Order is that they know that their hold on power is extremely tenuous. They are desperately keen that we peons don't figure out that they have almost no idea what they're doing - and this 'internet' kerjigger is the second-biggest dispeller-on-nonsense in human history (the first and still the biggest dispeller-of-nonsense was Cynicism).

Anyhow... according to my worldview, it is the understanding that all their power is fake that makes 'powerful' people involve themselves in occultism and other such falderol: they may not believe in a single jot or tittle of it, but they're prepared to engage in ridiculous shenanigans if there's some chance that there is an actual potential source of additional power there to be exploited.(Also, the 'powerful' tend to be very gullible themselves... look at the herd mentality in funds management).

Seen in this context, the 'New World Order' stuff becomes so much stage-managed eyewash and hoobla-hoo.

And sure, the people involved get mind-bogglingly rich - almost always by funneling taxes to themselves - but it's not 'magic' and requires no supernatural explanation (it's the same reason that religious leaders have lived in Palaces since Ancient Egypt... "the peasants are gullible and can be fleeced by anybody who turns up offering themselves as sole-intermediary between Man and God").

I certainly won't ever fall for any of the charade of politics - unlike a lot of folks I spent a goodly part of my academic life learning about the literal impossibility of finding 'social' optima through political means: I can recite the 'big 3' Impossibility Theorems (Arrow, Gibbard-Satterthwait and Hölmstrom) by heart, and don't even get me started on the principal-agent problem.

For the record: I'm a Freemason, and have been involved in the Craft and other 'higher' orders for my entire adult life. I'm also a militant anarchist and a militant atheist (outside of the US, the idea that every Freemason must believe in a personal 'God' is seen as stupid and quintessentially American). Full disclosure: I'm also a vegetarian lol.

Finally someone who speaks English.

An atheistic Freemason? Never heard of such a thing. Jot or tittle? That's like, 16th century New Testament vernacular. Throw in a little kerjigger and you my friend are quite an interesting contradiction.

No Demolay huh? Are you sublime prince or double headed eagle? Or perhaps more apropos, a phoenix. I've studied the mystery schools off and on for about 10 years and much more closely these last few years. In fact I venture impavidly, though with circumspect, instructing the partially incorrigible muggles the greater and lesser mystifications. From thrice greatests and the pymander, ascending on up through the spheres and back. I keep a fairly low profile inundated with the enticements of antiquity while the herds lumber about as I study independently and virtually unnoticed by the wizards and warlocks of temporal power and hubla-hoo. Though occasionally they do bust my balls with advertisements passively mirroring mine in jest while I transcend the space time continuum ;)

I'm surprised after many years of myth and golden fleece you have yet to have an 'experience' providing any confirmation of the super sensible. I had experiences, mostly as a carpet muncher that I long pushed from memory for lack of a mature rationale or logical explanation. It wasn't until the last few years that I realized what I had experienced and, well, embraced it. 

Not being bound by the consecration of oath, I pursue gnosis of craft in Manly P fashion mindful of the potentiality of my indiscretions as a downtrodden trafficker of esoteric secrets getting me in trouble. So I cherry pick my studious registrants carefully.

Your profile pic is badass btw.

Oops have I been missing some fun here?

re re (1) has no relation to my comment about the location of the mind which author limits to the brain, and it is a well documented fact in medical literature ( and I'm not going to bother fishing it out for anyone because quite frankly I have much better things to do) that what you state is not true. Transplantees do exhibit memories AND personality traits from often unknown to them anonymous donors and as for simple removal of organs I'd wonder why so many amputees end up requiring psycological therapy often for years if their personality or mind hadn't been altered by the loss?

re re (2) the point of the article is someone selling immortality through transfer into a computer which would imply immortal computers, so your comment about the obvious mortality of organic bodies is absolutely ludicrous

and about the addenda do you mean that "an impact on the person's life and worldview" does not imply a significant alteration of their mind / personality ?

Perhaps my use of the phrase "  to what ancient indians called "chakras"  triggered your diatribe , note   that same are now called Endocrine Glands, and Autonomic Neural Plexuses what do you think would happen if yours got "dinged"

My thoughts...  If anyOne wants to do all this transhumanist creppola, I think They should have at it ... BUT no One should HAVE to do it.

I'm not 'up to speed' with the latest stuff promulgated by the Kurzweil folks, but from my reading of it there is not the slightest suggestion of compulsion: for that sort of nonsense you need governments.

Nobody is required to have an internet connection (or a specific ISP, or a specific computer, or a specific brand of chocolate biscuits), and the natural progression of the Kurzweilian idea is private-sector oriented and therefore liberty-enhancing.

Of course if the parasitic goons that run the State take it upon themselves to monopolise it, then all bets are off - but as with anything, the evil does not come from the tech... it comes from the fact that the worst of the scum rises to the <b>top</b> of the political stew (especially under democracy).

Kurzweil's worldview really goes back to Drexler's "Engines of Creation" from the late 80's, and from there all the way back to Feynman's 1959 talk "There's PLENTY of Room at the Bottom". Feynman in particular was no respecter of officeholders (although I confess a profound disdain for his involvement in the Manhattan Project).

Here's the thing: Kurzweil seems to have been profoundly affect by the loss of his Dad at a relatively young age, and his 'vision' involves (in part) some idea that if you have enough information about a person (including other people's memories of that person), you can get a decent estimate of what that person was 'like'... and if you have enough processing grunt behind it, you can build a virtual person who will be a decent approximation of the 'target'. To put it bluntly, part of his motivation is to try to 'get to know' his Dad - even so, that does not invalidate the idea.

And in any case, what he's proposing is not terribly far-fetched (no more far-fetched than powered flight was in the Age of Steam), assuming that what we (think we) know about the way brains work, is true.

And let's face it - we ALL form conclusions about what we think other people are like, based on 'partial' (and often indirect) information about their actions. For example I think Dick Cheney and Obama are both despicable blood-drenched baby-killing parasites - I've never met either of them, but it seems clear to me from their actions that I am not far from the mark.

Imagine if you were living before the telegraph was invented, and someone told you that in the future it would be possible to send 10,000 books across the planet in ten minutes (leave out the distinction between paper books and ePub/PDF: the important thing is the information in them). You would think they were out of their tiny minds. And yet here we are.

This is silly spiritualistic nonsense dressed up as a 'debunking' of Kurzweil's ideas, with the usual sophomoric "Kurzweil is a cult like [insert name of silly cult]'.

And the core 'argument' is that we can't replicate the 'soul'?

Are we in kindergarten? Next up: "angels disprove the theory of relativity".

The idea of a 'soul' is the same primitive drivel as the idea of a 'god' (or gods): it is shorthand for "bits of universe that we don't understand", and appeals to people who can't come to grips with the idea the knowledge at any point in time is subject to constraints - people who need some 'catch-all' to furnish immediate answers.

What we think of as 'personality' emerges through experience: that is to say, that what makes each of us 'us' is simply the sum of our experiences (how we react to our experiences is embedded in that).

inb4 "Well, these two people had identical life-experiences and they're quite different". Bzzzt... No two people on earth have EVER had identical life-experiences.

Once we have processed our experiences (and our personalities have adapted as a result) the resultant change is recorded (badly) for recall (problematically) in the ~3lb of amazing squishy technology inside our skulls. Proof: you can cut off or replace almost any part of a human without affecting their memory... but start poking around in that 3lb of squishy stuff and shit gets real. (That deals with the ludicrous notion that 'the mind' is a 'whole body' idea: we currently have no idea what the mind actually is, but it's reasonably clear that it's located in the brain).

Here's the thing that makes Kurzweilian "brain uploading" not remotely like "Heaven's Gate" or Scientology: the physical body does not have to be  destroyed once the upload is happening (this is not [insert stupid TV show or movie] with the simulant where you have to destroy the mind in order to replicate it).

So there's the key difference: people will be able to test if the 'new them' is an accurate reflection of themselves as they view themselves, before any 'final' decision. They will be able to accumulate additional 'meatbag' experiences, and choose whether or not to 'update' their non-meatbag version(s) to examine for divergences.

Myself, I would keep my meatbag, and maintain at least 3 non-meatbag versions:

  • one that replicated my current 'state' precisely;
  • one that got updated daily with experiences but not my responses to them (to check how the non-meatbag responded to meatbag-stimuli); and
  • one that simply adapted endogenously and had no 'meatbag-life' to speak of.

That way I would be able to establish whether a non-meatbag version of 'me' responded identically to identical experiences, and whether I would be happier overall as a non-meatbag.

Seriously... this piece is so packed with anti-scientific whackery that it may as well be a 13th century religiotard blathering about how heliocentrists ought to be burned at the stake.

Ahh haha, your analytics are comical. Though I don't entirely agree with you on several points. Clearly you are an atheist, which I find as interesting as the religious follower. I find people who reason through a filter of absolutes to be intriguing just for the simple fact that you are truly convinced of your truth and you defend it vehemently. While I certainly do not agree with your presuppositions regarding the intention of Mike Adams article, I do like that you have strong convictions. 

I guess ultimately the question becomes, if you could "download consciousness" would it still be you are would it be a replication? Quantum physicists have postulated that if, for instance, the transporters from Star Trek were real, that it would most likely not transport you. Your physical anatomy would be deconstructed on the transporting end, and an exact clone of you would be constructed on the receiving end. So instead of transporting a human being, you would most likely be cloning, a human being. The person being transported would cease to exist, and an exact clone would be constructed on the other end.

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