What do I think of Fazale Rana and Ken Samples’s newest book published by RTB? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.
“What hath God wrought?” Such was the question asked at the invention of the telegraph. We have updated our technology more and more so that when we watch shows such as Stranger Things and see the technology of the 80’s, we see it as primitive. When my wife and I go walking in the morning, we see students waiting for the school bus. I think they are likely some of our first digital citizens and will always grow up in a world with smartphones, the internet everywhere, and 9/11 being always a part of their lives.
Comic books showed us a world that fifty years ago we could only dream of. Now, some of those dreams are becoming reality. Unfortunately, when dreams do come true, it is not always a good thing. We could inadvertently create a nightmare by the actions that we do. Our intentions might be good at the start, but there are always people that will take good things and use them for nefarious means.
So it is with the idea known as transhumanism. It is through technological advances and gene therapies and ideas like that that we hope to push the limits of human potential. Many of us live with some such enhancements. I sit at my desk and from the outside, I look like an average person, although a bit underweight and thus small, but internally on my spine right now is a steel rod meant to keep me straight physically and control my scoliosis.
When I read a book like this one then, I find myself getting excited and concerned both. I like the idea of extending human lifespans so that 90 will be seen as what 50 is today. I like the idea of heightened intelligence and memory. I also have to wonder whose job it was to read Iron Man comics since there’s a story from them at the start of every chapter. That must have been enjoyable research.
But as a person with a disability, I have my concerns. Will I be seen as a defective human being and people like me need to be removed from the gene pool? Who will determine who gets enhancements and who doesn’t? Are we close to playing God in a way that we shouldn’t?
Rana and Samples have written this book to first off introduce us to the idea. They are not ones who are totally saying we have to scrap all these ideas. There are some good things coming. If we can take some steps to avoid suffering, is that not a good thing?
Their main concern is who is it we are going to end up being at the end? Will we still be humans? At this, this is probably my biggest criticism of the book is I don’t think humans are truly defined. If we say the image of God, we need to say what that image is exactly. Is the image something of the kind that technological advances can remove it? That doesn’t sound much like the image of God.
The writers explain much of the technology and science behind the ideas. If you’re like me, your eyes will, unfortunately, kind of glaze over these sections. They’re great while you read them, but afterward, you’re not sure what you read. On the plus side, they tell you where to skip ahead to in the book if you don’t want to read those.
There’s also philosophical and theological looks at the topics going into ethics. What is the right thing to do in this situation? How should Christians respond to technology in general? I personally think these advancements are inevitable, so what will we do when they come?
There’s also sections on how DNA works, the question of artificial intelligence, and even artificial wombs. People very much into science and technology will likely get a great deal out of this. I was a bit surprised that I don’t remember anything from the Matrix being mentioned in these kinds of sections, but that could be a sign of how even something like that is in our past.
Transhumanism is something that we as Christians will have to think about and it is becoming more of a reality every day. We have technology today we could only dream of when we were younger. How will it be in the future? Only time will tell. Let us hope that we are ready to let this genie out of the bottle properly.