Hello, Radius, and welcome.
Radius wrote:I have a hard time swallowing the idea of humanism.
I'm not clear about what you see as the "idea" of humanism. Looking at a few definitions of humanism, we get "A secular ideology which espouses reason, ethics, and justice, whilst specifically rejecting supernatural and religious dogma as a basis of morality and decision-making" (Wikipedia); "A system of thought that rejects religious beliefs and centers on humans and their values, capacities, and worth" (The Free Dictionary); "a variety of ethical theory and practice that emphasizes reason, scientific inquiry, and human fulfillment in the natural world and often rejects the importance of belief in god" (Dictionary.com); "any system of thought or action based on the nature, interests, and ideals of humanity; specif., a modern, nontheistic, rationalist movement that holds that humanity is capable of self-fulfillment, ethical conduct, etc. without recourse to supernaturalism" (Webster's New World College Dictionary, via YourDictionary.com). What is it, specifically, that you find hard to swallow in any of those definitions?
Oh. I see. So you're worried about the extinction of civilisation, are you? Why, exactly?
Radius wrote:tl;dr version: transhumanism should be pursued extensively to give civilization the intellectual and ethical wherewithal to preempt existential crises and is the best bet for doing so.
But why? I don't believe that transhumanism is the "best bet" for giving civilisation the intellectual and ethical wherewithal to preempt the most pressing existential crises that face us. I just don't see how there can be enough time for it to work, assuming that it would work eventually, and I'm not convinced of that either. But even if transhumanism were the "best bet", why should
we pursue it? To what end? Where does the moral imperative come from?
Radius wrote:And I don't think that human civilization, on the whole, is well-equipped to cope with existential crises that arise from having industrial technology, knowledge of nuclear physics, etc.
You may be right there. But what makes you think that the kind of person-engineering technology that you're advocating is going to equip us any more effectively?
Radius wrote:Since the power to substantially disrupt civilization is now in the hands of many, in the form of e.g. climate-changing technology, then society will have to respond to facts, with agility.
Yes, with agility. I suspect that it's already too late for us to avoid substantial disruption. But the more we delay, the worse it will be.
Radius wrote:People will have to care about facts at all levels of society.
Oh, I don't think there's time to wait until that's been achieved, assuming it ever could be, which seems unlikely.
Radius wrote:Most people don't care about issues of real substance at all, even if they have ample opportunity to become aware of them. If someone shows no signs of being civilized despite having numerous opportunities to become educated and responsible, then they should be treated as such, rather than being afforded respect they don't deserve. We need to do away with the harmful, outmoded ideas that compel us to show this respect.
Like thundril, I'm struggling to work out what you mean by "respect" here. For that matter, I also don't know what you mean by "being civilized". But I think that caring about other people, feeling compassion for other people, not wanting other people to be hurt or killed [---][/---] these aren't harmful, outmoded ideas; these are ordinary human emotions. They're not universal, sadly. But I think they're as prevalent among people who are not educated as those who are. And in my view they're just as valuable as rationality, or "being civilized".
Radius wrote:To summarize, because so much of human behavior is so aimless, destructive and frankly repugnant, I just can't call myself a humanist at this juncture.
Funny. I think it's precisely because so much human behaviour is destructive and repugnant that I feel inclined to call myself a humanist. (Aimless behaviour I have nothing against.)
Radius wrote:As far as I can tell, it's another faith-based position like Christianity, clearly at odds with the facts.
That may be true of some beliefs associated with humanism. But from what I can make out, it's also true of some beliefs associated with transhumanism.
Radius wrote:However, humanism would obviously be more convenient for me or anyone else than my current viewpoint, so if you have a reason I should accept it, please come forward with it.
I am happy to use the word "humanist" because it more or less describes what I am. If it doesn't describe you, then don't accept it.
Incidentally, could we please stop talking about people "destroying the planet" or, for that matter, "saving the planet". We're not destroying the planet. The planet doesn't need saving. It will manage perfectly well whatever we do, however much it warms up. What we need to save is the planet's ability to keep us alive and reasonably comfortable. Us human beings, that is, and the other sentient creatures that are around right now. But the planet will bounce back, even if we don't.