Harari’s Hackable Animals and Human Rights

Atheism, Philosophy / By street theologian

What are human rights? What is an example of something moral or immoral?

No.. genuinely.. These are serious questions.

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A MEANINGLESS EXISTENCE, NO REAL HUMAN RIGHTS, HACKABLE ANIMALS AND A BRAVE NEW WORLD

Why define morality as human flourishing when you can have transhuman flourishing instead?

Famous author of Sapiens Dr. Yuval Noah Harari notes, “As far as we can tell from a purely scientific viewpoint, human life has absolutely no meaning. Humans are the outcome of blind evolutionary processes that operate without goal or purpose…Hence any meaning that people inscribe to their lives is just a delusion.” Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind, p.438.

In effect, there are no human rights. If matter is all there is, humans are just matter held together in a more complex manner than other material objects.

Besides.. The concept of a human is also evolving. Some have evolved more than others. If we merge humans with technology through transhumanism to usher in the next phase of evolution, would it be “moral” to discriminate against or extinguish humans who are not joined to technology networks? Surely it’s about survival of the fittest (transhumans) and the flourishing and development of the human race. Why hold on to people holding us back? Won’t killing less developed humans be no different to a lion eating an insect?

After all.. Morality is an illusion for us to function better as a society and if people who don’t embrace new technology are holding us back and not helping us function better, why do we need them around?

Even in Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, the elite class of society, the alpha class, through means of technology, science and gene editing are the superior class of what is in effect a scientific caste system ruled by a scientific and technological dictatorship. The epsilon class, for example, are engineered not to have the same quality of traits as the alphas. Why is this wrong? If the “world controllers” in Huxley’s world are in a position to decide what they think is best for humanity (aka human flourishing), you mightn’t like their utopia (or dystopia depending on your view) but is it immoral? What if the next stage of evolution is the intelligent design of the gene edited transhuman species by scientists and government officials. It is what it is. How do you derive an ought from an is? The quotes below from Harari help us further explore these ideas.

Harari explained regarding the next phase of evolution in 2020, “Our intelligent design is going to be the new driving force of the evolution of life and in using our new divine powers of creation we might make mistakes on a cosmic scale.” https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2020/01/yuval-hararis-warning-davos-speech-future-predications/

Regarding human rights, Harari adds in Sapiens altering the “most famous line of the American Declaration of Independence” (p.122), “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men evolved differently, that they are born with certain mutable characteristics, and that among these are life and the pursuit of pleasure” (p 123).

Furthermore, Harari highlighted his view of humans as hackable animals which can be embedded in a technological system in Davos in 2020, “A system that understands us better than we understand ourselves can predict our feelings and decisions, can manipulate our feelings and decisions, and can ultimately make decisions for us… But soon at least some corporations and governments will be able to systematically hack all the people. We humans should get used to the idea that we are no longer mysterious souls — we are now hackable animals. That’s what we are.” https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2020/01/yuval-hararis-warning-davos-speech-future-predications/

Elsewhere he echoed a similar idea, “The whole idea that humans have this soul or spirit, and they have free will, and nobody knows what’s happening inside me, so whatever I choose whether in the election or whether in the supermarket, this is my free will, that’s over.”

Now.. please do not get me wrong I’m not telling you to hold to these views. However, many have argued, theists and atheists alike that these conclusions naturally flow from an atheistic worldview. This something we have discussed previously in this blog. For example, the existence of objective moral values were discussed in these 3 articles.

https://streettheologian.com/index.php/2022/03/22/response-to-edward-johns-someone-wrote-an-8-minute-response-to-3-reasons-god-cannot-possibly-exist-part-2/

https://streettheologian.com/index.php/2022/02/15/if-theres-no-right-and-wrong-then-why-protest/

https://streettheologian.com/index.php/2022/02/15/10-quick-reasons-you-shouldnt-be-so-quick-to-write-off-christianity/

To summarise, according to Harari you are a hackable animal, can be manipulated by technology, have no free will and any meaning you ascribe to your life is just an illusion.

Do you have any issue with cosmic experiments, hacking and manipulating human life as if humans are really just hackable animals with no real meaning?

THE MORAL ARGUMENT- DO OBJECTIVE MORAL VALUES EXIST?

Harari’s points raise the question, do human beings have any intrinsic worth? Are there any objective moral values? The moral argument for God goes as follows:

  1. If God does not exist, objective moral values and duties do not exist

By objective moral values we mean values which stand regardless of whether or not anyone holds to them. For example, if the eugenists of the 20th century were still in power and convinced everyone alive we should kill disabled people it would still be morally wrong. Even if raping and torturing little children made more people in society happy overall it would still be wrong under this view.

This isn’t a discussion about whether or not atheists can live moral lives, far from it! I have personally met many atheists open to honest dialogues and respectful discussions. Rather, this is a question of if any objective moral value exists. Anything which transcends the mere chemicals colliding inside your head and is binding on someone else on the other side of the globe.

Do you think anything is really wrong? Let us know your thoughts.

ATHEIST COUNTERARGUMENTS

Atheists commonly object with the following

  1. Yes there are no objective moral values. To which I would say, try living like this and see how you go. Ignore your conscience and see what happens. You might find you are a bit like a blind person who says there are no physical objects and still tries to walk around. You also lose all rights to objectively criticise any immoral behaviour.

So what are your thoughts on this?

CLOSING IDEAS

“The idea that one species of organism is, unlike all the others, oriented not just toward its own increased prosperity but towards Truth, is as un-Darwinian as the idea that every human being has a built-in moral compass-a conscience that swings free of both social history and individual luck.” Richard Rorty, Untruth and Consequences

“The universe that we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil, no good, nothing but pitiless indifference.” Richard Dawkins, River Out of Eden: A Darwinian View of Life

Is there right and wrong regardless of the tides of time, human and transhuman trends? Are morals similar arithmetic, transcendent and right regardless? Is there even anything transcendent, immaterial and objective at all? What do we make of the following from Daniel Dennett, who raised these questions in Darwin’s Dangerous Idea,

“Suppose SETI [search for extra-terrestrial intelligence] struck it rich, and established communication with intelligent beings on another planet. We would not be surprised to find that they understood and used the same arithmetic that we do. Why not? Because arithmetic is right. The point is clearly not restricted to arithmetic, but to all “necessary truths” — what philosophers since Plato have called a priori knowledge.”

Do objective moral values exist or not? Are morals more like arithmetic or more like fashion choices? If torturing a disabled person or a child made 7 billion people happy would it still be objectively wrong? Is there an intrinsic worth to being a human, intelligent life would understand as they see humans interact with each other or is any worth associated with humans flexible, hackable, illusory and able to be manipulated?

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Theology and apologetics for those who want to get their hands dirty