In a recent article, "Why Transhumanism Won't Work," New Atlantis author Mark Gubrud declares transhumanism problematic and seems distressed by its growing public acceptability. Gubrud believes that mind uploading is impossible (which it may be) and triumphantly points out the dualistic implications of Hans Moravec's pattern identity position. Of course, Moravec never denied being a dualist (though grounded in materialism) and Kurzweil calls himself a "patternist," which isn't a lot different (though it is tougher to say). A lot of the criticism of Moravec's position revolves around the fact that such a copied pattern (if technically feasible) would be a copy of me, not me...and would be little consolation for me personally as I reached the end of my life. This is probably why the so-called Moravec Operation involves the body and brain being dissected in order to produce the copy (it's now the only one and you don't have to worry about whether you will die in the future).
There's nothing new in the New Atlantis criticism (which the author admits), but it does point toward the increasingly mainstream nature of transhumanism (which is one of the things that this blog purports to document). That mainstreaming, Gubrud says, might come at the expense of more radical transhumanist ideas, like mind uploading, prompting Italian transhumanist Giulio Prisco to reiterate his agenda:
"YES! Let's form hard-core transhumanist splinter groups yearning for cyber-heaven. Let's put some vision, imagination and FUN back into transhumanism. Let's re-affirm the bold, fresh, uncompromising and energizing transhumanism of Hans Moravec and Max More. Let's not appease critics and PC idiots, but ignore them. Not kissing ass, but kicking ass."
(the entire blog post can be seen here)
Prisco has been one of the most open advocates of religious transhumanism over the past decade and I am very curious to see how the debates between religious transhumanism and philosophical transhumanism (which is still religious, it's just in the closet) will unfold. Two possible strategies for the religious group would involve taking the message to events like the "H+ Summit" and start seeking converts among the transhumanist faithful or else using the religious message to encourage non-transhumanists' conversion. Either of these would oppose the efforts of groups like Humanity+ to blend in with the mainstream as described by Gubrud.