Richard Jones wrote (and I am excerpting from a much longer, excellent comment with which I entirely agree):
Transhumanists look forward to germ-line genetic engineering with enthusiasm, and bioconservatives regard it with horror. I can't say I'm massively enthusiastic about it myself, but this is more because I can't see it actually delivering enough to meet either these hopes or fears. It seems to me to be another area where, with the passage of time, we don't see so much accelerating change to a future that fascinates or appalls, but the recognition that everything seems more complicated than it once seemed. Certainly, in the 8 years since the human genome was published, the idea that most diseases would be simply associated with genetic faults that could easily be corrected seems a lot more further away. If any progress is to be made in Alzheimer's disease, it isn't going to be through germ-line GE.
Amor Mundi's resident Bioconservative sniper these days, John Howard, replied:
Transhumanists look forward to germ-line genetic engineering with enthusiasm, and bioconservatives regard it with horror.
Exactly right -- and Dale looks forward to germ-line genetic engineering with enthusiasm. Ergo Dale: search your feelings, you *know* it to be true!
I am enthusiastic about individual informed nonduressed consensual recourse to, as well as disinterest in, particular medical techniques, whether normalizing or not, whether old-fashioned or emerging, however they are actually wanted, whenever they are well regulated and reasonably safe, and especially to the extent that progressives can make them universally available and struggle to make the risks, costs, and benefits of their development fair.
This is a perfectly mainstream-legible progressive position as far as I can see.
I don't even think about "technology" in the way that gets demonized by stupid bioconservatives or fetishized by stupid transhumanists. I don't believe there is a monolithic technological "it" to be "enthusiastic" about in the way that gets deployed in the rhetorical skirmishes between ecstatic transhumanists and hysterical bioconservatives, especially not when "it" becomes fantastically inflated by some of them on both sides to designate some epic battle between "pro-" and "anti-" "technology" politics in some sweeping fashion that simply makes no sense at all as an abiding antagonism among the thoroughly historicized, technologized, acculturated tool-using language-using collaborative beings human beings simply are.
Speaking in the way bioconservatives and transhumanists do (and technophobes and technophiles more generally) is almost always just to redirect attention and deliberation from the actual questions of scientific warrant and stakeholder impact that are really under contest at particular junctures within technodevelopmental social struggle as it is actually playing out in the world. This redirection is never sensible or helpful, though there is no question that it is a good way to whomp up irrational passions for the benefit of opportunists and flim-flam artists of various descriptions.
I consider Richard Jones to be making a complementary point when he predicts (exactly as I would) that "with the passage of time, we don't see so much accelerating change to a future that fascinates or appalls, but the recognition that everything seems more complicated than it once seemed."
Just to repeat myself, I don't believe in the notion of "technology" in general. I think it is better to think of "technology" as a verb (technodevelopmental social struggle, processes of discovery, regulation, invention, distribution, appropriation, interpretation and so on) than as stable objects disembedded from the vicissitudes of history and then, even worse, invested additionally with superlative aspirations.
Definitely, I especially abhor the notion of the customary treated as "natural" (a rhetorical gesture typical and well nigh definitive of bioconservative discourse) or the parochial treated as "optimal" (a rhetorical gesture all too typical and well nigh definitive of the transhumanist discourse on "enhancement" medicine, so-called).
My enthusiasm is for actually informed actually nonduressed actually wanted consensual practices that solve shared problems and contribute to free lifeway multiculture.
"Transhumanism" at its worst is an outright Robot Cult consisting of an archipelago of organizations devoted to promoting the cause of a "movement" with which its members identify, filled with many people who behave recognizably like cultists always do. And even at its "best" Transhumanism represents in my view (to the extent that one can attribute to it views that manage to be both coherent and unique to its adherents in the first place) an undercritically hyperbolic technology-centered discourse, reductively scientistic in its values, anti-democratically technocratic in its ideal of governance, invested in a eugenicizing prioritization of "optimality" over either diversity or consent, and, most crucially of all, offering up an understanding of ongoing technodevelopmental social struggle in essentially theological terms coupled with the strategies of subcultural identity politics to invest its membership with superlative aspirations.
Bioconservative John Howard calling me a transhumanist "deep down" or in my "heart of hearts" or "unbeknownst to myself" or "in the closet" or whatever is, frankly, stupid and just plain flabbergastingly ignorant given how much time I've devoted to the critique of transhumanism and its fellow-travelers. Handwaving away all my interventions and analyses of transhumanism's pernicious hyperbolizing and anti-democratizing effects as utter irrelevancies says to most readers, I hope, much more about the assumptions or psychological dynamics driving Howard's bioconservative framing of the technodevelopmental terrain than it does about me.