I'll snip from just one of them (click the link to read the whole thing), by one of my favorite bloggers and regular reads, Athena Andreadis:
…I'll comment just once, as a practicing molecular neurobiologist with dementia as her research focus, in the forlorn hope that this may stem the tsunami of nonsense (or at least counteract the conclusion that silence means the charlatans have carried the day). The central "argument" is the statement that "brain tissue retains its attributes postmortem" -- which, as much else in biology, means something very different at each scale. Bottom line: this is completely untrue in connection with the discussion focus here; namely, continuity of a specific individual's consciousness and personality. Everyone who does even in vitro brain tissue work, let alone in vivo, knows that even a few hours postmortem are enough to usher in irrevocable degradative changes… [P]eddling pseudoscience has real consequences, especially in a culture that has turned as hostile to reality as the contemporary US has…. As for the larger issue of "respectable scientists" -- I'm actually the exception in bothering to discuss such items at all. The vast majority of biologists put transhumanist "science" in the same category as crystal divination and Tarot cards. Some of them may very well accept an invitation to talk at a TH gathering, why not? Free food, a hefty per diem, maybe a nice meeting location, perhaps even eager apprentices for their lab -- but I suspect their attitude would cool significantly if they were asked to explicitly endorse the TH agenda. Scientists are fallible humans, with pride, vanity, mortgages and the very common propensity to fall in love with their theories. However, what legitimate science has that saves it from turning into religion is the self-correction tool: it changes its conclusions whenever new facts come in. Sooner or later, errors are corrected. Scientific consensus is a fluid, dynamic process, rather than an endpoint. As it should be, given what science tries to accomplish: not power, glory or profit, but the understanding of reality.Yay, Athena!
I must say, it is a strange thing the way a reasonably technoscientifically literate and concerned nonscientist can seem to be at a disadvantage with a crusading pseudo-scientist when one admits their limitation while the other leverages a refusal to do the same. There is a danger that under such circumstances my blog risks becoming a vector through which futurological pseudo-scientists spam the credulous to their own benefit despite my own resolute skepticism. In my view, what is actually distinctive about the transhumanists and techno-immortalists is actually not happening at the level of scientific claims at all but through the framing and tropes and narrative gestures that these con-artists and True Believers use to organize superficially scientific content for mostly nonscience pop-tech and sfnal fandoms. Given this view, I have also always thought that my own training in literary, cultural, and rhetorical analysis is actually especially relevant to understanding what is going on in their discourse. But of course, this perspective doesn't fly when I am caught up in disputes with THEM as well as it does when I am trying to understand them from the outside for outsiders.
One has to balance whether fact-based concern and policy is more abused by exposing this futurological nonsense to scrutiny (even where the kind of scrutiny I focus on at the level of discourse is entirely dismissed as non-scientific or even anti-scientific by the flim-flam artists with whom I am arguing) or more abused by just deleted this crap in the expectation that it will not be a good faith conversation in any case given my focus on rhetoric and culture and is, after all, usually or mostly beneath serious consideration on its own terms or the terms of actual scientists. So far, contrary to the whining of futurologists about how unfair and unserious and censoring I am, I have tended to be generous giving these people rope to hang themselves with unless they are commandeering discussion threads or just flinging insults (that's my job!) or we reach obviously diminishing returns. Such good deeds, I have noticed, rarely go unpunished.
Check the extremely interesting conversation for yourself and by all means add your two cents. Skeptics about and satirists of the Robot Cultists are especially welcome guests, Robot Cultists are discouraged from wiping their feces on the walls and lampshades.