Bioconservatism (a portmanteau of "biology" and "conservatism") is a stance of hesitancy and skepticism regarding radical technological advances, especially those that seek to modify or enhance the human condition. Bioconservatism is characterized by a belief that technological trends in today's society risk compromising human dignity, and by opposition to movements and technologies including transhumanism, human genetic modification, "strong" artificial intelligence, and the technological singularity. Many bioconservatives also oppose the use of technologies such as life extension and preimplantation genetic screening.
Bioconservatives range in political perspective from right-leaning religious and cultural conservatives to left-leaning environmentalists and technology critics. What unifies bioconservatives is skepticism about medical and other biotechnological transformations of the living world. Typically less sweeping as a critique of technological society than bioluddism, the bioconservative perspective is characterized by its defense of the natural, deployed as a moral category.
The philosophical underpinnings of bioconservative thought are diverse, ranging from religious to secular, and from left-wing to conservative. Nick Bostrom, a noted transhumanist and opponent of bioconservatism, identifies three major strains of thought that might lead to concerns about radical technological change. Two of these strains of thought are secular: first, that human augmentation is innately degrading and therefore harmful, and secondly that the existence of augmented humans poses a threat to "ordinary humans". The third strain of thought is religious, and holds that human augmentation violates religious principles and is an insult to God.[vague].
The transhumanist Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies criticizes bioconservatism as a form of "human racism" (more commonly known as speciesism), and as being motivated by a "yuck factor" that ignores individual freedoms.
- George Annas
- Dale Carrico
- Francis Fukuyama
- Leon Kass
- Bill McKibben
- Oliver O'Donovan
- Jeremy Rifkin
- Wesley Smith
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- "Bioconservative". Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies. Retrieved August 25, 2017.