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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.[1][2][3][4] 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.[5][6]

Philosophical background[edit]

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.[7][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.[8]

Notable bioconservatives[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Huesemann, Michael H., and Joyce A. Huesemann (2011). Technofix: Why Technology Won’t Save Us or the Environment, New Society Publishers, Gabriola Island, British Columbia, Canada, ISBN 0865717044, 464 pp.
  2. ^ Mander, Jerry (1991). ‘’In the Absence of the Sacred: The Failure of Technology and the Survival of the Indian Nations,’’, Sierra Club Books, San Francisco, California.
  3. ^ Rifkin, Jeremy (1998). ‘’The Biotech Century: Harnessing the Gene and Remaking the World,’’ Jeremy P. Tarcher/Putnam, New York, New York.
  4. ^ Shiva, Vandana (2000). ‘’Stolen Harvest: The Hijacking of the Global Food Supply,’’ South End Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts.
  5. ^ Carrico, Dale (2004). "The Trouble with "Transhumanism": Part Two". Retrieved 2007-01-28.
  6. ^ Carrico, Dale (2005). "Technoprogressivism Beyond Technophilia and Technophobia". Retrieved 2007-01-28.
  7. ^ Bostrom, Nick (June 1, 2005). "In defense of posthuman dignity". Bioethics. 19 (3): 202–214. doi:10.1111/j.1467-8519.2005.00437.x.
  8. ^ "Bioconservative". Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies. Retrieved August 25, 2017.

External links[edit]