From a paper presented at the April 2021 World Humanist Symposium
ABSTRACT: Humanism is seeking fresh perspectives toward a collective species credo. Here I present some opinion on the human diet, the diabetes epidemic, militarism, and world governance. These are everyday humanist issues, and I interject my own vision of humanists embracing an option to retrace new lives through regeneration. If Transhumanism is to be viewed seriously, then DNA stewardship is a conservative hedge. Recognizing our genotype as our personal franchise in life, with its low-tech preservation by a dedicated Society, enables sequential life cycles inside the inclusive envelope of Humanism.
A Proper Human Diet
If Renaissance Humanism was a rediscovery of the Greek and Roman era, then the New Humanism can revisit the 19th century for a post-modern idea of what the proper human diet once was. At first glance the 20th century was one of plenty, as the Green Revolution multiplied yields with hybrids, agriculture was mechanized, fertilized and of course pesticides. The world population quadrupled, tracking this latter abundance. People were taller, lived longer, and the bacterial plagues that haunted humanity became a thing of the past.
Recently US researcher Chris Knobbe discovered disturbing data from the 1800’s records of a Harvard hospital. Since the Mass General’s founding in 1811 up to 1900, there was no mention of heart attacks, cancer or diabetes, and obesity was rare. Dr. Knobbe terms these the ‘diseases of civilization’ and attributes the creation of cheap seed oils and factory food for the onset of our modern ‘metabolic’ ailments. Currently more than 70% of American adults are overweight, pre-diabetic and/or obese.
A PR war on meat, fundamental to human evolution, has been championed via a century-long linking between the 7th Day Adventist Church and the Kellogg Corporation, originating together in Battle Creek, Michigan. In each version of the US Dietary Guidelines since 1980, red meat is demonized, yet school lunch legislation allows that ‘ketchup’ qualifies as a ‘vegetable’.
The science says that humans evolved our big brain by becoming ‘lipivores’ who successfully hunted fatty prey. Long before humans, the energy system of any mammal was fixed on ketones (fat), yet cheap factory foods made up of highly refined oils, grains and sugars increasingly dominate human diets, worldwide. Today ‘insulin resistance’ is said to be the progenitor of at least 60% of major illnesses.
If malnutrition in care homes had been averted by responsible medical direction, and the lessons of TB sanitariums (vitamin D deficiency) respected, the Covid ‘pandemic’ would be acknowledged as a highly contagious seasonal flu. However, to recognize the actual T2 diabetes and obesity epidemics underway would have exposed medical authorities to unwelcome scrutiny. Once the public understands that dementia/Alzheimer’s is likely caused by chronic malnutrition, then we can make rational choices like real food.
Doctors may sneer, but the science of nutrition is discussed in depth among peer researchers on YouTube. Unfortunately, the children’s crusade of veganism, promoted by the Coca-Cola genre of pop nutrition, exploits bottomless ad funding that dwarf any notice of online medical resources. Compliant Heart and Diabetes Associations understand that the central health issue is carbohydrates and frequent eating. Humans cannot burn sugar instead of fat, nor continue to use our pancreas like a glucose carburetor. Humans are not adapted to carbohydrates as a nutrient source, and never shall be. Historically our diet evolved based on animal sources, and it would take at least a millennium to change that. We must plan otherwise — eggs are our heroes.
Big Food packages a suite of addictive chemicals, sugars, and refined grains, largely with seed oils, and markets it as food, legislated by on-committee Food Guide lobbyists. Every school child, care home resident, soldier, pensioner, and inmate is a helpless prisoner of their factory food game. With soy oil less than $1/liter, adding 700 cal/day to the average American diet, the poor must buy into whatever cheap calories are on offer. Women are particularly victimized.
One solution is to restore native grasslands, soils, and water tables to support sensitive grazing. Begin with solid nutrition, and hunger fades away; this is a character matter for our species to resolve. The science speaks for itself, and it is right there online. Responsible humanists need to take some time to educate themselves. Big Food is not about to confess its sins.
As a humanist philosopher I attempt to be an honest critic, and proud apologist, for our beleaguered homo sapiens. Lamenting the horrific events of the 20th century, I too am assailed by visions of robots, AI, the Singularity and Transhumanism. Will the New Humanism be backward compatible with the old, and should we expect it to be? Or care that Humanism is relevant at all?
I have become a radical conservative on the future of our physical makeup, expecting that within this 21st century there may indeed be competition facing standard-issue humans. Artificial Intelligence would be an intimating presence, and likely presents the biggest challenge to humans since bacteria. In recent times human character has been downright cheesy.
The first task of Humanism is to end militarism, which would corrupt AI/robotics absolutely. This lies completely within our species control. Now four generations past the formation of the League of Nations — it is time to anchor human democracy with blockchain certainty, to render democracy and commerce transparent. Arms races and war have bankrupted homo sapiens relentlessly, and it has to end now, or we follow Venus into fire and brimstone.
Rogue nations and pirate lobbyists are holding our future hostage, and they must be dealt with by this generation. Manufacturing weapons of war can be criminalized — these notions have to be examined and put to a vote — with possible boycotts and sanctions. It is important to share the load, and the responsibility across everyone’s shoulders.
Future Human Reproduction
A little critical thinking suffices to dismiss Transhumanism out of hand. We are a lonely species within a single-car genus, and even that toehold would be erased if we drifted off to become ‘conscious beings in the Cloud’ or mechanical simulacrums of ourselves. Biology defines a species according to individuals’ ability to reproduce with one another — and if robots do this — then allow me to suggest another direction to address rising human infertility — regeneration.
Futurist visions of cyborgs are abnegations of everyday human experience. The broad assumption that the Self is found in our brains is mistaken, because the brain is just one, albeit major organ — a temporal data diaper committed to homeostasis over a single life cycle. The actual seat of consciousness lies within our DNA, our genotype/phenotype, which occupies every one of our 30 trillion+ living cells. We live on planet DNA first, all else derives from that. Our genotype is our personal franchise in the Universe, it is a sacred entity that deserves personal devotion. My inclination is to simply sequester it, to safeguard its potential, let it germinate again when ready. Why toss it onto the fire?
In my second volume of The Humanist Series ‘Continuance’ Pope Francis, who, like Salvatore Puledda was trained in chemistry, recognizes that a regenerated celebrity (Johnny Cash) has redefined our species’ mode of reproduction. (I told you I was radical). Papa agrees with his Buenos Aires Jesuit subordinate, Leahy, who contacts him in an effort to revise the Catholic sacraments — toward the regenerative process following DNA stewardship. Extended rituals and the probable results would validate two millennia of Catholic trust and piety. The humanists have to rescue the Pope, of course.
As a network designer and writer, my interest since childhood has been to find a roadmap around death. After university I rejected anglophone philosophy (linguistic analysis) as an international Oxbridge cult; and anglophone Humanism as too involved with religious acrimony. There is no excuse for such ‘movement’ philosophies to be so barren of ideas. So I am sympathetic to all major religions being vessels containing the essence of Humanism: human aspiration. Like a school of salmon circling impatiently below a dam, humans long to continue upstream and begin one more life, the present one being spent soon enough.
As a dominant species now at the pinnacle of its powers, humanity understands implicitly that we are capable of much more, yet our imaginations can do little more than speculate. As Thoreau commented ‘Men lead lives of quiet desperation.’
This is where I become radically conservative.
I am actively administering a society (patreon.com/humanism) that is dedicated to preserving its members’ DNA indefinitely. A strong, pure sample of our DNA remains viable for centuries, at ambient temperatures, once hermetically sealed (securigene.com). Another route is to utilize biobanks that can retain tissue samples. Cryonics e.g. is a biobank, one more placeholder for time to bless.
What about anti-aging and life extension? At best we would resemble ancient Cuban cars, long past their due dates at the junkyard. Poorly posed as issues — this project is not about immortality or longevity. Always, the pure love of life fuels Humanism, and each sequential life includes a free bonus: youth.
Implications of Regeneration
My first volume ‘1000 Summers’ describes humanists dedicating the next millennium to harmonizing with our species, sister species and planet, gaining additional life cycles within that span. These lives do not have to be immediate, nor contiguous. DNA stewardship is a time machine, smart contracts on the ETH blockchain provide the gestation and childhood funding.
The Humanist Union (as blockchain adjudicators) oversees smart funding (20–40–40) reserved for gestation and childhood. It may take many decades before something like ectogenesis becomes routine, but nobody can deny that this roadmap should get us there, compared to mind leaps like Cloud consciousness. The faithful who built the Catacombs understood the initiative.
Consider for a moment how Humanism will be validated if:
· Nuclear weapons and militarism are eliminated. A navy ship e.g. would be seen as a stark monument to human failure; its funding stolen from the poor. Because it is.
· The United Nations affords protection to every canton, all current ‘defense’ budgets remitted as the UN’s own funding. Collective species security is finally realized.
· Social democracy ensures that the 1% pay their share, or be exposed by blockchain transparency (and punitive wealth taxes).
· DNA stewardship remakes the funeral industry (already in process). Living a life of dissipation might not attract the nihilist ostentation it does now.
· The teachings of Confucius, Christ, and Muhammad (the three founders of Humanism) are honoured in their revered observance, not their breach.
Integration of Humanism into religion can be anticipated, if we view humanists as special guardians of our identity, around which the New Religions align themselves. As with the deep respect for our ancestors, the idea that your genes might return as the unique constellation they have in you, today, defines aspiration. If everyone is born a humanist, with religion remaining private, then each faith’s practices remain its own. Confucius’ Analects are the authority on social and personal probity, and should be taught for another 1000 summers to continue his legacy.
Alien constructs will draw scrutiny once our species recognizes that we have formally reserved 1000 summers, to enjoy on our virgin planet. Intruders of our own creation may be persona non grata. Humanists, as conservative guardians of our biological heritage, diversity and ecosystems is a worthy identification to assume, and then deliver from.
In cosmic deep time, 1000 summers is but a flash in the film. For human destiny, it will blossom as the promised land that we, Johnny Cash, and our ancestors would all recognize as our prophesied home. A human heaven that was not allowed to slip away.