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Petition to Support Unity and Tolerance in the Transhumanist Movement

Petition to Support Unity and Tolerance in the Transhumanist Movement


The U.S. Transhumanist Party asks its members and others within and outside the transhumanist community to sign the Petition to Support Unity and Tolerance in the Transhumanist Movement on iPetitions.com. Click here to sign.

The text of the petition is also provided below for convenience.


In our highly polarized and divided political climate, online mobs often create harassment campaigns in order to go after the livelihoods of individuals who do not fit their narratives. Recently, a small group of individuals was able to influence Christine Peterson to blacklist fellow Transhumanist artist, writer, and event producer Rachel Haywire from the Foresight Institute.

Rachel had been seeking Foresight sponsorship for her new arts and culture startup in the Bay Area. Although Rachel is a Jewish anarchist, the mob labeled her as “alt-right”. Christine caved to the mob despite the obvious inaccuracy of this label.

This petition is to advocate for Transhumanist unity, equal rights to life extension regardless of political affiliation, and for Christine Peterson, on behalf of the Foresight Institute, to reconsider her decision not to work with Rachel based on mob harassment.

Bullying and unfairly discriminatory behaviors like these are unacceptable. The public and upcoming generations who will inhabit the future deserve better role models.

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The U.S. Transhumanist Party supports this petition as aligned with our Values and Platform – in particular, the following principles:

• Tolerance and inclusivity of all individuals of all races, genders, classes, religions, creeds, national origins, and other characteristics. [Article III, Section II]

• Support for morphological freedom, which also “recognizes that morphological freedom entails the duty to treat all sapients as individuals instead of categorizing them into arbitrary subgroups or demographics”. [Article III, Section VI]

• Support of all values and efforts toward cultivation of science, technology, and reason. [Article III, Section VII]

• Opposition to intolerant, rights-violating, anti-technological, and compulsion-imposing doctrines, be they religious or secular. [Article III, Sections XXV, XL, LXIII]

Our Values therefore strongly favor inclusion over exclusion, discussion and civil debate over refusal to engage, and the ability of different viewpoints to be expressed without adverse legal, economic, or social consequences to individuals merely for expressing them. We therefore strongly hold that infighting, ostracism, and mass-shaming tactics have no place within the transhumanist movement. Both the Right and the Left have succumbed to these anti-rational tactics; transhumanists must resist this downward spiral of toxicity.

Civil society, including private institutions within it, should encourage discourse on different viewpoints where, within the standards of common courtesy and respectful engagement – at which any reasonable being is capable of arriving – no individual need fear the loss of livelihood due to the expression of unconventional or unpopular beliefs. The proper response to a belief with which one disagrees is the civil expression of disagreement, with reasons for that disagreement. No person should experience severe or life-damaging consequences for the mere expression of an idea – and especially not as a result of mere allegations regarding ideas that individual may not even have actually expressed. Only hostile, rights-violating actions, not beliefs or peaceful speech, should bring adverse consequences within a civilized society.

If we are indeed to thoughtfully explore possible futures for humankind, such exploration needs to involve experimental spaces of public discourse where ideas can be substantively engaged and analyzed without anyone fearing that their future prospects will be damaged for expressing the “wrong” ideas according to some self-appointed guardians of purity. No individual or group has a monopoly over the meaning of transhumanism or over the evolution of the transhumanist movement. We need to be comfortable with a heterogeneous, dynamic movement, where we are all contributors of ideas within the space of public discourse, and where our ideas should always be evaluated objectively on their merits by any reasoning beings willing to consider them. No person should be barred from subjecting his, her, or its ideas to such an evaluation. The U.S. Transhumanist Party is and will remain a “big tent” where the culture is to focus scrutiny on ideas rather than people, and where the logical fallacy of ad hominem has no place.

The U.S. Transhumanist Party has no grievance with the Foresight Institute apart from the singular decision to deny a platform to Rachel Haywire over unsubstantiated rumors and allegations perpetrated by a small number of individuals whose conduct and views are not representative of transhumanism or the transhumanist movement at large. The Foresight Institute has done and continues to do valuable work for the in-depth exploration of technology’s impacts in the near and long-term future. It is unfortunate that, in one particular case, the Foresight Institute deviated from its typical commitment to the open exploration of ideas. Rachel Haywire is not “alt-right” and, like all individuals, should be characterized based on her own statements, rather than aspersions cast by others of differing political views. It is dangerous for transhumanists to insist on ideological litmus tests before any interaction is possible; that is the path toward an ultimately self-destroying orthodoxy. Anyone is, of course, free to disagree with any statement made by Rachel Haywire; the appropriate venues of such disagreement are many and involve simply expressing it – rather than punishing the person with whom one disagrees. We hold that the Foresight Institute can still remedy the situation simply by reversing its prior decision.

Unfortunately, transhumanists today are still all too human and therefore still subject to the same vulnerabilities to biases, logical fallacies, tribalism, and in-group thinking that plague all unaugmented humans to some degree. Neither intelligence nor explicit ideological views offer any immunity to these tendencies. Short of upgrading ourselves technologically – hopefully a possibility within our lifetimes – our only safeguard is to consciously recognize our own vulnerabilities and deliberately correct for them using reason and morality. Some transhumanists, unfortunately, have not always done this and have therefore succumbed to the same tragic tendencies that are tearing our broader society apart. Social-media mobs, trolling, and calls for ostracism all arise from these tendencies. Unfortunately, the loudest and most strident voices often dominate the conversation and perceptions – even though they are the least reasonable and, in fact, represent only a tiny minority in the broader community where these voices operate. The overwhelming majority of transhumanists does not side with the strident and divisive few. Any social-media mob or mass-shaming campaign, no matter how ostensibly motivated, is an outgrowth of humans’ worst urges and therefore inherently inimical to the noble values and aspirations of transhumanism. The U.S. Transhumanist Party calls for an end to social-media mob tactics and to infighting in the transhumanist movement more generally. For this reason and the others mentioned above, we endorse this petition and encourage all friends of rationality and opponents of toxicity, within and outside the transhumanist movement, to endorse it as well.

We Would Like to Welcome Everyone – Official Statement by Martin van der Kroon

We Would Like to Welcome Everyone – Official Statement by Martin van der Kroon

Martin van der Kroon


The U.S. Transhumanist Party humbly prides itself on our stance regarding inclusion of people from all manner of different backgrounds, religions, and movements.

We outline this in detail in Section XXV [Adopted by a vote of the members during March 26 – April 1, 2017]:

“The United States Transhumanist Party welcomes both religious and non-religious individuals who support life extension and emerging technologies. The United States Transhumanist Party recognizes that some religious individuals and interpretations may be receptive to technological progress and, if so, are valuable allies to the transhumanist movement. On the other hand, the United States Transhumanist Party is also opposed to any interpretation of a religious doctrine that results in the rejection of reason, censorship, violation of individual rights, suppression of technological advancement, and attempts to impose religious belief by force and/or by legal compulsion.”

Furthermore, we adopted Section XX [Adopted by a vote of the members during March 26 – April 1, 2017]:

“The United States Transhumanist Party strongly supports the freedom of peaceful speech; religious, non-religious, and anti-religious philosophical espousal; assembly; protest; petition; and expression of grievances. The United States Transhumanist Party therefore strongly opposes all censorship, including censorship that arises out of identity politics and the desire to avoid perceived offensive behavior.”

There is good reason that these planks were adopted. Not only is the U.S. Transhumanist Party striving for inclusion where others fail, we also labor to be a party where anyone may feel welcomed. This is not entirely altruistic though. We think that people of different backgrounds, people of faith, those with perspectives different from our own, can bring valuable ideas to the table, and are uniquely qualified to criticize our own perspectives, helping us all to avoid becoming trapped within an echo-chamber.

People who believe in a higher power, despite no evidence based on our current scientific standards being available, are not automatically opposed to science, reason, and evidence. That people believe in a god does not mean they reject the laws of physics, and they may well believe that god was so awesome that he/she/it created all these amazing physics equations for us to discover. To each his or her own.

I, Martin van der Kroon, Director of Recruitment for the U.S. Transhumanist Party, being non-religious, would nonetheless be ecstatic if, for example, Pope Francis, the Dalai Lama, or Rabbi Wolpe would speak positive, or even support the U.S. Transhumanist Party, or engage in a debate with us. They may be people of faith, but that doesn’t mean they are devoid of intellect or meaningful ideas and opinions.

What it comes down to is that as members of the U.S. Transhumanist Party, and hopefully the transhumanist movement at large, we should not perceive the Core Ideals as outlined in our Constitution as being at odds with religious beliefs. Sometimes religions are referred to as ‘deathist’ beliefs, hinting at the perception of inferiority, or perhaps perceived from the opposite side, creating the impression of elitism on part of the non-religious.

In addition to the acceptance of anyone regardless of their religions (etc.), the U.S. Transhumanist Party furthermore has adopted two plank proposals to outline practices we do not support, with the intent to further reason, acceptance, and debate, and shun intolerance and practices in direct violation of the U.S. Transhumanist Party’s goals. We adopted Section XL [Adopted by a vote of the members during May 7-13, 2017]:

“In addition to its opposition to intolerant interpretations of religious doctrines, the United States Transhumanist Party is furthermore opposed to any interpretation of a secular, non-religious doctrine that results in the rejection of reason, censorship, violation of individual rights, suppression of technological advancement, and attempts to impose certain beliefs by force and/or by legal compulsion. Examples of such doctrines opposed by the United States Transhumanist Party include Stalinism, Maoism, Neo-Malthusianism or eco-primitivism, the death-acceptance movement, and the doctrine of censorship, now prevalent on many college campuses in the United States, in the name of “social justice”, combating “triggers” or “microaggressions”, or avoiding subjectively perceived offense.”

We also adopted Section LXIII [Adopted by a vote of the members during June 18-24, 2017]:

“The United States Transhumanist Party opposes those specific cultural, religious, and social practices that violate individual rights and bodily autonomy. Examples of such unacceptable practices are forced marriage (including child marriage), male and female genital mutilation, and honor killings.”

Let us all respect that we all hold notions about our existence, about religion or lack thereof, and appreciate that we, thankfully, do differ in perspectives on such matters. Let us all engage fervently in debates, share our ideas, be critical and skeptical, but allow each other space and dignity to be ourselves.

For those who are interested in our approach of open, inclusive engagement with the ideas, technologies, and policies that can help shape a better future, we invite all of you to become members of the U.S. Transhumanist Party for free by filling out our Membership Application Form here.

“Do to others as you would have them do to you.” (Luke 6:31 – New International Version)

Martin van der Kroon is Director of Recruitment for the U.S. Transhumanist Party.