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The Good Sides of Aging? – Article by Nicola Bagalà

The Good Sides of Aging? – Article by Nicola Bagalà

Nicola Bagalà


Editor’s Note: Nicola Bagalà in this guest article elaborates upon aging as a topic distinguished in terms of Chronological Aging and Biological Aging. This article was originally published by the Life Extension Advocacy Foundation (LEAF).

~ Kenneth Alum, Director of Publication, U.S. Transhumanist Party, October 17, 2017

Sometimes, and especially in articles aimed at mitigating people’s fear of aging, it is said that aging doesn’t come just with downsides, such as frailty and diseases, but also with upsides — for example, wisdom and a long life experience.

It is often subtly implied that these two very different aspects are two sides of the same coin, that you can’t have one without the other, and perhaps even that the ill health of old age is a fair price to pay for the benefits that also come with it.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

Setting the record straight

There are plenty of good reasons to be afraid of aging, because the diseases and disabilities it causes are very real and far from being observed only in exceptional cases. It would be foolish not to fear cancer, for example, because it is an extremely serious and often fatal condition; in the same way, and for the same reasons, it is foolish not to fear aging; perhaps, an even stronger fear is justified, because aging can and does give rise to many diseases, including cancer itself.

There’s nothing wrong with fearing aging, because it may help us steer clear from its inherent dangers, just like the fear of any other harmful thing keeps us away from it. This is true so long as by ‘aging’ we mean biological aging, which is not at all the same as chronological aging. It is very important to draw a line between the two so that we don’t end up accepting the downsides of the former, which are neither necessary nor sufficient to enjoy the benefits of the latter.

What’s the difference?

Chronological aging is a rather fancy term to indicate a very mundane thing, namely the passing of time. For as long as time will keep passing, everything will age chronologically. This is obviously a good thing because if time did not pass, the universe would stand still and nothing at all, including ourselves, would ever happen.

However, it is easy to see how chronological and biological aging are not the same thing by means of a simple observation: Although time runs essentially uniformly everywhere on Earth, different life forms have different health- and lifespans. If time passes at the same rate for me and for a cat, and yet I’m (biologically) old at age 80 while a cat is (biologically) old already at age 15, clearly there must be something else than just the passing of time that accounts for this discrepancy.

This ‘something else’ is metabolism—the intricate set of chemical reactions the bodies of living creatures perform on a daily basis for the very purpose of staying alive. As we have discussed in other articles, what we call biological aging is really just a process of damage accumulation; this damage, which eventually leads to pathologies, is caused by metabolism itself, and therefore a faster metabolism means faster aging. Different species have different metabolic rates; as a rule of thumb, the smaller the species, the faster its metabolism and thus its aging, leading to shorter health- and lifespan. This is, in a nutshell, why a cat ages faster than I do.

As a confirmation of this fact, one may observe that species in a regimen of caloric restriction tend to live longer (sometimes much longer) than their normal lifespan, and the insurgence of age-related diseases is delayed accordingly: A lower caloric intake causes metabolism to slow down; consequently, the aging process follows suit.

Interestingly, some lucky species, the so-called negligibly senescent organisms, don’t show any signs of biological aging at all with the passing of time.

At this point, you don’t have to be clairvoyant to see that biological aging implies chronological aging, but not vice-versa. No chronological aging means no time passing, and no time passing means nothing takes place, metabolism included. However, since different creatures age differently (or not at all) despite time passing at the same rate for all of them, chronological aging doesn’t imply biological aging. Quite simply, they’re not the same thing.

Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s

Having cleared the difference between chronological and biological aging, we must now correctly attribute the aforementioned pros and cons of old age to each of them.

From the very definition of biological aging above, it’s clear that it is the culprit responsible for the cons—the diseases of old age.

Speaking of the pros, all possible benefits of old age—life experience, wisdom, sense of accomplishment—certainly do not come from the damage that metabolism has wrecked throughout your body over the years. Clearly, they depend on the events of your life, and thus they’re not at all granted to happen, no matter how long you live. If you spent your life in isolation doing nothing, avoiding new experiences, and not learning anything new, your wisdom as an eighty-year-old would hardly compare to that of a well-traveled, seasoned scientist or philosopher of the same age, for example. Ultimately, the benefits traditionally attributed to old age obviously depend on the passing of time (i.e., chronological aging), and most of all on the use you made of your time. Just because you’re old, you’re not automatically wise, accomplished, or well-learned.

What’s more, the debilitation that comes with biological aging makes it harder for you to relish and expand the wisdom and experience you’ve accrued over the years. So, not only does biological aging bring no benefits; it is a hindrance as well.

In conclusion, the pros and cons of old age are due to different causes, and, as such, they aren’t interdependent. The diseases of old age are not a currency you can use to buy yourself the wisdom of the aged, and thanks to the emergence of rejuvenation biotechnologies, you might relatively soon be able to enjoy the pros of old age without having to pay any undue and unfair tolls.

 

About Nicola Bagalà

Nicola Bagalà has been an enthusiastic supporter and advocate of rejuvenation science since 2011. Although his preferred approach to treating age-related diseases is Aubrey de Grey’s suggested SENS platform, he is very interested in any other potential approach as well. In 2015, he launched the blog Rejuvenaction to advocate for rejuvenation and to answer common concerns that generally come with the prospect of vastly extended healthy lifespans. Originally a mathematician graduated from Helsinki University, his scientific interests range from cosmology to AI, from drawing and writing to music, and he always complains he doesn’t have enough time to dedicate to all of them—which is one of the reasons he’s into life extension. He’s also a computer programmer and web developer. All the years spent learning about the science of rejuvenation have sparked his interest in biology, in which he’s planning to get a university degree.

About LIFE EXTENSION ADVOCACY FOUNDATION (LEAF)

In 2014, the Life Extension Advocacy Foundation was established as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to promoting increased healthy human lifespan through fiscally sponsoring longevity research projects and raising awareness regarding the societal benefits of life extension. In 2015 they launched Lifespan.io, the first nonprofit crowdfunding platform focused on the biomedical research of aging.

They believe that this will enable the general public to influence the pace of research directly. To date they have successfully supported four research projects aimed at investigating different processes of aging and developing therapies to treat age-related diseases.

The LEAF team organizes educational events, takes part in different public and scientific conferences, and actively engages with the public on social media in order to help disseminate this crucial information. They initiate public dialogue aimed at regulatory improvement in the fields related to rejuvenation biotechnology.

Results of Platform Vote #2 and Adopted Sections

Results of Platform Vote #2 and Adopted Sections

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Gennady Stolyarov II


The U.S. Transhumanist Party conducted its third vote of the members and the second vote on its platform planks on February 16 through February 22, 2017. Official ballot options can be found here.

Detailed results of the voting have been tabulated here. Options were selected based on the ranked-preference method with instant runoffs.

As a result, the following sections of Article III of the U.S. Transhumanist Party Constitution were adopted.

Section VI: The United States Transhumanist Party upholds morphological freedom—the right to do with one’s physical attributes or intelligence whatever one wants so long as it does not directly harm others.

The United States Transhumanist Party considers morphological freedom to include the prerogative for a sentient intelligence to set forth in advance provisions for how to handle its physical manifestation, should that intelligence enter into a vegetative, unconscious, or similarly inactive state, notwithstanding any legal definition of death. For instance, a cryonics patient should be entitled to determine in advance that the patient’s body shall be cryopreserved and kept under specified conditions, in spite of any legal definition of death that might apply to that patient under cryopreservation.

The United States Transhumanist Party also recognizes that morphological freedom entails the duty to treat all sapients as individuals instead of categorizing them into arbitrary subgroups or demographics, including as yet undefined subcategorizations that may arise as sapience evolves.

The United States Transhumanist Party is focused on the rights of all sapient individuals to do as they see fit with themselves and their own reproductive choices.

However, the United States Transhumanist Party holds that the proper exercise of morphological freedom must also ensure that any improvement of the self should not result in involuntary harms directly inflicted upon others. Furthermore, the United States Transhumanist Party recognizes any sentient entity to have the freedom not to modify itself without being subject to negative political repercussions, which include but are not limited to legal and/or socio-economic repercussions.

The United States Transhumanist Party recognizes the ethical obligations of sapient beings to be the purview of those individual beings, and holds that no other group, individual, or government has the right to limit those choices – including genetic manipulation or other biological manipulation or any other modifications up to and including biological manipulation, mechanical manipulation, life extension, reproductive choice, reproductive manipulation, cryonics, or other possible modifications, enhancements, or morphological freedoms. It is only when such choices directly infringe upon the rights of other sapient beings that the United States Transhumanist Party will work to develop policies to avoid potential infringements.

Section VII:  The United States Transhumanist Party strongly supports and emphasizes all values and organized efforts related to the cultivation of science, reason, intelligence, and rational thinking.

The United States Transhumanist Party places no reliance upon any and all sources of information that cannot stand up to rational scrutiny.

The United States Transhumanist Party places no reliance upon any individual, organization, or belief system that intentionally distorts empirically verifiable evidence, including but not limited to scientific and historical evidence, to serve its own agenda.

The United States Transhumanist Party places no reliance upon any position or belief system that contains arguments built upon logical fallacies (with exemption granted to arguments containing both fallacious and logically defensible premises).

Section VIII: The United States Transhumanist Party supports maximum individual liberty to engage in scientific and technological innovation for the improvement of the self and the human species. In particular, the United States Transhumanist Party supports all rationally, scientifically grounded research efforts for curing diseases, lengthening lifespans, achieving functional, healthy augmentations of the body and brain, and increasing the durability and youthfulness of the human organism. The United States Transhumanist Party holds that all such research efforts should be rendered fully lawful and their products should be made fully available to the public, as long as no individual is physically harmed without that individual’s consent or defrauded by misrepresentation of the effects of a possible treatment or substance.

Section IX: The United States Transhumanist Party supports all emerging technologies that have the potential to improve the human condition – including but not limited to autonomous vehicles, electric vehicles, economical solar power, safe nuclear power, hydroelectricity, geothermal power, applications for the sharing of durable goods, artificial intelligence, biotechnology, nanotechnology, robotics, rapid transit, 3D printing, vertical farming, electronic devices to detect and respond to trauma, and beneficial genetic modification of plants, animals, and human beings.

Section X: The United States Transhumanist Party advocates the construction of a self-repairing, self-maintaining smart infrastructure which incorporates the distribution of energy, communications, and clean potable water to every building.

Official Ballot Options for Platform Vote #2

Official Ballot Options for Platform Vote #2

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The 7-day electronic voting period on the second set of five proposed platform planks of the U.S. Transhumanist Party will occur from 12:01 a.m. U.S. Pacific Time on February 16, 2017, to 12:01 a.m.  U.S. Pacific Time on February 23, 2017. All members of the U.S. Transhumanist Party who have applied before 12:01 a.m. on February 16, 2017, will be eligible to vote, as long as they have expressed agreement with the three Core Ideals of the Transhumanist Party or have otherwise been rendered eligible to vote at the discretion of the Chairman.

All members who are eligible to vote will be sent a link to an electronic submission form whereby they will be able to cast their ballot.

When you are voting, it is strongly recommended that you keep this page of official ballot options and the submission form open simultaneously in different windows so that you can reference the relevant options as you vote on them. Due to space limitations, the submission form does not list the entire text of all the options.

It is also recommended that you set aside at least fifteen minutes to consider and vote on all of the options and read their text closely, as some of the options contain minor variations upon other options. 

For most questions, electronic voting is  conducted by a ranked-preference method on individual articles where more options are possible than would be accommodated by a simple “Yes” or “No” vote. Members should keep in mind that the ranked-preference method eliminates the incentives for strategic voting – so members are encouraged to vote for the options that reflect their individual preferences as closely as possible, without regard for how other members might vote.

Results of the voting will be tabulated during late February 2017, with the intent to announce the results approximately 7 days after all votes have been submitted.

NOTE: The titles of the questions and potential Sections are descriptive and informational only and will not appear in the final adopted platform planks (which will be incorporated into Article III of the U.S. Transhumanist Party Constitution). They are intended as concise guides to the subject matter of the questions and potential Sections. Likewise, the letters assigned to Sections within this ballot will not reflect the numbering of the final adopted provisions, which will depend on which Sections are selected by the membership.

NOTE II: The inclusion of any proposals on this ballot does not indicate any manner of endorsement for those proposals by the U.S. Transhumanist Party at this time – except to place those proposals before the members to determine the will of the members with regard to whether or not the U.S. Transhumanist Party Platform should incorporate any given proposal.

 


 

Voter Identification

E-mail address

Provide the same e-mail address you used to register for U.S. Transhumanist Party membership. Your ballot will be cross-referenced to our membership rolls, and only ballots with matching e-mail addresses will be counted.

What is your name?

At minimum, first and last name are required, unless you are publicly known by a single-name pseudonym which is not itself a common name. Your identity will not be publicly disclosed by the Transhumanist Party, unless you choose and/or authorize its disclosure. Only other members of the Transhumanist Party will be able to see *that* you voted, but not *how* you voted. The nature of the selections made by the members may be disclosed, but, if they are, each individual vote will not be associated with the identity of the voter but rather will be presented in an anonymized manner.

Navigate the Options

Question I. Section E2-A. Morphological Freedom
Question II. Additional Text of Section E2-A. Reproductive Choice
Question III. Additional Text of Section E2-A. Ethical Obligations as Individual, Not Collective Purview
Question IV. Preceding Mention of Not Harming Others by the Word “Directly”
Question V. Section E2-B. Pro-Intelligence / Pro-Science Position
Question VI. Additional Text of Section E2-B. Unfavorable Treatment of Sources That Cannot Stand Up to Scrutiny
Question VII. Additional Text of Section E2-B. Nature of Scrutiny to Be Used to Justify Reliance
Question VIII. Additional Text of Section E2-B. Unfavorable Treatment of Entities That Intentionally Distort Evidence
Question IX. Additional Text of Section E2-B. Manner of Verifiability of Evidence
Question X. Additional Text of Section E2-B. Unfavorable View of Logical Fallacies
Question XI. Section E2-C. Liberty to Innovate
Question XII. Section E2-D. Support for Emerging Technologies
Question XIII. Section E2-E. Smart Infrastructure

Proposed Platform Sections

Question I. Section E2-A. Morphological Freedom. 

Rank-order the Section E2-A Options that you support. Choose “1” for your most highly favored option, “2” for your second-most highly favored option, etc. You may include the option for “No Section of this sort” in your rank-ordering, and it does not need to be your most favored option if you do so. (For instance, some voters might favor some options but think that no language is preferable to some of the other options.)

If you choose “Abstain”, then do not rank-order any options, as you will be considered to have skipped this question.

☐ Option E2-A-1. [Based on Section VI of the Nevada Transhumanist Party Platform]

The United States Transhumanist Party advocates for morphological freedom – the right of an individual to alter the appearance, composition, and prospects of his, her, or its organism, as long as such changes do not harm others.

☐ Option E2-A-2. [Platform Adaptation of Article X of the Transhumanist Bill of Rights, Version 2.0]

The United States Transhumanist Party upholds morphological freedom—the right to do with one’s physical attributes or intelligence whatever one wants so long as it does not harm others.

The United States Transhumanist Party considers morphological freedom to include the prerogative for a sentient intelligence to set forth in advance provisions for how to handle its physical manifestation, should that intelligence enter into a vegetative, unconscious, or similarly inactive state, notwithstanding any legal definition of death. For instance, a cryonics patient should be entitled to determine in advance that the patient’s body shall be cryopreserved and kept under specified conditions, in spite of any legal definition of death that might apply to that patient under cryopreservation.

The United States Transhumanist Party also recognizes that morphological freedom entails the duty to treat all sapients as individuals instead of categorizing them into arbitrary subgroups or demographics, including as yet undefined subcategorizations that may arise as sapience evolves.

However, the United States Transhumanist Party holds that the proper exercise of morphological freedom must also ensure that any improvement of the self should not result in involuntary harms inflicted upon others. Furthermore, the United States Transhumanist Party recognizes any sentient entity to have the freedom not to modify itself without being subject to negative political repercussions, which include but are not limited to legal and/or socio-economic repercussions.

 Option E2-A-NO. No Section of this sort.

Question II. Additional Text of Section E2-A. Reproductive Choice.

If Section E2-A on morphological freedom is adopted, shall the following sentence be integrated into the article?

“The United States Transhumanist Party is focused on the rights of all sapient individuals to do as they see fit with themselves and their own reproductive choices.”

Select one of the following options.

Yes.

No.

Abstain.

Question III. Additional Text of Section E2-A. Ethical Obligations as Individual, Not Collective Purview

If Section E2-A on morphological freedom is adopted, shall the following sentence be integrated into the article?

“The United States Transhumanist Party recognizes the ethical obligations of sapient beings to be the purview of those individual beings, and holds that no other group, individual, or government has the right to limit those choices – including genetic manipulation or other biological manipulation or any other modifications up to and including biological manipulation, mechanical manipulation, life extension, reproductive choice, reproductive manipulation, cryonics, or other possible modifications, enhancements, or morphological freedoms. It is only when such choices directly infringe upon the rights of other sapient beings that the United States Transhumanist Party will work to develop policies to avoid potential infringements.”

Select one of the following options.

Yes.

No.

Abstain.

Question IV. Preceding Mention of Not Harming Others by the Word “Directly”

If any option for Section E2-A on morphological freedom is adopted, shall any mention of not harming others be preceded by the word “directly”? For example, if members vote in the affirmative, then in Option E2-A-1, “as long as such changes do not harm others” would be revised to “as long as such changes do not directly harm others”. In Option E2-A-2, “so long as it does not harm others” would be revised to “so long as it does not directly harm others”.

Select one of the following options.

☐ Yes, add the word “directly”.

☐ No, do not add the word “directly”.

Abstain.

Question VSection E2-B. Pro-Intelligence / Pro-Science Position

Rank-order the Section E2-B Options that you support. Choose “1” for your most highly favored option, “2” for your second-most highly favored option, etc. You may include the option for “No Section of this sort” in your rank-ordering, and it does not need to be your most favored option if you do so. (For instance, some voters might favor some options but think that no language is preferable to some of the other options.)

If you choose “Abstain”, then do not rank-order any options, as you will be considered to have skipped this question.

☐ Option E2-B-1.  [Based on Section II of the Nevada Transhumanist Party Platform]

The United States Transhumanist Party supports the spread of a pro-science culture by emphasizing reason and secular values.

☐ Option E2-B-2. [Based on Proposal by Daniel Yeluashvili, Base Text]

The United States Transhumanist Party strongly supports and emphasizes all values and organized efforts related to the cultivation of science, reason, intelligence, and rational thinking.

 Option E2-B-NO. No Section of this sort.

Question VI. Additional Text of Section E2-B. Unfavorable Treatment of Sources That Cannot Stand Up to Scrutiny 

If Section E2-B regarding a pro-intelligence / pro-science position is adopted, shall additional language be included to the following effect?

Clause E2-B-Add-1: The United States Transhumanist Party [Possible Options: condemns, disavows, disregards, disapproves of, frowns upon, places no reliance upon] any and all sources of information that cannot stand up to [Possible Options: academic, rational, factually grounded, objective] scrutiny.

If so, which of the following wording options would you favor for the term to express the U.S. Transhumanist Party’s unfavorable outlook toward the aforementioned sources of information?

Rank-order the options you support. “Yes” favors including the above language, whereas “No” favors omitting it in entirety.

☐ Yesuse “condemns”.

☐ Yes, use “disavows”.

☐ Yes, use “disregards”.

☐ Yes, use “disapproves of”.

☐ Yes, use “frowns upon”.

☐ Yes, use “places no reliance upon”.

☐ No, do not include such a clause at all.

Question VII. Additional Text of Section E2-B. Nature of Scrutiny to Be Used to Justify Reliance

If Section E2-B regarding a pro-intelligence / pro-science position is adopted, shall additional language be included to the following effect?

Clause E2-B-Add-1: The United States Transhumanist Party [Possible Options: condemns, disavows, disregards, disapproves of, frowns upon, places no reliance upon] any and all sources of information that cannot stand up to [Possible Options: academic, rational, factually grounded, objective] scrutiny.

If so, which of the following wording options would you favor for the term to express the kind of scrutiny to which information should be able to stand up?

Rank-order the options you support. “Yes” favors including the above language, whereas “No” favors omitting it in entirety.

☐ Yesuse “academic”.

☐ Yesuse “rational”.

☐ Yesuse “factually grounded”.

☐ Yesuse “objective”.

☐ No, do not include such a clause at all.

Question VIII. Additional Text of Section E2-B. Unfavorable Treatment of Entities That Intentionally Distort Evidence

If Section E2-B regarding a pro-intelligence / pro-science position is adopted, shall additional language be included to the following effect?

Clause E2-B-Add-2: The United States Transhumanist Party [Possible Options: condemns, disavows, disregards, disapproves of, frowns upon, places no reliance upon – Same as choice for Question VI] any [Candidate entities for inclusion in the list: individual, organization, belief system] that intentionally distorts [Possible Options: academically, empirically, factually, objectively] verifiable evidence to serve its own agenda, including but not limited to [Candidate adjectives for inclusion in the list: scientific, historical, political, journalistic] evidence.

If so, which of the following entities do think should be included in the list of entities to be considered unfavorably if they engage in the distortion being described, and what sort of evidence do you think should be included in the list of evidence whose distortion the U.S. Transhumanist Party would oppose?

Select all the options you support. (You can select multiple options for this question.) “Yes” favors including the above language, whereas “No” favors omitting it in entirety.

☐ Yesinclude “individual”.

☐ Yesinclude “organization”.

☐ Yesinclude “belief system”.

☐ Yesinclude “scientific” evidence.

☐ Yesinclude “historical” evidence.

☐ Yesinclude “political” evidence.

☐ Yesinclude “journalistic” evidence.

☐ No, do not include such a clause at all.

Question IX. Additional Text of Section E2-B. Manner of Verifiability of Evidence

If Section E2-B regarding a pro-intelligence / pro-science position is adopted, shall additional language be included to the following effect?

Clause E2-B-Add-2: The United States Transhumanist Party [Possible Options: condemns, disavows, disregards, disapproves of, frowns upon, places no reliance upon – Same as choice for Question VI] any [Candidate entities for inclusion in the list: individual, organization, belief system] that intentionally distorts [Possible Options: academically, empirically, factually, objectively] verifiable evidence to serve its own agenda, including but not limited to [Candidate adjectives for inclusion in the list: scientific, historical, political, journalistic] evidence.

If so, which adverb should be applied before “verifiable evidence”?

Rank-order the options you support. “Yes” favors including the above language, whereas “No” favors omitting it in entirety.

☐ Yesuse “academically”.

☐ Yesuse “empirically”.

☐ Yesuse “factually”.

☐ Yesuse “objectively”.

☐ No, do not include such a clause at all.

Question X. Additional Text of Section E2-B. Unfavorable View of Logical Fallacies.

If Section E2-B regarding a pro-intelligence / pro-science position is adopted, shall additional language be included to the following effect?

Clause E2-B-Add-3: The United States Transhumanist Party [Possible Options: condemns, disavows, disregards, disapproves of, frowns upon, places no reliance upon – Same as choice for Question VI] any position or belief system that contains arguments built upon logical fallacies (with exemption granted to arguments containing both fallacious and logically defensible premises).

Select one of the following options.

Yes.

No.

Abstain.

Question XISection E2-C. Liberty to Innovate

Shall the following language be adopted as a new Section within the U.S. Transhumanist Party Platform?

“The United States Transhumanist Party supports maximum individual liberty to engage in scientific and technological innovation for the improvement of the self and the human species. In particular, the United States Transhumanist Party supports all rationally, scientifically grounded research efforts for curing diseases, lengthening lifespans, achieving functional, healthy augmentations of the body and brain, and increasing the durability and youthfulness of the human organism. The United States Transhumanist Party holds that all such research efforts should be rendered fully lawful and their products should be made fully available to the public, as long as no individual is physically harmed without that individual’s consent or defrauded by misrepresentation of the effects of a possible treatment or substance.”

Select one of the following options.

Yes.

No.

Abstain.

Question XIISection E2-D. Support for Emerging Technologies

Shall the following language be adopted as a new Section within the U.S. Transhumanist Party Platform?

“The United States Transhumanist Party supports all emerging technologies that have the potential to improve the human condition – including but not limited to autonomous vehicles, electric vehicles, economical solar power, safe nuclear power, hydroelectricity, geothermal power, applications for the sharing of durable goods, artificial intelligence, biotechnology, nanotechnology, robotics, rapid transit, 3D printing, vertical farming, electronic devices to detect and respond to trauma, and beneficial genetic modification of plants, animals, and human beings.”

Select one of the following options.

Yes.

No.

Abstain.

Question XIIISection E2-E. Smart Infrastructure

Shall the following language be adopted as a new Section within the U.S. Transhumanist Party Platform?

“The United States Transhumanist Party advocates the construction of a self-repairing, self-maintaining smart infrastructure which incorporates the distribution of energy, communications, and clean potable water to every building.”

Select one of the following options.

Yes.

No.

Abstain.

15-Day Exposure Period for Platform Vote #2 and Practice of Rolling Exposure Periods Going Forward

15-Day Exposure Period for Platform Vote #2 and Practice of Rolling Exposure Periods Going Forward

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Gennady Stolyarov II


Informal polling of U.S. Transhumanist Party members has indicated that the majority of respondents prefer ballots to be relatively concise, with five issues addressed per ballot. The U.S. Transhumanist Party will endeavor to respect this preference where it is reasonable to do so.

In order to enable members’ suggestions regarding platform planks to still be considered on a relatively expeditious timeframe, the U.S. Transhumanist Party will henceforth institute the practice of rolling exposure periods, where any potential plank (and the set of options that has been generated in connection with it) may be placed on the ballot if it has been publicly exposed for at least 15 days. This will still allow members at least 15 days to comment on any proposal and suggest alternative variants. Furthermore, some proposals may be exposed for longer than 15 days as a result of this, allowing for more discussion. Once any five potential planks have been exposed for at least 15 days each, the U.S. Transhumanist Party will endeavor to circulate ballots to enable members to vote on them, which will potentially enable multiple votes to be held in closer succession while still keeping each ballot concise.

The United States Transhumanist Party also hereby opens its exposure period for its second vote on platform planks, which will last at least until 12:01 a.m. on February 16, 2017. Comments from members, and at times specific wording suggestions, have motivated the presentation of the five potential planks below. In some instances, multiple options have already been generated based on available sources and suggestions, however additional options may still be proposed for consideration.

During the exposure period, please post your comments on this thread. If you post comments intended to be considered in voting and/or amending any of these planks in any other electronic medium, please note that you thereby give your consent to have your comments reproduced with attribution or linked within this discussion thread, in order to direct members’ attention and consideration to them.

After the exposure period, a 7-day electronic voting period will occur. Instructions for electronic voting will be sent to members of the U.S. Transhumanist Party via e-mail at that time. All individuals who are members of the U.S. Transhumanist Party as of the end of the exposure period and who have expressed agreement with its three Core Ideals will be eligible to vote thereafter. You can still vote if you become a member during the exposure period, so please apply here if you are interested. During the 7-day electronic voting period, you will still be able to become a member – but you will only be able to vote in subsequent elections, since we seek for voting on any given issue to be done by those members who have had an opportunity to thoroughly consider that issue and be involved in deliberations regarding it.

Electronic voting will be conducted by a ranked-preference method. Members will be able to rank-order their preferred selections on each individual Platform Section. The original text of each Section will be available for selection, as well as any reasonable amendments proposed by any member. Leadership of the Transhumanist Party reserves the right to edit any proposed amendment for correctness of spelling and grammar only – but not with regard to the substance, unless the person proposing the amendment requests or consents to a substantive edit. “No Section of this sort” will also be a choice, and any Section where a majority of votes favors this option will be not be adopted. Members will also be able to abstain from voting on any given Section.

The ranked-preference method has the advantage of eliminating a “winner-take-all” or “first-past-the-post” mentality and preventing people from being channeled into voting for sub-optimal choices (in their view) just because they fear an even less palatable alternative prevailing. Within the ranked-preference methodology, if no option obtains a clear majority as voters’ first choice, the option having the fewest first-choice votes is eliminated from consideration, and all those who voted for that option will have their votes assigned to their second-choice options. This process of elimination continues until one particular option has a clear majority of votes.

The Transhumanist Party encourages all members to participate in this process and for other transhumanists to sign up for membership during the exposure period. 

The Section titles below are provisional and will be replaced with official numbers for each plank that is adopted. The Section titles are informational only and will not be included in the adopted versions of the platform planks.


Section E2-A. Morphological Freedom.

Option E2-A-1.

[Based on Section VI of the Nevada Transhumanist Party Platform]

The United States Transhumanist Party advocates for morphological freedom – the right of an individual to alter the appearance, composition, and prospects of his, her, or its organism, as long as such changes do not harm others.

 

Option E2-A-2.

[Platform Adaptation of Article X of the Transhumanist Bill of Rights, Version 2.0]

The United States Transhumanist Party upholds morphological freedom—the right to do with one’s physical attributes or intelligence whatever one wants so long as it does not harm others.

The United States Transhumanist Party considers morphological freedom to include the prerogative for a sentient intelligence to set forth in advance provisions for how to handle its physical manifestation, should that intelligence enter into a vegetative, unconscious, or similarly inactive state, notwithstanding any legal definition of death. For instance, a cryonics patient should be entitled to determine in advance that the patient’s body shall be cryopreserved and kept under specified conditions, in spite of any legal definition of death that might apply to that patient under cryopreservation.

The United States Transhumanist Party also recognizes that morphological freedom entails the duty to treat all sapients as individuals instead of categorizing them into arbitrary subgroups or demographics, including as yet undefined subcategorizations that may arise as sapience evolves.

However, the United States Transhumanist Party holds that the proper exercise of morphological freedom must also ensure that any improvement of the self should not result in involuntary harms inflicted upon others. Furthermore, the United States Transhumanist Party recognizes any sentient entity to have the freedom not to modify itself without being subject to negative political repercussions, which include but are not limited to legal and/or socio-economic repercussions.

Potential Add-On Language [Based on Transhuman National Committee Platform, Freedom of Self Policy Plank]

Clause E2-A-Add-1.  The United States Transhumanist Party is focused on the rights of all sapient individuals to do as they see fit with themselves and their own reproductive choices.

Clause E2-A-Add-2. The United States Transhumanist Party recognizes the ethical obligations of sapient beings to be the purview of those individual beings, and holds that no other group, individual, or government has the right to limit those choices – including genetic manipulation or other biological manipulation or any other modifications up to and including biological manipulation, mechanical manipulation, life extension, reproductive choice, reproductive manipulation, cryonics, or other possible modifications, enhancements, or morphological freedoms. It is only when such choices directly infringe upon the rights of other sapient beings that the United States Transhumanist Party will work to develop policies to avoid potential infringements.

Question E2-A-Add-3. If any option of the Morphological Freedom plank is adopted, shall any mention of not harming others be preceded by the word “directly”? For example, if members vote in the affirmative, then in Option E2-A-1, “as long as such changes do not harm others” would be revised to “as long as such changes do not directly harm others”. In Option E2-A-2, “so long as it does not harm others” would be revised to “so long as it does not directly harm others”.

☐ Yes, add the word “directly”.

☐ No, do not add the word “directly”.

Section E2-B. Pro-Intelligence / Pro-Science Position

Option E2-B-1.

[Based on Section II of the Nevada Transhumanist Party Platform]

The United States Transhumanist Party supports the spread of a pro-science culture by emphasizing reason and secular values.

Option E2-B-2.

[Based on Proposal by Daniel Yeluashvili, Base Text]

The United States Transhumanist Party strongly supports and emphasizes all values and organized efforts related to the cultivation of science, reason, intelligence, and rational thinking.

Potential Add-On Language [Based on Proposals by Daniel Yeluashvili, with Additional Options Generated]

Note: It is intended for members to have the options to accept or reject any of the following add-on clauses and to select candidate language within each clause when multiple variants may be feasible.

Clause E2-B-Add-1: The United States Transhumanist Party [Possible Options: condemns, disavows, disregards, frowns upon, places no reliance upon] any and all sources of information that cannot stand up to [Possible Options: academic, rational, factually grounded, objective] scrutiny.

Clause E2-B-Add-2: The United States Transhumanist Party [Possible Options: condemns, disavows, disregards, frowns upon, places no reliance upon] any [Candidate entities for inclusion in the list: individual, organization, belief system] that intentionally distorts [Possible Options: academically, empirically, factually, objectively] verifiable evidence to serve its own agenda, including but not limited to [Candidate adjectives for inclusion in the list: scientific, historical, political, journalistic] evidence.

Clause E2-B-Add-3: The United States Transhumanist Party [Possible Options: condemns, disavows, disregards, frowns upon, places no reliance upon] any position or belief system that contains arguments built upon logical fallacies (with exemption granted to arguments containing both fallacious and logically defensible premises).

Section E2-C. Liberty to Innovate

Option E2-C-1.

[Based on Section III of the Nevada Transhumanist Party Platform]

The United States Transhumanist Party supports maximum individual liberty to engage in scientific and technological innovation for the improvement of the self and the human species. In particular, the United States Transhumanist Party supports all rationally, scientifically grounded research efforts for curing diseases, lengthening lifespans, achieving functional, healthy augmentations of the body and brain, and increasing the durability and youthfulness of the human organism. The United States Transhumanist Party holds that all such research efforts should be rendered fully lawful and their products should be made fully available to the public, as long as no individual is physically harmed without that individual’s consent or defrauded by misrepresentation of the effects of a possible treatment or substance.

Section E2-D. Support for Emerging Technologies

Option E2-D-1.

[Based on Section XVII of the Nevada Transhumanist Party Platform]

The United States Transhumanist Party supports all emerging technologies that have the potential to improve the human condition – including but not limited to autonomous vehicles, electric vehicles, economical solar power, safe nuclear power, hydroelectricity, geothermal power, applications for the sharing of durable goods, artificial intelligence, biotechnology, nanotechnology, robotics, rapid transit, 3D printing, vertical farming, electronic devices to detect and respond to trauma, and beneficial genetic modification of plants, animals, and human beings.

Section E2-E. Smart Infrastructure

Option E2-E-1.

[Based on Proposal by Jennifer Warren]

The United States Transhumanist Party advocates the construction of a self-repairing, self-maintaining smart infrastructure which incorporates the distribution of energy, communications, and clean potable water to every building.

Results of Platform Vote #1 and Adopted Sections

Results of Platform Vote #1 and Adopted Sections

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Gennady Stolyarov II


The U.S. Transhumanist Party conducted its second vote of the members and the first vote on its platform planks on January 15 through January 21, 2017. Official ballot options can be found here.

Detailed results of the voting have been tabulated here. Options were selected based on the ranked-preference method with instant runoffs.

As a result, the following sections of Article III of the U.S. Transhumanist Party Constitution were adopted.

Section I: The United States Transhumanist Party strongly supports individual privacy and liberty over how to apply technology to one’s personal life. The United States Transhumanist Party holds that each individual should remain completely sovereign in the choice to disclose or not disclose personal activities, preferences, and beliefs within the public sphere. As such, the United States Transhumanist Party opposes all forms of mass surveillance and any intrusion by governmental or private institutions upon non-coercive activities that an individual has chosen to retain within his, her, or its private sphere. However, the United States Transhumanist Party also recognizes that no individuals should be protected from peaceful criticism of any matters that those individuals have chosen to disclose within the sphere of public knowledge and discourse.

Section II: The United States Transhumanist Party abhors all racism, nativism, xenophobia, and sexism. Accordingly, the United States Transhumanist Party condemns any hostile discrimination or legal restrictions on the basis of national origin, skin color, birthplace, ancestry, gender identity, or any manner of circumstantial attribute tied to a person’s lineage or accident of birth. Furthermore, the United States Transhumanist Party strongly opposes any efforts to close national borders, restrict immigration of peaceful individuals, or deny opportunities to individuals on the basis of ethnicity, race, or national origin. The United States Transhumanist Party unequivocally condemns all demagogues who seek to segregate individuals on the basis of national origin, race, or ethnicity. In particular, The United States Transhumanist Party opposes movements describing themselves as “white nationalism”, “America First”, “race realism”, and the “alt-right” – as well as the counterparts of those movements in other countries.

Section III: The United States Transhumanist Party holds that the vast majority of technologies are beneficial to human well-being and should be enthusiastically advocated for and developed further. However, a minority of technologies could be detrimental to human well-being and, as such, their application, when it results in detrimental consequences, should be opposed. Examples of such detrimental technologies include nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons, mass-surveillance systems such as those deployed by the National Security Agency in the United States, and backscatter X-ray full-body scanners such as those used until 2013 by the Transportation Security Administration in the United States. Furthermore, the United States Transhumanist Party is opposed to the deliberate engineering of new active pathogens or the resurrection of once-existing pathogens, whose spread might not be able to be contained within laboratory settings. While it is impossible to un-learn the knowledge utilized in the creation of such technologies, the United States Transhumanist Party holds that all such knowledge should only be devoted toward peaceful, life-affirming, rights-respecting purposes, going forward.

Section IV: In recognition of the dire existential threat that nuclear weapons pose to sapient life on Earth – including as a result of such weapons’ accidental deployment due to system failures or human misunderstanding – the United States Transhumanist Party advocates the complete dismantlement and abolition of all nuclear weapons everywhere, as rapidly as possible. If necessary for geopolitical stability, synchronized multilateral disarmament and non-proliferation treaties should be pursued, strengthened, and accelerated in the most expeditious manner. If, however, multilateral agreements among nations are not reached, then the United States Transhumanist Party advocates that all nuclear powers, especially the United States and Russia, should undertake unilateral nuclear disarmament at the earliest opportunity in order to preserve civilization from accidental annihilation.

Section V: The United States Transhumanist Party supports concerted research in effort to eradicate disease and illness that wreak havoc upon and cause death of sapient beings. We strongly advocate the increase and redirection of research funds to conduct research and experiments and to explore life, science, technology, medicine, and extraterrestrial realms to improve all sentient entities.

 

Official Ballot Options for Platform Vote #1

Official Ballot Options for Platform Vote #1

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The 7-day electronic voting period on the first five proposed platform planks of the U.S. Transhumanist Party will occur from 12:01 a.m. U.S. Pacific Time on January 15, 2017, to 12:01 a.m.  U.S. Pacific Time on January 22, 2017. All members of the U.S. Transhumanist Party who have applied before 12:01 a.m. on January 15, 2017, will be eligible to vote, as long as they have expressed agreement with the three Core Ideals of the Transhumanist Party or have otherwise been rendered eligible to vote at the discretion of the Chairman.

All members who are eligible to vote will be sent a link to an electronic submission form whereby they will be able to cast their ballot.

When you are voting, it is strongly recommended that you keep this page of official ballot options and the submission form open simultaneously in different windows so that you can reference the relevant options as you vote on them. Due to space limitations, the submission form does not list the entire text of all the options.

It is also recommended that you set aside at least fifteen minutes to consider and vote on all of the options and read their text closely, as some of the options contain minor variations upon other options. 

For most questions, electronic voting is  conducted by a ranked-preference method on individual articles where more options are possible than would be accommodated by a simple “Yes” or “No” vote. Members should keep in mind that the ranked-preference method eliminates the incentives for strategic voting – so members are encouraged to vote for the options that reflect their individual preferences as closely as possible, without regard for how other members might vote.

Results of the voting will be tabulated during the week of January 23-30, 2017, with the intent to announce the results approximately 7 days after all votes have been submitted.

NOTE: The titles of the questions and potential Sections are descriptive and informational only and will not appear in the final adopted platform planks (which will be incorporated into Article IV of the U.S. Transhumanist Party Constitution). They are intended as concise guides to the subject matter of the questions and potential Sections. Likewise, the letters assigned to Sections within this ballot will not reflect the numbering of the final adopted provisions, which will depend on which Sections are selected by the membership.

NOTE II: The inclusion of any proposals on this ballot does not indicate any manner of endorsement for those proposals by the U.S. Transhumanist Party at this time – except to place those proposals before the members to determine the will of the members with regard to whether or not the U.S. Transhumanist Party Platform should incorporate any given proposal.


 

Voter Identification

E-mail address

Provide the same e-mail address you used to register for U.S. Transhumanist Party membership. Your ballot will be cross-referenced to our membership rolls, and only ballots with matching e-mail addresses will be counted.

What is your name?

At minimum, first and last name are required, unless you are publicly known by a single-name pseudonym which is not itself a common name. Your identity will not be publicly disclosed by the Transhumanist Party, unless you choose and/or authorize its disclosure. Only other members of the Transhumanist Party will be able to see *that* you voted, but not *how* you voted. The nature of the selections made by the members may be disclosed, but, if they are, each individual vote will not be associated with the identity of the voter but rather will be presented in an anonymized manner.

Navigate the Options

Question I. Section A. Privacy Rights
Question II. Section B. Anti-Bigotry
Question III. Section C. Benefits and Risks of Technologies
Question IV. Section D. Nuclear Disarmament
Question V. Section E. Replacement of the Military-Industrial Complex

Proposed Platform Sections

Question I. Section A. Privacy Rights

Rank-order the Section A Options that you support. Choose “1” for your most highly favored option, “2” for your second-most highly favored option, etc. You may include the option for “No Section of this sort” in your rank-ordering, and it does not need to be your most favored option if you do so. (For instance, some voters might favor some options but think that no language is preferable to some of the other options.)

If you choose “Abstain”, then do not rank-order any options, as you will be considered to have skipped this question.

 Option A-1 [Based on Section XIX of the Nevada Transhumanist Party Platform]. The United States Transhumanist Party strongly supports individual privacy and liberty over how to apply technology to one’s personal life. The United States Transhumanist Party holds that each individual should remain completely sovereign in the choice to disclose or not disclose personal activities, preferences, and beliefs within the public sphere. As such, the United States Transhumanist Party opposes all forms of mass surveillance and any intrusion by governmental or private institutions upon non-coercive activities that an individual has chosen to retain within his, her, or its private sphere. However, the United States Transhumanist Party also recognizes that no individuals should be protected from peaceful criticism of any matters that those individuals have chosen to disclose within the sphere of public knowledge and discourse.

 Option A-2. The United States Transhumanist Party strongly supports individual privacy and liberty over how to apply technology to one’s personal life. The United States Transhumanist Party holds that each individual should remain completely sovereign in the choice to disclose or not disclose personal activities, preferences, and beliefs within the public sphere. As such, the United States Transhumanist Party opposes all forms of mass surveillance and any intrusion by governmental or private institutions upon non-coercive activities that individuals have chosen to retain within their private spheres. However, the United States Transhumanist Party also recognizes that no individuals should be protected from peaceful criticism of any matters that those individuals have chosen to disclose within the sphere of public knowledge and discourse.

 Option A-3. The United States Transhumanist Party strongly supports the liberty over how to apply technology to oneself and the privacy rights of any sentient entities to personal data, genetic material, digital, biographic, physical, and intellectual enhancements, and consciousness.

 Option A-NO. No Section of this sort.

Question II. Section B. Anti-Bigotry

Rank-order the Section B Options that you support. Choose “1” for your most highly favored option, “2” for your second-most highly favored option, etc. You may include the option for “No Section of this sort” in your rank-ordering, and it does not need to be your most favored option if you do so. (For instance, some voters might favor some options but think that no language is preferable to some of the other options.)

If you choose “Abstain”, then do not rank-order any options, as you will be considered to have skipped this question.

 Option B-1 [Based on Section XXX of the Nevada Transhumanist Party Platform]. The United States Transhumanist Party abhors all racism, nativism, xenophobia, and sexism. Accordingly, the United States Transhumanist Party condemns any hostile discrimination or legal restrictions on the basis of national origin, skin color, birthplace, ancestry, gender identity, or any manner of circumstantial attribute tied to a person’s lineage or accident of birth. Furthermore, the United States Transhumanist Party strongly opposes any efforts to close national borders, restrict immigration of peaceful individuals, or deny opportunities to individuals on the basis of ethnicity, race, or national origin. The United States Transhumanist Party unequivocally condemns all demagogues who seek to segregate individuals on the basis of national origin, race, or ethnicity. In particular, The United States Transhumanist Party opposes movements describing themselves as “white nationalism”, “America First”, “race realism”, and the “alt-right” – as well as the counterparts of those movements in other countries.

 Option B-2. In addition to supporting the freedoms within the United States Constitution and Bill of Rights, the United States Transhumanist Party emphatically supports the freedom of enhanced or augmented sentient entities to live free from ridicule, discrimination, abuse, or enslavement by any person, group, entity, or government. Accordingly, the United States Transhumanist Party also strongly supports legal immigration without bias. Furthermore, the United States Transhumanist Party ardently supports inclusiveness of all sentient entities.

 Option B-3. The United States Transhumanist Party is an egalitarian institution and believes in individual freedom of association sans coercion or violence. The United States Transhumanist Party holds that governments should not make rules either opposed to or in favor of groups or individuals based on circumstances of their birth. No government decisions should be made based on race, sex, or other circumstances of birth beyond individual control.

 Option B-4. The United States Transhumanist Party is an egalitarian institution and believes in individual freedom of association sans coercion or violence. The United States Transhumanist Party holds that governments should not make rules either opposed to or in favor of groups or individuals based on circumstances of their birth. No government decisions should be made based on race, sex, or other circumstances of birth beyond individual control. Accordingly, the United States Transhumanist Party is opposed to policies such as affirmative action or legally mandated restroom gendering, as such policies also represent legislation that puts people into categories and divides them based on circumstances beyond their choosing. The United States Transhumanist Party also supports freedom of association and holds that individual actions should not be censured so long as they are not violent or coercive to other individuals, even when they may contravene the ideals articulated herein.

 Option B-5. The United States Transhumanist Party supports acceptance, tolerance, and inclusivity of individuals and groups of all races, genders, classes, and peaceful religions, creeds, and ideologies. Accordingly, the United States Transhumanist Party condemns any hostile discrimination or legal restrictions on the basis of national origin, skin color, birthplace, ancestry, gender identity, or any manner of circumstantial attribute tied to a person’s lineage or accident of birth. Furthermore, the United States Transhumanist Party strongly opposes any efforts to enforce said restrictions regardless of cause or motivation thereof.

 Option B-NO. No Section of this sort.

Question III. Section C. Benefits and Risks of Technologies

Rank-order the Section C Options that you support. Choose “1” for your most highly favored option, “2” for your second-most highly favored option, etc. You may include the option for “No Section of this sort” in your rank-ordering, and it does not need to be your most favored option if you do so. (For instance, some voters might favor some options but think that no language is preferable to some of the other options.)

If you choose “Abstain”, then do not rank-order any options, as you will be considered to have skipped this question.

 Option C-1 [Based on Section XXVIII of the Nevada Transhumanist Party Platform]. The United States Transhumanist Party holds that the vast majority of technologies are beneficial to human well-being and should be enthusiastically advocated for and developed further. However, a minority of technologies could be detrimental to human well-being and, as such, their application, when it results in detrimental consequences, should be opposed. Examples of such detrimental technologies include nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons, mass-surveillance systems such as those deployed by the National Security Agency in the United States, and backscatter X-ray full-body scanners such as those used until 2013 by the Transportation Security Administration in the United States. Furthermore, the United States Transhumanist Party is opposed to the deliberate engineering of new active pathogens or the resurrection of once-existing pathogens, whose spread might not be able to be contained within laboratory settings. While it is impossible to un-learn the knowledge utilized in the creation of such technologies, the United States Transhumanist Party holds that all such knowledge should only be devoted toward peaceful, life-affirming, rights-respecting purposes, going forward.

 Option C-2. The United States Transhumanist Party unequivocally supports the advancement of technologies that benefit sentient beings’ wellness and extension and expansion of life. We enthusiastically advocate continued research and development that is devoted toward peaceful, life-affirming, and rights-respecting purposes. However, we stand against technologies that are detrimental to sentient entities. We stand opposed to the use of chemical, biological, and nuclear warfare tactics and devices that only bring death and destruction.

 Option C-3. The United States Transhumanist Party advocates caution in the development of technologies that may pose a threat to human life but does not seek to ban their development, as all technologies and science can have value, and often the specific uses are not known before a given technology and its derivatives are developed.

 Option C-NO. No Section of this sort.

Question IV. Section D. Nuclear Disarmament

Rank-order the Section D Options that you support. Choose “1” for your most highly favored option, “2” for your second-most highly favored option, etc. You may include the option for “No Section of this sort” in your rank-ordering, and it does not need to be your most favored option if you do so. (For instance, some voters might favor some options but think that no language is preferable to some of the other options.)

If you choose “Abstain”, then do not rank-order any options, as you will be considered to have skipped this question.

 Option D-1. In recognition of the dire existential threat that nuclear weapons pose to sapient life on Earth – including as a result of such weapons’ accidental deployment due to system failures or human misunderstanding – the United States Transhumanist Party advocates the complete dismantlement and abolition of all nuclear weapons everywhere, as rapidly as possible. If necessary for geopolitical stability, synchronized multilateral disarmament and non-proliferation treaties should be pursued, strengthened, and accelerated in the most expeditious manner. If, however, multilateral agreements among nations are not reached, then the United States Transhumanist Party advocates that all nuclear powers, especially the United States and Russia, should undertake unilateral nuclear disarmament at the earliest opportunity in order to preserve civilization from accidental annihilation.

 Option D-2. The United States Transhumanist Party opposes nuclear proliferation and endorses mutual nuclear-disarmament treaties.

 Option D-3. In recognition of the dire existential threat that nuclear weapons pose to sapient life on Earth, the United States Transhumanist Party advocates the eradication, disarmament, dismantlement, and abolition of all nuclear weapons worldwide.

 Option D-NO. No Section of this sort.

Question V. Section E. Replacement of the Military-Industrial Complex

Rank-order the Section E Options that you support. Choose “1” for your most highly favored option, “2” for your second-most highly favored option, etc. You may include the option for “No Section of this sort” in your rank-ordering, and it does not need to be your most favored option if you do so. (For instance, some voters might favor some options but think that no language is preferable to some of the other options.)

If you choose “Abstain”, then do not rank-order any options, as you will be considered to have skipped this question.

 Option E-1. [Based on Section XVI of the Nevada Transhumanist Party Platform] The United States Transhumanist Party supports the replacement of the military-industrial complex with concerted research efforts to cure cancer, heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, and other illnesses that kill far more Americans than any terrorist or foreign government. Any increase in government funding to disease-research efforts should be offset by a greater reduction in military spending.

 Option E-2. The United States Transhumanist Party supports the reduction of military expenditures on unnecessary items and the excessive costs that the United States military often incurs for items that could be procured less expensively. Reductions in unnecessary military spending would enable an increase in funding for concerted research efforts to cure cancer, heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, and other illnesses that kill far more Americans than any terrorist or foreign government.

 Option E-3. The United States Transhumanist Party opposes military expansion in the United States and seeks a reduction in size and funding to the military. Funding released by such reduction may be utilized to expand valuable scientific and technological research. The United States Transhumanist Party does not, however, advocate for the abolition of the military in its entirety.

 Option E-4. The United States Transhumanist Party supports concerted research in effort to eradicate disease and illness that wreak havoc upon and cause death of sapient beings. We strongly advocate the increase and redirection of research funds to conduct research and experiments and to explore life, science, technology, medicine, and extraterrestrial realms to improve all sentient entities.

 Option E-NO. No Section of this sort.

Draft Sample Ballot 1 for Platform Planks

Draft Sample Ballot 1 for Platform Planks

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Gennady Stolyarov II


 

The following is the draft sample ballot generated thus far as a compilation of the suggestions provided during the 15-day exposure period for the first set of U.S. Transhumanist Party platform planks. The exposure period will continue until 12:01 a.m. U.S. Pacific Time on January 15, 2017, and comments will continue to be solicited until that time, with any further reasonable suggestions incorporated into the draft sample ballot until the end of the exposure period.

The draft sample ballot is a work in progress and will be revised on this page as further input is received. The purpose of releasing the sample ballot at this time is to provide insight into the structure of the voting and the options that have already been generated, so as to enable any interested members of the Transhumanist Party to read and understand the available options and propose further refinements and alternatives.

After the exposure period, a 7-day electronic voting period will occur from 12:01 a.m. U.S. Pacific Time on January 15, 2017, to 12:01 a.m.  U.S. Pacific Time on January 22, 2017. Instructions for electronic voting will be sent to members of the U.S. Transhumanist Party via e-mail. All individuals who are members of the U.S. Transhumanist Party as of the end of the exposure period and who have expressed agreement with its three Core Ideals will be eligible to vote thereafter.

Electronic voting will be conducted by a ranked-preference method on individual sections where more options are possible than would be accommodated by a simple “Yes” or “No” vote.  Members should keep in mind that the ranked-preference method eliminates the incentives for strategic voting – so members are encouraged to vote for the options that reflect their individual preferences as closely as possible, without regard for how other members might vote.

NOTE: The titles of the questions and potential Sections are descriptive and informational only and will not appear in the final adopted platform planks (which will be incorporated into Article IV of the U.S. Transhumanist Party Constitution). They are intended as concise guides to the subject matter of the questions and potential Sections. Likewise, the letters assigned to Sections within this ballot will not reflect the numbering of the final adopted provisions, which will depend on which Sections are selected by the membership.

NOTE II: The inclusion of any proposals on this ballot does not indicate any manner of endorsement for those proposals by the U.S. Transhumanist Party at this time – except to place those proposals before the members to determine the will of the members with regard to whether or not the U.S. Transhumanist Party Platform should incorporate any given proposal.


 

Draft Sample Ballot

Proposed Platform Sections

Question I. Section A. Privacy Rights

Rank-order the Section A Options that you support. Choose “1” for your most highly favored option, “2” for your second-most highly favored option, etc. You may include the option for “No Section of this sort” in your rank-ordering, and it does not need to be your most favored option if you do so. (For instance, some voters might favor some options but think that no language is preferable to some of the other options.)

If you choose “Abstain”, then do not rank-order any options, as you will be considered to have skipped this question.

 Option A-1 [Based on Section XIX of the Nevada Transhumanist Party Platform]. The United States Transhumanist Party strongly supports individual privacy and liberty over how to apply technology to one’s personal life. The United States Transhumanist Party holds that each individual should remain completely sovereign in the choice to disclose or not disclose personal activities, preferences, and beliefs within the public sphere. As such, the United States Transhumanist Party opposes all forms of mass surveillance and any intrusion by governmental or private institutions upon non-coercive activities that an individual has chosen to retain within his, her, or its private sphere. However, the United States Transhumanist Party also recognizes that no individuals should be protected from peaceful criticism of any matters that those individuals have chosen to disclose within the sphere of public knowledge and discourse.

 Option A-2. The United States Transhumanist Party strongly supports individual privacy and liberty over how to apply technology to one’s personal life. The United States Transhumanist Party holds that each individual should remain completely sovereign in the choice to disclose or not disclose personal activities, preferences, and beliefs within the public sphere. As such, the United States Transhumanist Party opposes all forms of mass surveillance and any intrusion by governmental or private institutions upon non-coercive activities that individuals have chosen to retain within their private spheres. However, the United States Transhumanist Party also recognizes that no individuals should be protected from peaceful criticism of any matters that those individuals have chosen to disclose within the sphere of public knowledge and discourse.

 Option A-3. The United States Transhumanist Party strongly supports the liberty over how to apply technology to oneself and the privacy rights of any sentient entities to personal data, genetic material, digital, biographic, physical, and intellectual enhancements, and consciousness.

 Option A-NO. No Section of this sort.

Question II. Section B. Anti-Bigotry

Rank-order the Section B Options that you support. Choose “1” for your most highly favored option, “2” for your second-most highly favored option, etc. You may include the option for “No Section of this sort” in your rank-ordering, and it does not need to be your most favored option if you do so. (For instance, some voters might favor some options but think that no language is preferable to some of the other options.)

If you choose “Abstain”, then do not rank-order any options, as you will be considered to have skipped this question.

 Option B-1 [Based on Section XXX of the Nevada Transhumanist Party Platform]. The United States Transhumanist Party abhors all racism, nativism, xenophobia, and sexism. Accordingly, the United States Transhumanist Party condemns any hostile discrimination or legal restrictions on the basis of national origin, skin color, birthplace, ancestry, gender identity, or any manner of circumstantial attribute tied to a person’s lineage or accident of birth. Furthermore, the United States Transhumanist Party strongly opposes any efforts to close national borders, restrict immigration of peaceful individuals, or deny opportunities to individuals on the basis of ethnicity, race, or national origin. The United States Transhumanist Party unequivocally condemns all demagogues who seek to segregate individuals on the basis of national origin, race, or ethnicity. In particular, The United States Transhumanist Party opposes movements describing themselves as “white nationalism”, “America First”, “race realism”, and the “alt-right” – as well as the counterparts of those movements in other countries.

 Option B-2. In addition to supporting the freedoms within the United States Constitution and Bill of Rights, the United States Transhumanist Party emphatically supports the freedom of enhanced or augmented sentient entities to live free from ridicule, discrimination, abuse, or enslavement by any person, group, entity, or government. Accordingly, the United States Transhumanist Party also strongly supports legal immigration without bias. Furthermore, the United States Transhumanist Party ardently supports inclusiveness of all sentient entities.

 Option B-3. The United States Transhumanist Party is an egalitarian institution and believes in individual freedom of association sans coercion or violence. The United States Transhumanist Party holds that governments should not make rules either opposed to or in favor of groups or individuals based on circumstances of their birth. No government decisions should be made based on race, sex, or other circumstances of birth beyond individual control.

 Option B-4. The United States Transhumanist Party is an egalitarian institution and believes in individual freedom of association sans coercion or violence. The United States Transhumanist Party holds that governments should not make rules either opposed to or in favor of groups or individuals based on circumstances of their birth. No government decisions should be made based on race, sex, or other circumstances of birth beyond individual control. Accordingly, the United States Transhumanist Party is opposed to policies such as affirmative action or legally mandated restroom gendering, as such policies also represent legislation that puts people into categories and divides them based on circumstances beyond their choosing. The United States Transhumanist Party also supports freedom of association and holds that individual actions should not be censured so long as they are not violent or coercive to other individuals, even when they may contravene the ideals articulated herein.

 Option B-5. The United States Transhumanist Party supports acceptance, tolerance, and inclusivity of individuals and groups of all races, genders, classes, and peaceful religions, creeds, and ideologies. Accordingly, the United States Transhumanist Party condemns any hostile discrimination or legal restrictions on the basis of national origin, skin color, birthplace, ancestry, gender identity, or any manner of circumstantial attribute tied to a person’s lineage or accident of birth. Furthermore, the United States Transhumanist Party strongly opposes any efforts to enforce said restrictions regardless of cause or motivation thereof.

 Option B-NO. No Section of this sort.

Question III. Section C. Benefits and Risks of Technologies

Rank-order the Section C Options that you support. Choose “1” for your most highly favored option, “2” for your second-most highly favored option, etc. You may include the option for “No Section of this sort” in your rank-ordering, and it does not need to be your most favored option if you do so. (For instance, some voters might favor some options but think that no language is preferable to some of the other options.)

If you choose “Abstain”, then do not rank-order any options, as you will be considered to have skipped this question.

 Option C-1 [Based on Section XXVIII of the Nevada Transhumanist Party Platform]. The United States Transhumanist Party holds that the vast majority of technologies are beneficial to human well-being and should be enthusiastically advocated for and developed further. However, a minority of technologies could be detrimental to human well-being and, as such, their application, when it results in detrimental consequences, should be opposed. Examples of such detrimental technologies include nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons, mass-surveillance systems such as those deployed by the National Security Agency in the United States, and backscatter X-ray full-body scanners such as those used until 2013 by the Transportation Security Administration in the United States. Furthermore, the United States Transhumanist Party is opposed to the deliberate engineering of new active pathogens or the resurrection of once-existing pathogens, whose spread might not be able to be contained within laboratory settings. While it is impossible to un-learn the knowledge utilized in the creation of such technologies, the United States Transhumanist Party holds that all such knowledge should only be devoted toward peaceful, life-affirming, rights-respecting purposes, going forward.

 Option C-2. The United States Transhumanist Party unequivocally supports the advancement of technologies that benefit sentient beings’ wellness and extension and expansion of life. We enthusiastically advocate continued research and development that is devoted toward peaceful, life-affirming, and rights-respecting purposes. However, we stand against technologies that are detrimental to sentient entities. We stand opposed to the use of chemical, biological, and nuclear warfare tactics and devices that only bring death and destruction.

 Option C-3. The United States Transhumanist Party advocates caution in the development of technologies that may pose a threat to human life but does not seek to ban their development, as all technologies and science can have value, and often the specific uses are not known before a given technology and its derivatives are developed.

 Option C-NO. No Section of this sort.

Question IV. Section D. Nuclear Disarmament

Rank-order the Section D Options that you support. Choose “1” for your most highly favored option, “2” for your second-most highly favored option, etc. You may include the option for “No Section of this sort” in your rank-ordering, and it does not need to be your most favored option if you do so. (For instance, some voters might favor some options but think that no language is preferable to some of the other options.)

If you choose “Abstain”, then do not rank-order any options, as you will be considered to have skipped this question.

 Option D-1. In recognition of the dire existential threat that nuclear weapons pose to sapient life on Earth – including as a result of such weapons’ accidental deployment due to system failures or human misunderstanding – the United States Transhumanist Party advocates the complete dismantlement and abolition of all nuclear weapons everywhere, as rapidly as possible. If necessary for geopolitical stability, synchronized multilateral disarmament and non-proliferation treaties should be pursued, strengthened, and accelerated in the most expeditious manner. If, however, multilateral agreements among nations are not reached, then the United States Transhumanist Party advocates that all nuclear powers, especially the United States and Russia, should undertake unilateral nuclear disarmament at the earliest opportunity in order to preserve civilization from accidental annihilation.

 Option D-2. The United States Transhumanist Party opposes nuclear proliferation and endorses mutual nuclear-disarmament treaties.

 Option D-3. In recognition of the dire existential threat that nuclear weapons pose to sapient life on Earth, the United States Transhumanist Party advocates the eradication, disarmament, dismantlement, and abolition of all nuclear weapons worldwide.

 Option D-NO. No Section of this sort.

Question V. Section E. Replacement of the Military-Industrial Complex

 Option E-1. [Based on Section XVI of the Nevada Transhumanist Party Platform] The United States Transhumanist Party supports the replacement of the military-industrial complex with concerted research efforts to cure cancer, heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, and other illnesses that kill far more Americans than any terrorist or foreign government. Any increase in government funding to disease-research efforts should be offset by a greater reduction in military spending.

 Option E-2. The United States Transhumanist Party supports the reduction of military expenditures on unnecessary items and the excessive costs that the United States military often incurs for items that could be procured less expensively. Reductions in unnecessary military spending would enable an increase in funding for concerted research efforts to cure cancer, heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, and other illnesses that kill far more Americans than any terrorist or foreign government.

 Option E-3. The United States Transhumanist Party opposes military expansion in the United States and seeks a reduction in size and funding to the military. Funding released by such reduction may be utilized to expand valuable scientific and technological research. The United States Transhumanist Party does not, however, advocate for the abolition of the military in its entirety.

 Option E-4. The United States Transhumanist Party supports concerted research in effort to eradicate disease and illness that wreaks havoc upon and causes death of sapient beings. We strongly advocate the increase and redirection of research funds to conduct research and experiments and to explore life, science, technology, medicine, and extraterrestrial realms to improve all sentient entities.

 Option E-NO. No Section of this sort.

 

15-Day Exposure Period for Platform Planks on Privacy Rights, Anti-Bigotry, Benefits and Risks of Technologies, Nuclear Disarmament, and Replacement of the Military-Industrial Complex

15-Day Exposure Period for Platform Planks on Privacy Rights, Anti-Bigotry, Benefits and Risks of Technologies, Nuclear Disarmament, and Replacement of the Military-Industrial Complex

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Gennady Stolyarov II


The membership of the U.S. Transhumanist Party continues to grow. Having reached over 254 members and having successfully implemented a voting infrastructure (which is currently being utilized in our vote on the Transhumanist Bill of Rights, ongoing until 12:01 a.m. on January 1, 2017), the Transhumanist Party can now begin to develop its platform with input from and voting by the members. The voting on the Transhumanist Bill of Rights has been an important learning experience for us, in that we have received ample member feedback and have sought to incorporate all of it in our ballot. This led to the ballot being extensive (with 38 substantive questions and numerous options for some of the questions), and has led us to consider how we can continue to ensure that all reasonable member input is reflected, while keeping each individual vote concise to enable even members with limited time to consider all the options and offer their input.

Our provisional solution with regard to future votes on the Transhumanist Party Platform is to consider five issue-specific planks per ballot. There will be multiple votes, each pertaining to a set of five planks, so members should not be discouraged if some issues are not mentioned on any given ballot. The intent is to continue the process of exposure and voting until the Transhumanist Party Platform is reasonably comprehensive and responsive to member suggestions in a large number of relevant areas. Even after the initial platform becomes reasonably comprehensive, the Transhumanist Party will accept member input regarding platform planks on an ongoing basis and will set up periodic votes on platform issues as soon as a sufficient mass of suggestions has accumulated to justify the compilation of a new ballot.

During the next 15 days, until 12:01 a.m. U.S. Pacific Time on January 15, 2017, members of the Transhumanist Party will be able to offer input regarding the five proposed planks below.

The first five planks being proposed pertain to timely issues which have motivated extensive discussion among members and comments made in outreach to the leadership of the U.S. Transhumanist Party. It is my personal view that, given ongoing world events, it is essential for the Transhumanist Party to take positions on issues such as privacy rights, opposition to bigotry, the imperative to use technology to improve and not damage human well-being, the imperative to prevent nuclear war (including accidental nuclear war), and the need to transition the focus of our productive infrastructure away from tools of warfare and destruction and toward research into and deployment of cures for diseases, including senescence, which are our real enemies.

What the specific positions on these issues will be, however, is ultimately subject to the determination of the members. The proposed planks being exposed are open to member suggestions, and every reasonable suggestion will generate an alternative option for members to vote on. Please offer your honest feedback regarding what you like about the original proposed version of each plank, what you dislike, and any revisions or additions you would favor. Please feel free to advocate your individual viewpoint – as all reasonable (serious, non-egregious, benevolently motivated) and topical suggestions will be considered in the voting process. If you make a suggestion that is best addressed in a plank on a different issue, then your suggestion will be considered during the development of a subsequent ballot and may influence the sequence by which planks get exposed.

During the exposure period, please post your comments on this thread. If you post comments intended to be considered in voting and/or amending any of these planks in any other electronic medium, please note that you thereby give your consent to have your comments reproduced with attribution or linked within this discussion thread, in order to direct members’ attention and consideration to them.

After the exposure period, a 7-day electronic voting period will occur from 12:01 a.m. U.S. Pacific Time on January 15, 2017, to 12:01 a.m.  U.S. Pacific Time on January 22, 2017. Instructions for electronic voting will be sent to members of the U.S. Transhumanist Party via e-mail. All individuals who are members of the U.S. Transhumanist Party as of the end of the exposure period and who have expressed agreement with its three Core Ideals will be eligible to vote thereafter. You can still vote if you become a member during the exposure period, so please apply here if you are interested. During the 7-day electronic voting period, you will still be able to become a member – but you will only be able to vote in subsequent elections, since we seek for voting on any given issue to be done by those members who have had an opportunity to thoroughly consider that issue and be involved in deliberations regarding it.

Electronic voting will be conducted by a ranked-preference method. Members will be able to rank-order their preferred selections on each individual Platform Section. The original text of each Section will be available for selection, as well as any reasonable amendments proposed by any member. Leadership of the Transhumanist Party reserves the right to edit any proposed amendment for correctness of spelling and grammar only – but not with regard to the substance, unless the person proposing the amendment requests or consents to a substantive edit. “No Section of this sort” will also be a choice, and any Section where a majority of votes favors this option will be not be adopted. Members will also be able to abstain from voting on any given Section.

The ranked-preference method has the advantage of eliminating a “winner-take-all” or “first-past-the-post” mentality and preventing people from being channeled into voting for sub-optimal choices (in their view) just because they fear an even less palatable alternative prevailing. Within the ranked-preference methodology, if no option obtains a clear majority as voters’ first choice, the option having the fewest first-choice votes is eliminated from consideration, and all those who voted for that option will have their votes assigned to their second-choice options. This process of elimination continues until one particular option has a clear majority of votes.

The Transhumanist Party encourages all members to participate in this process and for other transhumanists to sign up for membership during the exposure period. 


The text of the proposed platform planks below, other than Section D (which is newly written), is based on sections of the current Nevada Transhumanist Party Platform. The Section letters are provisional and will be replaced with official numbers for each plank that is adopted. The Section titles are informational only and will not be included in the adopted versions of the platform planks.

Section A. Privacy Rights

[Based on Section XIX of the Nevada Transhumanist Party Platform]

The United States Transhumanist Party strongly supports individual privacy and liberty over how to apply technology to one’s personal life. The United States Transhumanist Party holds that each individual should remain completely sovereign in the choice to disclose or not disclose personal activities, preferences, and beliefs within the public sphere. As such, the United States Transhumanist Party opposes all forms of mass surveillance and any intrusion by governmental or private institutions upon non-coercive activities that an individual has chosen to retain within his, her, or its private sphere. However, the United States Transhumanist Party also recognizes that no individuals should be protected from peaceful criticism of any matters that those individuals have chosen to disclose within the sphere of public knowledge and discourse.

Section B. Anti-Bigotry

[Based on Section XXX of the Nevada Transhumanist Party Platform]

The United States Transhumanist Party abhors all racism, nativism, xenophobia, and sexism. Accordingly, the United States Transhumanist Party condemns any hostile discrimination or legal restrictions on the basis of national origin, skin color, birthplace, ancestry, gender identity, or any manner of circumstantial attribute tied to a person’s lineage or accident of birth. Furthermore, the United States Transhumanist Party strongly opposes any efforts to close national borders, restrict immigration of peaceful individuals, or deny opportunities to individuals on the basis of ethnicity, race, or national origin. The United States Transhumanist Party unequivocally condemns all demagogues who seek to segregate individuals on the basis of national origin, race, or ethnicity. In particular, The United States Transhumanist Party opposes movements describing themselves as “white nationalism”, “America First”, “race realism”, and the “alt-right” – as well as the counterparts of those movements in other countries.

Section C. Benefits and Risks of Technologies

[Based on Section XXVIII of the Nevada Transhumanist Party Platform]

The United States Transhumanist Party holds that the vast majority of technologies are beneficial to human well-being and should be enthusiastically advocated for and developed further. However, a minority of technologies could be detrimental to human well-being and, as such, their application, when it results in detrimental consequences, should be opposed. Examples of such detrimental technologies include nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons, mass-surveillance systems such as those deployed by the National Security Agency in the United States, and backscatter X-ray full-body scanners such as those used by the Transportation Security Administration in the United States. Furthermore, the United States Transhumanist Party is opposed to the deliberate engineering of new active pathogens or the resurrection of once-existing pathogens, whose spread might not be able to be contained within laboratory settings. While it is impossible to un-learn the knowledge utilized in the creation of such technologies, the United States Transhumanist Party holds that all such knowledge should only be devoted toward peaceful, life-affirming, rights-respecting purposes, going forward.

Section D. Nuclear Disarmament

In recognition of the dire existential threat that nuclear weapons pose to sapient life on Earth – including as a result of such weapons’ accidental deployment due to system failures or human misunderstanding – the United States Transhumanist Party advocates the complete dismantlement and abolition of all nuclear weapons everywhere, as rapidly as possible. If necessary for geopolitical stability, synchronized multilateral disarmament and non-proliferation treaties should be pursued, strengthened, and accelerated in the most expeditious manner. If, however, multilateral agreements among nations are not reached, then the United States Transhumanist Party advocates that all nuclear powers, especially the United States and Russia, should undertake unilateral nuclear disarmament at the earliest opportunity in order to preserve civilization from accidental annihilation.

Section E. Replacement of the Military-Industrial Complex

[Based on Section XVI of the Nevada Transhumanist Party Platform]

The United States Transhumanist Party supports the replacement of the military-industrial complex with concerted research efforts to cure cancer, heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, and other illnesses that kill far more Americans than any terrorist or foreign government. Any increase in government funding to disease-research efforts should be offset by a greater reduction in military spending.


We welcome your feedback in the comments below.