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Captain America: Evil Transhumanist Monster? January 10, 2012

Posted by Metabiological in Transhumanism.
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Just kidding folks, I actually like Captain America quite a bit.  He’s the ultimate human specimen, he manages to be a courageous warrior and humble all-around good guy, he’s got a shield he can ricochette off bad guys like a giant pin ball.  What’s not to love?

A lot if you listen to some one like this.  You see children, Captain America is not just a cool comic book character.  He’s actually a frightening example of the dangers of man’s hubris.  He’s a terrifying horror story of technology run-wild.  He’s… a TRANSHUMANIST!!!

(Cue generic evil music)

No really, according to Catholic blogger Rebecca Taylor:

The reason Captain America is so dangerous is because he is the perfect poster child for transhumanism.  Captain America is the only super hero that I know where the enhancements are a choice…

He was healthy and underwent potentially fatal procedures to make him Captain America, placing in the subconscious of every boy and girl in the United States that the way to become a hero is to volunteer to let your government experiment on you.  Totally unethical and totally dangerous.

Now you can call me biased if you want (I do run a transhumanist blog so you’ll be justified if you do) but something strikes me as wrong with this argument.  Certainly Captain America is the subject of genetic engineering and his physical abilities are enhanced beyond what they would have been otherwise but does that make him a poster child for transhumanism?  No, and for a rather simple reason.

Steve Rodgers (Cap’s alter ego) was not a healthy human being.  In fact his whole story was set into motion because he attempted to enter the army to fight Nazi’s (the comic was originally published in the 1940’s) but was rejected due to his frail condition.  In order to serve his country in it’s hour of greatest need, Rodgers signed up for an experimental procedure that would enhance his strength, speed and endurance to the height of human possibility.  He would in short become the perfect HUMAN.

That’s right there is the problem with Ms. Taylor’s argument.  Captain America is ultimately a story about using technology in the pursuit of maximizing human potential.  His abilities are impressive but they are ultimately limiting.  The serum which gave him his powers improved the human condition but it did not transcend it.  Captain America may very well be an enhanced human but he is no transhumanist.

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