The Daring and Disappointing Dreams of Transhumanism’s Secular Eschatology

Michael Baggot, LC

Speaker Institution

Michael Baggot, LC, PhD is currently an Assistant Professor of Bioethics at the Pontifical Athenaeum Regina Apostolorum in Rome, Italy. He also teaches in the school’s Faculty of Theology as a professor for the Joint Diploma in Leadership: Service through Virtues. In addition, Fr. Baggot is a Research Scholar at the UNESCO Chair in Bioethics and Human Rights. He was an Adjunct Professor of Theology at the Christendom College Rome programme from 2018 to 2022. His writings have appeared in First Things, Studia Bioethica, The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly, and Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy. He is the chief editor of and a contributor to the book Enhancement Fit for Humanity: Perspectives on Emerging Technologies (Routledge, 2022).

The Daring and Disappointing Dreams of Transhumanism’s Secular Eschatology

Although it is a largely secular movement, contemporary transhumanism borrows heavily from both Christian orthodoxy and its heresies to construct a vision for human transformation and happiness. The presentation traces the roots of transhumanism’s pseudo-religious soteriology and eschatology and then examines the underlying anthropological problems that drive the hoped-for salvation through digital immortality. Unfortunately, the admirable desire to extend life sacrifices an appreciation for the integral harmony of the human person’s animal and spiritual dimensions. Since human actions manifest the person’s intrinsic corporeality, the notion of detaching the human personality from the body through digitalization is doomed to produce replicas without achieving true immortality. The surprising pseudo-religious thrust of contemporary transhumanism’s secular eschatology presents an opportunity to rediscover the Catholic patrimony’s reflection on authentic divinization through the transhumanizing effects of divine grace. The presentation thus concludes with a Thomistic theosis-centered reorientation of secular transhumanism’s eschatological aspirations for immanent immortality toward true human flourishing.