Prejudice Against Transhumanism in Star Trek

Star Trek’s greatest villains are, almost without exception, the products of human (or whatever-the-original-species-was) enhancement. For example Star Trek II: Wrath of Khan, universally regarded as the best Trek movie, has as its villain Khan Noonien Singh.


In Star Trek: The Next Generation, of course, we get the Borg, cyborgs from the other side of the galaxy who exist as part of a single collective consciousness which they continually seek to forcibly add other species to. And then, in Deep Space Nine, we get the Dominion, an empire composed of three main species, at least two of them enhanced.


Star Trek is, strangely, much kinder to purely artificial beings, notably Next Gen’s Lieutenant Commander Data and Voyager’s The Doctor. The implications of Data and the Doctor are never fully explored; in Data’s case, this is justified by the fact that the colony where Data was created was attacked by the Crystalline Entity shortly after Data’s creation, putting a halt to his creator’s research, while Voyager simply doesn’t think very hard about the problem. Still, moral condemnation of Data and the Doctor is absent. And yet… a central part of both characters’ arcs is their quest to become more human. Becoming more human is good; so perhaps the thought behind all of Trek’s anti-enhancement animus is that enhancement is seen as becoming less human. The obvious counterpoint is that it seems like enhancement could be used to give us more of what we value as humans; no reason is ever given for why we couldn’t work out the bugs in enhanced intelligence and avoid getting Khan.


A reoccurring theme of bioism in the series.

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Star Trek: The Next Generation (0.971967): website | dbpedia | freebase
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 Star Trek’s reactionary take on human enhancement
Electronic/World Wide Web>Blog:  Hallquist, Chris (May 16, 2013), Star Trek’s reactionary take on human enhancement, Retrieved on 2015-04-03
  • Source Material []
  • Folksonomies: transhumanism


    22 FEB 2015


    From our current human state of being to the transhuman future and the many species of posthuman our children may become.