Instapundit quotes some twit on Facebook I’ve never heard of, asking in re: of a man with a prosthetic bionic hand, “why the majority of people aren’t Transhumanists. Religious fervor can leade someone to take limbs or blow them off, but has it ever, in the history of the world, replaced a limb?”
First of all, the quick version doesn’t explain that the gentleman in question had his hand cut off. Most of us probably wouldn’t react to a bad hand by saying, “Gee, I think I’ll just have this sucker pruned, so I can have experimental prosthetics and phantom pain instead of just a gimp hand. Yay!” No, I think most of us would rather keep the original equipment, even if it was mostly useful only as a pencil stand and as a purveyor of fingernails to nibble. We certainly wouldn’t do that to a perfectly good working hand, as the transdorkanist on Facebook is suggesting.
And of course, limb replacement was a standard issue miracle in several world religions. For example, the No-Pay Doctors St. Cosmas and Damian, who not only replaced missing limbs with Frankenstein parts from the dead but also just did the standard issue miraculous ones. Then there’s mechanical limbs, like the Silver Hand given to the Irish god Nuada. Generally, however, the preferred legendary method doesn’t include getting rid of anything that’s still working. I mean, who’d believe that anybody would be willing to whack off a body part for being slightly used?
But to answer the question with the supernatural tied behind our backs, many of the best hospitals in the world are religious hospitals. Hospitals don’t have names like “Mount Sinai” or “St. Jude Children’s Hospital” because they were picked out of a bag. You can’t just tell by the name, either. If you go to the Mayo Clinic, you’re going to a religious-run place.
And out of their religious fervor, they sew limbs back on, all the time. There’s a reason people now save severed fingers, with the full expectation that they might get some use out of ’em yet.
Yet even as neural treatments to restore paralyzed limbs are coming into use, this transhumanist advocates cutting off bits of yourself for self-improvement’s sake, without waiting for science. And then he insults religion for being useless. Yeah, right.
Yep, this is what makes it hard to fight intellectual arrogance in today’s world — other people’s intellectual arrogance. Supposedly smart people saying stupid things, but being sure they’re wise. So I think to myself, “I’d never say anything that stupid,” and the arrogance cycle continues. 🙂