From Academic Kids


A superhuman is something exceeding normal human standards.

Superhuman can mean an "improved" human, for example, by genetic modification, or as what humans might evolve into, in the distant future. Occasionally, it could mean a "normal" human with unusual abilities, such as psychic abilities or exceptional proficiency at something.

Superhuman can also mean something that isn't human, but considered to be "superior" to humans in some ways. A robot that easily passed the Turing test, and could do some things humans can't, could be considered superhuman. A very intelligent or strong alien could be considered superhuman.

The concept of the superhuman is quite popular in science fiction, where superhumans are often mutants or genetically engineered.

The greatest publicity of the concept is, of course, comic book superheroes, especially Superman, though this is not as well-thought-out as is science fiction genre of superhumans.

The term is often used in discussions of comic book characters because the term Superman is trademarked.

Superhuman characters in various comics, role-playing games and other entertainment mediums have also been referred to as metahuman or posthuman.

In Marvel comics the term superhuman applies to an aptitude (usually physical) that is far beyond the range attainable by normal human beings. The term athlete refers to a character that is in extraordinary physical condition, such as a weight lifter, boxer, or any other kind of professional athlete. The term peak human is applied to physical abilities that are nearly beyond the limits of humans. Next is the term enhanced human, and it refers to abilities beyond the limits of humans. It is sort of the term for light superhuman abilities. Such as a character who can lift a small car but not a tank. Then is the term superhuman. Characters with a superhuman attribute are far beyond normal human abilities. There is also a range beyond superhuman and this is metahuman. As the enhanced human level is really just a term for a low superhuman ability, metahuman is a term for a high superhuman ability.

Superhumans in Science Fiction

One of the most significant types of science fiction story derives from the concept of mutation. It's that a human being would mutate into a being that either has powers as yet not exhibited by humans, or else motivations entirely different from those human beings, or both.

One of the problems with the concept is that it is dominated by a misunderstanding of the theory of evolution. Mutation takes place, but it is only a summation of the interactions with the environment which leads first to a new species, and then some time has to occur before one species becomes extinct while another, not necessarily the mutated species, survives. And it is only a value-judgement by humans which declares that the differnt characteristic of new species is "superior". But the notion of progress is inherently built into this genre of stories.


Human extinction

One reason proposed for a possible human extinction is that humans will evolve into superhumans, leaving no trace of the original humans.

See also


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