Product Description: We stand on the brink of unprecedented growth in our ability to understand and change the human genome. New reproductive technologies now enable parents to select some genetic traits for their children, and soon it will be possible to begin to shape ourselves as a species.
Despite the loud cries of alarm that such a prospect inspires, Ronald Green argues that we will, and we should, undertake the direction of our own evolution. A leader in the bioethics community, Green offers a scientifically and ethically informed view of human genetic self-modification and the possibilities it opens up for a better future.
Fears of a terrible Brave New World or a new eugenics movement are overblown, he maintains, and in the more likely future, genetic modifications may improve parents' ability to enhance children's lives and may even promote social justice. He urges the reader to distinguish today's science from the discredited eugenics of the 19th and 20th centuries because today's technologies arrive as choices for the individual, not state-directed programs.
Choosing our children's qualities, he contends, may not only impair their autonomy and skew our desired egalitarian social landscape, but will -- this is Sandel's most distinctive point -- deny us our sense of life as a "gift," an "endowment" that should exceed our control.
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Sandel prefers that we reject a "stance of mastery and dominion that fails to appreciate the gifted character of human powers and achievements," that treats children as "objects of our design. Like Green, Sandel ponders a phenomenon at the top of the news last week -- the use of enhancement drugs and gene "therapies" in sports. Like Green, Sandel points out that the history of sports is full of activities once thought to alter fair competition into unfair competition -- e. Unlike Green, who asks -- in a chapter titled "Creating the Superathlete" -- "What's wrong with gene doping, and why shouldn't we regard it as just another tool, like better food or innovative training techniques, to improve competitiveness?
Designer babies: an ethical horror waiting to happen? | Science | The Guardian
Still, they share the view that bans on particular substances or practices in sports are just conventions of a particular time. That implies a useful guideline for analysts of last week's Mitchell Report: Distinguish ethical issues about following current rules from future issues about the relation of "enhancement science" to athletic performance.
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What's happening in baseball just shows what an impact new science can have on settled ways of life. Is Green right that we always fear change and exhibit a "status-quo bias"? Should we heed Sandel's warning that the future of human solidarity is at stake? Green, with a greater grasp of the science, emphasizes medicine's many victories for humankind. Sandel, a savvy student of political history, notes how often exploitation of new science has led to disaster through pollution, global warming, industrialized genocide and nuclear proliferation.
Both, however, agree on one crucial truth: We all need much greater literacy in the ethical concepts and scientific information necessary to make informed decisions about these choices, especially given, as Green reports, "how fast the science is moving.
Babies by Design
One solution is as old as Gutenberg. Before you plan that baby or fit together the crib, pick up these genetically engineered progenies, so to speak, of "Dr. Spock's Baby and Child Care.
Continuing our celebration of PopMatters' 20th anniversary, we revisit our 10 picks for the best debut albums of It turns out our selections were prescient as many of these artists have gone on to storied careers. Travel back to and see them again for the first time.
PopMatters turns 20 years old this October and we're beginning to celebrate our history by taking you back in time a decade ago. Obama was in the White House and the musical times were very good indeed. Revisit through its best albums. Scientists have generally been content with their role as readers of this molecular language but increasingly dream of becoming editors and maybe even authors.
Creation, though, comes with a hefty price tag. Babies by Design: The Ethics of Genetic Choice weighs the potential promise and peril of genetic engineering. Miksanek T. All Rights Reserved.
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