By Sean D. Sutton
Considers the ethics and demanding situations of biotechnology.
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Extra info for Biotechnology: Our Future As Human Beings and Citizens
22 This is complete nonsense. WHO’S AFRAID OF POSTHUMANITY? 37 Again, this is an expression of hard genetic determinism that is simply not warranted by biology. A gene that enhances one’s capacity for music doesn’t mean that its possessor must become another Scott Joplin or Keith Jarrett; genes simply don’t work that way. All of us have many capacities stemming from his or her specific genetic endowment. Perhaps, I could have become a professional basketball player or a computer engineer, but I chose not to develop those particular abilities despite the fact that my specific complement of genes might have allowed me to do so.
Not the agelessness of the body, not the contentment of the soul, and not even the list of external achievements and accomplishments of life, but the engaged and energetic being-at-work of what nature uniquely gave to us is what we need to treasure and defend. All other “perfections” may turn out to be at best but passing illusions, at worst a Faustian bargain that could cost us our full and flourishing humanity. Notes 1. The 2003 report of the President’s Council on Bioethics on this topic, Beyond Therapy: Biotechnology and the Pursuit of Happiness, is organized around the first four of these themes.
10 Francis Fukuyama approvingly notes, In Europe, the environmental movement is more firmly opposed to biotechnology than is its counterpart in the United States and has managed to stop the proliferation of genetically modified foods there dead in its tracks. 11 WHO’S AFRAID OF POSTHUMANITY? 33 And Adam Wolfson, former editor of the neoconservative journal The Public Interest, warns against the hubristic temptations offered by the biotech revolution: “So let’s not fool ourselves: A sentiment less generous than education of the young drives the ambition to engineer smarter, cleverer beings.
Biotechnology: Our Future As Human Beings and Citizens by Sean D. Sutton