Re: SOC/BIO: George Will joins the bioluddites

Date: Mon Jan 22 2001 - 11:12:35 MST

Greg Burch forwards George Will's column:

> Enhancement is not therapy, it is eugenics....
> But positive
> eugenics, any tailoring of an individual's genetic endowment, even when less
> ambitious than cloning, will put us on a slippery slope to the abolition of
> man.

In a way, this language about "the abolition of man" may actually be a good
thing in the logn run.

I don't believe George Will or any other conservatives are going
to succeed in persuading parents to have disease-ridden children.
Few parents will want to endure the heartbreak of watching their child
suffer. And as other posters have pointed out, Will's attempt to draw
a line between "negative" and "positive eugenics" will never succeed.
The result is that we will see continued pressure to use technology
to cure preventable illnesses before babies are born.

If Will and other conservatives are going to prattle on about this
represents "the abolition of man", so much the better. Anything which
forces people to stretch their minds and to think seriously about what
constitutes humanity is a good thing. Once we can no longer cleanly
distinguish between Man, created by God, and the artifacts of Man's own
creation, we will have to look deeper, at the essence. We will recognize
that the mode of creation is not important. What matters is the being.

This rethinking, which will undoubtedly be a long and difficult process
throughout the next several decades, will hopefully lead ultimately to
a world which can embrace new technologies in the same way that we do.
An intelligent machine, an uploaded man or woman, a genetically enhanced
person, or a traditional human, all will be seen as having equal rights
and deserving equal consideration.

Reactions like Will's are going to occur at each step, of course.
But ultimately the benefits of taking the next step are so large that
it will happen. As Will seems to recognize, we are indeed already on
a slippery slope. He tries to draw the line between what is done today
and what will be done tomorrow. Tomorrow we will have crossed that line,
and he will draw it again at the next boundary. But the future beckons,


This archive was generated by hypermail 2b30 : Mon May 28 2001 - 09:56:22 MDT