From: Damien Broderick (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Fri Jan 11 2002 - 21:15:12 MST
Another fragment of the narrative from LIVING FOREVER.
Lee Silver says we might genetically engineer our offspring to be immortal.
In the gravest of posh tones, the narrator warns us:
`Then our babies would be pre-programmed to live forever, but there'd be no
going back. Immortality would be written into the genes of the human race.'
Oh, no! What a terrible fate! Somehow I can't imagine that this nitwit
writer would have felt obliged to say, in equal tones of horror, of a
different speculative medical advance:
`Then our babies would be pre-programmed to live free of cancer, but
there'd be no going back. Immunity to cancer would be written into the
genes of the human race.'
Aside from that, I'm always dumbfounded at the one-way-valve theory of
biological intervention such comments betray. Critics can imagine taking
out or modifying a gene, but apparently the metaphysical structure of the
universe will stop us from putting it back in if we choose, or reversing
the change in the codon sequence. (Granted, in some limit cases that might
actually be so; if someone bungled and modified *all* the human germline
cells in the entire world to reduce maximum human intelligence to IQ 80, or
to kill everyone older than age 15. These changes might not make much
difference to television programming, however.)
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