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Requiem of the Human Soul, by Jeremy Lent
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What   weighs more in your mind – the risks or the opportunities of genetic enhancement?   Here as some sample thoughts on both sides from some of the experts in the field.


Peter Donovan, co-director of the University of California's Stem Cell Research Center:

"The ability to generate large quantities of cells with altered genes opens the door to new research into many devastating disorders.   Not only will it allow us to study diseases more in-depth, it also could be a key step in the successful development of future stem cell therapies."


Christopher M. Keefer, The Indiana Law Journal, 1999.

"Developing risk factors ("RFs"), assigned to each genetic condition discovered by the HGP and incorporated into each individual life insurer's risk premium valuation techniques, would be a significant step toward alleviating the tension between the life insurer and consumer. These factors would be developed and passed by a federal agency (preferably the Department of Health and Human Services).

Utilizing the agency as a vehicle for passing the RFs would benefit the general public, the consumer, and the life insurer. The public would benefit due to the efficient use of resources, the consumer would be assured of heightened privacy and autonomy as well as a decreased likelihood of unfair discrimination, and the life insurer would be assured of a decreased likelihood of antiselection ."


Gregory Stock, author of Redesigning Humans.

"It is hard to see how a society that encourages us to stay healthy and vital could justify, for instance, trying to stop people from undergoing genetic therapy or consuming drugs aimed at retarding ageing.

"The real danger is that vague threats to our values will be used to justify unwarranted political incursions that delay medical advances."


As we've seen, there are powerful arguments on both sides of the debate.   But there's one group for which there seems to be no doubt about it.   They're the d-human "wannabes"… and they're called the Transhumanists.

[Click here to read more about the Transhumanists]


Joseph McPhee in the Science Creative Quarterly:

"Just as those who once espoused eugenic principles could not foresee the negative outcomes of those policies, we must be wary of the possibility that decision we make now could seriously harm our society's future. We must remain vigilant and engaged to ensure that this does not happen."


Richard Hayes, Executive Director of the Center for Genetics and Society:

"We support the use of [embryo screening] to allow couples at risk to have healthy children. But for non-medical, cosmetic purposes, we believe this would undermine humanity and create a techno-eugenic rat race…

"As technology advances it is possible that any number of human characteristics in part influenced by genes could come under human control. The technologies are going to be accessible to affluent couples and would be used in ways that could increase inequality. The last thing we need now is a genetic elite.

"This designing aspect would also lead to an objectification of children as commodities."


Francis Fukuyama, author of Our PostHuman Future

"When a long-term genetic effect may not show up for decades after the procedure was administered, parents will risk a multitude of unintended and irreversible consequences for their children. This calls for strict regulation.

"We are the product of a complex evolutionary adaptation to our physical and social environment. Genetic interventions made out of faddishness or political correctness might upset that balance in ways that we don't understand-in the interests of, say, making boys less aggressive, girls more assertive, people more or less competitive."

© 2010 Jeremy Lent. All Rights Reserved.

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