Conservatism is about cherishing and sustaining the good things passed on to us from previous generations, but sometimes we have to make changes to do that
Enhancements- Enhancement is capacity relative…to enhance is to improve some particular capacity
Biomedical enhancement would help us…
• sustain what we have
• prevent diseases like cancer and pandemics
• enhancement for existing capacities such as impulse control, altruism, sympathy (avoiding catastrophic event)
Response: “doesn’t mean violence is biologically determine, BME is only effective if combined with other interventions”.
• extracting nutrients from existing food; thus enhancing our digestive & metabolic capacities (we already do it by cooking)
• can help us with infertility or lethal mutations caused by the environmental toxins
• improve the capacity of thermal regulations in the case of server climate change
Response: sometimes correcting the deeper problems that cause a problem is the answer like overcoming a stereotype. But in the case of emerging pandemics or toxins technology is obligatory to achieve a solution quickly
Assumption: the varying aspects of a human being are so closely tied to one another that if we use biomedical interventions to try to improve ourselves we’ll make things worse.
• Would snipping one thread cause us to unravel?
• BME would make things worse
3 basic features of evolved organism that undermine extreme correctedness assumption:
1. modulartiy- module is subsystem that has denser connections than other things around it (separated compartments), so that if something goes wrong in one module the damage can be contained within it, as in that embryo develop 'firewalls' to separate damage to parts if there are any.
2. redundancy- a backup system, the extra copy of gene
3. canalization- the ability to produce the same phenotype regardless of the variability of the environment or genotype (different recipes same dish)
Buchannan says we are not that connected?
But Aren't Genetic Changes Irreversible?
• doesn’t have mean phenotype/trait change; depends on if it gets expressed
• genes don’t express automatically, can be switched on or off by a drug
Strategies for Coping with Risk
In every other area of life we accept small risks in order to reap benefits and avoid harm…Why should genetic enhancement be any different?
3 Basic approaches to the risks of genetic enhancement
1. Try to prohibit it all together
2. You can try to limit the risk by following a single general matter risk reducing principle.
3. You can rely on a set of more particular risk-reducing principles
• The Goal is to reduce risks to acceptable level not have zero risk
• Eliminating risks all together is too high in terms of resources and relinquishing benefits
• Marginal Cost of Risk Reductions?
• Celebrate historic enhancements, why not BME?
• Banning BME is unrealistic if the benefits are great enough
The Precautionary Principle
The precautionary principle is a single master principle for reducing risks.
It’s hard to evaluate this principle…