Crown Core 80A
Taking The Risk Henry Greely, author of Man and Superman, articulates both actual risks of genetic enhancement as well as baseless fears. I agree with Greely’s views that there are more serious fears we should care about when it comes to human enhancement. When dealing with human biological enhancements we should weigh the benefits and risks as well as we can. Even though there are risks we should still continue with human enhancement in order to benefit our society. Greely describes three baseless fears in his article starting with the argument that claims enhancement is a way of cheating, taking away effort and sense of accomplishment. The argument that human enhancement is a way of cheating is completely invalid. Those with enhancements would start at a different starting point and put in as much effort in whatever activity in order to strive or else they will also fail. Those with enhancements would be placed at a higher level of competition, whether it is through academics or athletics goal will be made more difficult to achieve. Higher expectations may lead to disappoint in the end because a certain amount of effort is needed even with enhancements. If enhancements are given to an offspring such as athleticism, in the future, athletes still have to put in effort in their sport in order to succeed. Greely uses examples of anabolic steroids not working without serious workouts or memory pills being useless without actually studying. Taking steroids would be of no use if one doesn’t put in effort in his/her workouts in order for that enhancement to work at its full potential. The same concept goes for memory pills being of no use without the effort put into actually studying. Without effort put forth towards enhancements we aren’t able to receive the benefits. Along with cheating there are other baseless fears presented in Greely’s article. Some fear that human enhancement will change us by eliminating suffering, causing great harm. Suffering will not be eliminated because suffering is inevitable. Even with such enhancements we would still suffer from different obstacles and hardships. Genetically enhanced humans will still go through heartbreak and other forms of pain such as death of a loved one. Pressures of preforming at a higher level than those are not genetically enhanced can also be a form of suffering. Suffering is not the only baseless fear of people.
The fear that human enhancements may change our nature, thus changing our humanity is another baseless fear. This fear creates the idea that with human enhancements we are no longer considered human. I believe that this statement is completely false because our human nature isn’t a concept that is clearly defined. What really defines our human nature? Author of “Choosing Our Genes” Gregory Stock gives an example of evolution from hunter – gatherers to living in New York City, “today most of us look at this as only a human way of life, but a great improvement over hunting and gathering.” (Stock 23) I believe that human enhancement is our goal in order to evolve as a human race. Not only are we given a better opportunity to create a better generation by using genetic enhancement to improve memory or better our senses but also enhancement is used to engineer longer life. These improvements may affect the way we live today but soon we will adjust to the advantages of enhancement and realize how we went so long without them. Instead of considering ourselves as non-human because of these enhancements we should view ourselves as an improved human race.
The ideas presented above may be some abstract fears but aren’t concrete risks of human enhancement. Greely states real risks involved with human enhancement, such as undermining human equality, safety, and coercion. Throughout history many have not been treated equally due to their religion, skin color, and reasons that differentiated