Enhancing Evolution

Enhancing Evolution

The Ethical Case for Making Better People

Book - 2007
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Decisive biotechnological interventions in the lottery of human life--to enhance our bodies and brains and perhaps irreversibly change our genetic makeup--have been widely rejected as unethical and undesirable, and have often met with extreme hostility. But in Enhancing Evolution , leading bioethicist John Harris dismantles objections to genetic engineering, stem-cell research, designer babies, and cloning to make a forthright, sweeping, and rigorous ethical case for using biotechnology to improve human life.

Human enhancement, Harris argues, is a good thing--good morally, good for individuals, good as social policy, and good for a genetic heritage that needs serious improvement. Enhancing Evolution defends biotechnological interventions that could allow us to live longer, healthier, and even happier lives by, for example, providing us with immunity from cancer and HIV/AIDS. But the book advocates far more than therapies designed to free us from sickness and disability. Harris champions the possibility of influencing the very course of evolution to give us increased mental and physical powers--from reasoning, concentration, and memory to strength, stamina, and reaction speed. Indeed, he supports enhancing ourselves in almost any way we desire. And it's not only morally defensible to enhance ourselves, Harris says. In some cases, it's morally obligatory.

Whether one looks upon biotechnology with hope, fear, or a little of both, Enhancing Evolution makes a case for it that no one can ignore.

Publisher: Princeton, NJ : Princeton University Press, [2007]
Copyright Date: ©2007
ISBN: 9780691128443
Branch Call Number: 174.9599935 HAR
Characteristics: xvi, 242 pages ; 24 cm


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May 03, 2017

Harris makes a good case, and all without unnecessary terminology and with relatively little in the way of rhetorical flourishes. The persona of the argument is either super irritating (if you don't like his position) or feisty and a little pugnacious (if you are open to it). He makes it clear from the get go that he is staking out and fighting for a position and not making a fair and balanced introduction to the topic, so he doesn't really give a good hearing to his opponents: he focuses on some key points of their position and blasts them! Fun to read. "...the democratic presumption ... that 'the State should intervene only to prevent the occurrence of serious harms' has been converted into the requirement that 'there would need to be substantial demonstrable benefits'...".(pg. 158). Sadly, many other soviet-souled nomenclatura working the medical apparat use the exact same reasoning in many other topics, especially here in (ostensibly liberal) Canada.

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