Medical ethicist Harvey Fineberg shows us three paths forward for the ever-evolving human species: to stop evolving completely, to evolve naturally — or to control the next steps of human evolution, using genetic modification, to make ourselves smarter, faster, better. Neo-evolution is within our grasp. What will we do with it?


Bullshit or brilliant?

Comments

  1. #1 Pierce R. Butler
    April 29, 2011

    I’m more interested in another directed-human-evolution experiment: provide all women with complete control (contraception, abortion, etc) over their fertility so that they only give birth to the offspring of males they consider worthy of reproduction, and see what happens after a few hundred generations.

  2. #2 Sarcastico
    April 29, 2011

    It is inevitable that genetic engineering will move forward despite the efforts of ethicists, moralists and theologians to restrain it. It is equally inevitable that some part of the human race will willingly opt for genetic modifications, artificial augmentation, and chemical enhancements for themselves and their offspring.

    the question is not will it happen, but will it become the new “normal”
    The answer depends on how much of an edge going neo can provide.

    If you have the choice between giving your child the brain of Einstein and the athletic grace of Michael Jordan or take a chance that he/she will come out like the love child of Larry the Cable guy and Sally Kern, what would you choose?

  3. #3 Sarcastico
    April 29, 2011

    In the above, feel free to replace Einstein and Michael Jordan with your preferred role models. There are numerous better examples, I just threw out a couple of names.

  4. #4 Art
    April 29, 2011

    We all know this ends with Ricardo Montalbán cursing us all with his last breath.

  5. #5 qetzal
    April 30, 2011

    I’ve got news for Mr. Fineberg. Completely stopping our evolution isn’t an option. Not unless we achieve such mastery in genetic manipulation that we can prevent any new alleles from arising through mutation, as well as preventing any existing alleles from changing frequency in the human population.

    Well, either that or if we go extinct.

  6. #6 peter
    April 30, 2011

    There will be tries, but since there is no direct relationship between the genetic encoding and its expression in a somewhat complex primate I wonder how realistic those speculations are.

    The ethics are rather against those trials unless we really know the exact relationship between coding and expression which we really at present have no clue of. Otherwise we might create non viable or suffering beings.

  7. #7 Ole Phat Stu
    May 1, 2011

    Neo-evolution will only result in the super-rich evolving for immortality, even if that involves a diet only of Soylent Green :-(