Human Enhancement is Immoral and De-humanizing

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The advancement of progress in the fields of biology and technology and, by extension, the scion of these two fields – biotechnology – is generally being lauded by experts and laymen alike. Genetically modified foods, Dolly the sheep, stem cell research and therapeutic cloning are but some of the achievements in this field that have changed the scientific landscape, drawing attention to the past, present and also potential future exploits of men and women involved in biotechnology. Mainly because it is becoming increasingly apparent that the field may, in the near future, extend beyond therapy into human enhancement. With the possibility of such expansion looming ahead, it may be prudent to question whether or not such enhancement is morally and ethically desirable within the context of human nature and also nature itself. And although transhumanists, advocates of enhancement, themselves agree that there are concerns such as potential danger to health, technological difficulty or the impact on the environment tied to human enhancement, their opposite numbers from the bioconservative side of the divide feel that there is much more to be concerned about. Some even argue that the idea of human enhancement beyond therapy, or in other words makign ourselves “better than well”1 is inherently flawed. In any case, should human enhancement in its many forms become commonplace, it is surely going to “affect the rate of human intellectual, material and political progress”2. This essay will focus on illustrating the conviction of the bioconservatives about the detrimental nature of human enhancement in relation to two hypothetical but nonetheless very controversial forms of it – expansion of human cognitive abilities using nanotechnology and ...

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...rformance … and perfecting our nature”53 in what may become a “triumph of willfulnes over giftedness”54.

Works Cited

Agar, Nicholas. “Whereto Transhumanism?: The Literature Reaches a Critical Mass.” The Hastings Center Report Vol. 37.3 (2007): 12-17. JSTOR. Web. 15 Jan 2014.

Fukuyama, Francis. Our Post-Human Future: Consequences of the Biotechnology Revolution. New York: Farrar Straus & Giroux, 2002

Hogle, Linda F. “Enhancement technologies and the Body.” Annual Review of Anthropology 34 (2005): 695-716. JSTOR. Web. 15 Jan 2014.

James Hughes, Nick Bostrum and Jonathan D. Moreno. “Human vs. Posthuman.” The Hastings Center Report 37.5 (2007): 4-7. JSTOR. Web. 15 Jan 2014.

Ptolemy, Barry. “Transcendent Man.” 9 Aug 2013. Online video clip. YouTube. 5 Jan 2014.

Sandel, Michael. The Case against Perfection. Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press, 2007

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