Human Enhancement Is Immoral And De Humanizing

2989 words - 12 pages

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 robotics and human lifespan extension that is to be achieved using the same means additionally aided by the use of genetic engineering.
When reading or watching science-fiction, one will inevitably encounter the cyborg, which is is a human being enhanced using technology. Such beings are most often described as possessing either enhanced strength, intellect or both that are far superior to those of unenhanced humans. Cyborgs may, like other things from the realm of science-fiction that have already materialized in the real world, come into being if research by present-day scientists continues. Ray Kurzweil, a well-known figure among these scientists, hopes to develop means for people to become enhanced using technology from the fields of nanotechnology and robotics and he expressed his views in a documentary film made by Barry Ptolemy entitled “Transcendent Man.” Having worked in the field of information technology for over 3 decades, Kurzweil is more than comfortable in predicting what the future of technology holds and he enjoys a great deal of respect in the technological community that is at the helm of today's progress. His approach, however, may come off as fairly arrogant because he perceives that human...

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