Tag: enhancement

Blog Posts (49)

October 13, 2014

Let Harrison Bergeron Dance

by Patricia Mayer, MD, Bioethics Program Alumna (2009) All I can think of when reading the case of Indian sprinter Dutee Chand is Harrison Bergeron, protagonist of a 1961 short story by author Kurt Vonnegut. For those of you who don’t know who Dutee Chand is, she is a Indian sprinter who was banned from […]
October 9, 2014

“I, Transhumanist”

I rely on Wesley Smith’s Human Exceptionalism blog to keep up with things.  Maybe I rely on it all too much but once again I have to give him the “HT” for his mentions of the popular transhumanist Zoltan Istvan.  Last week, Smith commented on, and provided a link to, a piece by Istvan entitled “The Three Laws of Transhumanism and Artificial Intelligence.”  Now, I... // Read More »
October 1, 2014

The FDA Flexes Its Muscles on Testosterone

by Karen Solomon, Bioethics Program Student In 2002, Solvay Pharmaceuticals developed a new marketing strategy that characterized the natural decline in testosterone production associated with normal male aging as a medical problem, termed low-T. The ultimate objective was to encourage physicians to prescribe testosterone to otherwise healthy patients to combat the effects of normal male […]
September 16, 2014

How do we talk about enhancement after Ferguson and the death of Michael Brown?

by Keisha Ray, Ph.D.

No other area of philosophy has captured my interests like bioethics. Thinking about the ways that we can use health care to justly distribute opportunities and what those opportunities are is my greatest interest.…

September 14, 2014

“Enhancement” and Moral Development

Oxford ethicist Julian Sevulescu and Swedish philosopher Ingmar Persson argue in their book Unfit for the Future: The Urgent Need for Moral Enhancement that now is the time to introduce neurological and genetic changes in people so they are willing to go along with various agendas.  They note that climate change is a big issue, but when a number of people are apathetic about the... // Read More »
September 9, 2014

What Should We Forget?

In January MIT announced a research study published in the journal Cell that reported a way to erase traumatic memories in lab mice using a drug that makes the brain “more plastic, more capable of forming very strong new memories that will override the old fearful memories.” MIT opened its story by referring to “nearly 8 million Americans [who] suffer from posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD),”... // Read More »
August 5, 2014

Attending to Attention

It’s hard not to notice that the idea of “attention” is on a lot of people’s minds. In just one week my desk received a copy of The Hedgehog Review,, the monthly Turning Points Magazine & Devotional, and an e-mail message from a parent all dealing with this subject. Since the advent of a DSM diagnoses involving deficits of attention (initially linked to hyperactivity), the... // Read More »
June 22, 2014

The Fountain of Youth

 “Since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.” Two weeks ago, family physician Joe Gibes wrote on the shaky medical footing of low testosterone treatment.  This week, Brian Williams reported on the NBC Nightly News that the FDA has issued warnings about thrombotic events... // Read More »
June 12, 2014

Germline Alteration and Defining “Just Research”

Yesterday’s post by Steve Phillips raises a central question for us in the “biotech century”:  are there some sorts of experiments that fundamentally ought not be done because of the potential they will be grossly misapplied by bad actors?  Steve cited research by Lord Robert Winston seeking to create genetically altered pigs—that seem, from the description in the press, to be what scientists call “transgenic”... // Read More »
June 11, 2014

New method for genetic modification – genetic alteration of sperm

Germline genetic modification is a technique that some find intriguing and many find very concerning when its use is considered in humans. However there are uses of germline genetic modifications in animals that may impact humans in multiple ways. In an article in The Telegraph, British researcher Robert Winston talks about current research to develop animal organs (usually from pigs) that could be genetically modified... // Read More »

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News (10)

November 8, 2012 6:12 pm

British Academics Say Technological Enhancements to Employees Raise Ethical Questions (Washington Post)

Performance-boosting drugs, powered prostheses and wearable computers are coming to an office near you — but experts warned in a new report Wednesday that too little thought has been given to the implications of a superhuman workplace.

July 17, 2012 4:01 pm

The Ethics of Sports 'We Need an Open Market for Doping' (Spiegel Online)

It is commonly accepting that doping in sports should be strictly prohibited. But Oxford bio-ethicist Julian Savulescu disagrees. In an interview with SPIEGEL ONLINE on the eve of the London Olympics, he explains why bans are unrealistic and demands an open market for doping.

June 9, 2012 9:00 pm

Seeking an Edge, Teenage Strivers Turn to Stimulants (New York Times)

At high schools across the United States, pressure over grades and competition for college admissions are encouraging students to abuse prescription stimulants, according to interviews with students, parents and doctors. Pills that have been a staple in some college and graduate school circles are going from rare to routine in many academically competitive high schools, where teenagers say they get them from friends, buy them from student dealers or fake symptoms to their parents and doctors to get prescriptions.

June 4, 2012 12:11 am

Bionic Brains and Beyond (Wall Street Journal)

Over the next decade, new implantable technologies will fundamentally alter the social landscape. We are fast approaching a milestone in the eons-long relationship between human beings and their technology. Families once gathered around the radio like it was a warm fireplace. Then boom boxes leapt onto our shoulders. The Sony Walkman climbed into our pockets and sank its black foam tentacles into our ears. The newest tools are creeping still closer: They will soon come inside and make themselves at home under our skin—some already have.

May 30, 2012 1:58 pm

Side effects may include...A's? (The Octagon)

It was getting late, but he had finally finished all three of his assignments. If he’d been asked, Paul Kessler, ‘11, would’ve said that he’d been studying for only 45 minutes. However, the clock told a different story: two hours had passed. The Adderall worked.  That night, Kessler had purchased Adderall, an ADHD drug, without a prescription — something that many college students across the nation are doing in order to focus.

April 12, 2012 11:42 pm

Amputees Just Looking for a Fight (New York Times)

Just 26 and with a creditable — if unexceptional — pedigree in amateur wrestling, Newell is not so fearsome that professional fighters should cower. Yet the list of fighters who have canceled or rejected bouts with him is about two dozen long, and the reason is clear: it can be difficult to persuade able-bodied athletes to fight a man with one hand.

Sport needs to re-think both disability and enhancement.

March 10, 2012 9:35 am

Why It's OK to Let Apps Make You a Better Person (The Atlantic)

Evan Selinger considers the ramifications of using apps to improve our habits. And also whether willpower as we normally think about it even exists. #bioethics #neuroethics #brain #philosophy

March 1, 2012 12:25 am

Super-human brain technology sparks ethics debate (Chicago Tribune)

A British ethics group has launched a debate on the ethical dilemmas posed by new technologies that tap into the brain and could bring super-human strength, highly enhanced concentration or thought-controlled weaponry. #bioethics

February 24, 2012 12:26 am

Could babies born today live to 150? (CBS News)

In 1850, the average human lifespan was 43 years. Now it’s closer to 80. How high could it go? And what effect will the ever-increasing lifespan of humans have upon society? #bioethics #aging

February 21, 2012 8:28 pm

Bioconservatives vs. Bioprogressives (Reason)

Opposition to the technologies that make life longer, healthier, and happier creates strange bedfellows argues Ronald Bailey. #bioethics #politics