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Changing the Nature of Human Beings August 10, 2008

Posted by Matt Brown in Human Enhancement.

That’s the title of an article I read a little while ago.  It’s basically a profile of a bioethicist named Professor Julian Savulescu, a man who believes that coming technologies could one day radically change the nature of human beings (hence the title.)  Though he is not nearly the first to espouse this particular view and the points he makes are not new, they are still interesting points.  Of particular importance to us are his beliefs that there is no moral difference between treating disease and enhancement, since both ultimately attempt to achieve the same thing, greater human well-being.  He also makes a good point about how our ideas on the immorality of performance enhancement in sport have changed over time.  As he says in the article, caffeine was once banned from athletics but is allowed today, but nobody has proposed that it’s introduction has corrupted the spirit of the endurance events it’s often used in.   Check out the rest of the article for yourself.




1. Joshua - August 11, 2008

While I agree with Savulescu, I must point out that quite a few people have proposed that caffeine is just as bad for sports as other stimulants or performance-enhancers. Likewise for those Speedo LZR swimsuits that Savulescu alludes to, which have been called ‘tech doping’ by Alberto Castagnetti, the coach of the Italian swimming team. People are not as self-contradictory as Savulescu would have us believe.

2. allaroundathlete - August 11, 2008

Thats a good point to keep in mind, though it would seem to me that hard-liners such as Castagnetti are in the minority. Most people don’t seem to mind things like the use of mild stimulants and technological enhancements, they just want to see records fall.

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