The Biological Arms Race No One Can Win


geneticsI have been going to physical therapy a lot this past year. One kid has had two knee surgeries, another a shoulder injury, and my back has finally decided that having four kids wasn’t so good for it. I spend a good amount of time getting to know the people that work there.

There is one young man that has been very instructive for me. He is a twenty-something idealist who has an interest in the possibilities of genetic engineering. So while I am getting my ice and stim, he and I have very deep and meaningful conversations about the future of humanity.

I won’t bore you with the details, but he is like many of his generation – so steeped in technology that he sees it as an unstoppable force. He thinks genetic enhancements are inevitable, and the only way we can manage the ill effects is to engineer society through wealth distribution so that the rich do not have an unfair advantage over the poor.

He genuinely wanted to know what I thought. I told him that enhancements mean a loss of freedom and personal autonomy for future generation. I explained that they will start a “biological arms race no one can win.” In fact, the entire human race will lose. I told him enhancements are not inevitable, and I am not ready to give up the fight for the right of every human being to be born without being subject to the whims of the previous generation.

I truly think this idea struck a cord. I think it may with many millennials.

In our latest episode of BioTalk, Chelsea and I discuss the pitfalls of genetic enhancements. Please watch it, and then discuss the realities with a millennial in your life. I have hope that if they see the truth about their future in this Brave New World, that they will reject the siren song of genetic enhancement.


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