Enhancing Evolution – Book preview and commentary

Posted by at 11:48AM

I was walking around at the Stanford Bookstore and I saw this book:
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The book is called Enhancing Evolution – the Ethical Case for Making Better People. by John Harris. (Amazon, Princeton University Press ) and it looks like a very interesting book indeed.
The book covers Harris’s arguments for why we ought to promote technologies that would allow us enhance our bodies – most notably through altering our DNA. A lot of people have a general sense of repulsion to that idea, but Harris asks us to think about the other ways we enhance ourselves – glasses, coffee, drugs, surgeries, chemotherapy. We do so many unnatural things to our bodies in an attempt to make ourselves better. Harris argues it is our nature and sometimes our moral duty, to improve ourselves and help improve others.
I’m personally supportive of genetic enhancement because I think the greatest threat to humanity is 1) our own inability to make short-term sacrifices in pursuit of long-term goals – leading to failed diets and global warming. And 2) our propensity towards xenophobia and violence which divide us and cause so much suffering through wars and other conflicts. These are inclinations that are not caused by society as they are inclinations evolved into humans through the millions of years of living in small groups, facing immediate dangers from the world and from other groups.
I read a couple chapters in the bookstore and I think the writing is accessible and ethically sound. I’m writing an honors thesis on the ethics of patient selection in organ transplantation so I’m familiar with basic ethical theories, but you don’t even need to know that to enjoy and learn from this book. Check it out.

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One Response to “Enhancing Evolution – Book preview and commentary”

  1. Robert Davidson says:

    Speaking of books, book prices are just nuts for all these courses. The only course I was able to find a deal on them was my SAS Books

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