Genetically Enhanced Humans?

According to Oxford Today: The University Magazine, they’re coming:

‘There is a significant chance that my own children will live beyond the age of 120’, says Julian Savulescu, Director of Oxford’s Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics. ‘Thereafter we could be looking at two- or three-fold increases in human life spans.’ . . . At the Uehiro Centre Savulescu heads a group of some thirty research associates, plus graduate students and international visitors. A medic before he turned philosopher and recently hailed in a poll as ‘Australia’s top emerging thinker’, Savulescu openly stakes out his position on human enhancement: ‘I’m an enthusiast. To be human is to strive to be better. We have a duty to use our knowledge to achieve worthwhile goals. Think of the comparative benefits. Estimates have been of as much as a 20 per cent reduction in poverty and welfare dependency as a result of relatively minor rises in average IQ across the population.’ He emphasises that increases at the lowest IQ levels ­ below 70 points ­ could bring the biggest benefits. Perhaps most controversially, Savulescu favours what he calls ‘procreative beneficence’. At present, screening is limited by the number of eggs women normally produce and allows scientists to screen only for certain specific diseases. If scientists could scan a far larger number of embryos, using artificially manufactured sperm and eggs, this would allow couples to choose their ‘perfect child’.

Perfect children? Wouldn’t genetically enhanced ‘perfect children’ see themselves as like, well, superior to children born the traditional way? And wouldn’t ‘perfect children’ see themselves as natural rulers, a chosen people (literally!), a master race? Ah, I think we’ve seen this movie before.

And:

About Santi Tafarella

I teach writing and literature at Antelope Valley College in California.
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