The Soundness of Selective Biomedical Enhancements

Caution about Polarization within Humanity

In this vein some of the apprehensions raised by Agar are answered as well. For example, Agar expresses concern about the polarizing effects of radical enhancement, whereby a subtle form of racism or homophobia is instilled in society.  Those naturally endowed with dark skin complexion or genetically predisposed to homosexuality might be forced to ‘remedy’ their condition through radical enhancement procedures.  Such an outcome is quite tragic, for it dampens diversity in social demography and in consequence results in ‘homogenization’ of the population. One need only to imagine a world where all individuals are white skinned and have the same sexual orientation to sympathize with Agar’s concern. Hence, Agar advocates consideration of all possible ethical conundrums before introducing radical enhancement into mainstream medicine[viii]. He quite rightly argues that the burden of proof lies heavily upon the promoters of radical enhancement. Although Agar raises alarm with respect to radical BME, he is not against scientific progress and its real world applications.  As he aptly analogizes, one cannot make an omelet without breaking a few eggs.[ix] Hence prudence and measured risk-taking are warranted. However, given the great number of unknown factors and consequences of BME, he is not in favor of radical experiments on human subjects.  When it comes to radical BME, even the stage of running trials is highly controversial[x].

Endnotes:

[i] Nicholas Agar, Humanity’s End. Why We Should Reject Radical Enhancement. MIT Press. 2010. Chapter 5, p.148.

[ii] Allen Buchanan. Beyond Humanity? The Ethics of Biomedical Enhancement. Oxford University Press. 2013. Chapter 9, p.288.

[iii] Nicholas Agar, Humanity’s End. Why We Should Reject Radical Enhancement. MIT Press. 2010. Chapter 6, p.185.

[iv] Allen Buchanan. Beyond Humanity? The Ethics of Biomedical Enhancement. Oxford University Press. 2013. Chapter 2, p.55.

[v] Allen Buchanan. Beyond Humanity? The Ethics of Biomedical Enhancement. Oxford University Press. 2013. Chapter 7, p.187.

[vi] Allen Buchanan. Beyond Humanity? The Ethics of Biomedical Enhancement. Oxford University Press. 2013. Chapter 5, p.144.

[vii] Nicholas Agar, Humanity’s End. Why We Should Reject Radical Enhancement. MIT Press. 2010. Chapter 6, p.189.

[viii] Nicholas Agar, Humanity’s End. Why We Should Reject Radical Enhancement. MIT Press. 2010. Chapter 3, p.95.

[ix] Nicholas Agar, Humanity’s End. Why We Should Reject Radical Enhancement. MIT Press. 2010. Chapter 6, p.166.

[x] Nicholas Agar, Humanity’s End. Why We Should Reject Radical Enhancement. MIT Press. 2010. Chapter 7, p.201.

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