Sunday, January 20, 2002


Dr. Kass and his cohorts' views boil down to a grotesque pessimism which has at its heart the principle that if we truly seek to sunder the physical limitations which bind men, we will end up less than human. I say this is treason to the human race, to our promise, and yes, to our God-given gifts and the best use thereof. The escape from disease, from hunger, from ignorance that has marked the ascent of man has not debased him; on the contrary, it has freed him to the possibility, if not always the result, of a nobler existence. Further elimination of disease, extension of lifespans, even actual enhancements to the human animal, all within the reach of budding genetic science, hold much risk it is sure. The forces harnessed in the last century prove that the more powerful the tool, the greater harm from misuse. But the risk is one we must take for two reasons. First, to deny the chance of lives governed less by fear of the weaknesses of the body would foreclose billions of more enlightened and enlightening lives, and the awesome cumulative benefit to civilization of the achievements of those lives. Perhaps more importantly, to turn our backs on exploration, on reaching for the stars, on trying to better ourselves, runs the unacceptable risk of permanent psychological damage to the culture. Denying the use of this science, based on fear, risks stunting our inquisitive nature and the instinct towards bettering life -- a recipe for societal suicide.