Human Enhancement

The Ethics of a Brave New World: A Response to ‘Baby-Making'

The presentation offers a thought-provoking examination of the impact of science, entertainment, and social change on what it means to be human. This presentation was part of an evening event co-sponsored by CBHD and the Trinity International University Drama Department in Spring 2011. Dr. Linholm’s presentation was offered in response to a lecture by CBHD executive director, Paige Comstock Cunningham, JD, titled “Baby-Making: The Fractured Fulfillment of Huxley’s Brave New World.”

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Baby-Making: The Fractured Fulfillment of Huxley's Brave New World, Part II

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We have reviewed the legal and cultural changes that led to widespread use of ART and the creation of thousands of frozen embryos. We have examined the risks and consequences for mothers and their children. We have taken a quick look at some of the social implications. Now, I would like to return to a point I raised in the beginning . . . the Orwellian overtones of some aspects of ART. This is the part that has its rationale in the eugenics of the early 20th century.

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Baby-Making: The Fractured Fulfillment of Huxley's Brave New World, Part I

GATTACA is just one of the examples from literature and popular culture that entice us to slow down and think about some of the most serious ethical questions facing us today. Hollywood has given us The Sixth Day on human cloning, The Island on involuntary organ donors, John Q on organ transplantation, and Minority Report on neuroethics, to name just a few. These are joined in literature by works such as C.S. Lewis’ That Hideous Strength and, of course, Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World.

Sometimes there is an eerie immediacy to the sci-fi futuristic scenarios depicted in these works. Scripts have had to be altered when real-day science threatened to overtake the in-the-future premise of the plot. Meanwhile, the moral conversation, the bioethical reflection, has struggled to keep up. Law and policy lag even farther behind, often feebly attempting to regulate only after a catastrophe or dispute.

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On Human Bioenhancements

Human beings are obsessive innovators. Homo sapiens (knower) is by nature Homo faber (fabricator). Life without what philosopher Michael Novak has called ‘the fire of invention’ doubtless would be nasty, bloody, and brutish. Since biomedicine and biotechnology are two spheres where innovation is especially rewarded, it is no surprise that we stand on the threshold of the development of human biological enhancements.

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The Slippery Slope of Normality: Lessons from Neuroethics (Part 2)

This lecture was originally delivered as a combined institute session during our 2009 preconference institutes. In this part of the lecture Dr. Cheshire explores the nature of slippery slope arguments, the meaning of normality, developments in cognitive enhancement, and arguments in favor of neuroenhancement.

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