Bill McKibben, examines the dangers inherent in an array of technologies that threaten not just our survival, but our identity. Imagine a future where lab workers can reprogram human embryos to make our children "smarter" or "more sociable" or "happier." Some researchers are doing more than imagining this future; they've begun to plan for a not-very-distant day when people merge with machines to create a "posthuman" world.
Enough examines such possibilities, and explains how we can avoid their worst consequences while still enjoying the fruits of our new scientific understandings. McKibben argues that only by staying human can we find true meaning in our lives. A warning against the gravest dangers humans have ever faced, this wise and eloquent work is also a passionate defense of the world we were born into, and a celebration of our ability to say, "Enough."
©2003 Bill McKibben; (P)2002 Audio Renaissance, a division of Holtzbrinck Publishers, LLC.
"Readers will come away from his latest brilliantly provocative work shaking their heads at the possible future he portrays... This is a brilliant book that deserves a wide readership." (Publishers Weekly)
A collection of shaky arguments about why Bill thinks "the world is just fine the way it is."
The connectedness arguement:
I feel connected in some way to all of humanity. If we meddle with our progeny on a molecular level will they still feel connected?
The devaluation argument:
If we tinker with our kids to give them a hightened intelligence or physical edurance etc. doesn't that in some way devalue any contributions they make?
The commodity argument:
Sure we can erradicate cystic fibrosis, but because the same technology can be used to potentially make superficial alterations (such as height, hair color etc) we should not use the technology because those uses are illegitimate.
Bill borrows heavily from other writers who are more technically knowlegeable on the subject. I found Lee M. Silver's "Remaking Eden" somewhat meatier if not a bit more fanciful toward the end.
Bill McKibben takes on the topic of genetic modification, nanotechnology and robotics and sets them contextually in the scheme of human development. He alleges that we are at the elbow of a geometric expansion of technology, and at the verge of taking a huge and dangerous step with the modification of not only human genetics but with the manipulation of all matter on earth. For those who are wondering if cloning is a good idea, if genetically "improving" humans is near at hand, and for those interested in having children, this is a must-read book and/or must-listen audiobook
The book is a discussion of McKibben's opinions of genetic manipulation of humans, the history of stem cell and cloning research and the possible outcomes. It is not a scientific work, but succeeds as a discussion in bioethics.
The book would be very useful for those who are unfamiliar with the subject and those who are only beginning to study bioethics. Some of the information seems too superficial for me, since I am a Family Physician studying for a Master's in Bioethics. I still learned new information and am definitely informed by the author's viewpoint.
I disagree with some of his pessimism about the reaction of the subjects of genetic manipulation since all children have struggled with identity and we've done fairly well so far. However, Dr Leon Kass and other more informed minds agree with McKibben. (I wonder how much of our differing opinions and optimism/pessimism are due to *our* genetics and how much due to that very struggle? How much is nature, how much nurture and the specific portion of our environment that includes these discussions?)
The actual reading is a little flat.
McKibben brings together a great deal of information and offers a consistent narrative that begs for deep consideration. The point he makes about germ-line engineering as an irrevocable step toward a post-human future devoid of meaning is particularly notable.
His narration is very conversational and lively.
"The end of us as we know us"
The content was great, but the presentation could have been better. Bill has cotton mouth sometimes and it really is distraction. Aside from that, it was very engaging and interesting.
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