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Possible Downsides of Biotechnology according to Eric Cohen

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Possible Downsides of Biotechnology according to Eric Cohen

Downhill-slide from Biotech Industries and Conan the Barbarian
Eric Cohen brings up several arguments about the downsides of biotechnology. First, he explains the potential for social unequality, with those who are gene rich vs. gene poor. He mentions the social aspect of exploring stem cells at the cost of the life of a human embryo. There ethical issues to designer children, and performance enhancement is similar to an animal being given steroids to improve outcomes. He argues that people will become complacent with longevity, and that happiness through medication is unachievable.
Gene Rich vs Gene Poor
Jean Rich vs Jean Poor

Eric Cohen describes how the wealthy will become gene rich, and the poor will become gene poor, worsening the inequalities of life.

Healthy embryos die for stem cell research
Dead Embryos

Cohen brings up the question of stem cell research vs. destroying human embryos. He rationalizes that embryos are early human lives, and that to use them as mere things would make us a lesser society.

Designer Children
Design-a-Child factory

Eric's argument explores whether designing a child better's society. He believes that part of parenthood is accepting the child that is born.

Performance enhancing drugs turn humans into animals
Turning humans into animals

Eric Cohen describes how enhancing drugs are going to make us sort of pathetic, and compares our potential with performance enhancing drugs to athletes who shoot up steroids. Rather than being excellent, this athlete performs better, like a horse that is bred for racing.

Loss of ambition with longevity
Lazy old guy on couch

With longevity, Cohen describes how we may become relaxed and lose ambition. Society may not pursue other knowledge, ethics or science, and may become complacent.

Drugs to simulate happiness
Guy taking Happy-pill but not really happy

He describes that human happiness and being good should deal more with character. Furthermore, Cohen describes how drugs may make us more intelligent and smarter, but this is not happiness, and is rather superficial.


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