Tag Archives: genetic engineering

James Lee

Continued research with the tools of genetic epidemiology, population genetics, psychometrics, and cognitive neuroscience is likely to settle many of the contentious issues raised in Nisbett’s book, even without a centralized effort toward any such narrow goal. Given that much of the critical research so clearly lies ahead, Nisbett’s certainty regarding his own premature conclusions is quite remarkable. Some of this may be owed to the disturbing possibilities raised by the alternatives. Even the prospect that current group differences might be eliminated by a combination of biological enhancement and environmental improvement will fail to put all observers at ease, since the prospect of biologically based remedies is itself frightening to many. For what it is worth, I believe that the possibilities regarding both the state of nature and our powers of control should leave us reasonably optimistic about what the future might hold. But I confess to less than total confidence in even this qualified remark, and I envy Nisbett his certitude.

James Lee, Review of Richard Nisbett, Intelligence and How to Get It: Why Schools and Cultures Count, Personality and Individual Differences, vol. 48, no. 2 (January, 2010) p. 254

Lewis Mancini

Let us not think in the authoritarian terms of some individuals genetically engineering the characteristics of others. Instead, let us think in the egalitarian terms of each individual genetically re-engineering herself/himself according as s(he) pleases. What is being suggested here is that in the distant future, by means of in vivo genetic transformation techniques effected with recombinant DNA or some other biotechnological tool(s), it will be possible for any person (or other kind of organism) to be an introverted, academically-oriented, purple-haired, orange-eyed, 10 foot tall white male with an IQ of 160 on any given day and a party-going, humorous, green-haired, green-eyed, three foot tall green female with an IQ of 200 on the next day. Stated in more general terms, it will become possible for each one of us (that is, anyone alive during the future era in question) to be whatever we want to be whenever we want to be.

Lewis Mancini, ‘Riley-Day Syndrome, Brain Stimulation and the Genetic Engineering of a World without Pain’, Medical Hypotheses, vol. 31, no. 3 (March, 1990), pp. 206-207

Yew-Kwang Ng and Siang Ng

With adequate safeguards and cautious preparation, genetic engineering could be used to relieve suffering and increase happiness by quantum leaps. Our short-term prospect here would be the eradication of many genetic handicaps. The medium-term prospect could be the reduction of the proportion of the neurotic and depressed personality. The longer-term prospect might be the dramatic enhancement of our capacity for enjoyment. All these have to be done with extreme caution. The reason we should be very cautious is not so much to avoid sacrificing our current welfare (which is relative small in comparison to that in the future with brain stimulation and genetic engineering) but to avoid destroying our future.

Yew-Kwang Ng and Siang Ng, The Road to Happiness, chap. 7, sect. 1