Transhuman Science Begins Today?

A while back, we noted an interesting exchange which Neil Shubin had with Stephen Colbert on The Colbert Report.

COLBERT: If I used to be a fish, and then I was a monkey, and now I’m a man, then what’ll be next?

SHUBIN: That’s a good question, ’cause we humans are actually now controlling our own evolution. So, if you’re worried about steroids in baseball now, come back in twenty-five years, because our technologies are fundamentally going to change our bodies. It’s gonna change how we work; medications are going to change how our bodies actually function and so forth. So really I think if you come back, we’re going to be sort of a product of technology and biology.

COLBERT: So you’re saying we’re wresting the steering wheel away from Darwin?

SHUBIN: I’m afraid with our ability to generate new technologies, essentially we are.

COLBERT: Can we turn ourselves back into fish? ‘Cause I’d love to be a shark.

These things have a way of becoming relevant sooner than we’d think. Bora Zivkovic and Jonathan Eisen report on an interesting and, for some, disturbing development from the National Institutes of Health:

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) today announced three new initiatives to fight the use of brain enhancing drugs by scientists. The new initiatives are (1) the creation of the NIH Anti-Brain Doping Advisory Group (NABDAG), a new trans-NIH committee, (2) a collaboration with the World Anti-Doping Authority (WADA) and the European Commission to create the World Anti-Brain Doping Authority (WABDA) and (3) the adoption by the NIH of the World Anti-Brain Doping Code – a set of regulations on the use of brain enhancing drugs among scientists.

“These new initiatives are designed to level the playing field among scientist in terms of intellectual activities,” said NIH Director Elias A. Zerhouni, M.D.

For more information, see the websites of the World Anti-Brain Doping Authority and the National Institute of Mental Health.

2 thoughts on “Transhuman Science Begins Today?”

  1. Hmmm…I think the name “Anti-Brain Doping Authority” would be more accurately parsed as a doping authority that is opposed to intelligence.

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