|Should We Rewrite the Human Genome?, XconomyNovember 28th, 2016Critics worry that a synthetic human genome could be used in unethical ways. Unlike for clinical trials, there is no regulatory body for basic science research.|
|Are Swedish Designer Babies Coming Soon?, SeekerSeptember 23rd, 2016"What are the oversight and controls to prevent this technology from being misused and go to a stage that, for now, the scientific community has agreed is a no-go?"|
|Remembering Ruth HubbardSeptember 8th, 2016Ruth Hubbard — biologist, feminist scholar, social justice advocate, and critic of what she termed “the gene myth” — has died.|
|Forgotten Stories of the Eugenic Age #5: Creating Super-People, Biopolitical TimesMay 23rd, 2016Advocates of eugenics in the early twentieth century thought that careful mating would produce smarter, stronger, better people. What would these people look like? How would they behave? What kind of society would they form? Could making a better world be so simple?|
|Altering human embryos giving rise to designer babies [Video][With CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]March 14th, 2016Tall, olive skin, brown hair, and blue eyes, these aren't descriptions found in an online dating profile. They are choices to those who are sperm shopping. CCTV America's Shraysi Tandon reports on the recent advancements in reproduction and fertility technologies.|
|CRISPR Eugenics in The X FilesMarch 10th, 2016In the comeback season finale, the show explores the use of human gene editing to combat global warming and overpopulation.|
|Cryonics Taken ApartMarch 10th, 2016Corey Pein has written an exposé of Alcor, the cryonics company he describes as "technophilic necromancers."|
|CRISPR patent belongs to aliens, NatureFebruary 29th, 2016Returning with a new season after over a decade, The X Files uses technologies like CRISPR gene editing to tell stories at the intersection of science, politics, and conspiracy theories.|
|Weak Arguments For Modifying the Human Germline, Biopolitical TimesDecember 10th, 2015At the International Summit on Human Gene Editing, philosopher John Harris engaged in tired and absurd attempts to justify engineering future humans. |
|Future proofing, NatureDecember 8th, 2015Global discussions on human gene editing and climate change should not sidestep hard decisions on issues that will affect future generations.|
|Extreme Genetic Engineering and the Human FutureReclaiming Emerging Biotechnologies
for the Common GoodThe Center for Genetics and Society and Friends of the Earth examine the human applications of synthetic biology. This 50-page report challenges claims that this new set of genetic engineering techniques should be seen as "the future of manufacturing, engineering and medicine."
|Better Babies, AeonNovember 17th, 2015The long and peculiar history of the designer human, from Plato’s citizen breeders to Nobel sperm banks, and the latest iteration of human genetic perfectability: CRISPR gene editing.|
|Gene Editing and Eugenics (Opinions Vary), Biopolitical TimesOctober 29th, 2015A recent commentary on the UK law allowing clinical use of mitochondrial replacement celebrates it as a benign form of eugenics. Is there such a thing?|
|GM embryos 'essential', says report, BBCSeptember 10th, 2015A stem cell consortium issues a statement advocating for germline gene editing of human embryos, and that GM babies may be "morally acceptable" under some circumstances in the future.|
|Biotech Imagination: Whose Future is this?September 8th, 2015A feature in PLOS Biology highlights insider predictions about the next ten years in genetics and genomics with unanimous optimism. But whose future is this?|
|Ex Machina: Of Screens and PeopleAugust 3rd, 2015The image on the poster isn’t what it seems. Ava, with her lights and transparent body, looks like the AI of the future, but she can also be read as an image of the present: a life threaded with information technology.|
|Sympathetic Sci-Fi, New YorkerJuly 14th, 2015The new sci-fi series "Sense8" fantasizes about human "enhancement" via broadening empathy and social connection.|
|Talking About the Germline, Biopolitical TimesJuly 8th, 2015The debate about heritable human genetic modification continues, with opinions ranging from enthusiasm to dismay, and strong arguments for political as well as scientific involvement.|
|DIY Bio-Engineering: Disrupting Democracy, Biopolitical Times guest contributorMay 1st, 2015The Do-It-Yourself synthetic biology movement (or, DIY synbio) is not advocating "citizen science," let alone "democratizing science." It's not about science or democracy. |
|A Tipping Point on Human Germline Modification?, Biopolitical TimesMarch 19th, 2015Amidst reports that human embryos have been modified using the gene editing technique CRISPR, several groups of scientists have issued statements proposing moratoria on human germline genome editing.|
|Les Vertiges Du Transhumanisme[Quotes CGS's Marcy Darnovsky and Pete Shanks], Le MondeFebruary 12th, 2015"They're selling us technology as if it were a total blessing, but the result could well be that what we take for high-tech marvels are in fact the instrument of power exercised by a few over the rest of us."|
|Bad Boy Scientism , Biopolitical TimesJanuary 8th, 2015Austen Heinz of Cambrian Genomics has been spouting provocative opinions to get attention. And it seems to be working, from his point of view. |
|Life is Random, SlateSeptember 11th, 2014Biologists now realize that “nature vs. nurture” misses the importance of noise.|
|"3-Person IVF" Debated in UK Parliament, Biopolitical TimesSeptember 3rd, 2014The debate in Britain over combining eggs or embryos to prevent the transmission of mitochondrial disease received a public airing, though no firm conclusion, in the House of Commons on September 1st.|
|Transcendence: See it for its Cultural Relevance, Not its Plot Line, Biopolitical TimesMay 1st, 2014Transcendence won’t win you over with its dialogue or love scenes, but it’s a great springboard for pondering what quickly approaching developments in artificial intelligence, synthetic biology, and regenerative medicine may actually mean for society.|
|How Long Is Immortality?, Biopolitical TimesApril 15th, 2014A Russian millionaire created a big splash less than a year ago when he sponsored a conference at the Lincoln Center about mind uploading and immortality, but seems to have fallen off the media radar, at least in the U.S.|
|Google, Tell Me. Is My Son a Genius?, New York TimesJanuary 18th, 2014Google searches suggest that American parents are far more likely to want their boys smart and their girls skinny. Among those looking for information on sex selection, there is about a 10 percent preference for boys.|
|New Ways to Engineer the Germline, Biopolitical TimesDecember 18th, 2013A look at a number of emerging techniques that could compromise the international consensus against human inheritable genetic modification.
|Techno-Libertarians and The Circle, Biopolitical TimesDecember 5th, 2013The new novel by Dave Eggers is a provocative romp and a missed opportunity that does, however, raise a lot of very interesting questions about Silicon Valley culture. |
|Building Better Humans, East Bay ExpressDecember 4th, 2013A new documentary looks at the impacts of human enhancement technologies. "I totally get the temptation," says the filmmaker. "But what are we fixing? Who is the problem?"|
|What Huxley Knew, Letter to the New York TimesNovember 24th, 2013Huxley’s assembly-line baby factories were an exaggeration, but it’s a mistake to dismiss too quickly his fears about the genetic manipulation of the species.|
|Future Past: Disability, Eugenics, & Brave New Worlds, Biopolitical TimesNovember 7th, 2013A public symposium held on November 1 at San Francisco State University provided a rare and important opportunity to engage with the historical and ongoing implications of eugenic ideologies and practices for people with disabilities.
|Future Past: Disability, Eugenics, & Brave New WorldsNovember 7th, 2013The public symposium Future Past: Disability, Eugenics, & Brave New Worlds, held on November 1 at San Francisco State University, provided a rare and important opportunity to engage with the history and ongoing implications of eugenic ideologies and practices for people with disabilities.
|Are Roboticists Ignoring the Consequences?, Seven DaysNovember 6th, 2013Thanks to innovations such as “low-cost sensors” and “new algorithms,” robots are starting to look like us, move like us and react like us. And if the worshippers of technology have their way, they will replace us.|
|23andMe's Designer Baby Patent, Huffington PostOctober 4th, 2013Even if 23andMe doesn't bring its donor selection technique to market, a patent award sends the message that this is an invention whose development should be protected and promoted.|
| Google vs Death? Really?, Biopolitical TimesSeptember 20th, 2013Google just announced a new company, Calico, that will focus on aging and associated diseases. Former Genentech CEO Art Levinson will be in charge, but so far it has no other employees and no clear business plan.|
|The Devil in Mr. Nelson: Cryonics and Nightmare ComediesJuly 25th, 2013The upcoming film Freezing People is Easy will chronicle the saga of Robert Nelson, co-founder of the long-defunct Cryonics Society of California. Will it also shed light on the social history of cryonics and the scandals associated with it?|
|Predicting the IQ of Future People, Biopolitical TimesMay 15th, 2013The resignation of Jason Richwine from the Heritage Foundation raised the profile of racist views about IQ. Expect new publicity soon for genetic claims about intelligence.|
|Of Monsters and Men, Biopolitical TimesNovember 29th, 2012The Amazing Spider-Man’s focus on genetic modification is more than incidental.
|Clones and Cloud Atlas, Biopolitical TimesNovember 13th, 2012Of the many characters in Cloud Atlas that explore what it means to be human, the most eloquent is a genetically engineered clone.|
|Advocating Human Germline Interventions, Biopolitical TimesOctober 28th, 2012Scientists in Oregon have published a paper that explicitly challenges the legal and procedural system that forbids genetic experiments on future generations, but most reports miss the full implications of the announcement.|
|Bill McKibben on Real Time With Bill Maher, Biopolitical TimesOctober 18th, 2012Bill McKibben discusses the radical implications of climate change and the troubling proposal made by some to "alter [human] behavior and physiology" to deal with these changes. |
|Ethics Schmethics Says Ethicist, Biopolitical TimesJuly 19th, 2012The approach of the Olympics sparks the usual flood of pro-enhancement articles, notably an interview with Julian Savulescu. |
|Larry King: I Want To Be FrozenNo Topic Off Limits At 'Dinner With The Kings'
, CNNDecember 2nd, 2011On a Larry King Special, "Dinner with the Kings," Larry King announced his plans to be frozen when he dies.
|How to Hack a Genome, Biopolitical TimesJuly 20th, 2011Synthetic biology seems to have taken a major step forward, with the publication of a technique for making multiple alterations to a living genome.|
|Dreams of the Week, Biopolitical TimesMay 18th, 2011Several recent announcements and studies appear to presage renewed interest in manipulating the biology that is thought to control longevity and especially our children's happiness and intelligence.|
|Isn't It Time to Focus on the Real Future?, Biopolitical TimesFebruary 16th, 2011Time magazine features a glowing story about Ray Kurzweil, of Singularity fame. But does the hoopla around Kurzweil's tomorrow distract from the important problems of today?|
|No More Guatemalas, Biopolitical TimesOctober 21st, 2010What lessons should be drawn from the recent revelation of horrific abuses of Guatemalans by medical experimenters during the 1940s?|
|A Singular Kind of Eugenics, Biopolitical TimesJune 16th, 2010Modern techno-utopianism, discussed in a recent feature on Singularity University, has worryingly eugenic overtones.|
|Merely Human? That's So Yesterday, New York TimesJune 11th, 2010Some of Silicon Valley’s smartest and wealthiest people believe that technology may be the only way to solve the world’s ills, while also allowing people to seize control of the evolutionary process. |
|Return of the GenRich?, Biopolitical TimesOctober 29th, 2009There has been a brief flurry of discussion about future separate species of humans.|
|Strange New World[Book Review], The New York TimesSeptember 20th, 2009Margaret Atwood's new novel, "The Year of the Flood," takes place in the same bioengineered world as her 2003 work of speculative fiction, "Oryx and Crake."|
|Michael Sandel on genetics, morality, and a new politics of the common good, Biopolitical TimesSeptember 11th, 2009"It is tempting to think that bioengineering our children and ourselves for success in a competitive society is an exercise of freedom. But changing our nature to fit the world, rather than the other way around, is actually the deepest form of disempowerment."|
|Transhumanists as Nihilists, Continued, Biopolitical TimesSeptember 2nd, 2009Why do transhumanists advocate for technologies and policies that even they apparently admit will likely lead to such a dark future?|
|Capitalism 1, Transhumanism 0, Biopolitical TimesAugust 31st, 2009Singularity University's first students have revealed the projects for which they are seeking capital, and they backed away from transhumanist or singularitarian ideas.|
|Nature Makes News, Biopolitical TimesDecember 11th, 2008Nature has published a Commentary that advocates the use of "cognitive-enhancing drugs."|
|Appleyard on H+, Biopolitical TimesOctober 22nd, 2008Brian Appleyard weighs in on "risible" transhumanists.|
|A Literal Reductionist?, Biopolitical TimesJuly 31st, 2008Michael Rae believes calorie restriction will increase his lifespan.|
|Putting Makeup on a Pig, Biopolitical TimesJuly 9th, 2008It seems that advocates of using emerging technologies to create a new type of human have realized that "transhuman" doesn't go over well.|
|The Modified Man[Quotes CGS's Richard Hayes], CaliforniaJuly 3rd, 2008Genetically souped-up athletes? Not a good idea, for reasons that go the heart of sports and beyond, says CGS's Richard Hayes.|
|Designing Babies [MP3], Talk of the NationApril 15th, 2008Marcy Darnovsky discusses genetic selection and modification with libertarian bioethicist Ronald Green on National Public Radio's Talk of the Nation.|
|Genetically Modified Humans? No Thanks., Washington PostApril 15th, 2008New human genetic technologies have real potential to help prevent or cure many terrible diseases. But if misapplied, they would exacerbate existing inequalities and reinforce existing modes of discrimination. If more widely abused, they could undermine the foundations of civil and human rights. In the worst case, they could undermine our experience of being part of a single human community with a common human future.|
|Are We Headed for a Sci-Fi Dystopia?
, AlterNetMarch 22nd, 2008Those in Gen X and Gen Y who ponder the prospect of a repro-genetic dystopia think of Gattaca. Last week's release of a collector's edition of the 1997 film unavoidably prompts us to measure ourselves against its "not-too-distant future" of genetic castes and DNA-based discrimination. Has our world become more like Gattaca than it was a decade ago?|
|Genomes of the Rich and Famous, Biopolitical TimesMarch 5th, 2008Genomics’ growing convergence with information technology may lead to the genetic "exploitation" of society's elite.|
|Making Waves, Practicing Wisdom, Biopolitical TimesJanuary 21st, 2008A new memoir by Charlie Halpern includes an eloquent call for bringing "wisdom of a high order" to the challenges of the new human biotechnologies.|
|Transhumanists as Nihilists, Biopolitical TimesJanuary 16th, 2008The World Transhumanist Association's survey of its members surprised me with what amounts to, at the very least, an acknowledgment of the limitations of the organization's philosophy. |
|Watson as wake-up call: When genetics endorses a new eugenics, Biopolitical TimesOctober 22nd, 2007Though neither media nor blogosphere have noted it so far, Watson and a small but disturbing number of other prominent figures are actively promoting a renewed program of eugenics - this time using 21st-century reproductive and genetic technologies.|
|Nobel Notions and the Uses of Genetics, AlternetOctober 19th, 2007It's Nobel Prize season, and Nobel scientists are very much in the news. James Watson is currently embroiled in controversy after making a series of blatantly racist remarks. But related views espoused by one of this year's laureates have gone unnoticed.|
|Enhancing the species, The Times (UK)October 10th, 2007Philosopher John Harris argues that we have a moral and ethical duty to improve the human race by biologically enhancing our children.|
|And Behind This Door..., Biopolitical TimesAugust 27th, 2007"Artificial life likely in 3 to 10 years," is the title of a recent widely published Associated Press article, and the message of the scientists interviewed therein.|
|Is He for Real? Are You?, Biopolitical TimesAugust 20th, 2007Nick Bostrom's specialty is coming up with ludicrous premises and then explicating the inferences that can logically be derived from them in pedantic detail.|
|Beam Me Up!, Biopolitical TimesJuly 26th, 2007Today, actor William Shatner gives a keynote presentation at the annual meeting of the World Transhumanist Association. Will he remind his technophilic audience that, in the Star Trek canon, the development of human genetic engineering on Earth led to a globally-devastating conflict, the Eugenics Wars?
|Our Biopolitical Future: Four Scenarios [PDF]World WatchFebruary 28th, 2007CGS Executive Director Richard Hayes's essay is the cover story of the March/April issue of World Watch magazine. The four scenarios, which cover the years between 2007 and 2021, are Libertarian Transhumanism Triumphs, One Family, One Future, A Techno-Eugenic Arms Race, and For the Common Good.
|Not So Strange Bedfellows, Biopolitical TimesJanuary 8th, 2007Would Milton Friedman be a transhumanist? The Economist - the magazine of record for free marketeers - suggests that he might.|
|Book reviews: Stem cells, enhancement and cloningGenetic CrossroadsAugust 4th, 2006Genetic Crossroads reviews Stem Cell Wars (Eve Herold), Challenging Nature: The Clash of Science and Spirituality at the New Frontiers of Life (Lee M. Silver), and After Dolly: The Uses and Misuses of Human Cloning (Ian Wilmut and Roger Highfield)|
|Transhumanism: Yearning to transcend biology, Boston GlobeJuly 10th, 2006"With everything else that's happening in the world today, debates about whether humanity should embrace as yet nonexistent technologies that could enhance our physical and intellectual abilities and someday make us "more than human" may seem frivolous."|
|Transhumanists Declare the “Right” to be Super-HumanGenetic CrossroadsJune 29th, 2006A group that advocates using genetic and other technologies to transform human beings into “posthumans” with new and expanded abilities held a conference May 26-28 titled “Human Enhancement Technologies and Human Rights.” The event was organized by the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies at Stanford Law School.|
|Among the TranshumanistsCyborgs, self-mutilators, and the future of our race, SlateJune 4th, 2006William Saletan reports on the Transhumanist conference, "Human Enhancement Technologies," at Stanford University.|
|Sports and gene "doping"Genetic CrossroadsSeptember 29th, 2005On the Kojo Nnamdi Show on WAMU public radio in Washington, D.C., the Center's Osagie Obasogie joined former all-star baseball player Jose Canseco, World Anti-Doping Agency Chair Richard Pound, and other sports doping experts to talk about genetic enhancement of athletes and its implications for the sports industry and society.|
|Discussing the ethics of altering human genes, San Francisco ChronicleSeptember 30th, 2004At an event sponsored by the UC Berkeley Knight Program in Science and Environmental Journalism, CGS's Marcy Darnovsky and author Bill McKibben spoke to an overflow crowd about the challenges of the new human genetic technologies and California's Prop 71.|
|Posthuman Enough?, BioScienceMarch 30th, 2004Will we say "enough" and set up the controls necessary to prevent the transformation of a portion of the human population into superpeople?|
|James Watson Wants to Build a Better Human, AlterNet.orgMay 28th, 2003Did you have a nice DNA Day? And how was your Human Genome Month?
If you missed those Congressionally-designated celebrations last month due to minor distractions, like a war or being laid off from your job, don't worry: The media missed the real story anyway. |
|Too Clever Too Fast Too Happy, The GuardianMay 3rd, 2003But what if, instead of crudely cheating with hypodermics, we began literally to programme children before they were born to become great athletes?... And as we move into the new world of genetic engineering, we won't simply lose races, we'll lose racing : we'll lose the possibility of the test, the challenge, the celebration that athletics represents.|
|Designer Genes, OrionApril 30th, 2003Once you accept the idea that our bodies are essentially plastic, and that it's okay to manipulate that plastic, there's no reason to think that consumers would balk because "genes" were involved instead of, say, "toxins." Especially since genetic engineering would not promote your own vanity, but instead be sold as a boon to your child. The vision of genetic engineers is to do to humans what we have already done to salmon and wheat, pine trees and tomatoes. |
|The Weapons of Mass CreationAre we ready for genetically enhanced 'designer people'? If so, who will make the titanic decisions involved?, Los Angleles TimesFebruary 13th, 2003|
|The Genome as CommonsThrough all the trials and tribulations of human history what binds us in the end is our common humanity, WorldWatchJuly 1st, 2002Perhaps we must put the human genome itself on this endangered commons list, and note that if this genetic commons too is lost to partition and privatization, if it too becomes the privilege of the affluent, then none of us on either side of the divide can be sure of retaining the "humanity" we like to think we've achieved.|