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Bill McKibben, author of the renowned book The End of Nature, has a new concern: the end of human nature.

In his just published book, Enough: Staying Human in an Engineered Age, McKibben zeroes in on the prospect that new genetic technologies could ultimately be used to create "post-human" children, whose character and skills would be designed by parents or society. As McKibben sees it, when genetics merges with other new technologies, such as robotics or nanotechnology, the word "human" may not even be part of the equation. The greatest danger, he argues, comes not from any future genetic dictatorship, but rather from genetic or other technological enhancements that, at least on the surface, seem desirable.

The result, McKibben fears, would be the loss of what he most values in human existence, values he hopes others share. His new book surveys what scientists are cooking up, then delivers his meditations on the choices we will face and on whether we will have the wisdom to say "Enough."

While some experts doubt that the technologies in question will ever...