1. As athletic enhancement increases, what fades?
2. Does Sandel think the main problem with enhancement is that it undermines effort and erodes human agency?
3. What do genetically altered athletes corrupt?
4. Sandel thinks Lasik surgery to correct normal vision would be an acceptable enhancement for a golfer under what condition?
5. Does Sandel allege an ethical problem with mega-calorie diets?
6. What is "far-fetched" about the view that the rules of a game are arbitrary?
1. A devil's advocate might say, of the complaint that an enhanced performance is less impressive, that if it's so easy to hit 70+ home runs on steroids then more than just two should have been able to do it. The implication is that, enhanced or not, elite athletic accomplishment is entertaining and exceptional. What do you think?
2. Do you agree that we should be a more humble and less "promethean" species, more appreciative of the gift of life and less willful, less confident in our ability to "remake nature, including human nature"?
3. "Striving is not the point of sports; excellence is." (28) Agree? Were McGwire's and Bonds's achievements less excellent than Ruth's and Maris's?
4. Is it clear to you where we should draw the line between "natural gifts" and artificial enhancements? Isn't medical science an expression of culture, itself in turn a natural evolutionary adaptation on the part of our species? Aren't nature and culture on the same continuum? Or does this attitude extend a blank check for any and every humanly engendered aleration as equally "natural"?
5. Do transfusions, hormone injecctions (EPOs), altitude training, and genetic modifications all share the same ethical status, if their effect on performance is the same? 33
6. What threatens "the integrity of [a] game"?
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Male biology students consistently underestimate female peers, study finds washington.edu/news/2016/02/1…
- Some Christians believe God rewards the faithful. So why did I get Stage 4 cancer? nyt Death goes in and out of fashion. The topic lingers behind euphemisms for a few years, and then someone calls it forth again: Elisabeth Kübler-Ross with her disciplined “On Death and Dying” in 1969; Susan Sontag with her angry but profound “Illness as Metaphor” in 1978 and the empathetic follow-up “AIDS and Its Metaphors,” in 1988; Derek Humphry, implausibly, with his suicide handbook “Final Exit” in 1991; Sherwin Nuland with his magisterial “How We Die” in 1993; more recently, Joan Didion with her agonizingly precise “The Year of Magical Thinking” in 2005; and Atul Gawande with his humane “Being Mortal” in 2014. Each of these books argues, one way or another, for a continuum between life and its conclusion. The gloss of youthful vitality can persuade us that life is for the living, but life is also for the dying, and repudiating that ultimate punctuation escalates our anxiety and deprives us of final dignity. Time and again, we must clarify our individual and collective beliefs about how the last chapter changes the rest of the narrative. “Or not to be” is not in fact a question. (continues at Andrew Solomon, The Good Death...)
The late David Carr on Black Mirror, MicroSoft's HoloLens, and our dwindling experience of "actual unencumbered reality."
Micah Hester's colloquium talk at Vandy presented several ambiguous cases of "brain death" and "biological death," including that of Jahi McMath...
Breaking Up With My Meds By DIANA SPECHLERThe drugs I take for anxiety, depression and insomnia have helped, but I’ve decided to quit.
THE NEW OLD AGE Continued Questions on Benzodiazepine Use in Older Patients By PAULA SPAN A new reports that among 65- to 80-year-old Americans, close to 9 percent use drugs like Valium, Xanax, Ativan and Klonopin.
‘The Patient Will See You Now,’ by Eric Topol, reviewed by Sandeep Jauhar, nyt bk rev 2.13.15.Despite awesome increases in computational power, I think it is premature to conclude that doctors’ judgments — not to mention their healing touch — can be rendered by computers. In an illustrative vignette, Topol writes about a plane flight he was on in which a passenger lost consciousness soon after takeoff. In the air, Topol performed a smartphone examination of the patient, including checking an electrocardiogram, measuring blood pressure and doing a cardiac ultrasound. The patient was fine, but despite this investigative tour de force, Topol curiously concludes that the passenger did not require a doctor on the plane to make the diagnosis. “All that was needed were the tools to collect the data,” he says. This, I believe, is wishful thinking.
Another old Sandel post:
Walk on air
The deeper danger of enhancement and genetic engineering is that they represent a kind of hyper-agency, a Promethean aspiration to remake nature, including human nature, to serve our purposes and satisfy our desires.
People want to live longer and better. When they can do both, they will. Ethics is just going to have to catch up.…we might still become the authors of our own lives.One glance at the only available planetary future made having children at best
benighted and at worst depraved. Nulliparity— human build-down— was a moral imperative… she was already a member of the Voluntary Human Extinction Movement.Resolved: the human race would have been better off if the agricultural revolution had never happened. Resolved: the government should cap the salaries of professional athletes… Resolved: the human race will not survive its own ingenuity. Resolved: the cure for our chronic despair is just around the corner… Tonia Schiff can make the most cataclysmic debate almost as entertaining as reality itself.Candace helps students understand that feeling good about themselves is more important than being “perfect…”It took the species millions of years to climb down out of the trees, and only ten years more to jump into the fishbowl.“If I knew a drug that produced sustained, intense, level, loving well-being without any trace of stupor or edge, I’d take it myself.” She cocked her head and twisted her lips. “You’d have to. Everyone else would already be on it.”You have cause — so have we all — of joy.Does generous [heart, joie, expansion, big feeling] include all those who are by nature genuine, generative, anyone pregnant with connections, keen to make more kin?Or is generosity a question of having the right blood, the innate germ of the genteel gentry?Enough philosophy; she has sworn off it. Philosophy never consoled anyone.I’d spent my whole life coming here, and now I was home. Everyone alive deserves to feel that way once.