The New Eugenics: Modifying Biological Life in the Twenty-First Century
by Conrad B. Quintyn, Ph.D.
Archway Publishing

"There has been a long-standing belief in human civilization that technology can solve any problem that arises."

The term "eugenics" harks back to an earlier era when it was deemed medically and scientifically appropriate to modify or eliminate people—whether adult or embryo—who were considered mentally or physically less-than-perfect specimens. The "new eugenics," controlled by determined scientists whose limitations are few, can have equally powerful if more subtle implications. It involves, Quintyn asserts, "modifying nonhumans to benefit homo sapiens." The chemical engineering of plants and producing genetically altered pigs, monkeys, and other animals are examples of potentially useful areas of study, but all carry dangers, many as yet unknown. Transgenic animals have been developed to be disease resistant or less environmentally harmful, but in the course of evolution, what will their impact be? Should society produce smarter, taller people? Should certain traits, such as homosexuality, be suppressed? The salient question Quintyn raises is: what are, or should be, the limits of such scientific exploration?

Professor and author Quintyn raises important concerns about the potential immediate and long-term effects of genetic engineering on human biology. His worries arose as he pondered the impact on the continuing process of evolution that may arise from this use of technology, especially in the era of climate change. In this scholarly examination, he notes that certain modifications, such as of agricultural products, can have positive effects. Yet he makes a strong argument that such interventions generally interfere with the slower, possibly positive, changes that evolve naturally. He makes a highly credible case, underpinned by numerous sources, that academic and drug industry-related funding pushes for these perceived advances without necessarily considering their consequences. Historically, many human impingements on the environment have resulted in disease and disaster. Quintyn's seriously considered, fact-filled work targets those who, like him, have a rational concern for the best uses of technology at all levels.

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