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Enough: Staying Human in an Engineered Age

by

Enough: Staying Human in an Engineered Age Cover

 

 

Excerpt

From Enough:

What will you have done to your newborn when you have installed into the nucleus of every one of her billions of cells a purchased code that will pump out proteins designed to change her? You will have robbed her of the last possible chance for creating context--meaning--for her life. Say she finds herself, at the age of sixteen, unaccountably happy. Is it her being happy--finding, perhaps, the boy she will first love--or is it the corporate product inserted within her when she was a small nest of cells, an artificial chromosome now causing her body to produce more serotonin? Don't think she won't wonder: at sixteen a sensitive soul questions everything. But perhaps you've "increased her intelligence"--and perhaps that's why she is questioning so hard. She won't be sure if even the questions are hers.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780805075199
Author:
McKibben, Bill
Publisher:
Owl Books (NY)
Author:
McKibben, Bill
Location:
New York
Subject:
General
Subject:
Social aspects
Subject:
Philosophy & Social Aspects
Subject:
Genetics
Subject:
Human genetics
Subject:
Genetic engineering
Subject:
Life Sciences - Genetics & Genomics
Subject:
Science Reference-Philosophy of Science
Copyright:
Edition Number:
1st Owl Books ed.
Edition Description:
Trade Paperback
Series Volume:
issue 6
Publication Date:
20000931
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
288
Dimensions:
8.1 x 5.62 x 0.81 in

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Related Subjects


History and Social Science » Sociology » General
Humanities » Philosophy » General
Reference » Science Reference » General
Reference » Science Reference » Philosophy of Science
Reference » Science Reference » Technology
Science and Mathematics » Biology » Genetics
Science and Mathematics » Environmental Studies » General

Enough: Staying Human in an Engineered Age Used Trade Paper
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Product details 288 pages Owl Books (NY) - English 9780805075199 Reviews:
"Review" by , "McKibben presents an uncompromising view, and an essential view. Readers will come away from his latest brilliantly provocative work shaking their heads at the possible future he portrays....This is a brilliant book that deserves a wide readership."
"Review" by , "[P]assionate and revealing....McKibben makes genetic engineering, robotics, and nanotechology understandable even to those readers who are not techno-savvy....This is a disturbing though ultimately optimistic book that explores the possibility of technology replacing humanity and rouses within us the impulse to declare: enough."
"Review" by , "Pensive and alarming....McKibben makes an eloquent contribution to our understanding of an earthly peril."
"Review" by , "A masterpiece....[P]iling unnerving fact upon unnerving fact, McKibben makes an eloquent case that we are witnessing the end of our climate as we know it."
"Review" by , "[P]assionate, succinct, chilling, closely argued, sometimes hilarious, touchingly well-intentioned, and essential."
"Synopsis" by ,
Passionate, succinct, chilling, closely argued, sometimes hilarious, touchingly well-intentioned, and essential." --Margaret Atwood, The New York Review of Books

Nearly fifteen years ago, in The End of Nature, Bill McKibben demonstrated that humanity had begun to irrevocably alter and endanger our environment on a global scale. Now he turns his eye to an array of technologies that could change our relationship not with the rest of nature but with ourselves. He explores the frontiers of genetic engineering, robotics, and nanotechnology--all of which we are approaching with astonishing speed--and shows that each threatens to take us past a point of no return. We now stand, in Michael Pollan's words, "on a moral and existential threshold," poised between the human past and a post-human future. McKibben offers a celebration of what it means to be human, and a warning that we risk the loss of all meaning if we step across the threshold. Instantly acclaimed for its passion and insight, this wise and eloquent book argues that we cannot forever grow in reach and power--that we must at last learn how to say, "Enough."

"Synopsis" by ,
Passionate, succinct, chilling, closely argued, sometimes hilarious, touchingly well-intentioned, and essential.” Margaret Atwood, The New York Review of Books

Nearly fifteen years ago, in The End of Nature, Bill McKibben demonstrated that humanity had begun to irrevocably alter and endanger our environment on a global scale. Now he turns his eye to an array of technologies that could change our relationship not with the rest of nature but with ourselves. He explores the frontiers of genetic engineering, robotics, and nanotechnologyall of which we are approaching with astonishing speedand shows that each threatens to take us past a point of no return. We now stand, in Michael Pollans words, “on a moral and existential threshold,” poised between the human past and a post-human future. McKibben offers a celebration of what it means to be human, and a warning that we risk the loss of all meaning if we step across the threshold. Instantly acclaimed for its passion and insight, this wise and eloquent book argues that we cannot forever grow in reach and powerthat we must at last learn how to say, “Enough.”

Bill McKibben is the author of a dozen books, including The End of Nature, Enough: Staying Human in an Engineered Age, and Deep Economy. A former staff writer for The New Yorker, he writes regularly for Harpers, The Atlantic Monthly, and The New York Review of Books, among other publications. He is a scholar in residence at Middlebury College and lives in Vermont with his wife, the writer Sue Halpern, and their daughter.
From the author of The End of Nature comes a passionate plea to limit the technologies that could change the very definition of who we are. We are on the verge of crossing a linefrom born to made, from created to built. Sometime in the next few years, a scientist will reprogram a human egg or sperm cell, spawning a genetic change that could be passed down into eternity. We are sleepwalking toward the future, argues Bill McKibben, and its time to open our eyes.

In The End of Nature, published nearly fifteen years ago, McKibben demonstrated that humanity had begun to alter irrevocablyand endangerour environment on a global scale. Now he turns his eye to a new and equally urgent issue: the dangers inherent in an array of technologies that threaten not just our survival, but our identity.

Imagine a future where lab workers can reprogram human embryos to make our children "smarter" or "more sociable" or "happier." Some researchers are doing more than imagining this future: having worked with such changes on a wide range of other animals, they've begun to plan for what they see as the inevitable transformation of our species. They are joined by other engineers, working in fields like advanced robotics and nanotechnology, who foresee a not-very-distant day when people merge with machines to create a "posthuman" world.

Enough examines such possibilities, and explains how we can avoid their worst consequences while still enjoying the fruits of our new scientific understandings. More, it confronts the most basic questions that our technological society faces: Will we ever decide that we've grown powerful enough? Can we draw a line and say this far and no further?

McKibben answers yes, and argues that only by staying human can we find true meaning in our lives. A warning against the gravest dangers human beings have ever faced, this wise and eloquent book is also a passionate defense of the world we were born into, and a celebration of our ability to say, "Enough."

"In this wise, well-researched, and important book, Bill McKibben addresses the burning philosophical question of the new century, and the one that counts for the long haul: how to control the technoscientific juggernaut before it dehumanizes our species."E. O. Wilson, author of The Future of Life

"Enough is a passionate, succinct, chilling, closely argued, sometimes hilarious, touchingly well-intentioned, and essential summary of the future proposed by 'science' for the human race."Margaret Atwood, The New York Review of Books

"McKibben has done a top-notch job of researching and writing about one of the most important topics of the current age. Enough is an important book and needs to be read by everyone with an interest in keeping the human future human."The Weekly Standard

"A reflective essay that surveys advanced technologies, what the leading minds feel about them, and the profound effects they'll likely have on society . . . McKibben has performed a public service with Enough by prodding us to ask crucial questions about the future of humanity that will be taking shape in just a few short years."Steven Martinovich, The Christian Science Monitor

"Brave and luminous . . . Bill McKibben understands geneticsbut he knows poetry, too."Wired

"McKibben has produced a book that is both a sequel and an equal to his brilliant The End of Nature . . . Enough is an equally ambitious and important book. In it, McKibben examines the dark potential at the center of three glittering and converging technologies: genetic engineering and, to a lesser extent, robotics and nanotechnology. Where The End of Nature described a widening gulf between humans and our environment, Enough suggests that an even more terrifying break looms: a technologically driven division between the human past and a post-human future. In the name of progress, he asserts, we are about to engineer ourselves out of existence. McKibben is a gifted writer and thinker, and there is no better proof of his prodigious talents than the fact that he is able to make such a scenario seem not just plausible but likely. After reading Enough, the question must be asked whether or not this dystopia can be avoided."Osha Gray Davidson, Los Angeles Times Book Review (cover review)

"In this wise, well-researched, and important book, Bill McKibben addresses the burning philosophical question of the new century, and the one that counts for the long haul: how to control the technoscientific juggernaut before it dehumanizes our species."E. O. Wilson, author of The Future of Life

"Without question, this is one of the most important books of the year. McKibben deserves to be read, to be discussed, to be heard."The San Diego Union-Tribune

"Fiercely important . . . the most thought-provoking piece of nonfiction I've read in a long time."The Toronto Globe and Mail

"More than a decade ago, in The End of Nature, Bill McKibben became the first writer to confront the implications of global warming, framing the issue in a way no one could ignore. Now, in Enough, he shines his powerful light on another, equally momentous change that is upon us: the ability to re-engineer ourselves and therefore the very meaning of human identity. If McKibben is right, then humankind stands on a moral and existential thresholdor cliff. We would do well as a society to weigh his bracing argument before taking another step."Michael Pollan, author of The Botany of Desire

"Your book, I think, will be recognized as indispensable. It makes an informed, careful, always intelligent response to the now inescapable question: Are we willing to submit our freedom and our dearest meanings to a technological determinism imposed by the alignment of scienc

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