Tuesday, July 25, 2006

licensing genetic enhancement is a really fucking stupid idea

I have a review up at metapsychology of a book by a law professor named Maxwell Mehlman who has a spectacularly bad idea. He wants the government to have total regulatory control over how people alter their genes. This would involve creating a database of every American citizen's complete genetic sequence, and then testing people throughout their lives to see if they have enhanced themselves genetically without the appropriate license. The monitoring would include mandatory genetic tests for everyone returning from a foreign country in case they have visited an unauthorized gene clinic.

The book is blurbed by some pretty important people in bioethics, like Glenn McGee, but I get the distinct impression that Mehlman got his understanding of genetic enhancement by reading X-Men comics. He then responds to the technology like the misguided politicians in the comic book, demanding constant surveillance of the mutants--and everyone else.

For more detail, see my review. I'm thinking about making this into a talk perhaps to give at an APA, or one of the New York regional conferences.

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