The Opposite of Human Enhancement: Nanotechnology
Thompson, Paul B
Vol. 2, Num. 3
Thompson looks at the flip side if human enhancement here, analyzing the literature that suggests the same sort of advances that could be used to enhance[e] the cognitive capabilities of human beings could also be used to reduce the abilities of certain animals, notably those suffering from medical research or as industrialized livestock. The question here is whether it is a moral responsibility on the part of scientists to limit the suffering of these animals as much as possible, or whether an sort of disenhancement is inherently immoral. While it is an accepted fact that animals have certain rights but that they are subjugated to those of humans, animal testing and feedlots already exist in a grey area between cruelty to animals and necessity to humans; using nanotechnology to alter the cognitive experience of these animals would really serve to alleviate human guilt more than to lend any actual aid to the animals. As easily wrong as this all seems, Thompson is right to conclude the necessity for some strong, coherent argument as to why it is wrong, rather than a reliance on gut feeling and incomplete logic.