You’re about to have a child. Is it morally right to artificially enhance the intelligence, health, and survivability of that child? Is it morally right to not do so?

I’m sure you’ve asked or been asked that question before. But looking at the question with an amateur historian’s eye, when, exactly, has mankind ever developed a technology that it chose not to use, especially if it could be used as a weapon? As far as I can tell, if a technology is developed, unless it is so very dangerous that the world as a whole bands together to stop it (as was done with CFC’s), that technology will be used for good or ill. For instance, today it is quite common (despite its illegality) to choose the sex of one’s child (or abort a fetus on basis of its sex)…and this practice has led to a degree of social instability in both nations.

But giving one’s child a perceived advantage through artificial means is nothing new, perhaps the best example being vaccinations against so many deadly or crippling diseases that were once considered a normal hazard of life. Lasik eye surgery is certainly unnatural…but is that not simply but the latest of efforts to improve eyesight, that began with the first monocle centuries ago?

As for myself, I was diagnosed with ADD (not ADHD) about 15 years ago, and have taken Concerta (methylphenidate) ever since. Sure, I could refuse the medication and be “normal”, but life with the medication is better, not just for me, but especially for my wife. Looking at it that way, then, it could be morally wrong for me to refuse to take that medication.

So as I see it, taking that medication is little different from making sure my smoke detectors work, that we all have functional and secure smartphones, and that our automobile is in good working order. The march of technology was once like the tide that ebbed and flowed throughout history, but is now like an ever-faster, ever-higher tsunami…and anyone who tries to stop that tsunami will only get swamped and swept away by the great wave. Better by far, then, to learn to surf that tsunami, and ride it for all it’s worth.

Written by

Retired Navy. Inveterate contrarian. If I haven’t done it, I’ve usually done something close.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store