Unnatural Selection: The Challenges of Engineering Tomorrow's People, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Unnatural Selection

The Challenges of Engineering Tomorrow's People, 1st Edition

Edited by Peter Healey, Steve Rayner


224 pages

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With ever-advancing scientific understanding and technological capabilities, humanity stands on the brink of the potential next stage of evolution: evolution engineered by us. Nanotechnology, biotechnology, information technology and cognitive science offer the possibility to enhance human performance, lengthen life-span and reshape our inherited physical, cognitive and emotional identities. But with this promise come huge risks, complex choices and fundamental ethical questions: about evolution; about what it is to be human; and about control over, and the distribution of benefits from, new technology. Written by a range of experts in science, technology, bioethics and social science, Unnatural Selection examines the range of technological innovations offering lives that purport to be longer, stronger, smarter and happier, and asks whether their introduction is likely to lead to more fulfilled individuals and a fairer world. The breadth of approaches and perspectives make important reading for anyone who cares about the implications of humanity engineering its own evolution.


'Big changes are coming in every aspect of our lives. Should and will we embrace or reject them? (This) well-chosen collection of short but eye-opening essays will help you decide which choice is made.' Gregory M. Fahy PhD, cryobiologist, biogerontologist and former Director of the American Aging Association 'The whole idea of human enhancement divides people. The cautious emphasize the dangers of the techniques themselves, and the social and political consequences of allowing individual choice and commercial interests to prevail. Enthusiasts point out that humans have always striven to enhance human capabilities and extend lifespan. Isn't it unethical not to seek to improve on nature? This book deepens the debate, with perspectives from diverse disciplines and cultures explaining what the technologies are, what they might achieve and the societal consequences on a global scale.' Dr Mairi Levitt, Department of Philosophy, Lancaster University

Table of Contents

Introduction * One World or Several? * The Nature of Human Natures * Longer? * Stronger? * Smarter? * Happier? * Fairer? * Governable? * Postscript: Choosing our Biological Future * Index

About the Editors

Peter Healey is Associate Fellow at the Institute for Science, Innovation and Society, University of Oxford. Steve Rayner is James Martin Professor of Science and Civilization at the Institute for Science, Innovation and Society, University of Oxford, a member of the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution, and Honorary Professor of Climate Change and Society, University of Copenhagen.

About the Series

The Earthscan Science in Society Series

The Earthscan Science in Society Series aims to publish new high quality research, teaching, practical and policy- related books on topics that address the complex and vitally important interface between science and society.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SCIENCE / Philosophy & Social Aspects