Saturday, August 31, 2013

From the notebooks of the Lazarus experiment

According to Peter Ward ("What Will Become of Homo Sapiens?"):

Assuming that it does become practical to change our genes, how will that affect the future evolution of humanity? Probably a great deal. Suppose parents alter their unborn children to enhance their intelligence, looks and longevity. If the kids are as smart as they are long-lived - an IQ of 150 and a lifespan of 150 years - they could have more children and accumulate more wealth than the rest of us. Socially they will probably be drawn to others of their kind. With some kind of self-imposed geographic or social segregation, their genes might drift and eventually differentiate as a new species. One day, then, we will have it in our power to bring a new human species into this world. Whether we choose to follow such a path is for our descendants to decide.

Here's an excerpt from the ending of the original screenplay for the movie Gattaca:


     As we pan across the constellations, a title is superimposed
     upon the starscape:

              In a few short years, scientists will
              have completed the Human Genome Project,
              the mapping of all the genes that make
              up a human being.

              After 4 billion years of evolution by the
              slow and clumsy method of natural selection,
              we have now evolved to the point where we
              can direct our own evolution.

     The first title is replaced in the heavens by a second title.

              If only we had aquired this knowledge
              sooner, the following people would never
              have been born:

     A succession of portraits and photographs of RENOWNED and
     HISTORIC FIGURES fades in and out of the constellations - the
     accompanying titles list their affliction rather than their

                         Blind from birth

                         NAPOLEON BONAPARTE


                              LOU GERHIG [sic]
                      Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis
                         (Lou Gerhig's [sic] Disease)

                             RITA HAYWORTH
                         Alzheimer's Disease

                             HELEN KELLER
                            Blind and deaf

                           STEPHEN HAWKING
                        Lou Gerhig's Disease

                         JACKIE JOYNER-KERSEE

                           CHARLES DARWIN
                          Chronic invalid

     The face of Charles Darwin fades off and another title appears
     out of the stars.

              Even Charles Darwin, the man who told of
              the survival of the fittest, numbered
              amongst our frailest.

     The title fades off and is replaced by one final title in the
     night sky.

              Of course, the other birth that would
              surely never have taken place is your own.


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