Thursday, November 24, 2011

Super athletes coming soon to a game near you

There have been some startling medical breakthroughs lately, though hardly anyone seems to have noticed. I assume people are busy watching the latest shiny thing on their teevee. These discoveries are going to change the shape of our lives -- and the shape of life itself.

Today we learn it's possible to suppress a natural muscle-growth inhibitor to produce muscles that are double normal strength. Think about increasing granny's strength by a factor of 2. Sounds great, right? The linked article even mentions using the discovery "as a basis for developing a treatment for genetic muscular dystrophy". Big stuff.

But the other side of the coin is that, people being what they are, we are about to see the dawn of a race of super athletes. You know athletes will use this the instant they can get their hands on it. Balls will be flying out of baseball parks like mad. They'll probably have to build new, giant-sized stadiums. People will always use something that gives them an advantage. Once this treatment becomes commonplace, the genie is out of the bottle. I can even see people shooting their kids up with it to give them a sports advantage. Super-children: kinda creepy.

But of course, this is just the beginning. We'll extend life, make people smarter and stronger, eliminate the possibility of disease, wipe out the need for sleep, augment our brains with computers . . . and then what?

Let's hope that before these changes take place, there is a global moral awakening for the human race -- something along the lines of "we're all the same and we have an obligation to protect everyone on the planet and ensure that their basic needs are met." Those kind of people I wouldn't mind becoming super-strong. On the other hand, I'd hate to see a race of super-strong Rush Limbaughs, Michelle Bachmanns, Glenn Becks and popey guys. And I'm not at all keen on the idea of super-powered SWAT officers "policing" normal-strength citizens. Plus, consider the havoc that super-strong priests would cause. Those poor kids!

And we think our world is screwed up now.