Why The Outrage?

I’ve been following the outrage over A-Rod’s use of performance enhancing drugs, and I still don’t get it. They keep saying that the records are “tainted”, and this is not a true test of athletic prowess. There is this sense that The Babe didn’t need no stinkin’ drugs.

But time passes and technologies improve. Modern players had the benefit of vaccines and vitamins and a vastly better level of nutrition then players in the past. Are those advantages also considered to have “tainted” the records?

People are bigger and stronger than their grandparents and great-grandparents because of these improvements. If technology can add to your abilities why not use it? I’m a science fiction writer, and I can’t wait for the time when we use gene therapy to eradicate diseases, improve muscle function, postpone aging. I want new technologies to deal with near and far sightedness. What I wouldn’t give to be able to see without contacts or glasses.

Eventually what we think of as the human norm may be modified in ways we can only imagine so that we can live underwater, or on higher density planets. I guess I just don’t think that natural is a terribly meaningful concept. Probably why I’m not bothered by genetically engineered food. If modified rice rich in vitamin A can prevent childhood blindness, and if we can find a way to increase yields so fewer people starve I kinda think these are good things.

3 Responses to Why The Outrage?

  • Tim S says:

    Hi Melinda,

    Genetic engineering is always an interesting topic – especially in the context of science fiction. As such, I was wondering if you have seen the movie Gattaca? It’s a wonderfully crafted drama, set in the ever not-so-distant future, and it explores the ethical issues of genetic engineering and gene discrimination.

    • Melinda Snodgrass says:

      Just an aside, but my dear friend and famous New Mexico author Jack Williamson coined the phrase genetic engineering. Yes, it’s going to happen. Why wouldn’t we want to do away with bad eye sight and flat feet, and far more horrible conditions? Distant worlds will require adjustments to the human norm to colonize. And yes, I liked GATTACA a lot. It was a terrific film that offered a thoughtful look at an interesting question. And Jude Law was very easy on the eyes. 🙂

  • T. England says:

    Some of the players are juicing themselves up while others aren’t, so the playing field (as the saying goes) isn’t level. When legal augmented sports comes, everyone has to have access to similar technology. And we’ll have to accept that augmented sports will be a game of the best technological advances over natural ability. Professional swimming, for instance; for a while it was high-tech swimsuit against high-tech swimsuit, not human against human. The Greek Olympics could be considered “pure” because everyone competed naked, but even there, I’d bet there were under-handed attempts to boost one’s performance.

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