Wednesday, February 6

The slippery slope of brain dope

Serious question, if we find out that Thomas Edison was brain-doping should we put an asterisks next to all his patents? The Toronto Star discusses how Barry Bonds' spirit is alive and well among intellectuals:

In the end, scientists and ethicists say it will be up to individuals to decide whether or not they will use cognitive-enhancing drugs. Several draw comparisons between taking brain-boosting meds and opting for cosmetic surgery; both essentially are about self-esteem.

Jeff Blackmer, director of ethics for the Canadian Medical Association, says cognitive enhancement is part of the overall trend to seek medical solutions for individual traits: Overweight people want a slimming pill; men with receding hairlines want a cure for baldness; students eager for higher marks will want a memory drug.

Self-esteem, sure, but brain-boosting and augmenting looks are also about getting ahead in the world: Landing the best job, finding the most desirable mate, making the most money, etc. Self-esteem, but also it is about the chase. In short, The Pursuit of the All-Time Home Run Record: Private Life Edition. It's often reported that Bonds began taking performance-enhancing drugs only after witnessing McGwire and Sosa go bonkers on the stuff. It seems likely that Bonds started down his slippery slope out of vanity. Essentially it was about self-esteem.

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