Lisa Roberts blog


Bioengineering our brains

Filed under: Human rights, Iconography, Presentations, Science — Lisa @ 14:17

Ted Talk: American Journal of Bioethics, Neuroscience Editor, Paul Root Wolpe, says it’s time to question the bioengineering of animals, our brains and more.

I found this presentation frustratingly manipulating, but am pleased that I saw it. It brought my attention to the reality of genetic engineering. As I watched I found myself asking how genetic engineering works, but my desire for this knowledge battled with my own Nnormalcy Bias*, triggered by the continuous stream of cute animals. I wanted a more objective, balanced point of view. I wanted to see positive examples (if there are any) of positive of genetic engineering.

In order to make ethical decisions about how to regulate our behaviour, ways need to be found to communicate accurate information that do not trigger the Normalcy Bias. We face the same challenge when communicating climate change information. Because we each participate in shaping ourselves and our environment, it makes sense that we work together to decide what is good and what is bad.

*Wikipedia explains that:
The normalcy bias refers to a mental state people enter when facing a disaster. It causes people to underestimate both the possibility of a disaster occurring and its possible effects. This often results in situations where people fail to adequately prepare for a disaster, and on a larger scale, the failure of the government to include the populace in its disaster preparations. The assumption that is made in the case of the normalcy bias is that since a disaster never has occurred that it never will occur. It also results in the inability of people to cope with a disaster once it occurs. People with a normalcy bias have difficulties reacting to something they have not experienced before. People also tend to interpret warnings in the most optimistic way possible, seizing on any ambiguities to infer a less serious situation.[1]

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