It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.
Please white-list or disable AboveTopSecret.com in your ad-blocking tool.
Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.
Smarter on Drugs
We recoil at the idea of people taking drugs to enhance their intelligence. But why?
By Michael S. Gazzaniga
Any child can tell you that some people are smarter than others. But what is the difference between the brain of a Ph.D. student and the brain of the average Joe? If we can figure that out, then a bigger question follows: Is it ethical to turn average Joes into geniuses? Evolutionary theory suggests that if we are smart enough to invent technology that can increase our brain capacity, we should be able to use that advantage. It is the next step in the survival of the fittest. As noted psychologist Corneliu Giurgea stated in the 1970s, "Man is not going to wait passively for millions of years before evolution offers him a better brain."
That said, gnawing concerns persist when it comes to artificially enhancing intelligence. Geneticists and neuroscientists have made great strides in understanding which genes, brain structures and neurochemicals might be altered artificially to increase intelligence. The fear this prospect brings is that a nation of achievers will discard hard work and turn to prescriptions to get ahead.
Enhancing intelligence is not science fiction. Many "smart" drugs are in clinical trials and could be on the market in less than five years. Some medications currently available to patients with memory disorders may also increase intelligence in the healthy population. Likewise, few people would lament the use of such aids to ameliorate the forgetfulness that aging brings. Drugs that counter these deficits would be adopted gratefully by millions of people.