Ike Sharpless's Reviews > Idlewild

Idlewild by Nick Sagan
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's review
Jul 23, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: reviewed, speculative-fiction

** spoiler alert ** This is a review of the whole trilogy, but is really a commentary on the bioethical question at the core of the third book. The idea that we could genetically evolve aggression out of our genome is presented here in the context of a fascinating postapocalyptic fable, but it raises a host of crucial questions that are going to become more and more common. The standard trope in animal biotechnology has essentially been 'leave humans alone but do whatever you want to nonhumans, as long as you don't get mixed up with chimeras'. But this won't work indefinitely, for various reasons. Sooner or later we may actually be faced with the dilemma of whether we want to change our genetic nature, and the default taboo revulsion probably won't withstand scrutiny. (nota bene: none of this should be taken as acceptance of nature-over-nurture dogma in the ongoing debate over evolutionary ethics.)

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