MIT Press has sent me a contract for my proposed book on legal and political responses to genetic technologies: (provisionally titled) Humanity Enhanced.
This book will be based on my Ph.D dissertation from Monash University (which was entitled "Human Enhancement: The Challenge to Liberal Tolerance"); however, the published version will be revised, updated, and generally reworked. Like the dissertation on which it is based, Humanity Enhanced will focus on the politics of human enhancement technologies - or, more specifically, the political challenge posed by a range of genetic technologies. It will explore the principles that should be used when laws are enacted to regulate or prohibit them. I ask how people of reason should respond politically to such prospects as human reproductive cloning and attempts at genetic engineering for enhanced intelligence or longevity. Should we tolerate these things, and if not ... on what ground that is acceptable in secular, liberal societies?
I will argue against the tendency to ban or heavily burden the use of these emerging technologies, and specifically against the sorts of sweeping prohibitions that were enacted in many parts of the world - almost in panic mode - in the immediate aftermath of Dolly's announcement in 1997. We can do better than this.
To whet your appetite for the book, I refer readers again to my article "Enhancement Anxiety" in a recent issue of Free Inquiry. (I don't believe the article can be viewed on the internet in its entirety any longer, but many of you will have the issue in hard copy. Also, there is a thread about it on Richard Dawkins' site if you missed it late last year.)
For me, the remainder of 2012 will be spent getting two books into shape for publication a year or two from now - Humanity Enhanced and 50 Great Myths About Atheism (which Udo Schuklenk and I are co-authoring for Wiley-Blackwell).
So that's my big news. I'm looking forward to the work itself and to seeing the product take form. To state the obvious, Humanity Enhanced has found an excellent publisher in MIT Press. As you can imagine, I'm very excited about this, so you can look forward to many updates, thoughts on the issues, and so on.