[ExI] Taxonomy of Human Enhancement

Natasha Vita-More natasha at natasha.cc
Sat Jan 14 17:41:42 UTC 2012

HI Mirco,

Thanks.  Actually, I thought I had said this clearly in my original email,
but I guess not.  I was looking for the historical use of the phrase "humane
enhancement", not humans altering biology, which is ancient (we can go as
far back as the Alchemists).


Natasha Vita-More
PhD Researcher, Univ. of Plymouth, UK
Chairman, Humanity+ 
Co-Editor, The Transhumanist Reader

-----Original Message-----
From: extropy-chat-bounces at lists.extropy.org
[mailto:extropy-chat-bounces at lists.extropy.org] On Behalf Of Mirco Romanato
Sent: Saturday, January 14, 2012 8:49 AM
To: ExI chat list
Subject: Re: [ExI] Taxonomy of Human Enhancement

Il 10/01/2012 15:15, Natasha Vita-More ha scritto:
> Putting varied pieces together, I have a pretty clear understanding
> now. It is a synthesis of preceding and subsequent social events and 
> technological paradigmatic shifts that spawned cybernetics' HCI and
> BCI and biotechnology's gene therapy. Issues of therapy vs.
> enhancement arose.  The New York Times article and Science mag
> article in 1972 spawned a concern and bioethics became a theoretical
> business.

Don't know if it is fit to the request, but the "human enhancement" idea
is old.
I have not direct access to the original strips of 1940's Captain
America but the talk is about a super-soldier serum able to enhance the
subject abilities at the peak of human ability.

Probably the idea come from the then newly developed substances:

> http://www.cesar.umd.edu/cesar/drugs/steroids.asp
> "The history of anabolic steroids can be traced back to as early as
> 1930's, before the term steroid was even used. In the 1930's, a team
> of scientists was able to create a synthetic form of testosterone (a
> male hormone) to help treat men who were unable to produce enough of
> the hormone for normal growth, development, and sexual functioning.
> Later, during World War II it was found that this artificial form of
> testosterone could be used to help malnourished soldiers gain weight
> and improve performance."
> http://www.resistance88.com/topics/sport/nazisteroids1.htm#.TxGU3_kmbTo
>  Medicinally, steroids obviously have a very legitimate purpose for
> being. Athletically, their profound effect on the performance and
> appearance of users can neither be ignored nor denied. However,
> steroids didn't start being utilized for non-medical reasons for
> about a decade after being created. In the 40s, Nazi doctors provided
> steroids to their soldiers in an effort to make them more aggressive.
> The Soviet Union followed suit in the 50s by giving them to their
> athletes to enhance performance and strength..

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