"What Will Human Beings Become?" [August 4-11] delivers breezy revelations about "transhumanists" who want to tinker with the fundamentals of human biology and fertility clinics that already use "preimplantation genetic diagnosis" to screen embryos for various deficiencies. This is very troubling stuff for a lot of us, yet the story offers no more comfort than a few lines about parental love and an assurance that "it's too early to lie awake worrying that genetically manipulated superkids are going to ace your grandkids out of varsity soccer." It's not soccer bullies we're worried about; it's those bullies in the lab coats.
Betty Smartt Carter
Birmingham, Ala. "What Will Human Beings Become?" states that "the race's evolution is speeding up." The words should have been chosen more carefully. Humans are adapting as the world changes, not unlike the way a virus adapts and changes to deal with new antiviral medicine, but the virus is still a virus, and the human is still a human. Use of the word evolu tion implies the same kind of change as expressed in the theory of humans evolving from one-celled organisms, to monkeys, to humans. Macroevolution—change from one kind to another—must be distinguished from microevolution—change within kind.