Genetic technologies and sport: The new ethical issue
Graduate studies at Western
|Abstract||The persuasiveness of arguments against the use of drug taking or doping in sport remains unconvincing. As will be argued, it does not seem that there is any position that warrants the removal of all performance enhancing substances from competitive sport. Furthermore, it is less clear whether governing bodies of sport would be justified or would benefit from preventing the use of drugs in competitive sport. While it might be argued that popular opinion remains against doping, it is uncertain whose interests are reflected by this position. This is made most explicit in anti-doping policy where the justification for imposing sanctions on the basis of positive tests is unconcerned with the intent or possible innocence of the athlete. Rather, the very presence of a banned substance within an athlete’s urine or blood is deemed to be a guarantor of guilt, simply because the substance is placed on a list of unacceptable methods—a policy of strict liability (29). While this perspective might trivialize the efforts of a great number of organizations, such as the World Anti-Doping Association (WADA), which are working to rid sports of drug taking, the rationality of such efforts remains highly questionable and presumes an ethic of sport that is universal and uncomplicated. Broadening these ideas about performance enhancing drugs in sport, this paper identifies the prospect of enhancing athletes through genetic manipulation, arguing the extent to which the enhancement of an athlete by such methods would be desirable for the purpose of sports competition. It is intended that genetic engineering, as an example of performance enhancement in sport, will provide greater insights into why drug use and similar methods of doping might or might not be acceptable within sports.|
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