Friday, September 14, 2012

PEDalling Change

Turn on, tune in, drop out. Timothy Leary

Two Armstrongs have been in the news recently and both have been central figures in changing our world view.

I don't have much to add to Neil Armstrong that wasn't covered in my article on Yuri Gagarin (my second most popular post, read it after this one and push it to the top).

As for Lance Armstrong, I have also posted on him, in an argument that he wasn't the greatest cyclist ever because his impact on the sport was not as great as the changes forced by Greg LeMond.

But maybe I've sold Lance short on his global impact over the next twenty years. He has taken the debate over performance enhancing drugs (PEDs) to a new, truly global level.

This debate is not all that important if it is limited to sports, but becomes very important when broadened to other professions. Once again we need to not ask the wrong the question.

Imagine (and it shouldn't take too much imagination) that performance enhancing drugs will exist for improving cognition, speed of thought, memory, focus, logic, creativity.

Should we ban the use of such drugs in all professions? Should we limit human performance?

It is hard to imagine how such a ban could succeed. I would certainly be prone to taking these futuristic PEDs on the assumption that other professionals would take them. I have to feed my family. I can't afford to lose. We can't stop people from obtaining harmful drugs then we surely can't stop even more from obtaining helpful drugs.

Perhaps, instead of making PEDs illegal in sports, we should start developing ways to regulate their safe use. After all, it is only a matter of time before we will have to do so for all professions. Sports could become the model for how we implement PEDs in all walks of life in a responsible manner.

When it comes to PEDs, there is little doubt that it could BE different.

1 comment:

    The agency said 20 of the 21 riders on the podium in the Tour from 1999 through 2005 have been "directly tied to likely doping through admissions, sanctions, public investigations" or other means. It added that of the 45 riders on the podium between 1996 and 2010, 36 were by cyclists "similarly tainted by doping."