New technologies are coming in the near future that have the potential to radically change what it means to be human. This book looks at why democratic societies must respond to things like cloning, genetic engineering and nanotechnology, instead of pretending that they don’t exist.What the author calls "bio-Luddites" are opposed to such new technologies, because they feel that mankind should be happy with its 70 (or so) years of life, characterized by increasing bodily disfunction in its later stages. Another reason for opposition is the vague, but always there, possibility of a disaster unleashing some new plague on the world. Some people say that taboos and gut feelings are the path to wisdom. If a new technology feels spooky, ban it immediately. The Catholic Church opposes such things because they are supposedly offensive to God.On the other hand, if a person is found to be a carrier for, or genetically susceptible to, Disease X, don’t they have the right to fix their DNA (assuming a safe and reliable method can be found to do so)? Those who call themselves transhumanists (based on humanism) believe that people should have the right to modify their bodies, whether the quest is for greater intelligence, longevity or a happier outlook on life. They are the first to assert that there must be adequate discussion beforehand, and adequate safeguards after the introduction of a new technology. Such things must also be available to all people, through some sort of universal health insurance, not just to the rich. Transhumanists have no desire to take over the world, but one of the subjects for social consideration has to be how to extinguish potential schisms between humans and posthumans. To those who think that some new regulatory agency is needed, the author does not agree. Agencies like the FDA and EPA will be able to do the job, if they ever get the funding and authority needed. Don’t forget that 25 years ago, in vitro fertilization was considered an abomination; now it is practically mainstream.This is a pretty specialized book, but it shouldn’t be. Like it or not, the new technologies described in this book are coming in the near future. It is better to start discussing, now, how to deal with them, instead of just saying No. The reader may not agree with everything in this book, but it is an excellent place to begin that discussion.