A new generation of fearless lab mice may soon take over the world. Nah, probably not… but I’m betting the Pentagon is drooling over this research, in lust of a soldier that literally knows no fear. While I can see the huge advantage to that particular application, I’m not sure what other good might come of this. If nothing else, I find it frightening that people might lose the character-building aspect of overcoming their fears. A little biochemistry, and poof, it’s gone. I used to be horribly afraid of spiders. I still don’t like them, and they still creep me out, and occasionally startle me, but I’ve by and large overcome the fear. While those who aren’t afraid of spiders may not understand why that’s a big deal, it is to me, and the pride I have in overcoming that fear is a part of me.
Put another way, one definition of “bravery” is “doing something even though it scares the hell out of you”. If we bioengineer the fear away, we’ll have no bravery left, and there will be an emotional hole in its place. I can’t see that as positive.