I exist on the border of a group of people called transhumanists. Now, this tag is about as good as "The String Cheese Incident" for a group of people who want to be taken seriously. These people don't really see chemical, mechanical, genetic, electronic, etc. modifications of the human body and mind as bad per se. They see them more as part of a trend of "helping out nature," which has been going on since the first cave man drank fermented fruit juice, it's just that now it has science applied to it rather than the much slower tool of natural selection. Of course, we can sit and argue that athletes on PEDs are "helping nature" give them heart attacks in their late 40's. The point is, this makes more sense if you consider it as something of a strange (but not necessarily inherently bad) cousin to vaccines, shark-skin swimsuits, implanted electrodes for Parkinson's sufferers, and Oscar Pistorius.

Many people I know have had reconstructive knee surgery, a procedure virtually erected on the ruined careers of athletes. Today it seems like a no brainer distinction of health vs. unfair advantage, but at some point not too long ago the question about whether to have someone try and repair your knee, or try to continue playing on 75% of a knee, was not clear. HGH is one very interesting area - it promotes healing and and a lot of things we associate with youth, so it's a possibility that everyone will take HGH derivatives after major injuries and surgeries at some point in the near future - or even as a preventive therapy for old age. It is accepted therapy for some illnesses already. At some point soon, Rodney Harrison may stop being a cheater and start being an early adopter. Corticosteroids are similar - use them to promote joint repair while training, and you are a cheater. But you're an idiot if you are riding the Tour de France on preventable saddle sores.

At some point in hindsight a given form of doping may look like raw cheating. Then again, the same therapy the same number of years down the road may be hailed as preventive medicine that adds years onto quality of life for millions of people. Somehow that has to be sorted out, and if professional athletes want to be lab rats for the rest of us, I guess I'm okay with that. And in the end, while the efficacy of any individual treatment is unclear, the line is going to move so that today's performance enhancers are tomorrow's medicine or recreation or body enhancement or personal adornment. So I'm okay with athletes doing PEDs, but I think full disclosure should be the rule. That way they could at least be studied in a scientific way, and the asterisks can be turned into footnotes.

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