Phi Beta Cons

More Brilliant Ideas from the Ivory Tower

Have you been wondering what academics are doing these days? A professor at New York University, Matthew Liao, has been trying to use biotechnology to reduce the human “footprint” in order to curb global warming.

He has a couple of ideas—one is to create “a pill that would trigger nausea if [people] ingest meat, which would lead to a long-term aversion to meat,” writes Molly Wharton elsewhere on the NRO site. Why do we need this? Because 18 percent of greenhouse gas emissions come from cultivating livestock.

If the pill doesn’t work, perhaps a patch that “make its user sick if he or she tries to eat a juicy burger” could be tried.

But the problem isn’t just that we eat too much meat; we’re also too big. Dr. Liao suggests using gene imprinting or hormones to reduce our height by 15 centimeters or so.

No, this is not the Onion. At least I don’t think so. He told this to the Atlantic and the BBC.

Now the kicker: Professor Liao is director of bioethics at NYU. If you were wondering what bioethics is all about, apparently it is about changing people so they do what the nanny-state-turned-into-a-totalitarian-state thinks they ought to do.

Jane S. ShawJane S. Shaw retired as president of the John W. Pope Center for Higher Education Policy in 2015. Before joining the Pope Center in 2006, Shaw spent 22 years in ...

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