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中级口译教程第二版 UNIT 7-9

2015-08-12    来源:网络    【      美国外教 在线口语培训

Unit seven

Interpreting Persuasive Speeches English-Chinese Interpretation

7-1 The Examination- oriented Education

Text for Interpretation

Interpret the following passage from English into Chinese:

Mr.Chairman, Ladies and gentlemen,

The greatest wish of every caring responsible society is to do something important and meaningful to improve the lives of its children. The most obvious way of doing this is to free childhood from the unacceptable burden of examinations and selection created by our educational system. At the lender age of 13 or 14, children are selected and pushed into examination classes which will effectively decide their futures. Then, at the age in their lives when most of them are least receptive to learning, they are forced to sit exams where the penalties for failure are as final as death sentence. The lives of secondary school children are ruled by these exams in this country. Some schools do offer a wide range of interesting subjects, but only for those who have already been labeled as failures. So parents continue to push, pull, threaten and force their children through exams, or search anxiously for schools with "high standards" to do the pushing and forcing for them, because this is what our universities demand.

But is there any need for all that? Why do we put such pressure on our young people at a time when the brain is biologically at its least receptive? And we know that if children took the wrong course at the age of 14. Then their lives could be ruined. So why do we choose this period in their lives as the time to make or break them? If the pressures of selection at 16 were removed, secondary education could become a different process altogether. From about 13 onwards children could be free to study if they choose or they could choose to study for part of the lime only.

They could spend exactly as long as they wanted doing the subjects they wanted to do. If they wanted to spend half the day in the art rooms or doing drama, that would be their decision. Children complain that their classes are boring, their textbooks are boring, and their teachers are boring. However, the voice of the children is rarely beard and all too often, when they have to write, they simply write what they know the teacher wants to read. I am deeply convinced that children under a less compulsory system would actually learn more and be more cooperative with adults and authority in general.1 am sure they would be happier and more creative, and therefore more useful to the society. We shouldn't have to spend so much time threatening 13 and 14 year-olds that if they don't study all day, every day, they will end up as failures for the rest of their lives.

Therefore, ladies and gentlemen. I’m sure you will agree that you have no choice but to agree with today's motion. The system that exists today is certainly harmful to our children
and therefore must be changed. Thank you.

7-2 The Effects of Misleading Advertising

Text for Interpretation

Interpret the following passage from English into Chinese:

I'm speaking to denounce a disease with our modern society, that is, the sex role of misleading advertisements and commercials. Advertising affects all of us throughout our lives. Adolescents, especially female adolescents, are particularly vulnerable, however, because they are new and inexperienced consumers and are the prime targets of many advertisements. Advertisers are fully aware of their role and do not hesitate to take advantage of the insecurities and anxieties of young people, in the guise of offering solutions.

A cigarette provides a symbol of independence.

A pair of designer jeans or sneakers conveys status.

The right perfume or beer resolves doubts about femininity or masculinity.

No politician or educator is more pervasive or persuasive than advertising. It teaches us to he consumers, to value material things above all else, to feel that happiness can be bought, that there are instant solutions to life's complex problems, and that products ran fulfill us and meet our deepest human needs.

The value of a person, especially the value of a young woman, depends upon the products used.

For a woman, conventional beauty is her only attribute.

She is supposed to have no lines or wrinkles, no scars or blemishes.

She is thin, generally tall and long legged, and above all young.

All "beautiful" women in television commercials conform to this norm.

The image is artificial and can only be achieved artificially.

Desperate to conform to an ideal and impossible standard, many women go to great lengths to manipulate and change their faces and bodies.

More than a million dollars is spent every hour on cosmetics in this country.

A woman is conditioned to view her face as a mask and her body as an object, as things separate from and more important than her real self.

She is constantly in need of alteration, improvement, and disguise.

She is made to feel dissatisfied with and ashamed of herself, whether she tries to achieve "the look" or not.

Ironically, the heavily advertised products, such as cosmetics and weight-reduction drinks, are even detrimental to physical attractiveness.

There is very little emphasis in the media on nutrition and exercise and other important aspects of health and vitality.

Adolescent females are also discouraged from growing up and becoming adults.

Growing older is the great taboo. Although boys are allowed and encouraged to become mature adults, girls are encouraged to remain little girls, to be passive and dependent, never to mature.

Somehow placed in a double bind, they are supposed to be sexy and virginal, experienced and naive, seductive and pure.

Misleading advertisements and commercials depict a world in which love and passion are reserved solely for products, in which sexuality becomes a commodity, and in which young women are the worst victims.

7-3 The Future Is Ours to Build

Text for Interpretation

Interpret the following passage from English into Chinese:

Indies and gentlemen, History beckons again.

We have begun to write a new chapter for peace and progress in our histories, with America and China going forward hand in-hand. We must always he realistic about our relationship, frankly acknowledging the fundamental differences in ideology and institutions between our two societies.

Yes, let us acknowledge those differences let us never minimize them but let us not be dominated by them.

I have not come to China to hold forth on what divides us, but to build on what binds us, I have not come to dwell on a closed-door past, but to urge that Americans and Chinese look to the beautiful future. I am firmly convinced that, together, we can and will make tomorrow a better day.

We may live at nearly opposite ends of the world. We may be distinctly different in language, customs, and political beliefs but on many vital questions of our time there is little distance between the American and Chinese people. Indeed. I believe if we were to ask citizens all over this world what they desire most for their children, and for their children's children, their answer, in English, Chinese, or any language would likely be the same: We want peace. We want freedom. We want a belter life.

Their dreams, so simply stated, represent mankind's deepest aspirations for security and personal fulfillment. And helping them make their dreams come true is what our jobs are all about. We have always believed the heritage of our past is the seed that brings forth the harvest of our future.

And from our roots, we have drawn tremendous power from faith and freedom. Our passion for freedom led to the American Revolution. We know each of us could not enjoy liberty for ourselves unless we were willing to share it with everyone else. And we knew our freedom could not be truly safe, unless all of us were protected by a body of laws that treated us equally. Trust the people these three words are not only the heart and soul of American history, but the most powerful force for human progress in the world today. Like China, our people see the future in the eyes of our children. And, like China, we revere our elders. To be as good as our fathers and mothers, we must he better. Over a century ago. Grant, who was then a former president, visited your country and saw China's great potential.

"I see dawning," Grant wrote,” the beginning of a change. When it does come, China will rapidly become a powerful and rich nation . The population is industrious, frugal, intelligent, and quick to learn. " Today, China’s economy crackles with the dynamics of change.
Unlike some governments, which fear change and fear the future, China is beginning to reach out toward new horizons, and we salute your courage. We Americans have always considered ourselves pioneers, so we appreciate such vitality and optimism.

Today, I bring you a message from my countrymen: As China moves forward on this new path. America welcomes the opportunity to walk by your side. I see America and our Pacific neighbors going forward in a mighty enterprise to build strong economies and a safer world. For our part, we welcome this new Pacific tide. Let it roll peacefully on ,carrying a two-way flow of people and ideas that can break down barriers of suspicion and mistrust, and build up bonds of cooperation and shared optimism. The future is ours to build.

7-4 The New Beginning of an Old Story

Text for Interpretation

Interpret the following passage from English into Chinese:

Distinguished guests and my fellow citizens, the peaceful transfer of authority is rare in history,yet common in our country. With a simple oath,we affirm old tradition and make new beginnings. I am honored and humbled to stand here, where so many of America's leaders have come before me, and so many will follow.We have a place,all of us,in a long story-- a story we continue, but whose end we will not see.

It is the story of a new world that became a friend and liberator of the old, a story of a slave- holding society that became a servant of freedom, the story of a power that went into the world to protect but not possess, to defend but not to conquer.It is the American story — a story of flawed and fallible people, united across the generations by grand and enduring ideals.

The grandest of these ideals is an unfolding American promise that everyone belongs, that everyone deserves a chance, that no insignificant person was ever born. Americans are called to enact this promise in our lives and in our laws. And though our nation has sometimes halted, and sometimes delayed, we must follow no other course. While many of our citizens prosper, others doubt the promise. even the justice, of our own country.
The ambitions of some Americans are limited by failing schools and hidden prejudice and the circumstances of their birth. And sometimes our differences run so deep, it seems we share a continent, but not a country. We do not accept this, and we will not allow it. Our unity, our union, is the serious work of leaders and citizens in every generation. America, at its best, is a place where personal responsibility is valued and expected. Encouraging responsibility is not a search for scapegoats it is a call to conscience. And though it requires sacrifice, it brings a deeper fulfillment. We find the fullness of life not only in options, but in commitments. And we find that children and community are the commitments that set us free.

Our public interest depends on private character, on civic duty and family bonds and basic fairness, on uncounted, unhonored acts of decency which give direction to our freedom. Sometimes in life we are called to do great things. But as a saint of our times has said, every day we are called to do small things with great love.

The most important tasks of a democracy are done by everyone. What you do is as important as anything government does. I ask you to seek a common good beyond your comfort to defend needed reforms against easy attacks to serve your nation, beginning with your neighbor. I ask you to be citizens, not subjects responsible citizens, building communities of service and a nation of character. Americans are generous and strong and decent, not because we believe in ourselves, but because we hold beliefs beyond ourselves. When this spirit of citizenship is missing, no government program can replace it.When this spirit is present, no wrong can stand against it. Never tiring,never yielding, never finishing,we renew that purpose today, to make our country more just and generous, to affirm the dignity of our lives and every life.

Sentences in Focus

Interpret the following sentences from English into Chinese:

1.With a simple oath, we affirm old tradition and make new beginnings.

2.I'm speaking to denounce a disease with our modern society, that is, the sex role of misleading advertisements and commercials.

3.A caring and responsible society should do something important and meaningful to improve the lives of its children, rather than create heavy academic and psychological burdens for the children at their tender age of 12,and force them to sit exams where the penalties for failure are as final as death sentence.

4.I am deeply convinced that children under a less compulsory system would actually learn more they would be more creative and cooperative with adults and authority in general.

5.In the world today, no political speech or academic lecture is more pervasive or persuasive than advertising.

6.Female adolescents are particularly vulnerable to. and have been the prime targets of, many advertisements and commercials.

7.Advertisers are fully aware of their role and do not hesitate to take advantage of the insecurities and anxieties of young people, in the guise of offering them solutions to any problems conceivable.

8.A consequence of advertising is that it conveys the message that the value of a person is dependent upon the value of products used, and that it makes us feel that happiness can be bought, that there are instant solutions to life's complex problems, and that products can fulfill us and meet our deepest human needs.

9.All "beautiful” women in television commercials conform to the norm by which one is supposed to be thin, generally tall and long legged, and have no lines or wrinkles, and no scars or blemishes.

10.Desperate to conform to an ideal and impossible standard, many women, under the influence of advertising, go to great lengths to manipulate and alter their faces and bodies, as if they were things separable from and more important than their real selves.

11.Ironically,the heavily advertised products, such as cosmetics and weight-reduction drinks, are even detrimental to physical attractiveness.

12.Misleading advertisements and commercials depict a world in which love and passion are reserved solely for products, in which sexuality becomes a commodity, and in which young women are the worst victim.

13.We must frankly acknowledge the fundamental differences in ideology and institutions between our two societies.

14.I have come to China not to hold forth on what divides us, but to build on what binds us; not to dwell on a closed-door past, but to urge us look to the beautiful future.

15.I have always believed the heritage of our past is the seed that brings forth the harvest of our future,

16.Today,China's economy crackles with the dynamics of change, and you are beginning to reach out toward new horizons, and we salute your courage.

17.Let the Pacific tide roll peacefully on. carrying a two-way flow of people and ideas that can break down barriers of suspicion and mistrust,and build up bonds of cooperation and shared optimism.

18.We find the fullness of life not only in options, but in commitments.

19.Our public interest depends on private character, on civic duty and family bonds and basic fairness, on uncounted, unhonored acts of decency which give direction to our freedom.

Unit 8 说服性口译

Interpreting Persuasive Speeches Chinese-English Interpretation

8-1 Acquiring a Second Culture

Text for Interpretations

Interpret the following passage from Chinese into English:

文化是指一个民族的整体生活方式。这一简单定义的含义使文化包括了这样一些内容,即一个民族的风俗,传统,社会习惯,价值观,信仰,语言、思维方式以及日常活动。文化还包含了文明史。从广义上说,有两种文 化,即物质文化和精神文化。物质文化是具体的、可见的,而精神文化则比较蕴蓄、比较抽象。

由于人类语言是文化的直接表现,所以第二语言的学习涉及了第二文化的学习。第二语言教师应该引导学生注意并了解他们所学语言的文化内容。包括理解外族文化的价值观,掌握外族文化的礼仪,了解外族文化与本族文化之间的差异。

随着学生外语学习的深化,他们会增进对所学语言民族的文化特征的认识。 这种开阔了的文化认识可以涉及文化的所有方面:外族人的生活方式, 以及外族社会的地理、历史、经济、艺术和科学等。我们知道,每个民族的文化有不同于其他民族文化的礼仪规范。

因此,学生在上外语课时应该学习操目标语的民族那些恰当得体的礼仪规范,学习如何理解陌生的文化习俗,学习在与外族人交际时应有的言谈举止。

8-2 Environmental Protection

Text for Interpretation

Interpret the following passage from Chinese into English:

女士们、先生们:中国作为一个发展中国家,面临着发展经济与保护环境的双重任务。从国情出发,中国在全面推进现代化的过程中,将环境保护视为一项基本国策,将实现经济持续发展视为一项重要战略,同时在全国范围内开展污染防治工作和生态环境保护活动。 自改革开放以来,中国国民生产总值的年均增长率为10%左右, 同时环境恶化的状况已基本得到了控制,在许多地区还得到了改善。

实践证明,我们协调经济发展与环境保护两者之间关系的做法是行之有效的。中国作为国际社会中的成员,在努力保护自己环境的同时,还积极参与国际环保事务,促进国际环保合作,并认真履行了国际义务。

所有这些都充分表明了中国政府和人们保护全球 环境的诚意和决心。 中国为保护自己的环境作 了哪些努力呢?中国环境 保护的形势又如何呢?

概括说来,我们做了以下 几件事:

——选择持续发展的实施战略一逐步改进法律和行政制度;

一预防与控制工业污染,综合整治城市环境一大规模地进行国土控管和农村环保;

一保护生态环境,保护植被,退耕还林,退耕还草,封山绿化;

——加速环境科技的开发, 一在人民中宣传环保知识,提高人们对环保道德与行为准则的认识;

一采取强有力的措施促进环保工作的国际合作。
 

女士们,先生们,人类在解决环境与发展问题中仍面临着大量的难题,任重而道远。 中国将一如既往,与其他国家合作,为保护我们的生存环境, 为人类的幸福和繁荣, 为造福下一代而努力。 谢谢!

8-3 Meeting the Challenge

Text for Interpretation

Interpret the following passage from Chinese into English:

这个世界每天都在变化。世界正在不断地调整自己。变化是当今最流行的字眼。我们正处在一个从工业化社会向服务和信息社会 的转轨过程之中。 同样,中国也在发生变化,也在调整自己。中国正处在建立和完善社会主义市场经济体制的改革进程中。中国社会正在改革中变化,在变化中进行改革。 中国社会的变化,使许多问题得到解决,同时也产生了一些新的 问题。其中有四个问题对人民的现在甚至未来的影响作用最大。
 
1.人口老龄化。老人和高龄老人的数量在增加,儿童的比例—尤其是在城市中在减少。 这将影响我国的经济发展,威胁我国保健制度、 退休制度以及其他一些福利制度的健康发展。
2.就业问题。不断推进的产业结构调整限制了就业。服务性行业的增多,对高技术劳动力需求的不断增长,国际国内日益激烈的竞争压力,农村人口大量流人城市, 这些对现阶段以及未来的就业,对全面提高生活水平的可能性,都构成了严重的威胁。

3.对家庭和儿童构成的威胁。我国离婚率相对增长,整整一代青年人在独生子女家庭的环境中成长,人们频繁的职业和居住地的变动等等, 这些都给家庭和儿童造成了威胁。

4.对传统社会价值观的挑战。中国社会中的拜金主义,对自我的日益关注以及对公益事业的淡漠使中国的许多传统美德受到冲击。这些问题的存在值得我们每个人重视.因为它们会影响到我们每个人的生活质量。这些问题渊源于经济和社会条件的变化,它们是全国性、甚至是世界性的问题。 这些问题伴随着都市化和现代化的进程而产生。 我们无法回避这些问题, 惟一的出路在于学会如何处理它们。 然而,不断变化着的社会不仅给我们带来了问题,也给我们带来了机会。变化可以被认为是不断产生的挑战和危机,而挑战在我们看来则是建设更好社会的机遇。汉语中“危机”这个词由两个字组成——“危”和“ 机”。 因此,“危机”也孕育着机会。中国的社会变更给社会带来了许多问题,同时也给人们带来了更多的机遇。 在世界经济日趋一体化的今天,让我们迎接挑战,拥抱机遇.承担责任, 共同建设更美好的明天。

8-4 Practicing Martial Art for Your Health

Text for Interpretation

Interpret the following passage from Chinese into English:

欢迎各位来北京武术馆习武健身。我可不想劝说任何人,也不打算说服任何人,因为健身是每个人自己的事,是为将来作投资。

当然,如果您在寻找可以健身、减肥、结交朋友以及了解中国文化的场所,您找对了地方。您只需在这里填写一张登记表,再拿一张会员卡即可。这些事只需几分钟即 可办完。您在这里可以欣赏古代格斗术,您也可以在这里习武。由中国武术协会创立的武术馆为您准备了精彩的、扣人心弦的表演节目——您除了可以观赏武术家的表演外,还可以观赏京剧节目和杂技表演。倘若您想有一种身人其境的体验,中国武术协会将 随时派出最好的教学人员,我们这里有中国顶尖的武林高手、身怀绝技的优秀教头和无懈可击的武术表演家。无论您身居何处,您若想 在自家门前学习武术,中国武术协会都可派出一流教员,指导个人或团体皆可。如果您在市场上寻购武术工具或资料、中国武术协会也为准备好了一切,价格从优。我们还有货物齐全的书店,出售您感兴趣的一切有关中华武术的图书资料、录像带和DVD激光视盘。女士们,先生们,这里是您的理想之地,我们愿为您效劳。

Sentences in Focus

Interpret the following sentences from Chinese into English

1.文化是指一个民族的整个生活方式,即一个民族的风俗、传统、社会 习惯、价值观、信仰、 语言、思维方式以及日常活动。

2.每个民族的文化有不同于其他民族文化的礼仪规范。

3.由于人类语言是文化的直接表现,所以可以说, 第二语言学习涉及对所学语言的民族文化特征的认识和理解。

4.中国作为一个发展中 国家,面临着发展经济与 保护环境的双重任务。

5.中国在全面推进现代化的过程中,不仅将实现经济持续发展视为一项重要战略, 同时也将生态环境的保护视为一项基本国策。

6.中国作为国际社会中的一员,认真履行国际义务,积极参与国际环保事务,促进国际环保合作。
 
7.我们必须在人民中宣传环保知识,提高人们对环保道德与行为准则的认识。

8.我们在解决环境与发展问题中仍面临着大量的难题,任重而道远。

9.中国将一如既往,与其他国家合作,为保护我们的生存环境,为人类的幸福和繁荣, 为造福下一代而奋斗。

10.我们正处在一个由工业化社会向服务与信息社会转轨的过程中。

11.中国正处在一个摆脱僵硬的计划经济体制,建立和完善社会主义市场经济体制的改革进程中。

12.人口老龄化将影响我国的经济发展,威胁我国的保健制度、 退休制度以及其他一些福利制度的健康发展。

13.不断推进的产业结构调整使服务性行业增多,使高科技以及熟练劳动力的需求增长。

14.拜金主义、对自我的日益关注以及对公益事业的淡漠使中国许多传统美德受到冲击。

15.这些问题渊源于经济和社会条件的变化,是都市化和现代化所带来的问题。

16.不断变化着的社会不仅给我们带来了问题,也给我们带来了机会。

17.在世界经济日趋一体化的今天,让我们迎接挑战,拥抱机遇,承担责任,共同建设更美好的未来。

18.您在这里可以欣赏精彩的、扣人心弦的武术表演,也可以观赏京剧节目和杂技表演。

19.我不想说服任何人去习武健身,因为这是个人的事,是人们为将来所做的投资。

Unit 9 Interpreting Academic Speeches English- Chinese Interpretation

9-1 The Linguistic System Text for Interpretation

Interpret the following passage from English into Chinese:

There are as many as three thousand languages which are spoken today. These languages are very different one from another. Indeed, it is primarily the fact that they are so different as to be mutually unintelligible that allows us to call them separate languages.
A speaker of one of them, no matter how skillful and fluent, cannot communicate with a speaker of another unless one of them, as we say."learns the other's language." Yet these differences, great as they are, are differences of detail —of the kinds of sounds used and the ways of putting them together. In their broad outlines, in their basic principles,and even in the way they approach certain specific problems of communication, languages have a great deal in common. We are all intimately familiar with at least one language, yet few of us ever stop to consider what we know about it.

The words of a language can be listed in a dictionary, but not all the sentences, and a language consists of these sentences as well as words. Speakers use a finite set of rules to produce and understand an infinite set of sentences. These rules comprise the grammar of a language, which is learned when you acquire the language. The grammar of a language includes the sound system, how words may be combined into phrases and sentences, and the way in which sounds and meanings are related. The sounds and meaning of words are related in an arbitrary fashion. That is, if you had never heard the word "grammar", you would not. By its sounds, know what it meant. Language, then, is a system that relates sounds with meanings, and when you know a language, you know this system. This linguistic knowledge, or linguistic competence, is different from linguistic behavior, known as linguistic performance. If you woke up one morning and decided to stop talking, you would still have the knowledge of your language. If you do not know the language, you cannot speak it but if you know the language, you may choose not to speak.

Language is a tool of communication. But if language is defined merely as a system of communication, then language is not unique to humans. We know birds, bees, crabs, spiders, whales, and most other creatures communicate in some way. However, there are certain characteristics of human language not found in the communication systems of any other species. A basic property of human language is its creative aspect— a speaker's ability to combine the basic linguistic units to form an infinite set of "well-formed”, or grammatical, sentences, most of which are novel, never before produced or heard. The grammar of human language can generate infinite messages, a property unique to the human species.

9-2 Two Kinds of Brain Text for Interpretation

Interpret the following passage from English into Chinese:

Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. I would like to thank you for inviting me to talk about the subject of the difference between a brain and a computer. The difference between a brain and a computer can be expressed in a single word: complexity. The large mammalian brain is the most complicated thing, for its size, known to us. The human brain weighs three pounds, but in that three pounds are ten billion neurons and a hundred billion smaller cells. These many billions of cells are interconnected in a vastly complicated network that we can't begin to interpret as yet.

Even the most complicated computer man has yet built can't compare in intricacy with the brain. Computer switches and components number in the thousands rather than in the billions. What's more, the computer switch is just an on off device- whereas the brain cell is itself possessed of a tremendously complex inner structure. Can a computer think? That depends on what you mean by "think." If solving a mathematical problem is "thinking." then a computer can "think" and do so much faster than a man.

Of course, most mathematical problems can be solved quite mechanically by repealing certain straightforward processes over and over again. It is frequently said that computers solve problems only because they are "programmed" to do so. They can only do what men have them do. One must remember that human beings also can only do what they are "programmed" to do. Our genes "program" us and our potentialities are limited by that "program. " Our "program" is so much more enormously complex, though, that we might like to define "thinking" in terms of our creativity in literature, art,science and technology. In that sense. computers certainly can't think.

Surely, though, if a computer can be made complex enough, it can be as creative as we. If it could be made as complex as a human brain, it could be the equivalent of a human brain and do whatever a human brain can do. But how longs will it take to build a computer complex enough to duplicate the human brain? Perhaps not as long as some think. Long before we approach a computer as complex as our brain, we will perhaps build a computer that is at least complex enough to design another computer more complex than itself. This more complex computer could design one still more complex. The point of concern is that mankind is not only creating a servant, but also a threatening rival.

9-3 The Biological Revolution

Text for Interpretation

Interpret the following passage from English into Chinese:

Respected Mr. President, Dear faculty and students, Thank you for inviting me to talk about the emerging biological revolution. In his book Brave New World, published in 1932, Aldous Huxley predicted a big biotechnological revolution about to take place the hatching of people not in wombs but in test tube the drug which gave people instant happiness the sensation which was simulated by implanted electrodes and modification of behavior through the administration of various artificial hormones. With 70 years separating us from the publication of this book, we can see that Huxley's technological predictions are startlingly accurate. Many of the technologies that Huxley envisioned are already here or just over the horizon. But this revolution has only just begun. New breakthroughs in biomedical technology are announced daily achievements such as the completion of the human genome project portend much more serious changes to come.

According to Huxley, the most significant threat posed by contemporary biotechnology is the possibility that it will alter human nature and thereby move us into a "posthuman" stage of history. This is important because human nature exists and defines us as a species with a stable continuity. It is what defines our most basic values. Medical technology offers us in many cases a devil's bargain longer life, but with reduced mental capacity freedom from depression, together with freedom from creativity or spirit. It will blur the line between what we achieve on our own and what we achieve because of the levels of various chemicals in our brains. Consider the following three scenarios,all of which are distinct possibilities that may unfold over the next generation or two. The first has to do with new drugs. We know human personality is plastic. Psychotropic drugs can affect traits like self-esteem and the ability to concentrate. Stolid people can become vivacious introspective ones extroverts you can adopt one personality on Wednesday and another for the weekend. In the second scenario, advances in stem cell research allow scientists to regenerate virtually any tissue in the body, so that lift: expectancies are pushed well above 100 years. If you need a new heart or liver, you just grow one inside the chest cavity of a pig or cow brain damage from Alzheimer's and stroke can be reversed.

The only problem is that there are many subtle aspects of human aging that the biotech industry hasn't quite figured out how to fix: people grow mentally rigid and increasingly fixed in their views as they age. Worst of all, they just refuse to gut out of the way,not just of their children, but their grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

In a third scenario, people will screen embryos before implantation so as to optimize the kind of children they have. If someone doesn't live up to social expectations, he tends to blame bad genetic choices by his parents rather than himself. Human genes have been transferred to animals and even to plants to produce new medical products and animal genes have been added to certain embryos to increase their physical endurance or resistance to disease. These will have serious and unexpected consequences. We don't have to await the arrival of human genetic engineering to foresee a time when we will be able to enhance intelligence. memory, emotional sensitivity, and sexuality, as well as reduce aggressiveness and manipulate behavior in a host of other ways. The medical profession is dedicated to the proposition that anything that can defeat disease and prolong life is unequivocally a good thing. The fear of death is one of the deepest and most abiding human passions, so it is understandable that we should celebrate any advance in medical technology that appears to put death off. But people worry about the quality of their lives as well — not just the quantity. Ideally, one would like not merely to live longer but also to have one's different faculties fail as close as possible to when death finally comes,so that one does not have to pass through a period of debility at the end of life.

While many medical advances have increased the quality of life for older people, many have had the opposite effect by prolonging only one aspect of life and increasing dependency. Alzheimer's disease — in which certain parts of the brain waste away, leading to loss of memory and eventually dementia — is a good example of this, because the likelihood of getting it rises proportionately with age. At age 65,only one person in a hundred is likely to come down with Alzheimer's at 85,it is one in six. The rapid growth in the population suffering from Alzheimer's in developed countries is thus a direct result of increased life expectancies, which have prolonged the health of the body without prolonging resistance to this terrible neurological disease. We could find ways to preserve bodily health but would fail to put off age-related mental deterioration.

Stem cell research might yield ways to grow new body pans. But without a parallel curer for Alzheimer's, this wonderful new technology would do no more than allow more people to persist in vegetative stales for years longer than is currently possible. The consequences of medical advances might be the world in which people routinely live to be 120, or even up to 150, but the last decades of life in a state of childlike dependence on caretakers. We're still trying to make sense of what is happening. Thank you again for my privilege of speaking at this famous university.



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