Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Crick, Francis. Discovered double helical structure of DNA, 1953*

LSD: The Geek's Wonder Drug?

Last year's Congressional hearings (!) on steroid use in baseball have renewed the controversy over the use of performance-enhancing drugs by professional athletes.

It has been suggested that Barry Bonds should have an asterisk next to his name in the record books.

Well, what about other professionals who use performance-enhancing drugs? Should they have an asterisk next to their accomplishments?
In his presentation, artist Alex Grey noted that Nobel-prize-winner Francis Crick, discoverer of the double helical structure of DNA, also told friends he received inspiration for his ideas from LSD, according to news reports.
Both LSD and steroids are illegal, so let's put that argument aside for the moment and focus on the issue of fairness.
When I'm on LSD and hearing something that's pure rhythm, it takes me to another world and into anther brain state where I've stopped thinking and started knowing," said Herbert who intervened to ban drug testing of technologists at Cisco Systems.
Many companies require their employees to pass drug tests, but this is about reliability, not performance. One might argue that we don't want to stifle creativity in any way, lest we miss out on the next great technological breakthrough. If that line of reasoning applies to mental achievement, then why not to athletic achievement as well?

Today's athletes are bigger, stronger, and faster than they have ever been. Much of that is due to improved nutrition, health care, and training. But it is also due to various individual performance-enhancing technologies.

Pitchers routinely undergo Tommy John surgery, in which a tendon is removed from a patient's hamstring and implanted in the elbow, making it stronger and more durable. As Bill Simmons would argue, how is this different from using performance-enhancing drugs?

Also relevant to this discussion is the question of whether prosthetics provide an unfair advantage to disabled athletes.

The list of potential inequities between athletes is endless. Where do you draw the line? As we continue to learn more about the mechanics of our bodies (and minds), that question will become increasingly difficult to answer.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

a related topic could be:

"Bob really tore that door down!"
"yeah, but he was under the influence of multiple beers and shots"
"oh, never mind"

Patterson said...

I see your point, however:

Tommy John surgery is only attempted when a pitcher has injured himself; it doesn't make him throw faster, it just makes his arm more resistant to future injury. There's no unfair competitive advantage other than the length of time their arms are able to go afterwards.

Bob said...

I did feel that record was tainted. That's why I broke the door down again when I was completely sober. (of course that door was never the same after the first time)