Today I came across an interesting thought experiment about a fictional drug called Hetracil and an equally fictional Proposition 313 that would restrict the age at which the drug would be administered. Hat tip to Andrew Sullivan for the pointer to a HomoMojo.com interview with the author, Benjamen Leo.
From the HomoMojo interview:
"Anti313 is a work of experimental fiction. It's a story written as the blog of a man who is under the influence of a drug called Hetracil: a fictional drug, which in the world of this story, eliminates effeminate behavior in men.
"Hetracil.com is a support site. It was made to make the story seem more realistic to make readers envision this drug as a substance that could feasibly exist. "
The idea that homosexuality could be medicated into heterosexuality is subversive and intriguing. No doubt interest groups would swing into action both advocating and decrying use of the drug as Benjamen suggests.
This idea reminded me of a group of books by Robert J Sawyer called the Neanderthal Parallax.
In the final book called "Hybrids" two of the characters, one a Homo Neanderthal male called Ponter and the other a Homo Sapiens female called Mary (or Mare), decide to have a child with the intervention of advanced and prohibited Neanderthal genetic engineering technology.
They are part of research that has identified the gene in the Homo Sapiens make-up that enables religious belief. A gene that Homo Neanderthal doesn't have. The Neanderthal version of Earth that Ponter comes from has no religions, no belief in a god or life after death. They have to decide whether their child will get the gene from Ponter and be agnostic, or from Mare and be a believer. Here is an extract from the book where Mare and Ponter are discussing it:
"...If they were going to go ahead and have a hybrid child a decision had to be made one way or the other.
"Ponter let go of Mary's hand, but then started stroking it's back. "It's not," he said, "as if we are deciding if our daughter will have a soul. At most, we are choosing whether or not she will believe she has a soul."
The idea that belief in a deity could have a genetic basis and could be proved using the science of evolutionary biology is a tasty one rich in it's own special ironies. Instead of taking the path of genetic correction, let's follow Benjamin's thought for a moment.
What would happen if big pharma discovered a drug called Agnosil that neutralized the effect of the God gene on the human brain?
This drug would remove the belief in gods, religion and the soul.
- What would happen to religious extremism?
- Would religious belief be added to the DSM?
- Would their be renaissance in modern psychology?
- Would psychological archetypes and symbols change dramatically?
- What would happen to the religious right?
- What would happen to the accrued wealth and power of churches?
- What would happen to all the serving clergy in the world's religions?
- Would people be forced to take it?
- Would you want to take it?
- Would you refuse to take it?
- What about your kids?
- What would happen to abortion?
- Would the law mandate the treatment of violent anti-abortionan activists with it?
- What would happen to wars based on theology?
- What would we learn about life after death experiences?
- What would happen to religious holidays we celebrate?
- What would Pat Robertson have to go crazy-ape-bonkers about?
- What would happen to jokes and modern comedy?
- What would happen in the Middle East?
- What book would people swear on in court and to take oaths?
I'm sure there are lots more interesting questions. What else?