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I'm not a big fan of the treatment/enhancement distinction, on which the argument rests. The idea, I take it, is that only some people suffer from anxiety, and therefore it would be false that beta-blockers would improve the performance of non-sufferers. I note first that the empirical claim is true of an enormous range of cognitive enhancers, and probably physical enhancers too. An Italian rider in the Tour de France, for instance, who was accused of blood doping, turned out to have a naturally high haematocrit level. It may be true that he would nevertheless benefit (a little) from blood doping, but that is true for beta-blockers too.

This arms race 'argument' is merely a cover for gut level uncomfortably with genetic enhancement. This is clearly evident from the lack of similar objections to education, even to improved methods of classroom instructions. The only difference between being able to pay for your kids to go to fancy colleges and paying for genetic enhancements is that the later is new and unfamiliar hence scary.

Frankly I think articles like the one linked do a great harm by implicitly accepting the objections to enhancement as reasonable even when they lack justification.

However, I should add that the entire discussion in the context of sports is simply silly. The idea that there is some kind of objectively discernible notion of 'better' doesn't even make sense. The rules of sports should be chosen to yield the most thrill to the spectators and the most benefits to society not to reward certain types of athletes. Given that nerves are something the audience readily identifies with *if* we are going to ban any types of enhancing substances in athletics there is as much of an argument against beta blockers.

However, I think we should choose the rules in sporting events to generate benefits for the rest of society. Just as we allow engineering improvements to play a role in car racing so that the money spent on racing can yield benefits for society at large so too ought we to allow atheletes to take performance enhancing drugs so that the knowledge so gained can benefit society at large.

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