Although Lance Armstrong has broken the rules, we shouldn’t be so quick to judge him. In many ways he’s a pioneer in human enhancement, and history books may forgive him, argues Professor Andy Miah, Director of the Creative Futures Institute at the University of the West of Scotland.
One might think there is little left to say about Lance Armstrong. He has been found guilty of doping. He has admitted his guilt. His titles are being revoked. He is widely perceived to lack remorse about what he has done. He stands a good chance of being made bankrupt by the many legal actions that are gearing up against him. And he is unlikely to get anywhere near an organised sports event any time soon. However, there are good reasons to believe that public opinion on what he has done could change in the future.
First of all some caveats. There's no getting away from the fact that breaking the rules is wrong. Everyone agrees that rules should be kept to preserve the game -- unless of course they are bad rules. Everyone agrees that there are good reasons to make dangerous drugs and substances illegal in sports -- unless of course they could me made safe. But, what if anti-doping rules can be shown to increase the risks athletes take or the harm they suffer? We'll park that for a moment while we consider how the future may change our perception of doping, people's willingness to do it, and the severity of the consequences.
Professor Andy Miah, PhD (@andymiah), is Chair in Science Communication & Digital Media, in the School of Environment & Life Sciences, University of Salford, Manchester. He is also Global Director for the Centre for Policy and Emerging Technologies, Fellow of the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies, USA and Fellow at FACT, the Foundation for Art and Creative Technology, UK. He is currently part of a European Commission project called Digital Futures 2050 and of the Ministerial Advisory Group on Digital Participation in the Scottish Government.
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