Unless we're all in on it, we can't engineer towards happiness because there will always be some group of people that will take advantage of the situation.
Note: the article talked about human enhancement in general, and mentioned cyborg-esque options like titanium bones. It didn't mentioned the most radical option of all, mind uploading, but I guess that was to avoid scaring readers away. (Mind uploading also have this minor "will it be really me?" problem.)
> This article suggests we will engineer away negative, selfish and competitive traits
Err, I didn't read that. From what I read, the article said that we probably should engineer away such traits. And again, if a parent can enhance her child's school results by buying her the best arithmetic implant from Texas Neuro-Instruments, she will not limit herself to mere DNA modifications. Many of us already wear glasses, for instance.
I do agree with your main point though: technology-aided evolution will probably take a sharp and nasty turn, if ran unchecked.
Presuming the problem is that it's being done at all is fundamentally asking the wrong questions, not to mention strays far into violating rights like habeas corpus which creates a much bigger problem.
We could also create a universe that we wouldn't like at all, like Robin Hanson's vision of the future after mind uploading.
We could also modify ourselves for the sake of competitivity alone, or pleasure alone, or anything that doesn't encompass all that we want to do and be.
Sure, technology is only a catalyst. But it's one hell of a catalyst. Aim a knife in the wrong direction, and you might hurt someone. Aim a nuclear warhead in the wrong direction, and you might obliterate a whole city. In both cases, the root of the problem is that you aimed in the wrong direction. But technology makes quite a difference in terms of consequences. By the way, we're already aware of that to some extent: nuclear warheads tend to have more security around them than knives.
Judging by the prices of graphing calculators, an implant like that would only be affordable by millionaires :)
Personally, I'd rather live in a world where more people were smarter than me. While it would diminish my own status, humanity would be able to solve more of its problems.
Finally, you assume that enhancement technology will remain expensive indefinitely. Historically, new technologies have gotten cheaper over time. While not everyone will be able to afford enhancement at first, it seems likely that it will follow the same trend as Internet access, smartphones, gene sequencing, and countless other technologies once reserved for elites.
1. See http://www.iratde.org/issues/1-2009/tde_issue_1-2009_03_rind... for a study of the effect of high IQs on economies.
You can't legislate or contract away nature, once you zoom out to the scale of "species" or "planet".
This is Earth indeed. Some dimly lit gravity well at the edge of our smallish galaxy, with no reasonable plan as of yet to get away. But hey, let's just burn everything on being better than the next guy, because just being happy for someone else, much less supporting them, isn't even an option.
I think that's a good way to live, as an individual.
I don't think there is any way to ensure that all of (or even a majority of) the species does that, no.
Past Evolution is a billion-year-old algorithm from which emerged deep and subtle intelligence through trillions of trillions of iterations of trial and error. Though far from perfect, its legacy is the Terran Ecosystem, aka Mother Nature + Humans, a force to be reckoned with.
Present Evolution, however, is lazy, cruel and sloppy. On the scale of mere decades, it does effectively nothing to advance the interests of human life.
(Future Evolution is of course significant, though not on a timescale relevant to our lifetimes, at least if we're referring to the "untampered" variety.)
I view genetic augmentation as inevitable, leading to an accelerated evolutionary process; however, I can see valid cases for either throwing on the brakes and going as slowly as possible, or putting on the gas to maximize progress, with all its benefits and costs.
There is absolutely no reason for natural evolution to select for being smarter or stronger if it's not a good survival tactic - i.e. if it doesn't select for traits which allow proficient reproduction.
On a large scale "more evolved" is a meaningless term.
E.g. I believe HIV resistance is higher amongst people that have a certain gene that appears to have spread to something like 10% of people in Northern Europe after the black plague, for example. And blond hair in Northern Europe spread out of the Baltics from as recently as the 1700's, and went from nothing to 90%+ of the population in some areas.
Down's syndrome is the result of having an extra chromosome, which induces the overexpression of genes, some of which are related to embryogenesis and development.