Humanists have long seen a dark side of science and technology as potentially threatening our humanity due to its elevation of technique over human goals, the reduction of the human to measurable features and much else. These questions are often stated in religious or continental philosophical language. Evans’ work is premised on the idea that science and technology are critical components of being human and must be guided by our own humane values.
Over the years he has conducted empirical research to contribute to debates on these foundational questions. His first and most recent books on human gene editing are about, among other things, whether we humans should design our own species. A later book asked what ordinary Americans think a human is – a question with deep ramifications for many biotechnological interventions. At present Evans is engaged in an empirical project that examines the public’s views of the foundational question beneath debates about human enhancement, such as what the purpose of humanity is. The concern with foundational questions is reflected in the topics examined by the Institute for Practical Ethics.