Explaining Steroids to an Alien

When you explain complicated concepts to an extraterrestrial, or a time-traveler, or a child with no frame of reference, you must boil the idea down to its simplest elements. But sometimes doing that reveals that the concept itself makes no sense! Maybe we should do this sort of thing more often. Link


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@Lynda if "preventing damage" is the goal where does one stop. Recent studies say running more than 25km a week is bad for you, so should we ban the marathon. What about American football and all the concern regarding head injuries. And all those athletes who shoot cortisone into aching joints only to end up with permanent damage. What about the mental state of children pushed by parents to excel, at the cost of a normal childhood. The list goes on.
As for fair, what about all the technological advantages rich countries have over poor ones - better training facilities, better equipment, financial support, scientifically formulated diets. If we are going to be truly fair shouldn't all athletes have access to the same training and equipment.
Where does one draw the line.
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But there *is* something wrong with using steroid and other drugs. They not only skew the playing field to the point that authentic, non-drug-using athletes cannot fairly compete through natural skill or grueling training but these "additive" also have horrible effects on the human body. Rules must be enforced across the board to prevent damage to what should be some of the healthiest people on earth.
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