Hugh Pickens writes: "John Tierney poses the question in the New York Times "what if we let athletes do whatever they wanted to excel?" Before you dismiss the notion, consider what we're stuck with today — a system designed to create a level playing field, protect athletes' health and set an example for children, that fails on all counts. The journal Nature, in an editorial in the current issue, complains that "antidoping authorities have fostered a sporting culture of suspicion, secrecy and fear" by relying on unscientifically calibrated tests, like the unreliable test for synthetic testosterone that cost Floyd Landis his 2006 Tour de France victory and even if the authorities manage to correct their tests, they can't possibly keep up with the accelerating advances in biology. Bengt Kayser, the director of a sports medicine institute at the University of Geneva argues in an article that has been supported by more than 30 scholars in the British Medical Journal that legalizing doping would "encourage more sensible, informed use of drugs in amateur sport, leading to an overall decline in the rate of health problems associated with doping (pdf). In the competition between increasingly sophisticated doping — e.g. gene transfer — and antidoping technology, there will never be a clear winner. Consequently, such a futile but expensive strategy is difficult to defend.""