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An experiment that would raise concerns, he noted, is “genetically engineering mice to produce human sperm and eggs, then doing in vitro fertilization to produce a child whose parents are a pair of mice.”
Magnus added, “Most people would find that problematic…but those uses are bizarre and not, to the best of my knowledge, anything that anybody is remotely contemplating. Most uses of chimeras are actually much more relevant to practical concerns.”
The ethical assumption underlying this attitude is that since humans at the embryonic stage of development are nothing more than genetic material anyway, scientists should not be hindered in their research unless they propose uses that are “bizarre.” Apparently, the killing of an embryo is not strange enough to warrant moral concern.
Bailey makes a similar sneaky acknowledgement using carefully selected language. “It is true that the proposed human animal cybrids would contain mostly human genes, but researchers have no intention of creating cow/human or rabbit/human babies,” he writes.
By combining the obscure technical term “cybrid” (an egg cell from an animal that contains the nucleus from a human cell) with the common, emotionally charged term “baby,” Bailey deftly obfuscates what is occurring. While the researchers are not creating cow/human babies (beings that have reached the infancy stage of development) they are creating cow/human embryos (beings that have reached the embryonic stage of development).
Denying the humanity of embryos is nothing new, of course, but the broad-based acceptance of certain biotechnologies has made such semantic evasion tactics essential.
FOR YEARS THE biomedical community oversold the therapeutic promises of embryonic stem cell research. On the periphery of the debate they acknowledged that producing individualized treatments for diseases such as diabetes requires obtaining stem cells from embryos created by somatic cell nuclear transfer, or “therapeutic cloning.”
What they failed to mention is that to obtain the human ova (eggs) needed to create the embryos, every woman of reproductive age in America would need to undergo an uncomfortable, painful, and potentially dangerous procedure in order to harvest her eggs. Recognizing that this is not within the realm of possibility, they’ve turned to the creation of hybrids, cybrids, and other chimeras in order to meet the demand for spare embryos that such research and speculative treatment requires.
Bailey observes that “many contemporary thinkers and leaders in the Roman Catholic Church appear to be haunted by the fear that scientific research will transgress God’s will.” A fair, informed observer might find that such fear is not unreasonable when that “scientific research” entails the creation, killing, and parts-harvesting of human-animal beings on a fairly massive scale.
But for transhumanists like Bailey, the real issue is that the priests and bishops have committed the unpardonable sin of refusing to bow before the bloody god of Technological Progress.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?