Recently we told you about a news story that sounds like something straight out of a checkout-line tabloid: The National Institute of Health is considering using public funds for research that creates human-animal hybrids or “chimeras.”
Researchers inject human stem cells into modified animal embryos in hopes of discovering new cures or “growing” human organs for transplant patients. You can read about some of the ethical concerns we have raised here.
John Stonestreet at the Colson Center for Christian Worldview published an excellent commentary today highlighting these concerns as well and noting how individuals from H.G. Wells and C.S. Lewis to Chuck Colson have warned us about this type of sketchy science.
This ends-justify-the-means kind of commodification of human beings is nothing new. Chuck Colson warned way back in 2007, “the system is being rigged to promote more such experimentation, not less. Compared to promises of ‘miracle cures,’ national prestige, and, of course, big money, human dignity counts for very little.”
Of course, promises of such cures may sound like a service to the cause of human dignity, but the “scientific progress at any cost” sort of vision drives our current forays in medicine. It’s what might be called the scientific illusion, the idea that because we can, we should. That all things, human nature included, are proper subjects of scientific mastery, the ultimate source of all of our knowledge.
Before Chuck, C. S. Lewis warned of such folly in his masterful book “The Abolition of Man.” “If man chooses to treat himself as raw material,” Lewis wrote, “raw material he will be, not raw material to be manipulated, as he fondly imagined, by himself, but by mere appetite, that is, mere Nature, in the person of his de-humanized Conditioners.”
In other words, the conquering of human nature with our technology, in reality, will end up being the conquering of all of us by some of us.
You can read his full commentary here or listen to it below.
Jerry is the founder and president of Family Council. He began Family Council in 1989 after a successful effort to amend the Arkansas Constitution to prevent the use of public funds for abortions. He and his wife reside in Little Rock. They have four sons.