Scientists Trying to Edit Human DNA: NPR Report

Recently we wrote about American scientists working in China to create human-monkey hybrids.

The goal, researchers say, is to grow organs for transplant patients, but other scientists have pointed out problems with this explanation.

Here’s another story about similar research being carried out on U.S. soil:

Last week NPR reported that scientists in America now are trying to manipulate human DNA.

The scientists are using the controversial gene-editing technology CRISPR.

The goal is to eliminate certain genetic anomalies and diseases.

NPR writes,

First it was human embryos. Now scientists are trying to develop another way to modify human DNA that can be passed on to future generations, NPR has learned.

Reproductive biologists at Weill Cornell Medicine in New York City are attempting to use the powerful gene-editing technique called CRISPR to alter genes in human sperm. NPR got exclusive access to watch the controversial experiments underway. . . .

But others say editing DNA in sperm raises the same troubling questions as editing DNA in embryos. Would it ever be safe to make babies that way? Would it open the door to someone someday trying to make “designer babies”? Should scientists be trying to tinker with the human gene pool in ways that could affect generations to come?

There are plenty of reasons this kind of research is unethical. Here are two:

First, after manipulating the DNA in human sperm, the next logical step is to create human embryos for testing.

In other cases where CRISPR was used to edit human genes, this meant creating and killing unborn babies in the name of “science.” This kind of “create-and-kill” research is simply unconscionable.

Second, this research inevitably treats unborn children like lab material. The children created and affected by these sorts of gene-editing experiments have zero say in what happens to them. They are at the mercy of the researchers.

As we have said many times, human beings are not research material, but gene-editing technologies like CRISPR treat them that way.

All scientific research must respect the sanctity of human life.

Group Asks Netflix to Cancel “13 Reasons Why”

One Million Moms (1MM) released a statement today calling on Netflix to remove the show “13 Reasons Why” from its streaming service.

The controversial television series has drawn flak for its depictions of teens suicide and violence.

Back in 2017, John Stonestreet with the Colson Center for Christian Worldview wrote,

If you’re a parent, chances are you’ve heard about the series [“13 Reasons Why”]. If you’re a parent in a place like Colorado Springs, where literally dozens of teenagers have committed suicide in recent years, you’re probably asking yourself whether the show will only make a bad situation worse.

Unfortunately, two years later, those concerns appear to be valid.

Last May a study published in the Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychology  found monthly suicides among youths ages 10 – 17 increased by nearly one-third following the release of “13 Reasons Why.”

Our friends at American Family Association have written about 14-year-old Anna Bright, who took her own life after binge watching “13 Reasons Why.”

Initially, when people criticized the show’s graphic depiction of suicide and violence, Netflix was publicly defiant, telling shareholders, “It [13 Reasons Why] is controversial. But nobody has to watch it.”

Recently, however, Netflix opted to delete the graphic suicide scene from Season 1 of the series.

Now One Million Moms is calling on Netflix to remove the show entirely from its platform, saying,

Netflix is set to release Season 3 of 13 Reasons Why this Friday, August 23. Netflix has also confirmed a fourth and final season that is already in production.

More than two years after the 2017 debut of 13 Reasons Why, Netflix finally responded to concerns about the negative impact of the controversial suicide-themed series. Netflix deleted Season 1’s three-minute graphic teen suicide scene. But that was after releasing a second season about suicide, rape, sexual assault, and mental illness, and now a third season with a teen homicide as the focus of the show’s darkness, violence, and perversion.

Although 1MM acknowledges the removal of Season 1’s suicide scene and applauds that there is an end in sight for the series, 1MM is not giving in or giving up. 1MM and our parent ministry, American Family Association, are pressing on, stronger now more than ever. Together, we are putting the maximum pressure on Netflix to pull all seasons of this dangerous series from its streaming service.  

The whole series is a dark and depressing primer for impressionable young people, inviting them to enter a realm of perversion, hatred, and violence.

Parents can learn more and sign a petition calling on Netflix to pull “13 Reasons Why” here.

Photo Credit: Brian Cantoni (https://www.flickr.com/photos/cantoni/10715878456) [CC BY 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons