In “Its life, Jim, but not as we’ve known it” the scientists have decided that the biggest issues facing the embryonic research are the same as the pro-life, anti-abortion position: are they people? do they have rights? are we killing innnocent human life? This is ‘so 20th century!’
This is NOT the great danger I am speaking of, despite their continued importance.
In case you’re not up on the latest, chimeric (blending animal and human embryos) research definitions are as follows:
There are four types of human admixed embryos: cytoplasmic hybrids, true hybrids, human transgenic embryos, and human animal chimeras. Cytoplasmic hybrids are created by replacing the nucleus of an animal egg cell with one from a human cell. True hybrids are a combination of human and animal gametes. Human transgenic embryos are made by adding animal mitochondrial and nuclear DNA to human embryos. Finally, human animal chimeras are constructed by introducing animal cells into a human embryo.
They also discuss the concept of eugenics, and understand that these things must be addressed. They ask questions-
Besides debating about human-animal chimeric embryos, Dr. Cameron warned that people should not be distracted from other, perhaps even more important, issues. Eventually, the world will have to deal with eugenics. Should science give people new capabilities? What about machine intelligence? Dr. Cameron believes that issues of those kind are of greater significance, but they are not addressed as much because we are still discussing embryos, which he believes are a 20th century problem.
All of this is important to the debate. However I suggest that it doesn’t cover the real issues, NOT BY A LONG SHOT.
Animal to Human Disease Transmission Hysteria:
In addition to all of the above, recall that we have been inundated with a near-hysteria about the disease called ‘bird flu.’ We have spent BILLIONS worldwide trying to stamp out bird flu where ever it shows up, in order to prevent that disease from leaping from animal to human. A few humans have died, yes, but only a very few.
This ‘terror’ of an animal disease making that great leap into the human population has increased big brother by giving the USDA, FDA and Department of Homeland Security FAR MORE POWER to deal with animal populations, radio chip them, put resistant farmers like the Amish out of business, all in an effort to prevent bird flu and mad cow disease from creeping into the human population.
An Avenue Like No Other!
Animal/human hybrids will provide a direct avenue by which diseases that were formerly ONLY in animals will be able to enter the human population. Ebola virus and Marsburg’s disease were thought to be only in animals, and they are horrible diseases that have made the leap to the human population, without the benefit of blending human and animal dna. Think how fast it would spread if it infected a creature who is both animal AND human and the means to infect the entire human population were gained by the viruses or bacteria?
The ‘Art and Science of Unintended Consequences’:
This unintended consequence doesn’t even show up in the discussions, no matter how many scientists are present!
Another considerations which it is NOT too soon to consider- once these creatures grow, they will want to reproduce. They will be able to reproduce with animals OR with humans. Unless they are distinctly MARKED, or animal features are prominent on the creature, you will not be able to tell if your son or daughter is dating someone who is part rat, part lizard, part spider, part cow.
Once reproduction begins, and these forms of humanoids are having ‘litters’, there will be NO STOPPING that genetic strain through the human population.
You can be sure that if these creatures become pregnant THEY WILL NOT ABORT THEIR YOUNG, and since they are unlikely to have a conscience (ONLY a human trait and a rare one anymore at that) other than what animals have, their ‘natural’ traits will include their ferocity and instinct for survival, they will not permit ANYONE to endanger their young.
Mad science is FULL of unintended consequences. The nanites that destroy sock odors are making their way into the environment, doing their micro-bot damage to whatever wildlife they come in contact with. Genetically modified food is a primary suspect in the death of butterflies, honey bees and in Morgellon’s disease.
Animal/human hybrid chimeras are one more example of reckless, insane science that pushes its way forward despite ALL concerns that are unique to HUMANITY, despite the issues of eugenics that so destroyed Europe through Hitler, and created a world war, despite all the lessons humanity has ‘learned.’ They say the great minds stood on the shoulders of those who came before. That learning includes learning from our history, our philosophy, or experience.
We are throwing away critical information in the interests of … what?
Can we afford these unintended consequences? If someone were to make a ‘eugenic’ type of decision for you or your family- would you or your family member survive that? What if your dna makeup shows a tendency to downs syndrome, to cancer, to autism? Would eugenicists permit your dna line to continue?
If your family were infected by an animal disease for which there were no cure, because of this science, would you think it was worth it?
How many people need to die before we decide the price is too high?