Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Scientific Advances?

A recent report from San Francisco hails a recent scientific "advance":

"Scientists announced Monday that they had created mice with small amounts of human brain cells in an effort to make realistic models of neurological disorders such as Parkinson's disease."

Mice Created with Human Brain Cells

But not to worry say the scientists:

"Those mice were each born with about 0.1 percent of human cells in each of their heads, a trace amount that doesn't remotely come close to "humanizing" the rodents.

" 'The worry is if you humanize them too much you cross certain boundaries,' said David Magnus, director of the Stanford Medical Center for Biomedical Ethics. 'But I don't think this research comes even close to that.'"

Now, far be it for me to disagree with the good Doctor and the minds pushing for this research, but isn't there something horribly wrong with mixing the make up of various species? Why is .1% okay and .2% isn't - or 1% for that matter.

As if this did not arouse images of Dr. Moreau, the article notes that researchers have not stopped there:

"Three top cloning researchers, for instance, have applied for a patent that contemplates fusing a complete set of human DNA into animal eggs in order to manufacturer human embryonic stem cells."

Why is this progress? I understand that by imbuing animals with human traits that we can better test medicines that cure diseases in humans, but I have two objections:

1. It seems to be horribly wrong and violates about a million laws of nature to create these part human-part rodent beasts
2. Even if I could get past problem one, if these "humdants" (human + rodant) are part human, and it's wrong to test on humans, why is it not wrong to test on the humdants?

This also does not even get into the other moral questions - do humdants have a soul? Will they go to heaven? Are they entitled to prescription health benefits when they turn 65 - or whatever 65 is in humdant years.

It all seems very narcissistic to me. We're pissed that God gave us disease, and we're not happy that God didn't make a species close enough to us that we can test chemicals and medicines on so we're making one of our own. The lack of humility if astounding. It's like these "scientists" finished reading Frankenstein and thought, "you fool, if only you had tightened the left bolt a little more."

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