Crossing the line

Since I know that I will probably be asked, I thought I should give a quick note on today’s defeat of the hybrid human animal embryos ban at the UK parliament.

As both a Christian and a biologist, I firmly oppose the idea. Now, before you shoot me, I’d like to mention that I’ve spent four years of my life researching Alzheimer’s disease, and I currently work on cancer. I am not insensitive to these diseases, and my work proves that.

Having said that though, I cannot separate my science from my faith, fanatical though this may sound. Because we, as Christians, believe that all humans – healthy or not – are created according to God’s image (Genesis 1:26-27), we respect all humans, regardless of what state they’re in (this is largely why I pursued biomedical research and didn’t go studying, say, sharks). And that means that a human being is a human being, whether it’s a tiny zygote (early fertilised egg) or a massive body-builder, and should not be murdered (“destroyed”), no matter what we think the benefits would be. The usefulness of the hybrids is yet to be proven, but even if it is, it still doesn’t justify their creation.

And another thing: Very few of the pro-hybrid position seem to care much about the sociological implications that this new avenue will have. I don’t want to sound like a doomsayer, but it is inevitable that the incorporation of hybrids into medical science will ultimately have adverse implications on the value of human life. It might seem ridiculous to prophesy like that at the moment, but wait until we start asking “Why stop at the embryo stage?” We’re not there yet, but what’s to stop us? Morality? In today’s secular, atheistic, naturalistic and faddishly postmodern world, morality – and consequently, ethics – is rapidly becoming a very fluid concept.

I am all for scientific progress and the curing of neurodegenerating disorders (just look at my doctorate thesis), but as a scientist I’d be irresponsible to think that scientific progress is the altar upon all else must be sacrificed.

Happy to debate if you so wish.

Shall I not punish them for these things?’ says the LORD. ‘ Shall I not avenge Myself on such a nation as this?’

“An astonishing and horrible thing has been committed in the land: The prophets prophesy falsely, And the priests rule by their own power; And My people love to have it so. But what will you do in the end? — Jeremiah 5:29-31

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