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Humanist Utopia 

By Carman Bradley 

Evolution is the development of the energy of the universe in such a way that it has an increasing ability to consciously control itself and the universe around it.  It is a progressive change from the unconscious to the conscious.  We are the universe trying to comprehend itself.  Man is the corporeal manifestation of the universe trying to control its own destiny.  Man is God in the process of coming into existence.[i]

Eugenics Manifesto

 ‘When you make the two one, and when you make the inmost as the outermost and the outer as the inner and the above as the below, and when you make the male and female into a single unity, so that the male will not be only male and the female  will not be only female, when you create eyes in the place of an eye, and create a hand in the place of a hand, and a foot in the place of a foot, and also an image in the place of an image, then surely will you enter the kingdom.’ (Gnostic gospel, Thomas 22)[ii]

Tertullian long ago, before modern investigation gathered together the numerous groups and movements of the heresy of the period under the general designation ‘gnosis’, had grasped their essential elements. For him Gnosis is a ‘declining syncretism’ such as the natural spirituality of mankind loves, a spiritual and idealistic overestimate of the self which blurs the fixed limits that separate the creature from the deity; and it is at the same time the ‘nihilistic’ hostility against God of reality who has created the world and has revealed himself concretely in the flesh.[iii]

                                                            Kurt Rudolph, Professor – History of Religion

This article gives further insight into a world void of the Holy Spirit and God-fearing people; a potential civilization run on the philosophy of humanism.  Imagine the world in a global genetics and cloning race, fulfilling Margaret Sanger’s wildest eugenics dream.

The concept of gene therapy is so inherently simple, says Kevin Davies, that it is hard to believe that it will thwart researchers much longer.  If the technology does become successful, there will be those who will advocate using gene therapy to modify genes in the germ-line (sperm and egg cells) so the errant gene can be prevented from being passed down to future generations.  Some scientists even harbor dreams of enhancing memory or postponing aging.[iv]  These intentions to alter our natural gene pool have “boundary” implications with the baby; surrogate mother; biological parents; actual parents; society, subsequent generations; and also with medical, religious and other social institutions.  Thinking of such scientific prospects a few scientists offer their comments.

James Watson, co-discoverer of the DNA double helix, says:

Dare we be entrusted with improving upon the results of several million years of Darwinian natural selection?  Are human germ cells Rubicons that geneticists may never cross?  Yes [do not cross] [v]

Eric Lander, director of the American Genome Center at the Whitehead Institute, warns against germ-line intervention:

One reason is the dire possibility of something going awry.  The prospect of a ‘product recall’ from the human gene pool is too surreal to contemplate.[vi]

Kevin Davies, author of Cracking the Genome, also writes against germ-line intervention:

Another reason is that we will never know what we might miss.  Some of the most famous figures in history suffered serious genetic diseases: Abraham Lincoln had Marfan’s syndrome, Van Gogh epilepsy, Albert Einstein dyslexia, Lou Gehrig and Stephen Hawking amyotrophic lateral sclerosis…[vii]

Cautious as Watson, Lander and Davies may be, their opinions are not entirely representative of the “science community” and their views do not fully assess the potential mankind has for using science for selfish and ultimately evil purposes.  It only takes one obsessive zealous researcher to alter forever human evolution.  And in an essay titled “What’s Wrong With Cloning?” Richard Dawkins beckons for the research:

‘But do you whisper to yourself a secret confession?  Wouldn’t you love to be cloned?’…

‘I find it a personally riveting thought that I could watch a small copy of myself, 50 years younger.’ [viii]  ‘My feeling is founded on pure curiosity.’[ix]

The International Academy of Humanists proclaims:

The potential benefits of cloning may be so immense that it would be a tragedy if ancient theological scruples should lead to a Luddite rejection of cloning.[x]

Steen Willadsen, representing the British Agricultural Research Council states:

The role of the scientist is to break the laws of nature, rather than to establish, let alone accept them.[xi]     

As a humanist, evolutionist and hierarchical reductionist, Dawkins has little reservation about experimenting with creation.  He prefers to follow the laws of physics and atheism:

There is no reason to think that the laws of physics are violated in living matter.  There is nothing supernatural, no ‘life force’ to rival the fundamental forces of physics.[xii]

In human life, start to finish, as Dawkins proclaims, there appears to be essentially no breach in the application of the laws of physics as commonly understood.  However, many things appear to happen outside the boundaries of physics, in the time period between conception and death, which are unique, distinctive, measurable and of no small influence.  Human life is a phenomenon inseparable from magnetism, gravity and chemical-molecular processes, but in experience is so much more.  We have virtually no personal consciousness of the minute-to-minute functioning of our organs or our various involuntary bodily systems and we are not self-aware of how we see and think.  Neither do we normally have consciousness of the molecular, cellular and atomic level events occurring in our bodies.  The physics of these things are usually the assumed in life, after which any description of one’s life would tend to reveal measurements of experiences such as joy-depression, pleasure-pain, company-loneliness, hope-despair, evil-goodness; and descriptions of character and beauty.  When Dawkins contends there is nothing supernatural, no “life force” to rival the forces of physics he speaks of a self-constrained and very shallow, indeed hollow, view of life.

Steve Grand, author of Creation: Life and How To Make It, observes that our division of the world into the categories “living” and “non-living” seems to be one of the most fundamental judgments we make.[xiii]  We treat each category in very different ways.  Our application of morals and concepts of “right” and “wrong” are only applicable to living things.  Says Grand, “We never accuse an avalanche of being a murderer, and we never campaign for the rights of hurricanes.”  However, the more we reduce our biology to “inanimate” laws of physics, the closer we come to classifying mankind’s existence as purposeless as the avalanche.   Grand asks, “If life is reduced to mere clockwork, where does that leave our sense of morality?“  In responding to this question, he writes:

In fact, as life has indeed begun to be reduced to clockwork, and especially as we have gained mastery over that clockwork, so has our moral certainty declined.  Today we face difficult moral judgments...Life is not made of atoms, it is merely built out of them.  What life is actually ‘made of’ is cycles of cause and effect, loops of causal flow.  These phenomena are just as real as atoms – perhaps even more real.  If anything the entire universe is actually made from events, of which atoms are merely some of the consequences.[xiv]

The reason why we esteem the material world more than we do the intangible one is fairly obvious – it is the world that our senses tell us is really out ‘there.’…On the other hand, we do not have any direct sensory confirmation of intangible things.  We don’t have poverty sensors, we cannot touch a society, and our only evidence for the existence of other people’s minds is the visible or auditable motion of their physical bodies.  Consequently, we come to believe that the things we can directly sense are real, while the things we cannot sense are more like figments of our imagination or convenient labels, rather than about anything absolute, independent and genuine.

And yet despite all this, the things we really care about are largely intangible.  ‘Life’ is an intangible concept, as is ‘mind.’  We care about suffering in a way that we never do about mass.  This has led to some strange and almost perverse logic errors in the past.[xv]

When sacred human life begins in the humanist paradigm is one of these perverse logic errors.  It is toward this intangible, and therefore, highly unscientific notion called “life,” that we must turn our attention.  Against a cultural background of postmodernity - individualism, liberalism, materialism and secularism - we must examine the idea of a utopian humanistic civilization.  We must ask, where the ethical boundary lies separating the Josef Mengeles’ from the Louis Pasteurs, in helping the species achieve perfection?  Where is the boundary protecting vulnerable human life from the powerful?

Ian Wilmut, an embryologist with impeccable credentials, was fifty-two years old when the cloned sheep Dolly was born.  Gina Kolata writes:

By the time of Dolly, he had worked at the Roslin Institute for twenty-three years, laboring for nine hours a day, leaving the lab at six each night and, more often than not, bringing work home.  The cloning work was long and tedious.  It required infinite patience and an ability to work long hours hunched over a microscope in a tiny room heated to the internal temperature of a sheep.[xvi]

Wilmut entered Darwin College in Cambridge in 1971 and received a Ph.D. in only two years.  He holds no religious belief and considers himself an agnostic.  Wilmut says:

I am not a fool, I know what is bothering people about this.  I understand why the world is suddenly at my door.  But this is my work.  It has always been my work, and it doesn’t have anything to do with creating copies of human beings.  I am not haunted by what I do, if that is what you want to know.  I sleep very well at night.[xvii]

To clone Dolly, Wilmut used methods his research group and others had been developing for more than a decade.  His colleague Keith Campbell sucked the nucleus out of an egg that had been removed from a ewe, creating an egg that had no genes at all, an egg that would soon die if it did not get a new nucleus.  Then he began the process of adding the nucleus of an udder cell to the bereft egg.  Campbell slipped an udder cell under the outer membrane of the egg.  Next, he jolted the egg for a few microseconds with a burst of electricity.  This opened the pores of the egg and the udder cell so that the contents of the udder cell, including its chromosomes, oozed into the egg and took up residence there.  Now the egg had a nucleus – the nucleus of an udder cell.  In addition, the electric current tricked the egg into behaving as if it were newly fertilized, jump-starting it into action.  After 277 attempts to clone an udder cell, Wilmut’s group succeeded and Dolly was created.[xviii]

Perhaps to Wilmut’s surprise, approximately a half decade later, Brigitte Boisselier, president of CLONAID, announced the birth of a third baby – a boy, born of a surrogate mother, in Japan.  The DNA for the baby – she didn’t know his name – was obtained from the dead son of a couple – whom she refused to identify – after he died 18 months previous in an accident.  Boisselier said the parents of the dead child who’s DNA was used for the cloning called CLONAID.

“We rushed over there and had time to take cells, to culture them, to develop them.”[xix]  Because the mother was 41 years old, it was decided that there was a risk of miscarriage and a surrogate mother was chosen to carry the baby.  Boisselier said the second cloned baby girl, born to a lesbian couple in Holland on January 3, 2003, was doing well.  So far none of the couples had paid for the treatment.  The first 20 cloned babies, according to Boisselier, were being funded by two investors who were hopeful of being cloned themselves.  After the 20th.”[xx]
baby, the many thousands of couples who want cloned babies will be expected to pay.  Says Boisselier, “This is how the investors see this, as a capital risk investment."

A few years before CLONAID’s announcements, Britain’s Human Fertilization and Embryology Authority, in a joint report with the Human Genetics Advisory Commission, gave its blessing to the notion that cloning technology could be employed to culture human tissues that could later be used for repair.  Cells from a person would be used to create an embryo, as with Dolly; then cells from the young embryo would be cultured to provide tissue that was genetically identical to the donor.  The embryo itself would of course be “sacrificed,” but various ethical committees in Britain have broadly agreed that human embryos up to fourteen days (long before they acquire any distinctive nervous tissue) have not yet acquired the status of personhood.[xxi]  Here Britain’s Human Fertilization and Embryology Authority, the Human Genetics Advisory Commission, the International Academy of Humanists, and indeed the pro-abortion movement, are content with a particular secular-humanist ethical gymnastic.  The cognitive maneuver (perversity to Christians) has been described in one of two ways.

One approach argues that a zygote is not a human being, although all human beings were zygotes.  The notion further implies that human embryos are not human beings; although all human beings were embryos.  This notion of a sub-human status for what typically occurs in the womb has been argued for the non-rights of the fetus.  Therefore the killing of a human zygote, embryo or fetus is considered ethical.  In writing about ethical and legally valid  “informed consent” for stem cell research, Dianne Irving, Ph.D., notes that decision-makers: donors, recipients, legislators and voters, need an explanation of “what” these early human entities are.  Here she asks:

Are they prawns, cabbages, fish, frogs, chickens, monkeys, or human beings?  Are they just ‘eggs’ such as those used in fertilization, skin cells, ‘bunches of stem cells,’ ‘pre-embryos,’ or merely the earliest stages of ‘the evolving human species?’[xxii]

In answering these questions Irving chooses to use “absolutely no subjective ‘religious,’ ‘theological,’ ‘political,’ or ‘personal’ opinions.”  Rather she sticks to the objective scientific facts documented by the experts in the field of human embryology – “the only scientists who have the academic credentials to answer the question, ‘When do human beings begin to fully exist?’”  Speaking of sexual human reproduction, Irving states:

Scientifically, then…there is no question or confusion whatsoever that the immediate product, and all continuous, contiguous, growth and developmental stages thereafter through adulthood, involves an already fully existing unique living human being.[xxiii]

Thus the fusion of the sperm (with 23 chromosomes) and the oocyte (with 23 chromosomes) at fertilization results in a live human being, a single-cell human zygote, with 46 chromosomes – the number of chromosomes characteristic of an individual member of the human speciesIrving draws a similar conclusion about cloning:

Human beings can also be reproduced a-sexually, without the use of sperm or oocytes – as we know empirically happens in human monozygotic twinning…Just as the single-cell organism produced sexually at fertilization is a human being, the single-cell organism produced a-sexually at cloning is also a human being.[xxiv]

Therefore, this first ethics approach – the contention of killing the life form while in some “sub-human” biological state has been debunked and is generally not raised in defense of abortion, genetic engineering, or cloning.

The second approach concedes that a zygote, embryo or fetus is truly a human being, hence the ethical grounds for destroying human life are framed differently - through the hypothesis of  “personhood.”  Obviously the fetus is biologically human, genetically human and a distinct member of the species homo sapiens.  So the “personhood” argument has to distinguish between human beings and persons, must say that embryos are human but not persons, and say that all persons, but not all humans, are sacred and inviolable. According to Peter Kreeft the crucial issue is this:

Are there any human beings who are not persons? If so, killing them might be permissible, like killing warts.  But who might these human non-persons be?  Many of the more radical humanist pro-abortion advocates (Peter Singer) include severely retarded, genetically deficient and handicapped humans, or very old and sick humans, as non-persons.[xxv]

Margaret Sanger would no doubt applaud Peter Singer for his views.  Kreeft believes no one ever conceived of this category before the abortion controversy.  It looks very suspiciously like the category was invented to justify the killing.  To humanists the Christian paradigm seems to confuse the sanctity of life with the greater moral construct - the sanctity of the person.  To the humanist not all human life is sacred.  Not even all human beings; not all individual members of the human species, are sacred.  But all human persons are sacred!  According to Kreeft, humanists contend that the Christian bioethics paradigm:

…commits the intellectual sin of biologism, idolatry of biology, by defining persons in a merely biological, genetic, material way.  Membership in a biological species is not morally relevant, not what makes persons sacred and murder wrong.[xxvi] 

For the humanist, it seems to be an obvious mistake to claim that personhood begins abruptly, at conception, for personhood develops gradually, as a matter of degree.  Every one of the characteristics we use to identify personhood arises and grows gradually rather than suddenly.  The Christian seems to be the victim of simplistic, black-or-white thinking, but reality is full of greys.  Potential persons should not be confused with actual persons. The zygote, embryo or fetus is potentially a person, but it must grow into an actual person.

Kreeft says there is a common premise hidden behind all of these life-terminating arguments.  He writes:

It is the premise of Functionalism: defining a person by his or her functioning or behavior.  But common sense distinguishes between what one is and what one does, between being and functioning, thus between "being a person" and "functioning as a person."  One cannot function as a person without being a person, but one can surely be a person without functioning as a person.  In deep sleep, in coma, and in early infancy, nearly everyone will admit there are persons, but there are no specifically human functions such as reasoning, choice, or language.  Functioning as a person is a sign and an effect of being a person.  It is because of what we are, because of our nature or essence or being, that we can and do function in these ways.[xxvii] 

Functionalism arises with the modern erosion of the family.  Half of our families break up.  But the family is the place where you learn that you are loved not because of what you do, your function, but because of who you are.  What is replacing the family, where we are valued for our being is the workplace, where we are valued for our functioning.[xxviii]

Where Steve Grand finds the notion of life and its morality eroded by scientific reductionism, Kreeft sees the old "Sanctity of Life Ethic" eroded by the new "Quality of Life Ethic,” which reflects the shift from family and parenting values to increased careerism in society.  Now a human life is judged as valuable and worth living if and only if the judgers decide that it performs at a certain level - e.g., a functional I.Q. of 60 or 40; or an ability to relate to other people; or the prospect of a fairly normal, healthy and pain-free life. If someone lacks the functional criteria of a "quality" life, he lacks personhood and the right to life.  It would logically follow that a severely autistic person does not have enough "quality" in his life to deserve to live, and thus active euthanasia, or assisted suicide, is justified.

The Functionalism that is the basis of the “Quality of Life Ethic," which underpins the path to humanistic utopia, is morally reprehensible for at least three reasons.  Writes Kreeft: 

First, it is degrading, demeaning and destructive to human dignity; it treats persons like trained dolphins. 

Second, it is elitist; it discriminates against less perfect performers. 

Third, it takes advantage, it is power play, it is might over right rationalized.[xxix]

Kreeft contends, if personhood is only a developing, gradual thing, then we are never fully persons, because we continue to grow, at least intellectually and emotionally and spiritually.  Albert Schweitzer said, at 70, "I still don't know what I want to do when I grow up." But if we are only partial persons, then murder is only partially wrong, and it is less wrong to kill younger, lesser persons than older ones.  If it is more permissible to kill a fetus than to kill an infant because the fetus is less of a person, then it is for exactly the same reason more permissible to kill a seven year old, who has not yet developed his reproductive system or many of his educational and communications skills, than to kill a 27 year old. This absurd conclusion follows from defining a person functionally. 

For more than a century we have called this mode of thinking Darwinism – survival of the fittest.  Also called the “Quality of Life Ethic” the concept places no intrinsic value on human life, rather real value has to be earned and maintained through demonstrated function (life must have demonstrated utility).  Diane Irving, sees the rise of the “personhood” ethic as dangerous.  She expresses the controversy as follows:

To claim that these innocent and vulnerable living beings can be used and destroyed in order to help other human beings – especially when there are viable alternatives, such as the use of umbilical cord and adult stem cells – is to legislatively create a subcategory of human beings who may be exploited as a mere commodity for the use of other human beings – and we’ve been there before.  The argument is that some human beings are not ‘persons,’ and other human beings are ‘persons,’ and is based on a theory about active ‘functionality,’ rather than on the empirical facts about a thing’s nature. 

Such is the position of many of those in bioethics, e.g., Peter Singer, Director of Human Values at Princeton University (Princeton, New Jersey).  Singer opines that ‘personhood’ is defined only by the active exercising of ‘rational attributes’ (e.g., willing, choosing, knowing, relating to the world around one, etc.) or ‘sentience’ (e.g., the feeling of pain and pleasure) - a philosophical claim inherently based on passé 17th and 18th century Cartesian, rationalist, and empiricist philosophical systems.[xxx]…One reason for their indefensibility is simply that if there are two separate and different things, such as a ‘mind’ or ‘soul’ thing, and a ‘body’ thing, there is no possible way to explain any interaction between these two different and separated things.  In philosophical parlance, this is known as the myth of the ‘mind/body’ split – or chorismos….Finally, ‘pushing the logic’ of those bioethics definitions of ‘person’ leads to extraordinarily bizarre conclusions – and it would be wise, I respectfully suggest, not to cement them into legislation.  Peter Singer, for example, opines that some human beings are not ‘persons,’ and some animals are ‘persons.’  Indeed, this is the basis for Singer’s recent defense of ‘bestiality.’[xxxi]  But think about it: if only those who are actively exercising ‘rational attributes’ and ‘sentience’ are ‘persons,’  then the following list of adult human beings are not ‘persons,’ and thus not ethically or legally protected as real ‘persons’: Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s patients, the mentally ill and mentally retarded, the frail elderly, the emotionally ill, drug addicts and alcoholics, literally all mentally and physically disabled, - even all of us when we are sleeping.[xxxii]

Alas the genetic scientist “sleeps well at night” under a cognitive security blanket, which says that there is a difference between human beings and human persons - a proverbial “window of experimental opportunity” in between “being” fully human and “being” fully a person.  Ian Wilmut describes this totally anti-Christian notion with the curious twist to the “experimental window”:

Zygotes are intrinsically more difficult to work with, yet efficiency clearly has to be much higher, for zygotes are precious commodities…zygotes are transient – racing to become embryos [and embryos are racing to become babies] – while cells may live and multiply in a culture for many weeks or months, plenty of time to make the necessary manipulations and to monitor the results.[xxxiii] [my insert]

Content in their secular moral judgment, British law-makers also say that frozen human embryos should not be stored for more than five years without the express request of the genetic parents.[xxxiv]  Many see these laws as calling for state-sponsored mass abortion.  Most fail to recognize the potential for humanitarian abuses starting in the petrie-dish and ending in our home.  Corroborating the notion of a war between the worldviews, Irving explains that bioethics has two virtually exclusive paradigms from which to draw moral and ethical conclusions:

Secular bioethics generally considers the following as ethical: contraception; the use of abortifacients; prenatal diagnosis with the intent to abort defective babies; human embryo and human fetal research; abortion; human cloning; the formation of human chimeras (cross-breeding with other species); human embtyonic stem cell research; ‘brain birth;’ ‘brain death;’ purely experimental high risk research with mentally ill; enthanasia; physician-assisted suicide; living wills documenting consent to just about anything; and, withholding and withdrawing food and hydration as extraordinary means.[xxxv]

In contrast, Roman Catholic medical ethics…considers all of these unethical – with the exception of the use of ‘brain death’ criteria…[xxxvi]

How is it that these two different ethical systems lead to such opposite and contradictory moral conclusions?  The answer is predictable - every ethical theory has foundational ethical principles; deducing from different world paradigms necessarily leads to different ethical conclusions.  We can now visualize a future civilization, unfettered by theism and spurred-on by humanism, secularism, libertinism and hedonism.

For example, at the conference, “Great Issues of Conscience in Modern Medicine,” held at Dartmouth College in 1960, the Chairman was Rene Dubois, a scientist at Rockerfeller Institute.  Dianne N. Irving writes of his views:

Rene Dubois called ‘prolongation of the life of aged and ailing persons’ and the saving of lives of children with genetic defects ‘ the most difficult problem of medical ethics we are likely to encounter within the next decade…To what extent we can afford to prolong biological life in individuals who cannot derive either profit or pleasure from existence, and whose survival creates painful burdens for the community?...It will be for society to redefine these ethics, if the problem becomes one that society is no longer willing or able to carry.’  Geneticists worry that the gene pool was becoming polluted because early death of persons with certain genetic conditions was now preventable; in addition to antibiotics, insulin for diabetes and diet for phenelkytonuria were frequently mentioned. A unique solution was offered by Nobelist Hermann J. Muller, who promoted his concept of a bank of healthy sperm, together with the ‘new techniques of reproduction’ to prevent otherwise inevitable degeneration of the race.’[xxxvii]

A similar theme was repeated at the conference titled, “Man and His Future,” sponsored by the Ciba Foundation in London in 1962.  Themes included genetics and brain science.  Of special note were the similar concerns with evolution, eugenics and population control:

Sir Julian Huxley opened the conference with a wide-ranging lecture entitled, ‘The Future of Man – Evolutionary Aspects.’  He painted a picture of evolution that for the first time had become conscious of itself in human kind and thus was responsible for its population, economics, education, and above all, for the exploration of ‘inner space – the realm of our own minds and the psychometabolic processes at work in it.’  The problems of overpopulation and the dysgenic effects of progress had to be overcome to assure the realization of human fulfillment: ‘Eventually, the prospect of radical eugenic improvement could become one of the mainsprings of man’s evolutionary advance.’  Man was, he triumphantly proclaimed, ‘the trustee…of advance in the cosmic process of evolution.[xxxviii]

Writes Irving, “scientists took sides for and against programs of eugenics and thought control.”  J.B.S. Haldane described a vision of his own utopia, imagining the biological possibilities in the next ten thousand years.  His utopia included broad control of physiological and psychological processes, achieved largely by pharmacological and genetic techniques, including cloning and deliberate provocation of mutations, to suit the human product for special purposes in the world of the future.[xxxix]  At the first Nobel Conference in 1965, named “Genetics and the Future of Man,” Dr. William Shockley, who had won the Nobel prize for physics, presented his views on eugenics.  According to Irving, he suggested that, since intelligence was largely genetically determined, serious efforts to improve human intelligence should be pursued by various means, including sterilization, cloning, and artificial insemination.  He praised Hermann Muller’s advocacy of sperm banks.[xl]

Bentley Glass, the outgoing president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, echoed similar thoughts in a speech in December 1970 to the nation’s largest professional association of scientists.  Writes Gina Kolata:

According to Glass, the looming problem for humanity was a population explosion that would force people to sharply limit their family sizes.  And so, he said, when parents will be able to have no more than two children, they will want to be sure that those children are perfect.  Science, he said, will come to the rescue.

‘No parents in that future time will have a right to burden society with a malformed or a mentally incompetent child,’ Glass said.  ‘Just as every child must have the right to full educational opportunity and a sound nutrition, so every child has the inalienable right to sound heritage.’

Glass predicted that parents will have their fetuses screened for a myriad of genetic defects, and will abort those fetuses that are imperfect or will use gene therapy to change the genes of their unborn children.  He predicted that young people, at an age when their sperm and eggs would be the healthiest, will store their gametes for use when they are older.  He predicted that embryos that are especially desirable, because of their perfect genetic inheritance, might be frozen for use by couples who want ideal babies, a process he called ‘embryo adoption.’  And he had no serious qualms about advocating these eugenic practices.  ‘The Golden Age toward which we move will soon look tawdry as we no longer see endless horizons.  We must, then, seek a change within man himself.  As he acquires more fully the power to control his own genotype and direct the course of his own evolution, he must produce a Man who can transcend his present nature,‘ he said.[xli]

Even Linus Pauling, the Nobel laureate from California Institute of Technology, spoke unhesitatingly about using science to improve the human race.  In a paper published in 1968 in the UCLA Law Review, Pauling proposed in all seriousness that we tattoo the foreheads of people who carried one copy of recessive, disease-causing genes so that they would not accidentally have children with someone else who carried the same gene.[xlii]  He explains:

It is my opinion that legislation along this line, compulsory testing for defective genes before marriage, and some form of public or semipublic display of this possession, should be adopted.[xliii]

These humanists, eugenicists and secularists start with the legal license to kill tiny zygotes and forgotten frozen embryos and end up proposing wholesale killing, sterilizing and cloning based on some self-conscious gnosis of utopian functionality.

American values have been seen as products of, alternately, heavy dependence on the liberal tradition (with its emphasis on individual self-determination and freedom) and a fundamental consensus on the value of individual human life.  Writes Blank:

Social and political institutions have proved remarkably resilient and adaptable, given the diverse population and tradition of individualism; still, cultural pluralism has produced a large number of potential lines of stress in society.[xliv]

These new technologies are bringing the old liberal tradition, with emphasis on the “individual,” in conflict with “public good.”  In explaining the challenge of developing governmental policies on the application of technology, Blank cites Daniel Callahan:

It cannot handle those problems where people with diverse values must work together to deal with common problems, cannot create a necessary sense of trust which must undergird community and cannot, in particular deal with those problems of technology where, because of their implications and consequences are communal, the values by which they are judged and controlled must be communal.[xlv]

The most committed proponents of direct genetic intervention tend to be biologists and geneticists who focus their attentions on human survival.  Others are humanists, certain religious sects (Raelians of CLONAID for example), and others who uphold a utopian wish to perfect the species and society.  Some scientists and secularists are like Richard Dawkins, just “curious.”  Key proponents outside the scientific and religious communities are those of the GBLTQ community.  Some civil libertarians and various members of GBLTQ declare an individual “right” to reproductive self-determination.

Ignoring for the moment the problem of risk, another large quandary remains - the ethical dilemma arising from the allocation of constrained resources and coordination of the benefits in a less than perfect scenario.  A modest gauge of the complications of implementing technological utopia is found in the history of kidney dialysis.  The medical ethics movement had its roots in this era.  The problem was that dialysis machines were in short supply, so not everyone could be saved.  The question was, who should live and who should die?  According to Kolata, the medical community in Seattle turned to a committee of volunteers to make the choices:

The committee, a group of upright citizens who later became known as a ‘God squad,’ earnestly formulated the rules.  They gave priority to breadwinners, family men who were fine upstanding members of the community.  People who did not have a job, those who seemed unstable or who lived in the margins of society, were denied the lifesaving treatment.  Men were favored over women, married over single.[xlvi]

We like to believe that Nazi-style medical experimentation on humans is rare and required fanatical if not psychopathic doctors operating under sanction by an equally obsessive government.  However, the treatment of humans as guinea pigs or as disposable fetuses was historically only a matter of a slight paradigm shift, where society moved from God-fearing to becoming God.  We have seen how Margaret Sanger and associated eugenicists developed a new, anti-Christian worldview, which encouraged abortion, endorsed eugenic manipulation of societies for mankind’s evolutionary good and proclaimed racial Darwinism.  More recently, bioethicist Peter Singer was quoted declaring:

When the death of a disabled infant will lead to the birth of another infant with better prospects for a happy life, the total amount of happiness will be greater if the disabled infant is killed.[xlvii]

Terry Golway quotes from Singer’s book Practical Ethics:

…the right to life movement ‘is misnamed.  Far from having concern for life…those who protest against abortion but dine regularly on the bodies of chickens, pigs and calves, show only a biased concern for the lives of members of their own species.’‘I have argued that the life of a fetus…is of no greater value than the life of a nonhuman animal at a similar level of rationality [and] self-consciousness…If the fetus does not have the same claim to life as a person, it appears that the newborn baby does not either.’[xlviii]

Golway says Singer urges us to “put aside feelings based on the small, helpless and-sometimes-cute appearances of human infants.”  Laboratory rats, after all, are “innocent in exactly the same sense as the human infant.”  According to Golway, Singer complains that prohibitions against killing “deformed or sickly” infants are “a product of Christianity.”  Moreover, now that many assume a post-Christian era, Singer says:

Perhaps it is now possible to think about these issues without assuming the Christian moral framework.[xlix]

In the last section of Chapter 8, we will see that same-sex couples and elderly single female heterosexuals, wishing to overcome inherent biological incompatibilities in their unions or singleness, do not view biotechnology as negative, risky or morally wrong.  Indeed, many gay and lesbian couples see access to human cloning technologies as a fundamental human right, no different than the current applications of fertility enhancements for heterosexual married or co-habitating couples.

Not surprising, Alvin Toffler, a futurist, sums-up a growing public phenomenon:

A lot of perfectly fine and decent and humane people now think that technology is negative.[l]

Copyright © 2008 StandForGod.Org

[i], 3/2/01.

[ii] Stephen Hoeller, Jung and the Lost Gospels, (Wheaton, Illinois: The Theosophical Publishing House, 189), p.224.

[iii] Kurt Rudolph, Gnosis: The Nature and History of Gnosticism, trans. by Robert McLachan Wilson, (Edinburgh: T & T Clark Limited, 1983), p.19.

[iv] Kevin Davies, Cracking the Genome (New York: The free Press. 2001), p.224.

[v] Ibid., p.225.

[vi] Ibid.

[vii] Ibid.

[viii] Gina Kolata, Clone (New York: William Morrow and Company, 1998), pp.230 and 231.

[ix] Clones and Clones, ed. by Martha C. Nussbaum and Cass R. Sunstein (New York: W.W. Norton, 1998), p.55.  Cited in Wilmut, p.281.

[x] Kolata, p.228.

[xi] Kolata, p.168.

[xii] Richard Dawkins, The Blind Watchmaker (London: Penguin Books, 1991), p.10.

[xiii] Steve Grand, Creation: Life and How We Make It (London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 2000), pp.5 and 6.

[xiv] Ibid., p.6.

[xv] Ibid., pp.24 and 25.

[xvi] Kolata, p.23.

[xvii] Ibid., p.24.

[xviii] Ian Wilmut, Keith Campbell, and Colin Tudge, The Second Creation: Dolly and the Age of Biological Control (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2000), p.27.

[xix] Michael Higgins, “Clonaid implores media to tell both sides of the story,” National Post, 24 January 2003, p.A1.

[xx] Ibid.

[xxi] Wilmut et al., p.251.

[xxii] Dianne N. Irving, “Legally Valid Informed Consent, “,, 12/20/02.

[xxiii] Ibid.

[xxiv] Ibid.

[xxv] Peter Kreeft, “Human personhood begins at fertilization,”, 3/2/01.

[xxvi] Ibid.

[xxvii] Ibid.

[xxviii] Ibid.

[xxix] Ibid.

[xxx] Ibid.

[xxxi] Ibid.

[xxxii] Dianne N. Irving, “Legally Valid Informed Consent, “,, 12/20/02.

[xxxiii] Wilmut, p.39.

[xxxiv] Ibid., p.273.

[xxxv] Dianne N. Irving, “What is ‘Bioethics’?”, www.lifeissues .net/writers/irv/irv_36whatisbioethics01.html, 12/20/02.

[xxxvi] Ibid.

[xxxvii] Ibid.

[xxxviii] Ibid.

[xxxix] Ibid.

[xl] Ibid.

[xli] Kolata, p.76.

[xlii] Ibid.

[xliii] Robert H. Blank, The Political Implications of Human Genetic Technology (Boulder, Colorado: Westview Press, 1981), p.25.

[xliv] Ibid., p.22.

[xlv] Ibid., p.23.

[xlvi] Kolata, p.77.

[xlvii] Terry Golway, “Life in the 90’s,” America, New York, September 12, 1998. 

[xlviii] Kolata, pp.77 and 78.

[xlix] Golway, “Life in the 90’s.”

 [l] Kolata, p.81.