Pro-family group takes on transhumanism
By: BOB UNRUH
Garrison Keillor's long-running public radio program "A Prairie Home Companion" regaled audiences with life in Lake Wobegon, Minnesota, where "all the women are strong, all the men are good looking, and all the children are above average."
What if that scenario, through the amazing accomplishments of today's scientific and medical communities, actually was possible?
After all, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is pushing forward with a plan to have taxpayers fund the mixing of human stem cells with animal embryos to create chimeras, creatures that have part animal and part human elements, in pursuit of better lives.
The federal agency recently said it is requesting public comment on its plan, which could result in "animal models with human tissues or organs for studying human development, disease pathology, and eventually organ transplantation."
That very "pursuit of biological 'perfection'" will be the topic of an event at the Family Research Council in Washington.
Speaking at noon on Aug. 31 at FRC headquarters will be Arina O. Grossu, M.A., the director of FRC's Center for Human Dignity.
Her work focuses on issues such as abortion, women's health, bioethics, pornography, sex trafficking, assisted suicide and euthanasia.
The upcoming seminar will look at the possibility that the failings of the human body can be reduced or eliminated through "transhumanism."
Grossu told WND there are reasons to watch over such developments carefully.
"Science and technology that advances medicine in ethical ways and that is respectful of all human life is a great service to humanity," she said. "However, when science and technology is used in unethical ways or to destroy human life in the name of 'advancement,' this is a great tragedy. We must never harm or kill vulnerable people to achieve a perceived or actual 'good.' The ends don't justify the means."
She said society's changing values cannot always provide protection.
"Medicine must operate from the age-old Hippocratic principle of not doing any harm to a patient. It goes against the principle of medicine to harm or kill vulnerable human embryos in order to prevent the birth of a less-than-'perfect' child or to destroy embryos to 'treat' any other disease," she explained. "A number of our current technologies operate from an underlying eugenic mindset. This includes sex-selective abortions, pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (PGD), aborting extra embryos via 'selective reduction' for various reasons, three-parent embryo technologies, and gene editing that is harmful."
She warned: "Technologies give doctors, scientists, and patients the power over someone else's life and death. We must only apply these technologies in ways that are respectful of human life. Only God must have the power over someone's life and death."
Investigate the growing trend of blending human and machine, called "transhumanism," at the WND Superstore.
"Transhumanism claims to have as its goal the transformation of the human condition, but at what cost given its commonalities with eugenics?" FRC asked.
Eugenics is the simple aim of "improving" humankind by promoting desired traits and discouraging unwanted traits.
Two of the more prominent historic examples are Adolf Hitler's promotion of the "Aryan" race by killing Jews and others, and Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger's birth-control stratagies.
Grossu earned a degree from Notre Dame, then got her master's in technology from the Dominican House of Studies. She's on the board of the National Pro-Life Religion Council, is past president of Notre Dame Right to Life and an alumna of the Vita Institute there.
She's been interviewed on CNN, ABC, Fox News, EWTN and CBN, and has written in USA Today, National Review, Townhall, The Federalist, the Washington Times, Washington Examiner, National Catholic Register, Christian Post and more.
The public funding of experiments blending human components with other life forms was put on hold last year.
National Public Radio said there were concerns over the potential outcomes.
"One issue is that scientists might inadvertently create animals that have partly human brains, endowing them with some semblance of human consciousness or human thinking abilities. Another is that they could develop into animals with human sperm and eggs and breed, producing human embryos or fetuses inside animals or hybrid creatures," the report said.
But NPR said scientists argue they could prevent those outcomes.
WND has previously reported on such goals. In one case, a U.S. biotech company was given permission to recruit 20 brain-dead patients to test if parts of their central nervous systems could be regenerated.
The company, Bioquark Inc., plans to use a soup of stem cells and peptides on the brains of the patients over a six-week period to see if it can jump-start their functions.
Philadelphia-based Bioquark asks on its website: "What if your body came with a restart button?"
WND also reported last winter on the growing promise of anti-aging or "gene therapy" science, a technology known as CRISPR/Cas9. It purports to deliver immortality to human beings and has attracted support from some of the world's richest men, including Peter Thiel, co-founder of PayPal; Ray Kurzwell of Google; Oracle founder Larry Ellison; venture capitalist Paul Glenn; and Russian multi-millionaire Omitry Itskov.
Besides injecting the brain with stem cells and peptides, scientists at Bioquark say they will use lasers and nerve stimulation therapies that have been shown to bring people out of comas.
Christian author and filmmaker Tom Horn has warned scientists are redefining what it means to be human, with the goal of "transcending" humanity.
"Right here in North Carolina at your university, they have what is called a transgenic lab, which means they have mice that have human genetic material, for testing to see if the human parts in that animal are responding," he told TV host Sid Roth in an interview.
Using the CRISPR gene-editing technique, one university lab cured cancer in a group of rats, but the rats started aging quickly and died at half-life, "and nobody knows why that happened," Horn said. "There is a danger in playing God because you're not God and you don't know."
Horn has been researching and writing about transhumanism for years, resulting in his documentary, "Inhuman," which won a Silver Telly Award.
"These are the questions philosophers and theologians have debated since the dawn of time, but in the Bible only mankind is described as having God's breath breathed into them at the moment of their creation," Horn said. "For conservative Christians, this should be a major point of debate regarding the 'ethics' of bringing people back from the dead."
Watch trailer for the documentary "Inhuman":
"What entity or governmental power will make the decisions concerning who gets their death 'reversed' and who must die?" Gallups asked at the time.
The National Institutes of Health said the basics of the experimentation have been around for a long time.
"It is common practice to evaluate the potency of pluripotent human cells - which can become any tissue in the body - through introducing them into rodents," the agency said.
Now, the agency said, "an increasing number of researchers are interested in growing human tissues and organs in animals by introducing pluripotent human cells into early animal embryos. Formation of these types of human-animal organism, referred to as 'chimeras,' holds tremendous potential for disease modeling, drug testing, and perhaps eventual organ transplant."
But the opposition has been fierce, including from Theresa Pham, who identifies herself as a physician "in the field of research."
"I feel strongly that this use of chimera crosses an ethical line," she wrote. "Advancing our knowledge in some areas of science can't and should not be approached with ... presumptuous naivete. Some adverse consequences are much more profound than others.
"If the predictions are wrong and the safeguards are not enough, then the price will be the cost of our humanity as well as these new lifeforms that did not ask to participate in this frightening enterprise."
NIH officials didn't have those concerns.
"I am confident that these proposed changes will enable the NIH research community to move this promising area of science forward in a responsible manner," said Carrie Wolinetz, the NIH's associate director for science policy.
But LifeNews commented: "The Obama administration today announced it has flung the door wide open to scientists making grisly human-animal hybrids. After overturning the Bush administration limits on forcing taxpayers to fund embryonic stem cell research, this is the latest move by President Barack Obama to manipulate and destroy human life in unethical experiments."Medicine, DNA, transhumanism, Researchers, Lake Wobegon, Biological perfection, God sState