Thursday, June 28, 2007

Every Freakish Ovum Is Sacred

Today's Human Nature in Slate talks more about "Interspecies embryos", where apparently human's & (other) animal's genetic material are mixed. I'm not sure what exactly the scientific upshot of this is, but I'm willing to believe it could lead to all sorts of potential exciting discoveries.

But it's still creepy. At least petri-dish bestiality isn't likely to be any good for a disturbing new porn site.

But creepy as it is to me, that PALES in comparison to what Saletan says the Catholic Church in England and Wales has announced:
Bishops' testimony: 1) "Interspecies embryos" should be treated like human embryos. 2) "At very least, embryos with a preponderance of human genes should be assumed to be embryonic human beings." 3) "It should not be a crime to transfer them … to the body of the woman providing the ovum, in cases where a human ovum has been used to create them. Such a woman is the genetic mother, or partial mother, of the embryo; should she have a change of heart and wish to carry her child to term, she should not be prevented from doing so."

gah Gah GAH!!!! That is an amazing ascending order of craziness. Ok, sure, treat a chimera embryo as human, that's just extending the Catholic pro-life absolutism a little farther... ok, if it has a "preponderance" of human genes, we're now going to go ahead and, I don't know, assume God has ensouled it so it's an embryonic human being which in the pro-life stance has the same rights as a post-embryonic human -- i.e. developed, birthed, breathing, differentiated, extremely multicellular human being, ok, gettin' crazy now... So, are you done? what What WHAT? It shouldn't be a crime to try to gestate the damn thing? I guess the only consolation is what I expect would be the extremely low chances of bringing an interspecies ovum to term. Species that can't interbreed often end up having problems way before birth -- though many of those involve blocking fertilization of the ovum in the first place, so I don't know. ANY CASE, here're my questions: Has any woman actually said, "Please, can you put my cow baby back in my womb now? We're naming her Marilyn Mooooonroe." And, if not, is the Catholic Church really pressing them to do so? ("Really, in this case, think of your cloven-hooved baby as a blessing from God!")

(It does appear that scientists don't expect to use human eggs, but rather animal eggs with human genetic material, but the Catholic Bishops of England and Wales seem to have said "preponderance of human genes" or something of that sort. I think the Cadbury Cow Egg filled with Creamy Human DNA would be even less likely to successfully implant in a human womb, but whatever -- we have, or at least I have, NO IDEA what this would do to the woman in question or what the embryo's development would be like. If, by some extremely small chance, implantation and gestation were to actually get under way, my guess: bad. It really would be horrific if the Bishops of England and Wales were encouraging some of their flock to go through a possibly dangerous and patently ludicrous attempt to bear an experimental chimera just to save one of God's microscopic children. Do we really need some more extra-special complicated ethical questions? Did the Bishops of England and Wales just get bored? I have a movie to suggest, if so.)