By Declan Leary
We have all been reminded innumerable times about the paramount importance of “learning the lessons” of COVID-19, with the frequency and shrillness steadily increasing as the bootheel slowly lifts. Some of it is harmless stuff—wash your hands often with soap and water—though we can, of course, object to the implicit suggestion (victim-blaming?) that anything we might have done could have prevented the catastrophe rained down by a few hubristic (U.S.-funded) bioscience researchers in Wuhan.
And yet, in spite of the now un-debunked theory that scientific arrogance lies at the root of the last year’s disaster, the next admonition of the media and the left is inevitably to “trust the scientists” (or “the experts”) with blind, unflinching faith while they dictate the precise ways that your life should be upturned in the name of scientific prudence. Now, I’ll wash my hands, sure. But trust scientists? Why? On my personal scale of trusted classes, scientists rank somewhere between used car salesmen and that guy running three-card monte on the corner of the street.
The United States Senate delivered a clear reminder of why we should not trust scientists and their cheerleaders last week, by voting down Sen. Mike Braun’s (R-Ind.) proposed amendment to the tech-booster Endless Frontier Act, which would have banned U.S. taxpayer funding of human chimera experiments—the creation of organisms with both human and non-human animal cells—anywhere in the world. Of the Senate’s 50 Republicans, 48 voted to pass the amendment. Two—Marsha Blackburn (Tenn.) and Thom Tillis (N.C.)—did not vote. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) likewise abstained, while all 49 other Senate Democrats united to kill the proposal. This is the third failed Republican attempt to legislate a federal ban, after the Human Chimera Prohibition Act introduced by Sen. Samuel Brownback (Kan.) in 2005, and the Human-Animal Chimera Prohibition Act of 2016 introduced by Rep. Christopher Smith (N.J.).
In introducing this most recent effort, Braun had argued that “human life is distinct and sacred, and research that creates an animal-human hybrid or transfers a human embryo into an animal womb or vice versa should be completely prohibited, and engaging in such unethical experiments should be a crime.” In saner times, this would be entirely uncontroversial.
We do not live in sane times. Lab-created chimeras have been an enduring element of cutting-edge bioscience for roughly half a century, and it was only a matter of time before the mingling of rats with mice and sheep with goats gave way to more arrogant, more sinister experimentation. One such endeavor made headlines recently, when a group of scientists led by Juan Carlos Izpisua Belmonte of the Salk Institute published a paper in the journal Cell this April claiming to have successfully produced chimeric human-monkey embryos.
The last surviving of the embryos was terminated after 19 days, which the scientists apparently think obviates any potential moral concerns that might have arisen if development had been allowed to continue further. It is, of course, worth noting that the moral assumption that underlies this line of thought—that …read more
Via:: American Conservative
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