Making It Illegal To Create Centaurs, Mermaids, and Spider-Man

Dammit.

Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kan.) — an ardent anti-abortion activist — is worried that the Obama administration’s loosening of restrictions on stem cell research will result in the creation of a new race of bio-engineered “human-animal” hybrid freaks.

Or beautiful mermaids.

The bill — modeled on an inexplicably overlooked effort by Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal — would ban the creation of “part-human, part-animal creatures, which are created in laboratories, and blur the line between species.”

The legislation, he says, “is limited in scope” and wouldn’t limit the use of some animal parts for human use, including porcine pig valves.

Despite giving no concrete examples of what such hybrids would look like (i.e. Spider-Man), he’s got 20 co-sponsors including one Dem, Mary Landrieu (D-La.).

“As our nation suffers through the greatest economic decline in a generation and our country’s brightest minds are working tirelessly to reverse course, what does Sen. Brownback propose? Banning mermaids,” quipped Chris Harris of Media Matters.

About Daniel Fincke

Dr. Daniel Fincke  has his PhD in philosophy from Fordham University and spent 11 years teaching in college classrooms. He wrote his dissertation on Ethics and the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche. On Camels With Hammers, the careful philosophy blog he writes for a popular audience, Dan argues for atheism and develops a humanistic ethical theory he calls “Empowerment Ethics”. Dan also teaches affordable, non-matriculated, video-conferencing philosophy classes on ethics, Nietzsche, historical philosophy, and philosophy for atheists that anyone around the world can sign up for. (You can learn more about Dan’s online classes here.) Dan is an APPA  (American Philosophical Practitioners Association) certified philosophical counselor who offers philosophical advice services to help people work through the philosophical aspects of their practical problems or to work out their views on philosophical issues. (You can read examples of Dan’s advice here.) Through his blogging, his online teaching, and his philosophical advice services each, Dan specializes in helping people who have recently left a religious tradition work out their constructive answers to questions of ethics, metaphysics, the meaning of life, etc. as part of their process of radical worldview change.

  • Dave Smith

    This bill is obviously problematic if it would prohibit any genetic transfer at all, even for the purpose of curing disease.

    We are nowhere near having the knowledge or technology to craft some kind of hybrid where more than a minute fraction of DNA from one species is used in another. And if we could, it wouldn’t really be a hybrid at all (at least in the way you’d imagine if humans could actually breed with other species). Instead, it would be a massive genetic engineering project where, by the time you corrected all the incompatibilities, it would simply be some other beast altogether.

    But even if entirely fictional, its fascinating to think about. Just imagine all the human rights issues you’d have to struggle with if you could create a being that was half-human. Actually, we kind of have that already considering apes are 98% genetically identical to humans. Maybe we should outlaw them too.


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