Part human, part cow

Cow-human cross embryo lives three days:

HUMAN-cow embryos have been created in a world first at Newcastle University in England, hailed by the scientific community, but labelled “monstrous” by opponents.

A team has grown hybrid embryos after injecting human DNA into eggs taken from cows’ ovaries, which had most of their genetic material removed.

The embryos survived for three days and are intended to provide a limitless supply of stem cells to develop therapies for diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and spinal cord injuries, overcoming a worldwide shortfall in human embryos.

Notice how this story IMMEDIATELY goes to the sob-story justification that generating such unnatural creatures and then killing them will have such great benefits by and by. The reporter, though, admits later in the story that this experiment, in fact, did NOT produce any stem cell lines.

Such cruel and unnatural experimentation, I believe, is the true Tower of Babel of our times. Instead of the spiral ramps of the Babylonian ziggurats, we are building spirals of DNA molecules.

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • David Thompson

    Dr. Veith
    You do a great job of describing this in your book The Soul of Prince Caspian (excellent book!) when you talk about Lewis’ “premodern conservationist” views. I would add that Babel — which I see as a collectivist attempt to become like God — is also manifested when governments seek more and more control in those areas in which the Church and the Family are to be the ruling estates (see your blog below on the Great Depression).

  • David Thompson

    Dr. Veith
    You do a great job of describing this in your book The Soul of Prince Caspian (excellent book!) when you talk about Lewis’ “premodern conservationist” views. I would add that Babel — which I see as a collectivist attempt to become like God — is also manifested when governments seek more and more control in those areas in which the Church and the Family are to be the ruling estates (see your blog below on the Great Depression).

  • The Jones

    Even though I’m someone who (theoretically) stands to gain from stem cells’ ability to cure genetic diseases, it still makes me sick how thin the “for the benefit of mankind” argument is. This case makes it worse.

    Are there Minataurs that need transplants? Cancer treatments? The evidence of human stem cell benefit is thin enough. Why do we even toy around with something this ridiculous.

    Apparently, people just don’t believe that you can do something bad if you don’t have (visible) bad intentions. We’re all good people deep down who just want to learn and explore stuff in this world, right?

    “Abomination? It’s not an abomination if it’s consensual. Therefore, Mancow is an innocent and possibly wonderfully beneficial exploration into Science.” Give me a break, you make me sick.

  • The Jones

    Even though I’m someone who (theoretically) stands to gain from stem cells’ ability to cure genetic diseases, it still makes me sick how thin the “for the benefit of mankind” argument is. This case makes it worse.

    Are there Minataurs that need transplants? Cancer treatments? The evidence of human stem cell benefit is thin enough. Why do we even toy around with something this ridiculous.

    Apparently, people just don’t believe that you can do something bad if you don’t have (visible) bad intentions. We’re all good people deep down who just want to learn and explore stuff in this world, right?

    “Abomination? It’s not an abomination if it’s consensual. Therefore, Mancow is an innocent and possibly wonderfully beneficial exploration into Science.” Give me a break, you make me sick.

  • S Bauer

    Barbara Waters had a special earlier this week (I believe) on all the lines of research being done on extending human life to like, say, 150 years (even 1000 years was suggested! – are the genealogies in Genesis sounding a little less implausible?). The special smacked of the kind of “research” and speculation one finds in the The Learning Channels UFO specials. Still, if stem cells do prove to enable life extension, and not just healing, I’m afraid it will be “Katy bar the door.”

  • S Bauer

    Barbara Waters had a special earlier this week (I believe) on all the lines of research being done on extending human life to like, say, 150 years (even 1000 years was suggested! – are the genealogies in Genesis sounding a little less implausible?). The special smacked of the kind of “research” and speculation one finds in the The Learning Channels UFO specials. Still, if stem cells do prove to enable life extension, and not just healing, I’m afraid it will be “Katy bar the door.”

  • JPW

    Whenever I read stories like this I recall C.S. Lewis’ book “The Abolition of Man,” and I get a little scared. It’s frightening to think of the power these “benevolent” scientists might have as they push biotechnology beyond ethical frontiers.

  • JPW

    Whenever I read stories like this I recall C.S. Lewis’ book “The Abolition of Man,” and I get a little scared. It’s frightening to think of the power these “benevolent” scientists might have as they push biotechnology beyond ethical frontiers.

  • Bryan Lindemood

    I’m ready to be a friend of huvines if they are created. Pro-life all the way baby!

  • Bryan Lindemood

    I’m ready to be a friend of huvines if they are created. Pro-life all the way baby!

  • http://www.oldsolar.com/currentblog.php Rick Ritchie

    What does 99 percent human mean, here? I was just watching a National Geographic special that said that humans and apes share 96 percent of their genetic code. So ‘almost’ is not really almost. And if there is some bovine genetic code, one has to wonder if this one percent difference could be greater than the four percent difference we have with apes. I’m guessing we aren’t anywhere near as close to knowing what we’re playing with here as we imagine we are.

    I have to wonder just how much like human language the genetic code is. If we were to measure the difference between sentences by counting letters, which sentences are closer?

    1) I did go to the store.
    2) I didn’t go to the store. (84% match with #1)
    3) I went to the store. (68% match with #1)

    Note: I am not a statistician, but I do know that even in such a short case as this, how you count the overlap can vary greatly. So someone else might count the match differently. If it’s this confusing for something this short, what must it be like for the entire code?

    Well, #2 is clearly more like #1 than #3 is. If you don’t count meaning.

    See this (http://www.webmasterworld.com/forum88/36.htm) for a discussion of how doing this with just a string of characters is tricky. Even where the DNA numbers have a meaning to those who know the method they used to determine percent of overlap, they have little meaning to us who don’t.

  • http://www.oldsolar.com/currentblog.php Rick Ritchie

    What does 99 percent human mean, here? I was just watching a National Geographic special that said that humans and apes share 96 percent of their genetic code. So ‘almost’ is not really almost. And if there is some bovine genetic code, one has to wonder if this one percent difference could be greater than the four percent difference we have with apes. I’m guessing we aren’t anywhere near as close to knowing what we’re playing with here as we imagine we are.

    I have to wonder just how much like human language the genetic code is. If we were to measure the difference between sentences by counting letters, which sentences are closer?

    1) I did go to the store.
    2) I didn’t go to the store. (84% match with #1)
    3) I went to the store. (68% match with #1)

    Note: I am not a statistician, but I do know that even in such a short case as this, how you count the overlap can vary greatly. So someone else might count the match differently. If it’s this confusing for something this short, what must it be like for the entire code?

    Well, #2 is clearly more like #1 than #3 is. If you don’t count meaning.

    See this (http://www.webmasterworld.com/forum88/36.htm) for a discussion of how doing this with just a string of characters is tricky. Even where the DNA numbers have a meaning to those who know the method they used to determine percent of overlap, they have little meaning to us who don’t.

  • WebMonk

    The point you made Richie is spot on! Basically the claim that something/someone is some percentage “human” is nonsense from a scientific and genetic point of view. It’s a claim/lie that is only useful when dealing with the news.

    The DNA content of something is only a very cursory approximation, and a completely misguiding one when used like it is being used here, of how “human” something is.

  • WebMonk

    The point you made Richie is spot on! Basically the claim that something/someone is some percentage “human” is nonsense from a scientific and genetic point of view. It’s a claim/lie that is only useful when dealing with the news.

    The DNA content of something is only a very cursory approximation, and a completely misguiding one when used like it is being used here, of how “human” something is.

  • http://pakruta.blogspot.com Paul

    Rick Ritchie…I’m copying your response and using it in future arguments.

    That was brilliant.

  • http://pakruta.blogspot.com Paul

    Rick Ritchie…I’m copying your response and using it in future arguments.

    That was brilliant.


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