Monday, March 26, 2007

Frankenstein Redeux

I am very upset but hardly surprised by an article I read this morning. Dr. Joseph Mengele, also known as “The Angel of Death,” was a Nazi SS officer and chief medical officer at the infirmary at Auschwitz in WWII. He blatantly ignored all ethical considerations with his inhuman eugenic experiments on those imprisoned there. Among his atrocities were attempting to change eye color by injecting chemicals into children’s eyes, amputations, sterilizations and shock treatments. Most who volunteered for his special detail thinking to avoid harsh labor died horrific deaths.

Now there is another doctor who is following his lead, and follows the creed, “if it can be done that is cause enough.” Esmail Zanjani, of the University of Nevada, has spent 5 million pounds (7 to 8 million dollars, no doubt made up of grants) and 7 years infusing human cells into sheep fetuses. He now has a sheep that has 15% human cells. The purpose: to make these animals human enough for the purposes of transplantation of organs. Link: “New Scientists Create Sheep That’s 15% Human”

This research mimics in a reverse sense the macabre horror tale written by Robert Louis Stevenson, “The Island of Dr. Moreau,” where humans were turned into half breed animals, all for the purpose of the worship of the study of science. Only in this case, the nightmare has become a reality. Those who espouse such positions (all science is ethical if it can be used to treat disease or prolong life) such as Michael J. Fox, contend that genetic research of this type could offer the possibility of help for millions. Admittedly, it is easy for one such as myself who does not suffer from Parkinson’s disease to judge. My question to Mr. Fox would be, “At what price sir, do we compromise our humanity in our quest to help others?”

A thought that is troubling to Christians is that we are already killing 1 million people in our country each year, subsidized by our tax dollars. We are making Mengele look like a choirboy. We don’t want to open another Pandora’s box on top of that. We are individually and collectively responsible for the actions that occur in our country. The science of Dr. Moreau, once fiction, has arrived. I am concerned that the lessons of Shelley’s Frankenstein, the monster run amok, are banging on the exit of the lab, while those who run their experiments with tunnel vision seeking fame, prestige and fortune, remain oblivious.

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