Tuesday, July 18, 2006

LAT op-ed: Isn’t it about time we started breeding with animals?

From HotAir I found a link to this article.
When Man Mated Monkey
Icky as it sounds, we mingled across species in the past, which could help us win evolution wars in the future.
By David P. Barash, DAVID P. BARASH is a professor of
psychology at the University of Washington. [emphasis mine]
July 17, 2006

GENETICISTS studying human and chimpanzee DNA have concluded that a few million years ago, pre-humans and pre-chimps produced hybrids between the two species. And in the American evolutionary wars, this is good news.
Why is this good news?
There is, however, an even greater source of discomfort at work here; not simple squeamishness about sex but a deeper repugnance that goes to the heart of why so many Americans continue to be so resistant to the theory of evolution. And this is why I not only welcome the news that humans and chimpanzees commingled genes in the past, I also look forward to the possibility that, thanks to advances in reproductive technology, there will be hybrids, or some other mixed human-animal genetic composite, in our future.

This may seem perverse, because even the most liberal ethicists shy away from advocating the breeding or genetic engineering of half-person/half-animal. Why, then, am I rooting for their creation?

Because in these dark days of know-nothing anti-evolutionism, with religious fundamentalists occupying the White House, controlling Congress and attempting to distort the teaching of science in our schools, a powerful dose of biological reality would be healthy indeed. And this is precisely the message that chimeras, hybrids or mixed-species clones would drive home. [emphasis mine]
I get it. This is to hurt the neo-cons, and to promote his agenda, and has nothing to do with actual science. And when, exactly, did evolution BECOME definitive science? It is the THEORY of evolution. Where is the proof, reproducible, definitive, proof? At best, "Common usage of the word "evolution" is the idea that living things in our world have come into being through unguided naturalistic processes starting from a primeval mass of subatomic particles and radiation, over approximately 20 billion years."

Science, according to Dictionary.com is "a. The observation, identification, description, experimental investigation, and theoretical explanation of phenomena. Function: noun: knowledge or a system of knowledge covering general truths or the operation of general laws especially as obtained and tested through the scientific method and concerned with the physical world and its phenomena." So, science is concerned with methodology and provable theories. Evolution, currently, does not apply.
Should geneticists and developmental biologists succeed once again in joining human and nonhuman animals in a viable organism — as our ancient human and chimp ancestors appear to have done long ago — it would be difficult and perhaps impossible for the special pleaders to maintain the fallacy that Homo sapiens is uniquely disconnected from the rest of life.
How are we "disconnected" from the rest of life?
...I am thinking of the powerful payoff that would come from puncturing the most hurtful myth of all time, that of discontinuity between human beings and other life forms. This myth is at the root of our environmental destruction — and our possible self-destruction.
Paging Al Gore! Paging Al Gore! How would making monkeys out of men somehow stop "environmental destruction"? And how, exactly, would this puncture the "hurtful myth"? And how, exactly, would creating centaurs advance this man's premise? I am thinking of the law of unintended consequences.
Four decades ago, historian Lynn White wrote a now-classic article in the journal Science making the point that much of the damaging disconnect derives from the Judeo-Christian proclamation of radical discontinuity between people and the rest of "creation." White argued that the Western world took its marching orders from a literal reading of Genesis: not only to go forth and multiply but also to dominate and, whenever inclined, to destroy the animate world....[emphasis mine]

So let's hear it for our barrier-busting, hybridizing past as well as our future — anything that promises to wake up Homo sapiens to its connection to the rest of life.
Again, how are we disconnected from the rest of life? David P. Barash never really says. Somehow though, genetic mutations would bring us closer to a connection with the rest of life. I guess this guy has never seen a woman give birth, or raised a child.

The only source in this article he does quote is, by his own admission, forty years old!

But the Bible does say:

"And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth." Gen 1:28. [emphasis mine]

Dominion does NOT mean destroy.
science, evolution

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