Thursday, January 27, 2005

What the...?

Sometimes, an article just comes out of nowhere. Via Drudge:

Scientists have begun blurring the line between human and animal by producing chimeras—a hybrid creature that's part human, part animal.
Does this not sound like a parody of the stem cell debate? Scientists are creating chimeras, aka, the mythical, Grecian monster? The next paragraph brings the story down to the ground:
Chinese scientists at the Shanghai Second Medical University in 2003 successfully fused human cells with rabbit eggs. The embryos were reportedly the first human-animal chimeras successfully created. They were allowed to develop for several days in a laboratory dish before the scientists destroyed the embryos to harvest their stem cells.
Okay, that sounds a little less fanciful. Like, now the unicorn is admitting he didn't get a 35 on his ACT. But then:
In Minnesota last year researchers at the Mayo Clinic created pigs with human blood flowing through their bodies.
Holy scientific monstrosities, Batman! Isn't that hilarious? It sounds like something a sci-fi B-movie would bring up, or an overimaginative gradeschooler. Sidenote: the cliche "bleeding like a stuck pig" has officially lost all meaning.
And at Stanford University in California an experiment might be done later this year to create mice with human brains.
Mice with human brains? I hear nothing about cloning, or scientific breakthroughs for a few months, and now they're making pigs with human blood, and possibly even Pinky and the Brain? Hilarious. Possibly unethical, possibly monstrous. But definitly hilarious.

But wait, wait--it just gets better:

For example, an experiment that would raise concerns, he said, is genetically engineering mice to produce human sperm and eggs, then doing in vitro fertilization to produce a child whose parents are a pair of mice.

"Most people would find that problematic," Magnus said, "but those uses are bizarre and not, to the best of my knowledge, anything that anybody is remotely contemplating. Most uses of chimeras are actually much more relevant to practical concerns."

I am going to start paying more attentiont to science. This stuff is gold. And I guess this is what happens when you take the logic that permits stem cell research and pursue it to its logical end. From a scientist opposed to a ban:
"Anybody who puts their own moral guidance in the way of this biomedical science, where they want to impose their will—not just be part of an argument—if that leads to a ban or moratorium. … they are stopping research that would save human lives," he said.
Yep, all moral judgments are just arbitrary. Everything is relative. Who are you to impose value judgments? If they want to make mice-people and see what hilarious antics they get themselves into when left alone in the lab at night, then so be it.

C'mon, this is science, foo'. Not to sound arrogant, but WE ARE SCIENTISTS, THE MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE, AND WE CONTROL THE VERY FABRIC OF OUR HUMAN EXISTENCE. BOW TO ME AND INCREASE MY GRANT-SIZE TENFOLD. I REQUIRE YOUR PUBLIC FUNDS TO PRODUCE A BIOLOGICAL ARMY OF HU-MICE! AND A SECRETARY. ONE OF THOSE, TOO. A HOT ONE. SWEDISH WILL DO.

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