An academic prays for Science to make smarter monkeys:
It is a bit of a stretch, but by no means impossible or even unlikely that a hybrid or a chimera combining a human being and a chimpanzee could be produced in a laboratory… Such an individual would not be an exact equal-parts-of-each combination, but would be neither human nor chimp: rather, something in between.
If that prospect isn’t shocking enough, here is an even more controversial suggestion: Doing so would be a terrific idea.
Hey, what could go wrong? While the author handwaves a bit on Frankenstein’s error, he ignores completely the implications of creating amoral creatures with chimp strength and aggression alongside human (and maybe superhuman) intelligence. Can’t imagine anything dangerous with that…*
Scientists do weird genetic stuff all the time, like creating florescent goldfish and growing human ears on pigs. And plenty of it is done just to see what can be done, regardless of whether there’s actually an end in mind.
But Professor Barash definitely has an end in mind: the end of the image of God:
I propose that generating humanzees or chimphumans would be not only ethical, but profoundly so, even if there were no prospects of enhancing human welfare. How could even the most determinedly homo-centric, animal-denigrating religious fundamentalist maintain that God created us in his image and that we and we alone harbor a spark of the divine, distinct from all other life forms, once confronted with living beings that are indisputably intermediate between human and non-human?
In other words, Science needs to create genetic freaks – I’m sorry, chimeras – in order to show those stupid fundies that they are just animals after all. We need to knock that God spark out of people, show them that they are nothing special. And probably that Science is God after all.
It’s unlikely to solve the “problem” that he’s trying to address: humans viewing themselves as different from and above animals. On the one hand, he admits that humans and chimps share about 99% of their genetic makeup. And yet chimps are not treated as human. Even humans have been occasionally treated as non-humans by other humans. So how would the creation of another creature that he has already admitted is not human suddenly convince all those rubes that they are just chimps after all? Won’t they simply see the creation as a half-orc, a despised “thing” that has no impact on their own humanity? It may even cause them to hold their own humanity tighter.
Still, I cannot shake the feeling that what is really happening here is not that the professor hates that people see themselves as bearing the image of God, but that he hates the fact that it’s true. He wants to destroy the image because he is at war with the Original. The desire to destroy the image of God is profoundly evil on a spiritual level. It’s demonic to its core.
Perhaps one day soon the gods of Science will carry out this purposeful sabotage of the work of God in creation. Perhaps they will push through boundaries that God laid down and tear up fences that he installed for our safety. In fact, I’m sure they will. It’s what humans do. And I’m just as sure that the results will be far different, and probably far worse for everyone, than those spiritual rebels trying to create Heaven on Earth expect.
* Last time something like that happened, it took a worldwide flood to clean up the mess.