Men could have kids with chimpanzees - gov must act
Religious bioethics hardliner's amazing claim
A leading Scottish churchman and bioethics thinktank operator has warned again of the dangers attendant on genetic research, and recommended that there should be a law against men having children with female chimpanzees.
The Scotsman reports today that Calum MacKellar, an Elder of the Church of Scotland who trained as a biochemist, has called for government action to prohibit the possible interbreeding of men and lady chimps to create "humanzees".
"The Human Fertilisation and Embryo Bill prohibits the placement of animal sperm into a woman," the worried Christian told the Scotsman.
"The reverse is not prohibited. It's not even mentioned. This should not be the case."
Dr MacKellar is apparently concerned about the possible human rights and status of humanzees.
"If it was never able to be self-aware or self-conscious it would probably be considered an animal," he said. "However, if there was a possibility of humanzees developing a conscience, you have a far more difficult dilemma on your hands."
MacKellar believes that a law against the creation of chimp-human halfbreeds by meddling scientists is necessary. He speculated that in the absence of any such law, unscrupulous boffins would be sure to manufacture humanzees in order to harvest them for transplant organs.
"There's a desperate need for organs," he warned.
"If they could create these humanzees who are substantially human but are not considered as humans in law, we could have a large provision of organs."
Dr MacKellar is already well known for flagging up various possibilities which he thinks might occur as a result of research involving human DNA. He pretty much always feels that such research should be outlawed or at the very least tightly regulated.
In 2000, MacKellar suggested that cloning techniques could be used to produce a child with two fathers and no mother, a technique that was thought likely to appeal to gay men. He said that the government should consider the ethical issues raised by this, and that legislation should cover the issue - even though serious scientists said it was a far-fetched notion at best.
There can't be much doubt that MacKellar would have been hoping to see the male-only kids possibility forbidden. He has written a paper (apparently available online only in French, or translated by Google here) arguing that homosexuality is an affliction which a moral, Christian person does not yield to - just like paedophilia or murderous rage.
Dr MacKellar has also made his own position on human embryo research in general entirely clear. The Church of Scotland said in 2006 that it was opposed to any creation of human embryos "by IVF methods or nuclear transfer cloning methods". However, the Kirk made an exception for research into "serious diseases ... under exceptional circumstances".
Elder MacKellar was strongly against this exception, writing at the time:
Christians believe that all persons, whether they are embryonic or have been born, cannot be reduced to ‘piles of cells’ even though some may be very small, short-lived or unconscious ... Christians accept that every person is amazingly loved and valued by an amazing God ... this love of God forms the basis of human personhood, which is a mystery that can never be determined from scientific concepts alone ...
This is a crucial Christian belief and for many it also gives full moral status to early human embryos ... all research on human embryos is morally wrong.
MacKellar was also widely quoted - on the basis of his bioethics rather than religious background - for his opposition to medical researchers' application to use human DNA carried in cow eggs stripped of their nuclei. He felt that even this would "begin to undermine the whole distinction between humans and animals".
Not unlike his concept of "humanzees" created for organ harvesting, in fact, described by more mainstream scientists as "impractical" and by the government as "impossible".
But the "humanzee" notion is certainly a great way for MacKellar to cast stem-cell scientists - or indeed anyone who ever dares mess with a human embryo for any reason whatsoever - as evil, perverse lunatics.
Read the Scotsman "exclusive" scoop here, in which Dr McKellar's views are explored again.®
Waiting for God...
"Christians accept that every person is amazingly loved and valued by an amazing God"
Oh, is that the completely unproven and unprovable god of the Bible? Or the one the Muslims accept? Or the one the Jews accept? Or the ones the Hindus accept? Or one of the other many thousands of gods humanity has created?
Take religion out of politics and we might get on with life.
Seriously, to think that you have to be religious to be a good person really grates at me. I'm an atheist, and I don't go around shagging monkeys.
"all research on human embryos is morally wrong."
Are those morals taken directly from your holy book? Is that the same book that says to kill unruly children and stone adulterers? How about when you find out your new wife isn't a virgin on her wedding night, do you still take her to the doorstep of her father? No. You choose not to have slaves. You choose not to stone adulterers. You choose not to kill unruly children. YOU choose which parts of the Bible to ignore and which to adhere to. If you made these choices, then how can your holy book be used as the basis for your morality when YOU have made the moral decisions yourself? Your reasoning is circular.
@AC (Yet Again)
Your problem is reductionism.
Because other peoples' belief systems do not concur with your definition of 'rational', they are by definition 'delusional'.
I have twisted no points. What I have done is to point out the logical conclusion to your kneejerk bigotry.
You have already stated that you would happily discriminate against those with a religious faith in the job market. You now accuse those with religious faith as delusional. The logical conclusion therefore might be that they are dangerous lunatics who's liberty should be challenged for the good of others.
In a truly rational society the beliefs of others are respected unless they impede the rights of others to belief as they see fit.
You , sir, are not a rationalist
And I have no further interest in corresponding with someone who is obviously a dangerous madman.....
>(a) religious believers are by definition stupid
>(b) religious believers are by definition insane, and:
>(c) they shouldn't be allowed to hold office
>which is, frankly, an amazing show of bigotry.
That isn't bigotry, it's an appraisal of mental competence.
If someone was running for prime minister or some other extremely responsible position but they were proven to be clinically insane or to be suffering from delusions, would it be 'bigotry' to suggest that they were unfit for the task because of their mental health?
We have political leaders who in the face of undeniable hard scientific evidence presented by the scientists of this world, *actually think* that the earth was in fact created in six days by a supernatural being and that if they are good they will go to heaven when they die, and that condoms are 'wrong'. That does not fill me with confidence in their leadership when confronted with real world issues such as war and disease, as ultimately, regardless of what scientific advisers tell these people they will simply disregard it because they think they know best.
How is a believe in creationism any different to someone who believes that the world was created by a gigantic pink elephant called Dave that lives under their bed but only they can see him and he tells them what to do? Would it be 'bigotry' to suggest that person needed help or that they were unfit for a responsible position where people's health and lives may be at stake?
If someone chooses to disregard mountains of evidence and cling to a delusion that is not supported by even the tiniest scrap of evidence, then there really is something wrong with that person. They might be harmless enough on their own keeping themselves to themselves, but I for one do not want such people in positions of power.