Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Chimeras in real life

I first was aware of the term "Chimera" from some Anime that my roommate used to watch. The idea of an animal-human hybrid lives in the realm of fiction, and seems to have no place in reality.

Enter England. The English parliament has been considering removing a ban on creating such a being, but requiring that such an embryo must be destroyed within a couple weeks. Needless to say, many people worldwide are very much opposed to such legislation, the Church in particular.

Then, I read today that the position of the English Bishops is that if such a hybrid is produced, it should be given the rights of a human, and should be even allowed to be carried to term.
Human embryos injected with animal cells, or chimeras, should be accorded human status under proposals to be considered by the British Parliament in the fall, said the Catholic bishops of England and Wales.

They also said politicians should reconsider a proposed ban on the implantation of chimeras into women.

"In particular, it should not be a crime to transfer them, or other human embryos, to the body of the woman providing the ovum, in cases where a human ovum has been used to create them," the bishops said.

"Such a woman is the genetic mother, or partial mother, of the embryo; should she have a change of heart and wish to carry her child to term, she should not be prevented from doing so," they added.

In their submission, the bishops said that most of the procedures covered by the bill "should not be licensed under any circumstances," principally on the grounds that they violate human rights.

However, they said, "at very least, embryos with a preponderance of human genes should be assumed to be embryonic human beings and should be treated accordingly," they said.

Wow. I have no idea why anyone would even want to do such a thing, but I applaud the Church for taking the safe position. I haven't been reading news like I should, but I wonder if there has been something come out about cloning. I see cloning as little different than identical twinning, though wrong to do, it doesn't make the clone any less human. I heard a protestant apologist once say that he believes a clone would not have a soul. I would think the clone would have a soul, and therefore is fully human. A chimera would be at least part human, but I would think that it would not be truly human, maybe to the point of not gaining an eternal soul. But, we don't know, and really can't know, so must treat such a being as human, with all the dignity deserved.

I just hope we never have to find out.

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