By Anthony Daub
We live in a constantly changing world where the lines between science fiction and reality become more and more blurred every day. Mankind is an extraordinary species, and our technological progress is truly stunning. But all too often our excitement about the future leads us to make decisions before we have thought through the consequences.
Last week I read two articles about a new process called gene editing. As I was reading, I immediately thought of Star Wars and the creation of the Clone Army in Episode II. Gene editing theoretically allows scientists to alter the genetic code of a human embryo to change the child’s eye color, hair color, sex, and other features. Using this technique, scientists believe they could also remove genes from preborn children that would later cause birth defects, disease, mental illnesses, and even miscarriages. To the average person this sounds like a miracle—a true gift to humanity. But as I read these articles in their entirety, I found something very sinister taking place: Human beings have become a commodity, not a gift.
Currently, all of these procedures are either illegal or considered not safe enough for practice, but scientists are quickly seeking to change that. For thousands of years, humanity has viewed children as a blessing and as a necessity for maintaining our species. But today, on the verge of this scientific breakthrough, tiny humans are being thought of in the same context as a new car. Our society is choosing the attributes of its smallest and most innocent members in the same way that they’d choose the model, make, style, and color of a new car. How sick and twisted is that? If I were to apply that standard to adults and comment about someone being the wrong size, color, or gender, I would quickly be called a racist, bigot, or hater. But somehow it’s okay to apply this standard to babies? I cannot help but think that we have reduced the miracle of life to being akin to making your own teddy bear at Build-A-Bear.
Unfortunately, the problem doesn’t end here. When you begin accepting that we can change the features of humans like we can change the accessories on our car, it becomes all too easy to believe that there is something wrong with being “normal.” Remember the ridicule you faced in high school when you wore an outdated piece of clothing to the dance? Imagine what it would be like if instead of being ridiculed for your clothing, you were ridiculed for your physical features because they didn’t conform to what society believes is in vogue. This may sound like a farfetched plot from an episode of Dr. Who, but I assure you it is closer to being reality than you think.
As I continued reading these articles I was shocked to see the journalist describing scientific testing on these human embryos as if it were being done to bacteria. You see, the way the procedure works is that scientists alter the embryonic babies in a lab, and they implant the altered baby into the mother via in vitro fertilization. Now, many people believe that the possibility of scientists discovering a way to end disease through these processes is a noble endeavor. What they don’t realize is that thousands of small babies are dying because of this research. Embryonic babies were not designed to survive outside of their mother’s womb, yet scientists—through the use of special tools and machines—have made it possible for human embryos to survive for a small period of time outside the mother. During this window of time, they perform their experiments on the embryonic babies, record their findings, and then discard them. Society tries to justify this by telling us an embryo is not a human being. But inside, we all know this is a lie. If given a chance, those little embryos would develop hands and feet, chubby cheeks, and a winning smile. But they will never have the chance because they are murdered in the name of science. What happens in those labs is eerily similar to the experiments the Nazis conducted on Jews during WWII to try to create the perfect humans. Our world should be outraged by what is taking place in the scientific community, but instead of angry shouts, all we hear is applause. All anyone sees is that science will solve our problems. What no one notices is the cost in human lives lost.
Every human death is a tragedy. One of the biggest lies in society is the notion of an acceptable loss. Nothing is worth this type of bloodshed, not even an end to disease. Let me leave you with a quote from one of my favorite movies, Jurassic Park. After being shown the process for genetically creating dinosaurs, Dr. Ian Malcolm tells the park owner John Hammond, “Don’t you see the danger, John, inherent in what you’re doing here? Genetic power is the most awesome force the planet’s ever seen, but you wield it like a kid that’s found his dad’s gun.” Hammond complains that Malcolm isn’t being fair, to which Dr. Malcolm responds, “Your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could, they didn’t stop to think if they should!”
Now it’s your turn to stop and ask yourself, “Is this moral?” I think you’ll find that the answer is NO.
Anthony Daub is a marketing consultant for American Life League and Life Defenders.
For more information on Life Defenders, ALL’s amazing new youth program, visit lifedefender.org.