But there is another type of hybrid in the news lately that does not increase fuel efficiency, but is rather more macabre. Recently researchers at Newcastle University in Britain created what they call a human-animal hybrid embryo. I have to point out, immediately, that the research has not been published, nor has it been verified, but it is disquieting nonetheless.
It is reported that the embryos were created by injecting DNA taken from human skin cells into eggs derived from cow ovaries—a composite. It is further claimed that nearly all of the genetic material from the cow eggs had been stripped away prior to injecting the human DNA.
What is perhaps most interesting to me about this announcement is that it would seem scientific researchers are moving away from discussing such "creations" as "chimeras" and toward the more politically correct word, "hybrid."
So, you are asking, what is a chimera? Webster defines the word as an individual, organ, or part consisting of tissues of diverse genetic constitution—a composite. But Webster also defines Chimera, which is capitalized in this use, as “a fire-breathing she-monster in Greek mythology having a lion's head, a goat's body, and a serpent's tail"—once again, a composite!
It would seem that perhaps this second definition, which is actually the primary definition of the word, is why science has moved away from one word—chimera—and begun using a more acceptable word—hybrid. Be that as it may, what is now being researched, toyed with and otherwise proposed is despicable. It is a grotesque use of what was once a noble endeavor—scientific research.
As Cardinal Keith O’Brien, archbishop of Edinburgh and leader of Scotland’s Catholic population, wrote in a recent article, "I think it is time we deployed a great deal more rigor when listening to the hype-filled claims of those who experiment upon and destroy human life at its most defenseless." The Cardinal went on to make a point that I hope does not escape a single one of those in leadership positions within the pro-life movement and ethics-based scientific community:
France, Germany, Italy, Canada and Australia have all banned the grotesque procedures we [the British] seek to legalize. Could it be that the citizens and politicians of those countries care nothing for the chronically ill among them?
Or could it be that we are wrong and these democracies see no reason to attack the sanctity and dignity of human life when many alternatives exist?
Cardinal O’Brien has a scientific background and can be said to speak with authority, but it seems to me that common sense should be guiding all of us to the same conclusion. That conclusion is that a human being mixed in with a bovine creature—a composite—can only result in ethical chaos of the worst kind.
Let us hope that those in decision-making positions in Britain and in America are listening, reflecting and deciding in favor of respect for human dignity and against "hybrid" creations that are not of the automotive kind.