Acton Institute Powerblog

Celebrating Chimeras

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Here’s a different, deeply flawed, and downright chilling take on the creation of genetic chimeras: David P. Barash, professor of psychology at the University of Washington, welcomes them as a sign of the "continuity" between humans and other creatures. Barash attacks "religious fundamentalists" who draw "the line at the emergence of human beings from other ‘lower’ life forms. It is a line that exists only in the minds of those who proclaim that the human species, unlike all others, possesses a spark of the divine and must have been specially created by god. It is a thin and, indeed, indefensible line, but one that generates a consequential conclusion: that we stand outside nature."

Let’s ignore for the sake of brevity Barash’s caricatures and misunderstanding of the historic Judeo-Christian tradition. Barash’s own views about the soul and immaterial things like the mind remain free from examination in this piece, insulated from their incoherence (see Alvin Plantinga on the fundamental contradiction between naturalism and science). Even worse, I suppose, that such nonsense is coming from a psychologist, who it seems ought to know better, given that his profession is at least nominally concerned with mind and thought. In any case, Barash’s piece is a stark reminder of what kinds of support the creation of genetic chimeras will continue to receive among our "scholarly" class.

Jordan J. Ballor Jordan J. Ballor (Dr. theol., University of Zurich; Ph.D., Calvin Theological Seminary) is a senior research fellow and director of publishing at the Acton Institute for the Study of Religion & Liberty. He is also a postdoctoral researcher in theology and economics at the VU University Amsterdam as part of the "What Good Markets Are Good For" project. He is author of Get Your Hands Dirty: Essays on Christian Social Thought (and Action) (Wipf & Stock, 2013), Covenant, Causality, and Law: A Study in the Theology of Wolfgang Musculus (Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2012) and Ecumenical Babel: Confusing Economic Ideology and the Church's Social Witness (Christian's Library Press, 2010), as well as editor of numerous works, including Abraham Kuyper Collected Works in Public Theology. Jordan is also associate director of the Junius Institute for Digital Reformation Research at Calvin Theological Seminary.

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