Acton Institute Powerblog

Wholphin Watch

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Hot on the trail of chimeras as a service to you, dear reader, I pass along this story about the offspring of a dolphin and a whale. Apparently these so-called “wholphins” have been found in the wild.

Wholphins, as whale-dolphin hybrids, are a less-famous form of chimera than more famous ligers (mules are the most famous). According to Napoleon Dynamite, a liger is “pretty much my favorite animal. It’s like a lion and a tiger mixed. Bred for its skills in magic.”

Now as alluded to in a previous post, I’ve done a theological examination of the phenomena of animal/human chimeras. I conclude that these violate the dignity of human beings created as image-bearers of God, as well as the dignity of animals which share with us the “breath of life” (see Genesis 1:30).

With respect to such animal/animal chimeras, however, my inclination is to find that such hybrids, which can naturally occur without direct human genetic intervention, are not morally objectionable. But cases in which humans must manipulate and artificially produce such animals raise greater moral questions.

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, where he also serves as executive editor the Journal of Markets & Morality. 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. He has authored articles in academic publications such as The Journal of Religion, Scottish Journal of Theology, Reformation & Renaissance Review, and Journal of Scholarly Publishing, and has written popular pieces for newspapers including the Detroit News, Orange County Register, and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. In 2006, Jordan was profiled in the book, The Relevant Nation: 50 Activists, Artists And Innovators Who Are Changing The World Through Faith. Jordan's scholarly interests include Reformation studies, church-state relations, theological anthropology, social ethics, theology and economics, and research methodology. Jordan is a member of the Christian Reformed Church in North America (CRCNA), and he resides in Jenison, Michigan with his wife and three children.

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  • Jordan Ballor writes about the ethical and moral implications of creating genetic chimeras. Ballor comments on a recent New York Times editorial promoting chimera research, calling their thinking “scientific pragmatism” and criticizing the