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.