Friday, April 29, 2005

Mice With Human Brains? Stuart Little Could Become a Reality Show!

Image hosted by Photobucket.comResearchers, working within ethical guidelines established by the National Academies, have begun mixing human liver, blood and brain cells with those of lower animals. Pigs have been created that have human blood, and some experimental sheep in Nevada have livers that are part human.

Of particular interest are mice which, at an early stage of development, have had human brain cells injected into their own brains.

Image hosted by Photobucket.comMany scientists have discovered that their own fantasies about what might come from such research are so frightening that they serve as an independent check on what they will allow themselves to do.

According to a CNN on-line report,

Particularly worrisome to some scientists are the nightmare scenarios that could arise from the mixing of brain cells: What if a human mind somehow got trapped inside a sheep's head?

This past January, an unofficial ethics committee supported a proposal to create mice with brains nearly completely composed of human brain cells.

Stanford law professor Hank Greely, who chaired the ethics committee, said the board was satisfied that the size and shape of the mouse brain would prevent the human cells from creating any traits of humanity.
Could there actually come a time in the future when we could encounter a real, honest-to-goodness Stuart Little? Not if they have anything to do with it, says Greely,

Just in case, he said, the committee recommended closely monitoring the mice's behavior and immediately killing any that display human-like behavior.
"Human-like behavior?" Like walking on two legs? Eating with a knife and fork?
Image hosted by Photobucket.comWould such a mouse be morally responsible for the choices it makes and for their consequences? Could it develop delusions of grandeur?

Is it possible that the mouse could experience self-awareness? An awareness of God?...Like those childrens' stories which have mice kneeling at the manger in praise and worship of the new-born baby Jesus in the Bethlehem stable?

Are human beings, which the Bible says were created in the "image of God," now on the verge of creating animals in the "image of Man?"

Personally, I am well aware of both the potential benefits and the potential horrors which could result from this, and other, forms of genetic research and development. But his should not be surprising. Every human creation has, from the beginning, resulted in a mixed blessing. The work of our hands has always brought both blessings and cursings upon us.

Image hosted by Photobucket.comWhile I am not against this sort of research per se, I do sense the presence of some of the same motivations that (Biblically) brought about the Fall of Satan, the Sin of Adam (& Eve), the Great Flood and the Tower of Babel: namely, our desire to become like God...immortal and omnipotent.

Any endeavor spawned by such motives will inevitably turn out badly. Although God will not long tolerate such arrogance, such has, in the past, been tolerated long enough for those who have sown the wind to, in the end, reap the whirlwind.

When mice begin to display "human-like behavior" it will, sad to say, become necessary to kill them.

Hmmmm......I seem to remember that when Jesus began to display true and authentic "human-like behavior" (the first time such behavior had been seen since "The Fall") those in charge of things decided that it had, sad to say, become necessary to kill him, too!