Did you know that mammals similar to humans, like chimpanzees, also suffer from problems like hypertension and bad cholesterol?
They rarely have heart attacks, and almost never from atherosclerosis (clogged arteries).
Yet one-third of deaths among human beings are caused by atherosclerosis. Interesting?
The reason seems to be a lack of one particular gene in human beings. It may have been lost to our species millions of years ago. Nobody knows why.
One gene – or the loss of it – is “responsible” for one-third of human deaths.
We might jump to the conclusion that genetic engineering of human embryos is a great way to perhaps add this gene back into the human species. Such genetic editing should carry on into future generations.
But it is better to see this as a cautionary tale.
Let’s jump forward a few hundred years. Human beings are no longer having heart attacks. Instead, they are dying from a mysterious lack of immunity to a particular virus. The cause is finally determined to be widespread genetic engineering of embryos back in the 2020s to prevent atherosclerosis.
Nobody knew the unintended effects of messing with the human genetic code.
Nobody imagined that killing thousands upon thousands of embryonic human beings in experiments and IVF procedures would only result in disaster.
But they should have known. A combination of excessive pride, naivete, profit, and narrow-mindedness in scientific research has never boded well, and these characteristics are extreme when it comes to genetic engineering of unborn human beings.
The fact is, tampering with the genetic code is NEVER going to be fully predictable in its side effects. There are too many factors, some of which will never be entirely understood, and some of which are out of the control of scientists after the genetic engineering procedure is completed.
Just the loss of ONE gene has produced, or at least enabled, one-third of human deaths in today’s society.
Consider that nearly all royalty in Europe are descended from King George II, who was the King of Great Britain and Ireland from 1727 until 1760. Only a few hundred years ago!
The point is it doesn’t take long for one alteration in human DNA to affect the species dramatically.
At a minimum, we need a society-wide debate over the wisdom of genetic engineering of human embryos. We need that debate to include Christians, both experts and lay persons, because this is as much a moral issue as a matter of risk.
And we need that debate to begin – vigorously – now.
– Chris Reilly
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