Scientists playing God? Good!

JulianP's picture
Submitted by JulianP on Mon, 2006-06-26 21:59

A good article in The Times about the amazing abilities of scientists to detect genetic disorders in embryos:

Scientists playing God? We should rejoice
Minette Marrin
"What a piece of work is a man!" as Hamlet says. "How noble in reason! How infinite in faculty! . . . In apprehension how like a god!" Usually I think rather less enthusiastically than that about humankind, but sometimes I am reminded of the nobility of man and of woman and it is often by scientists.

Last week British scientists announced a revolutionary screening process for inherited diseases in embryos. It will be quicker and more accurate than the existing method and it will detect thousands more genetic defects than previously possible.

About 200 heritable conditions can be detected by pre-implantation diagnosis in IVF treatment so that only healthy embryos are implanted in the mother or frozen; the new technique - pre-implantation genetic haplotyping - will be able to detect nearly 6,000 diseases and conditions. As one of the British pioneers said, this changes everything. One could almost call it godlike.
Nature is astonishingly cruel. Science, by contrast, has the power of mercy.

Read the rest here:,,2088-2242171,00.html

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What am I - Chopped Liver?

Olivia's picture

Lordy, Lordy, check out the comments posted after the article!

It's like our homosapien-ness (can we be any other way?!) automatically discredits us from being a part of nature in these people's eyes. And they claim to be the ones making a stand for "humanity"?

And patronizingly selective how, when referring to man's power, it's always the term "playing god". Playing - like humanity is really just little kiddies who are bored and in desperate need of a game to pass time.

I wish they'd substitute the verb to play for the verb to be. News articles could read thus; "This is just another attempt by arrogant scientists to be god by bla bla... etc".

Bingo Smiling

An extremely well written

Ross Elliot's picture

An extremely well-written piece!

I call it the Lottery of Life. Throw the dice and take your chances. Rubbish. I want the game *fixed*. The outcome more certain. The odds in our favor.

The counter-view is synonymous with modern enviro-Nazism. Here's how it works: if Man builds a dam for power generation, it's bad. But if an earthquake collapses a hillside and blocks a river, that's perfectly acceptable. If Man hunts a species for food or sport, it's defined as a cruel exploitation. But if a drought or flood wipes out an entire eco-system, well, that's just a natural adjustment. If Man flattens a hill to get at the minerals inside, that's the rape of the natural world. But if a volcano explodes and flattens a town, well, that's just an unfortunate natural event. After all, Man had no business building that town there in the first place.

And exactly the same anti-reason mindset exists with regard to genetic screening & engineering. If Man intervenes, it's playing God. If a deformed baby is born, then Blessed Be That Child!! How many ruined lives have been caused by the altruistic guilt of parents as they've struggled with the decision to terminate conceptions after screening picked up abnormalities?

It's cruelty and it's rank misanthropy. These fools would rather rely on caprice and the will of the Lord, than on the benevolent hand of Man.

From the article:

"But what on earth is wrong with humans playing God? I am all for it, especially as God doesn’t seem to be doing it."

Damn straight.

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