Genetics, Neuroscience, Social Darwinism and the Limits





Headings :

 The Greek Gods and God have sunk into the black hole

‘A Recurring Struggle for Existence’

The Dark Shadow of Social Darwinism

The Rise of Genetics and Neuroscience

Bad Science

The Brain Cannot See Itself just as our Eye cannot see itself

Are Certain Geneticists on the Downward Slope to making GM babies?     





Part One of Two


Ancient Greece assigned their Gods with power. Zeus was the father of the Gods and controller of the weather. Gaia was the Goddess of the Earth. Eros was the God of love. Aphrodite was the Goddess of beauty, Apollo was the God of music and the arts, Dionysus was the God for festivals and parties, Hades was the God of the underworld and the dead. Hermes was the God of communication and travel. There were other Gods and Goddesses who were also conceived as ageless and deathless. The Greek Gods were believed to dwell on Mount Olympus, the highest mountain in Greece. The Greeks knew their Gods and Goddesses had their strengths and their failings but were considered immortal.

The passage of time proved the Greek Gods and Goddesses to be mortal. They are now remembered as part of ancient Greek mythology, thus losing their divine status and have become largely relegated to a place in history. Nevertheless, these Gods provide contemporary society with treasured insights, an understanding of archetypes and a sense of the human capacity to become divine rather than remain bound to the mundane. The public imagination today regards the Greek gods as a footnote in global history relating to an influential Mediterranean country 3000 years ago.

After the Greek Gods were largely vanquished from public discourse to become relegated to significance in an ancient European civilisation, Europe then adopted the view of the one God, the maker of heaven and earth, the creator and all powerful father figure. Europe believed that this omnipotent, omniscient God sacrificed Jesus Christ, his only begotten Son, to offer humanity the way to the Kingdom of God for all those who believed in God, his Son and the Holy Spirit. The Christian tradition relied on the Bible, including much of the Torah, which Christians referred to as the Old Testament, and the New Testament – based on the accounts of Jesus, his teachings, and commentaries from his apostles.

The vast majority of Europeans held closely to a belief in the one God for 1600 years or more until the age of the scientific revolution with its strong belief in the power of the different sciences to explain life on Earth. Science embraced the intellectual and practical study of the material/physical and natural world through a variety of observations, analysis and experiments in the field and in the laboratory. Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche (1844 – 1900), a German philosopher bemoaned the death of the transcendent in his famous pronouncement in The Madman that God is dead. Nietzsche wrote: “Have you not heard of that madman who lit a lantern in the bright morning hours, ran to the market-place, and cried incessantly: “I am looking for God! I am looking for God!”…..

“Where has God gone?” he cried. “I shall tell you. We have killed him – you and I. We are his murderers. But how have we done this? …

“Are we not perpetually falling? Backward, sideward, forward, in all directions? Is there any up or down left? Are we not straying as through an infinite nothing? ….

“ God is dead. God remains dead. And we have killed him. How shall we, murderers of all murderers, console ourselves?” One wonders whether Nietzsche could possibly have foreseen the dramatic social changes between the 19th century and the 21st century where God, religion and spirituality barely gain a mention in Western political, social and economic discourse. Like the Greek Gods, theism and religion have now become marginalised in European society. European religious leaders find themselves speaking against the wind of social change.


Charles Darwin (1809 – 1882), a British scientist, botanist and naturalist, established that all life forms come from a common ancestry. He drew upon his detailed and extensive research in the field to provide the necessary evidence for his theory of evolution. He summarised his years of work in his introduction to the Origin of Species that became an instant best seller in 1860. The Theory of Evolution now tells us the world steadily changed in the four billion years of life on Earth that began with simple cells. Two billions years later these cells began to form into clusters until 1.5 billion years later these cells became simple creatures until the arrival of the primates 60 million years ago. The first humans arrived two million years ago until we reach where we are today. Scientists cannot explain why this evolution happened or why they changes and developments happened when they did. We come from a common descent leading to the multiplication of species through gradual change and adaption of some species. There is change going on producing some genetic variation in every species. Those that survive give inherited traits to the next generation, and so life goes on.

In the introduction, Darwin wrote in long sentences, fashionable in the Victorian era: “As many more individuals of each species are born than can possibly survive; and as, consequently, there is a frequently recurring struggle for existence, it follows that any being, if it vary however slightly in any manner profitable to itself, under the complex and sometimes varying conditions of life, will have a better chance of surviving, and thus be naturally selected. From the strong principle of inheritance, any selected variety will tend to propagate its new and modified form.”

His book leaves the strong impression that life is primarily a struggle for survival rather than one of the many features of biological life. Many people and animals worldwide live rather quiet lives with varying degrees of contentment from day to day. Yes, there may be real struggle at times but not even on a daily basis. Communities of people and animals can go about their daily activities without feeling to be in struggle with themselves, each other or living in fear of loss of survival. There is plenty to be said in terms of the many peaceful aspects of life, as well as specific times of suffering and struggle. Darwin certainly experienced suffering and incessant struggles with himself, deaths in the family, as well as issues with other scientists and public opinion. He may have transferred some of this into generalised views about life as a recurring struggle.

As with the Greek Gods, the one God and the Theory of Evolution, we can learn much about ourselves through the archetypes of the Greek gods. We can learn much about ourselves through our relationship to God as a name for an impersonal single Transcendent, which puts our short lived life into a proper perspective. We can learn much about ourselves through the Theory of Evolution which shows how our biological past gives shape to ourselves as organic/sentient beings in the present.

While still having some merits, the significance of the Greek Gods, the one God, and the Theory of Evolution seems to matter less in human discourse, as we find ourselves facing a planet with 7 billion people, climate change, diminishing resources, and a population growth set to reach 9 billion by 2050. The global population has more than quadrupled in 150 years. There is a breath-taking degree of decline, extinction and threated extinction of numerous species, along with a pervasive greed and violence amongst our own species in relationship to each other, other sentient beings, as well as upon the natural world.

Gradual evolutionary change by natural selection takes place within any species. Rather than see life as a “recurring struggle for existence” between us and between species, we need to explore and develop the necessary changes to counter the rapid destruction of existence since the rise of the exploitive and destructive side of the scientific revolution. We might say that we now engage in a struggle for existence in terms of collective survival, rather than competitive survival, in a way that Darwin could never have predicted within 150 years of the publication of his book. The very long periods of time involved in evolutionary inheritance and modified forms of physical characteristics seems to have less relevance today as we enter into an era of increasing global insecurity.

Darwin understood the importance of the present over the past. In his book, The Descent of Man, he wrote in his conclusion which gives much attention to moral action: “The high standard of our intellectual powers and moral disposition is the greatest difficulty which presents itself, after we have been driven to this conclusion on the origin of man. But everyone, who admits the principle of evolution, must see that the mental powers of the higher animals, which are the same in kind with those of man, though so different in degree, are capable of advancement….

“Moral qualities are advanced, either directly or indirectly, much more through the effects of habit, the reasoning powers, instruction, religion, etc., than through natural selection; though to this latter agency the social instincts, which afforded the basis for the development of the moral sense, may be safely attributed.”” (Volume II, chapter XXI: “General Summary and Conclusion). In other words, moral qualities develop through reason, teachings and wise religion rather than through natural selection, which Darwin perceived as the basis for the moral sense. It is a profoundly important statement that genetic scientists and neuroscientists need to take seriously on board to safeguard against giving excessive authority to genes and natural selection.

We know that the Earth exists in a vulnerable condition due to over-population and abuse of dwindling resources. This is a fast changing world where events of the next 100 years could signal a global catastrophe of unparalleled suffering unless there is a profound change in human behaviour. We need to maximise our concentration on the present, not live in past beliefs and less relevant theories.

We have real grounds to doubt whether the Greek Gods, the one God, the current consumer/weapon based priorities of the application of the scientific revolution or further development of the Theory of Evolution can help us urgently transform the immediate circumstances of life on Earth. We can ask ourselves whether the Western view of the Gods, God and Evolution have run their course having less relevance to the present crisis. The transformation of our mind from greed, blame and fear and the application of the transformed mind must take priority in every scientific, political, financial, social, educational, philosophical and spiritual/religious institutions, as well as in our cities, towns, villages and among individuals. We need a peaceful and proactive revolution for the welfare of the Earth and its inhabitants.


Some of Charles Darwin’s illuminating insights into the Theory of Evolution, biological change and adaption of the species were high jacked after his death into theories about society. Known as Social Darwinism, these theories applied biological concepts of natural selection to justify the beliefs of Western political systems and authoritarian forms of rule.

Employing Darwin’s explanation of natural section, Social Darwinism gave justification for power and wealth at the expense of the poor. Social Darwinism fed notions of Western superiority over indigenous peoples of the world. These ideologies would have brought grief to Darwin see such violent interpretations of his writings in the Origin of Species and The Descent of Man. A thoughtful scientist, Darwin never intended his research to take on such distasteful social theory, and to use his name in association with it. In his books, essays and letters, Darwin regularly referred to the importance of morality, kindness, sympathy and love. He spoke out against slavery and expressed Christian and humanistic values for those low down in the social scale.

Social Darwinism went onto justify brutal competition, wars, imperialism, capitalism, racism and Nazism. Social Darwinists believed that groups of people and races were subject to the same laws of natural selection as plants and animals. This cult of Darwinists promoted strength and punished the perceived weaknesses of many in various national and racial groups worldwide. They believed through promotion of strength and domination the human species would evolve. The Nazis took these ideologies to the furthest extreme when they developed eugenics through selective breeding of genetic traits to produce a superior race. They conducted abhorrent experiments to try to create a superior race and instituted selective marriages of Aryans who would inherit and develop the superior race. First developed in Britain, strong believers in eugenics encouraged individuals ‘fit’ to reproduce, through marriage, and demanded sterilisation for those deemed ‘unfit. ‘

Social Darwinists firmly believed that Darwinism provided them with the scientific evidence to support their prejudices against non-white people and self-sustaining communities living in various regions of the world. They regarded white people as a superior biological group destined to rule all other groups, whether they resisted or not. Despite the death of social Darwinism, the same prejudices have emerged towards foreign cultures and religion. Currently Western prejudice gets directed towards Arabs and Muslims, who we stereotype as fanatical, religious extremists, women haters and supporters of brutal dictatorships.

The Chinese may come next in the firing line for Western capitalism. We might well stereotype the Chinese as a threat to the civilised world through the size of the Chinese population. We will blame them for Chinese economic/military expansion worldwide and for being primarily responsibility for global warming. The US military perceives China as a future threat and has embarked on military exercise in the seas around China with military bases in Australia, Japan, and elsewhere in the Far East with the agreement of obedient governments.

The Social Darwinists also exploited Darwin’s occasional references to civilisation and savages to justify their interpretation of natural selection. Shadows of social Darwinism have not gone away. Economic, military and political colonialism carry undertones of cultural, religious, political and biological superiority in the Western wars on non – Western people. Immigrants and asylum seekers places them in the lowest caste. Transference of dark shadows of animosity towards other groups in our species has been taking place long, long before social Darwinism, which tried to legitimate such attitudes through science. While crude experiments on humans mostly stopped with the end of Nazism, these experiments continue to take place on millions of animals in countless laboratories around the world. Animals feel pain as much as humans since animals have the mentality of babies and small children but scientists experimenting on animals deem them unfit for respect as sentient beings that know and feel terror, suffering and pain.

There is still the belief among evolutionists that natural selection ensures survival of the fittest at the expense of others. If there is evidence for such a claim, then evolutionists should be able to point out who the fittest are who will survive and who won’t. Who among the human species will survive and who won’t? Which animals will survive and which animals will become extinct?

If more and more human beings survive, then the Earth find itself depleted of all its resources. There is no inbuilt survival mechanism.. More and more survival of people will lead to a non-survival. Viewed in this way, there is no evidence to show that survival of the fittest bares any direct relationship to the theory of evolution in the 21st century. Is the theory of evolution relevant? Yes. Change? Yes. Modification? Yes. Dependent arising? Yes. Dependent passing? Yes. Survival of the Fittest? Nobody knows. Non-survival. Nobody knows.


            Much of science continues to serve the vested interests of those who pursue power, control and profit. The pharmaceutical industry funds far too much of neuroscience in the same way that much of science has always depended upon the vested interests of politicians, the military and corporations for research. There are very, very few independent scientists. Scientists have rarely been able to stand independently of major institutions. Science remains indelibly linked to power, control, profit and vested interests. An Achilles heel (to use an ancient Greek metaphor) of neuroscience shows in its dependency on the pharmaceutical industry for funding for research. Without the grants from the pharmaceutical industry, foundations and government grants, neuroscience would wither in terms of a scientific priority. Vested interests easily influence the priorities in research.

In the past 50 years, genetics and neuroscience have moved into their own right as independent areas of research rather than being contained within other sciences. Departments of neuroscience have become popular areas for academic research with research including the relationship of emotions, thoughts, mental states and consciousness to the genetic makeup of the brain. There is much to applaud in neuroscience. The relationship of mind to matter, psychology to physiology/physicality, name to form and the state of the mind’s relationship to the state of the brain can contribute to further development of our understanding. Thoughtful neuroscientists know the limitations of their research, the limits of laboratory tests and findings since they can never get past their own perceptions of the brain, individually or by agreement with other scientists. They can only present a hypothesis, even though reports in the media of the latest findings of neuroscience always sound like their conclusions reveal a truth, a reality.

Every hypothesis, viewpoint and conclusion depends upon perception and the conceptual makeup of the perceiver. It may not be the intention of neuroscientists but the conclusions to their research leave a distinct impression they will find the answers to the dynamics of consciousness, the relationship of the mind to the brain and the way they interact upon each other. There are profound limits to this view because the consciousness, mental states and the brain have no essence; the perceiver of these events also lack absence. Neuro-scientists can only base their view on approximations, which are subject to adjustment and change in the movements of psychology/physiology and environmental factors. There is no essence to science, even when serving as an amalgam of views based on a common point of language, experiment, analysis and conclusions.

Neuroscience can offer their explanations to some of the important questions of life but they do not have the answers to life. The gods, the religious and the scientists offer a view relevant in certain circumstances and irrelevant in other circumstances, such as the hard realities of daily life for numerous citizens worldwide. We do not know reality by becoming theists or scientists. Insecurity, fear, greed and negativity can still haunt our daily life with all the far reaching consequences worldwide regardless of our sincerely held religious and scientific beliefs and views.


Large and complex, DNA molecules carry the genetic code that determines the characteristics of a living thing. Apart from identical twins, each person’s DNA is unique. Genes are short sections of DNA. Some scientists believe that our DNA determines our biology, every area of our relationship to life, our attitude and our thoughts. This view gives rise to genetic determinism as the authentic view of reality. As a consequence, the basis for the mind and consciousness lies narrowly and exclusively in the brain, as if the brain had its own self-existence, as THE cause for consciousness and mental states – both pleasurable and painful ones.

Consciousness, states of mind, the rest of the body and the environment have a major impact on the brain. Genetics and neuroscience is bad science if it identifies the brain as an entity that causes the emergence of consciousness and the mind. It is bad science to even convey that impression. It is bad science to keep reifying our genes and the brain as self-existent entities. It is bad science to rely upon such a narrow remit instead of an expansive exploration for conditions for suffering, including the environmental impact on the human organism. Neurological activity arises due to a variety of causes and conditions outside of itself as much as within the brain. The interface between mindfulness, consciousness, feelings, thoughts, biological activity and the environment deserves exploration. That exploration requires first-hand experience. We have become far too dependent on scientist and academic experts to determine reality. The experts can only determine their view of reality.

The physical does not cause the mental or the other way around. If the physical causes the mental, there is no choice, no insights, no freedom and no real power of mind. Consciousness /mind/ brain/body/ environment dependently arise. This consideration provides the opportunity for a valid perspective on what arises and passes free from any kind of identification with a first cause, such as genetic determinism. Scientists may not wish to make the brain the first cause for the mind but they keep leaving this impression as the media reports findings in neuroscience. We could find ourselves becoming brainwashed into a view of genetic determinism.

If we adopt the current neurological model of the brain as the primary agent that governs harmful or painful mental states, we convert ourselves into becoming victims of neurological activity. “It’s not my fault. It’s in my DNA.” “I am like this due to my neurological circuitry, a malfunction in my genes.” Holding to such a neurological view, we then conclude that only medication, as a material substance can change the material substance of our neurological activity. This increases dependency on the pharmaceutical industry who manufactures the medication to change neurological activity.

Yet, DNA scientists make an enormous contribution to knowing our identity, our parental background and offers clues for our behaviour. Perhaps the best known example shows in confirming the parenthood of a child through DNA or through the use of DNA in criminal investigations by the police. Forensic scientists and the police have worked together since the mid-1980s to solve crime DNA testing. DNA provides essential clues to find the guilty and the innocent in a range of cases from murder, to rape, violence and theft. DNA offers evidence where there are no witnesses. DNA tests have made a dramatic change to knowing the identity of a parent and to police work. Britain has the world’s largest DNA data bank used to trace criminals.


            I am not a scientist. I do not have the necessary knowledge and training to comprehend scientific papers. I never went to university.  I have a very, very bare knowledge of science but I believe I have enough knowledge to question some of the frequently expressed premises of science, including neuroscience and genetics. I have 45 years exploration from experience and listening to the experience of others in the world of consciousness/mind/ body and sensory impact. I am writing this essay/critique to convey general impressions from reading numerous articles and newspaper reports on current conclusions drawn from neuroscience and Genetics.

Yes, numerous exceptions abound of common views among neuroscientists about consciousness and the brain. For example, some scientists believe that consciousness is merely the noise of neurons firing off. Other scientists reject this view and other similar materialistic views. Some scientists believe in God and believe in the scientific world view. Some scientists say such views remain incompatible. The variation of views only confirms a key point in the essay. Widely held and rarely held views cannot confirm reality regardless of the frequency of confirmation of the same experiments or the beliefs of respected scientists.

Science tells us that single cell organisms formed the early expressions of life on Earth. These early expressions included bacteria and algae. The long history of the evolution of life moved these organisms together to make formations of life from plants to creatures on the earth, under the earth, in the water and in the air. It is extraordinary to think where we are today from where we have come from a very long, long time ago. We have much to applaud scientists for in terms of their dedicated research into our origins and bi9logical history.

Science tends to pride itself that, unlike religion, it is firmly and clearly in touch with reality. Well, yes and no. There appears to be immense reluctance within the community of scientists to acknowledge that science has its own belief system that masquerades as reality from one generation of scientists to another. Science develops some beliefs, shows the willingness to let go of some beliefs and discovers new beliefs that may sustain for generations. There is a proliferation of views in science dependently arising according to countless conditions, past and present. To its credit, the standpoints of science changes and adapt rendering some old scientific ‘truths’ as beliefs in the passage of time. What scientific truths today will we regard as beliefs a century from now – assuming human life goes that far?

We have to ask ourselves today if we believe that that our genes control our life. We have to ask ourselves whether scientists and the pharmaceutical industry slowly brainwash us into this belief. Do scientists face the wrong direction when they go to the brain, an object of the observer, for answers to the human experience? Do scientists also need to look to the influences of the observer upon the observed, internally and externally? The observed (the brain) depends for its interpretation upon the observer (the scientist). The observed (the brain) cannot observe itself anymore than the eye can see itself.

We remain vulnerable to believing that the brain functions as the powerhouse for everything that arises in the mind. The brain certainly makes a contribution towards the dynamics of consciousness and the varieties of mental states. Neuroscientists need to make it abundantly clear that their emphasis on the function of the brain is narrow, limited and exclusive at the expense of the diversity of causes and conditions in the world of mind/body and environment that generate the arising of consciousness and its content.

There is no capacity in neuroscience to determine consciousness as a gene, nor find a gene for the notion of the self, big or small, nor a gene for the formation of identity, nor a gene that determines ‘I’ ‘me’ or ‘ my.’ If there were such a gene, then human beings remain forever trapped in their biological past with no possibility whatsoever of transformation of the ego. There is no such thing, and, frankly, it is a preposterous idea, of a selfish gene as a scientific fact. The selfish gene is simply a poor and irrelevant metaphor.

We cannot blame Charles Darwin, the celebrated British botanist, for the outcome of his research outlined in his book The Origin of Species (published in London in 1859) where he stated that hereditary factors passed from parents to children. He wrote from a biological viewpoint. Darwin’s insights inspired more and more scientists to explore his theory of evolution, the shaping of our existence, cellular life, and later genetic material. Evolutionists tell us that DNA controls our biological life even though we act in numerous ways, positively and negatively, in defiance of our genetic makeup.

Here are six views for neuroscientists and the public to explore:

  1. We live in the spell of genetic determinism.
  2. We don’t live in the spell of genetic determinism.
  3. We live sometimes under the spell of genetic determinism and sometime we don’t.
  4. If both, what shows human behaviour (of body, speech and mind) comes from our genes.
  5. What human behaviour does not come from our genes?
  6. If some human behaviour does not come from our genes, where does it come from?

Our biological makeup prevents clear and unwavering answers to these questions, regardless of the mathematics. If genetic determinism makes up our life, we might as well give up. We simply function from the impulses from the past held in our brain. If we don’t, then what makes our life tick? In recent decades, certain neuroscientists have taken a further leap in their belief system when they determine that our emotional life – happiness and sadness, love and aggression, empathy and detachment, compassion and indifference – link to our genes. Using brain images, scientists will point to light and dark places on the brain, which they claim confirm the influence of these neurons in giving formation to a whole range of emotions and states of mind, healthy and unhealthy. Other scientists might look at the same images on the screen and draw different interpretations.


Scientists advise us that a gene represents the physical unit of heredity. Made up of DNA, genes give instructions to molecules called proteins. Humans have between 20,000 and 25,000 genes. We inherit a gene from each parent while we share 99 per cent of the same genes. The one percent of difference shows in the differences in our physical appearance. There is not much difference in the number of genes of humans and primitive organisms. A fruit fly has 15000 genes and a human only has 1500 more genes than a worm. Mice and people have much the same number of genes.

We read that there are genes linked to Parkinson’s Disease, breast cancer, autism, dementia, criminal behaviour, depression, sexual attraction, love, empathy and kindness. We read there is a God gene for profound spiritual experiences and numerous other genes linked to feelings and attitudes. Scientists reveal a link, and to their credit, they state it is a link. The sheer frequency of the word link ends up as being perceived as the cause for certain diseases and psychological problems. Genes are not self emergent. Cause and conditions outside of the genes trigger their emergence. If our genes were self emergent, they would have the capacity to emerge endlessly without any dependency on anything else.

When neuroscientists and genetic scientists claim a painful link between the brain and mind/body they need to state the other links to safeguard the public from having the impression that the particular gene (s) is the cause of the suffering. A holistic approach explores the variety of primary causes and conditions, inner and outer, which brings about suffering in the mind/body. Our doctors and psychiatrists, as well as our neuroscientists, have no training in a holistic approach. Instead of brain research programmes, society desperately needs a holistic approach to happiness and health. Neuroscientists and genetic scientists need a broader education in matters of public health so they have the confidence to name the other links related to suffering and pain.

As previously stated, our genes cannot control or govern our behaviour, nor can genetic engineers control our fate or create highly intelligent beings through genetic mutation. The shadows of social Darwinism still hang over neuroscientist and genetics. Everything is made up of something else. Our cells have no self-existence since they are made up of sugar, fats, DNA and proteins. These compositions also have no self existence. The absence of self-existence reveals peacefulness. A key to happiness and health lies in a holistic approach to life, free from grasping onto the notion of selfness of any ‘thing,’ including a gene.

Climate change, the pollution of the oceans, melting of ice caps, the destruction of rain forests, wars, genetic engineering of plants and animals, contribute directly to the destruction of life, of numerous species and the inhabited earth. The social Darwin view of survival of the fittest infected political, corporate and social thinking since we have come to view life as competition, as struggle, at the expense of the poor and marginalised – a view that would offend Charles Darwin. Our emotional addiction to sport rather than the enjoyment of play reinforces the shadow of the view of survival of the fittest, winning at all costs, to confirm the self of the individual or the team. This template of belief inhibits the holistic approach of co-operation, sharing and exploration of causation with application for happiness and health, and the upliftment of the human spirit. Small cells in terms of small groups of people coming together develop ways to initiate a holistic approach to harmony of enviro-mental life.

Once again, it is a very small percentage of people who will endure cancer or some other life threatening disease as a direct result of their inherited gene if they live a healthy lifestyle and dwell with peace of mind. Sadly, many people live in childhood and during adulthood in much the same lifestyle as their parents. The environment (people, diet, elements, cities, countryside) contribute to moulding the brain cells. The environment has primary influence not our genetic code. Cells need the stimulus and impact of environmental signals for the cells to operate .We cannot determine in absolute terms the activity of a particular cells or particular genes because they depend upon the activity around them. A real potency to a defective gene that defies a wise and healthy lifestyle applies only in a tiny percentage of people.


In April, 2015, Chinese scientists announced they engaged in the genetic modification of human embryos in order to replace so called faulty genes with healthy ones. They claim there is the potential to genetically modify embryos to eliminate certain inherited diseases. There is a deep concern about the ethics of these experiments on human embryos. These experiments also could lead to genetically modified genes to create GM babies, perhaps within a generation. The traits of GM babies or designer babies would pass on in evolutionary terms to subsequent generations of their children and grandchildren.

The Chinese named the gene experimental procedure, rather distastefully, as Crispr, The Chinese scientists said they used abnormal embryos for their genetic experiments and did not implant these embryos into women. Geneticists claim there is the potential to stop unhealthy genes from going from one generation to the next through such gene therapy

Scientists point out the danger of a mutation taking place in the embryos with unforeseen consequences. Many scientists also find this work on human embryos as unacceptable and unethical. There is no assurance of safety. Mistakes could happen while making to changes to genes. There could be short or long term consequences of genetic mutation. With the first major research on human embryos confirmed, it has to be considered a possibility that in some future decade, science will have the capacity for cosmetic use of genetic modification of embryos. There has to be the possibility of parents selecting eye colour, hair colour, height and various physical attributes for their GM baby. There is the potential for creation of much name and fame, and money,  for all concerned.

Experimenters dismissthe possibility that embryonic research could possibly lead to GM babies. They do not see it as part of the process that began with GM crops, then onto animal cloning, continuing onto the first  experiments in genetic change to human embryos to delete sick genes before going onto designer babies. The current experiments in China may have stopped on safety grounds but how long will it be before another laboratory in the world goes a step further than the Chinese researchers?

Some Western researchers support these experiments because the actual embryos used by the Chinese could not have been used to create babies. The pharmaceutical industry might well welcome embryonic experiments on unhealthy genes to provide further knowledge for medicine.

Some researchers claim that it is much too farfetched to produce designer babies. Others disagree. “You cannot stop science,” is the view frequently expressed by the public. There is probably some truth to the public view. Science split the atom bomb and the Americans dropped nuclear bombs on two defenceless Japanese cities and committed arguably the greatest war crimes in a single day in human history. Science develops more and more weapons of mass destruction. Scientists engage in the most obscene experiments on millions of animals worldwide. Scientists develop GM crops with little regard for the inter-connected of the biology of life. Scientists clone animals. Numerous surgeons become rich through widespread cosmetic surgery to satisfy the addiction of more than 14 million people so far to their appearance (excluding necessary plastic surgery for disfigured people). Is it so farfetched to imagine scientists in the not too distance future will cross the ethical line once again to make GM babies?

Can we trust all of our scientists with our lives?

We need to hear the ethical and thoughtful voices of scientists who wish to protect life from scientific based violence upon all forms of life. It is urgent.

May all beings live with respect for life

May all beings live with compassion

May all beings live with wisdom


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