Chimeras: an ethical consideration
Zandman, Herm Jan Gerhard
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Scientists have started with experimentation that raises difficult ethical questions. It comprises taking material from the human blueprint (DNA) and inserting this in various test animals. The purpose of such research is noble, namely the alleviation of human suffering. Yet the ethical ramifications of blending the human and animal genome are significant, especially for Christians. The creation of all living entities after their kind and the image-bearing dignity attributed to man both come under se- vere ethical stress for those who presuppose divine order in God’s ecology. For non-Christians the philosophical dilemma ought not to exist in the ethical sense if applied at the purest level. If the human is merely a kind of animal, along with and ontologically not different from other animals, there is little logical reason to object to chimeric research apart from a concern about what such re- search and application might do to the order of life pragmatically. However, many non-Christian do object. Man is made in God’s image and the concept of human dignity and a universal sense of right and wrong still binds Christians and non-Christians when considering ethics in the field of chimeric research. As the mixing of human stem cells with embryonic animals takes place, certain non-Christian authors protest that human dignity is being diminished and the animal essence is being violated.
- Faculty of Theology