Comes Now the Dread Humanzee?

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The Scotsman has published a somewhat overwrought article about the possible creation of chimp/human hybrids. The Scotsman reports:

A LEADING scientist has warned a new species of "humanzee," created from breeding apes with humans, could become a reality unless the government acts to stop scientists experimenting.
In an interview with The Scotsman, Dr Calum MacKellar, director of research at the Scottish Council on Human Bioethics, warned the controversial draft Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill did not prevent human sperm being inseminated into animals.

He said if a female chimpanzee was inseminated with human sperm the two species would be closely enough related that a hybrid could be born.

He said scientists could possibly try to develop the new species to fill the demand for organ donors.

Leading scientists say there is no reason why the two species could not breed, although they question why anyone would want to try such a technique.

The image
Actually, such interbreeding might just work. Back in 1977, a researcher published results in the journal Anatomical Record showing that human sperm could penetrate gibbon eggs. But would it be wrong to breed such hybrids?
The Scotsman turns to some of the ethical considerations:
Professor Hugh McLachlan, professor of applied philosophy at Glasgow Caledonian University's School of Law and Applied Sciences, said although the idea was "troublesome", he could see no ethical objections to the creation of humanzees.

"Any species came to be what it is now because of all sorts of interaction in the past," he said.

"If it turns out in the future there was fertilisation between a human animal and a non-human animal, it's an idea that is troublesome, but in terms of what particular ethical principle is breached it's not clear to me.

"I share their squeamishness and unease, but I'm not sure that unease can be expressed in terms of an ethical principle."

I discussed some of the ethical issues involved with "uplifting" animals to human-level intelligence in my column "Humanizing Animals." Whole Scotsman article here.

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  1. I’m surprised this would work. The number of chromosomes don’t quite match, with our chromosome 2 being split on chimpanzees.
    Plus, you’d have to be really drunk.

  2. I hate every ape I see
    From chimpan-a to chimpan-zee
    No, you’ll never make a monkey out of me

  3. ispdrudge: On the other hand, horses and donkeys also have different numbers of chromosomes, yet they produce mules.

  4. I predict that this will be a fun thread.

  5. With apologies to a great American, ‘Keep your hands off me you damn dirty apes’ just took on a whole new meaining . . .

  6. I, for one, look forward to welcoming our new Humanzee overlords.

  7. Somewhat overwrought? Good gravy, MacKellar sounded like he was going to wet himself.

    Dibs on the name “Furfag” for my humanzee, though.

  8. “horses and donkeys also have different numbers of chromosomes, yet they produce mules.”

    Ooh, that’s hot!

  9. Bioethecist != leading scientist

    Bioethecist == parasite surviving by absolutely, unnecessarily retarding science. The purest example of the worthless bureaucrat.

  10. God, smod – I want my monkey-man!

  11. And as with mules, even if it did live it would almost certainly be sterile.

  12. Every argument I’ve had that started with an intellectual exploration of the ethics of playing with genetics always ends in a bloody shouting match over whatever human/monkey hybrids should be called “Humanzees” or “Chipmans”

  13. They should definitely start with Bonobos.
    I hear they’re hot.

  14. Every argument I’ve had that started with an intellectual exploration of the ethics of playing with genetics always ends in a bloody shouting match over whatever human/monkey hybrids should be called “Humanzees” or “Chipmans”

    Actually, on a forum once frequented by the notorious Zack Bass, he was threatening to genetically engineer human/simian sex slaves. He was going to call them Chimpanions and Bimbonobos.

  15. Oh, great!

    This is what Stalin fancied in good old days. Communism couldn’t keep within the nature of man. So he thought it would be good to create new-school human.

    I always tried to catch eluding shape of transhumanists, to get the idea who they bear resemblance to. Now I see…

  16. He said if a female chimpanzee was inseminated with human sperm the two species would be closely enough related that a hybrid could be born.

    I call bullshit!!! I could give a try though for science.

  17. A LEADING scientist has warned a new species of “humanzee,” created from breeding apes with humans, could become a reality unless the government acts to stop scientists experimenting.

    I understand the AIDS virus originated with some kind of primate. I consider that prima facie evidence that this ain’t the first time somebody’s tried…

  18. Stalin was a believer in pure nurture, not nature. Meaning like a good Marxist, he believed the environment played the primary, overwhelming role in determining human behavior. Sorry Oleg, you’re wrong. Your comment doesn’t even make sense in this context.

  19. “Professor Hugh McLachlan, professor of applied philosophy at Glasgow Caledonian University’s School of Law and Applied Sciences, said although the idea was ‘troublesome’, he could see no ethical objections to the creation of humanzees.”

    There’s nothing so appalling that it can’t be rationalized by some “ethicist.”

    I’m still interested in knowing what *moral* objection the *Reason* staff would have (having abandoned conventional morality and traditional theology) to the creation of subhuman “happy slaves” with low IQ and a cheerful attitude toward serving their more-intelligent masters.

  20. There is a big difference between “shit happens” and “shit happened, and you caused it”.
    If such an animal is created, it’s not going to have any natural place in the food chain. It’s likely to be smarter than a chimp, perhaps like a retarded human. Very unlikely to be able to care for itself. Creating these hybrids doesn’t seem ethical to me.

  21. Oleg,

    Seems I’m not the only one watching bad sci-fi on the History channel.

    Zoltan,

    Give it a rest man, Stalin’s only ideological loyalty was to anything that might expand his own power whilst hurting his perceived enemies.

  22. I could actually see outlawing the hybridization of humans and animals on humanitarian grounds.

    Hybrids often develop health problems due to their genomes not haven been formed out thousands of generations of evolutionary tweaking. The vast majority of hybrids that fertilize don’t survive to maturity.

    We could see the same problems in human-chimpanzee hybrid. Given that we have no pressing need to create such an individual, creating a sentient creature under such circumstances would be cruel

  23. zoltan,

    not at all! Commies tried to change human’s nature. There was an experiment with chimps and humans in Russia’s South, at Black Sea coast. You can still find remains of the lab there.

    It was back in 20s or 30s. That day science couldn’t help, so they gave up.

    I’ll try to search for some articles covering this topic in English.

    One can also remember Hitler. With his experiments to make new sort of humans.

    I think you’re crossing the line between evil and good here…

  24. Mad Max: I can’t speak for other Reason staffers, but try clicking on the link to my column at the bottom of this blog post for some possible objections.

  25. For the sake of argument, the experiment is done and produces a sterile human/chimp hybrid. Does it possess human rights automatically or do we decide later based on possessiion of cognitive functions?

  26. More questions,

    I’m not arrogant enought to want the experiment outlawed. Do you want it prohibited? Why or why not?

  27. I want hands for feet!

  28. It’s already been done and practically all of them are allowed to vote.

  29. Does it possess human rights automatically or do we decide later based on possessiion of cognitive functions?

    It’ll more likely possess human rights when it hires a lawyer, and hauls it’s creators into court over them.

  30. Ron Bailey:

    STICK TO YER OWN BEAT.

    MONKEY TUESDAY IS TAKEN.

  31. I was just gonna tell him I was telling.

    Urkobold’s justice is swift.

  32. Here it is:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ilya_Ivanovich_Ivanov_(biologist)

    Political and ideological motivations are described very badly. Though, a lot of articles in Russian, mentioning Stalin’s support.

    One reason was to refute divine essence of man. Commies were very anti-religious.

    I’m agnostic. Though, this is not the best way to hit religious bigotry.

  33. Humanzees are for pussies. I believe it was Episiarch who coined the term, Gatormensch. Soon, alligator-human hybrids, bred in the dangerous, practically Salusa Secondus-like hell that is Florida, will assume their rightful place as rulers of the Earth.

    joe! You can run, but you cannot hide in your urban, formerly predator-free, northeastern locale.

    If every blogger in America posted a monkey story on Monkey Tuesday, there would still be sufficient monkey story fodder for them all.

  34. If we’re going to spawn freaks and mutants, could we at least put a cow that can talk and wants to die at the top of the list, so we can tell animal rights activists to sod off?

  35. I’m still interested in knowing what *moral* objection the *Reason* staff would have (having abandoned conventional morality and traditional theology) to the creation of subhuman “happy slaves” with low IQ and a cheerful attitude toward serving their more-intelligent masters.

    Bring it on! Do you think I like doing microfabrication?

    Although, I do wonder if one of these “retard” creatures could do economically valuable work. Could it use a computer and work a CNC machine for example. Could it concentrate long enough to monitor that prototyping process? Would it require constant supervision, negating any value?

    I suspect that something like what you have described would be too dumb to be useful, or too smart to be a docile “happy slave.” There may of course be alternate designs in the far future that go beyond this dichotomy, or have some kind of drug-work euphoria link built in. I would feel rather uncomfortable with any of the intelligent slave options.

  36. No, please eat me. My life as a bull is a living hell. For that matter, I enjoy the give and take of la corrida de toros. Sure, they’re going to kill me slowly, but at least I have a shot at fucking up a matador. Pricks.

  37. Could it use a computer and work a CNC machine for example

    It would probably be able to do org charts. I doubt it would be happy about it though.

  38. There’s nothing so appalling that it can’t be rationalized by some “ethicist.”

    I’m still interested in knowing what *moral* objection the *Reason* staff would have (having abandoned conventional morality and traditional theology) to the creation of subhuman “happy slaves” with low IQ and a cheerful attitude toward serving their more-intelligent masters.

    Mad Max, if I had a nickel for every time you appealed to authority I’d be a fucking billionaire. Why not read the last few hundred years of philosophy to see how people can develop a morality sans religion and almighty tradition.

    Matthew & Oleg: Good point, I give Stalin too much credit. But the overall attitude of the Soviets toward science was anti rather than pro. I point to Lysenko’s updated Lamarckism to name one point. And Hitler/Mendele’s experiments don’t even qualify as responsible science, much less science. We’ve learned far more about twins for instance, through studying genetics and environmental influences than sawing their legs off and sewing them onto the other twin’s.

  39. Sub-human happy slaves? Wasn’t there already a “damn dirty ape” movie along these premises?

  40. Ethics and interbreeding: I don’t think interbreeding or even medically-assisted breeding will introduce true ethical issues. But to the extent that our science brings into this world thinking, feeling creatures that are kept and used as slaves, or beings whom we know will be crippled or at some other serious disadvantage in life, and who would never even have been conceived, much less born, but for our instigation and intervention, I think we will have stepped over an ethical line.

    The Zira/Taylor photo: Weren’t Zira’s words, when consenting to the pictured kiss, “All right, but you’re so damned ugly”?

    CFisher: Wouldn’t the “cow that can talk and wants to die” be the closest thing yet to a real-life shmoo? (Sh-moooooo?)

  41. “uplifting” animals to human-level intelligence”…and running one of them as the Libertarian candidate? It’s worth a try.

  42. Where is it written in the Bible that humans and chimpanzees cannot be hybridized?

  43. zoltan,

    I can’t agree with you on Commies. They were not anti science, they were very pro science. First man in space, nuclear energy, geo-engineering, etc. They turned out anti science, when science confronted their ideology. For example, scientist who described instincts of owner among primates could find himself in labor camp very quickly, cause primate means human and human can’t have instinct of owner under communism. Otherwise, they loved science.

    Science can be very well manipulated. And people can be very well manipulated through science. In today’s world too!

  44. If this is possible, then many of my questions about certain celebrities and politicians are answered.

    -jcr

  45. This far into the thread, and we still haven’t discussed which would provide the more satisfying sexual experience: sheep or chimpanzees?

    Priorities people!

  46. The Commies thought their economic determinsim was scientific; libertarians think theirs is too.

  47. And MK2 thinks he’s actually made useful contributions to any threads here. So many delusions!

  48. One drop rule applies.
    The newbies can always get a government job.

  49. To what extent will they be “human”? We may have to redefine the term.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jerry_Was_a_Man

  50. These semi-retarded hybrids would be right at home blogging on “Urkobold”

  51. Loving technology isn’t the same as loving science. They had no respect for science as a tool for understanding the world. Nobody that dogmatic can. All they were interested in were the end products that happened to suit their needs.

  52. Here is a good explanation of why animals with different numbers of chromosomes can successfully mate (to some degree).

    Pharyngula at Science Blogs

  53. “Let’s clear up a few irrelevant misconceptions first. Life probably started with no chromosomes – early replicators would have been grab bags of metabolites, proteins, and RNA that would have simply sloppily split in two, with no real sorting.”

    Wrong! As everybody knows the Flying Spaghetti Monster (Pasta Be Upon Him) created midgets, pirates and all other creatures with full sets of chromosomes. DUH!

  54. “Why not read the last few hundred years of philosophy to see how people can develop a morality sans religion and almighty tradition.”

    The last few hundred years of philosophy show how, having abandoned the Church, the philosophers engaged in incessant quarrels amongst themselves over the most basic principles of ethics.

    Ron Bailey,

    Your articles show that you are genuinely troubled about the “happy slave” scenario. However, you seem to have some difficulty explaining, in accordance with strict secular principles, why such scenarios are morally wrong. When your premises lead you to such a philosophical morass, consider whether you took a wrong turn somewhere.

  55. The last few hundred years of philosophy show how, having abandoned the Church, the philosophers engaged in incessant quarrels amongst themselves over the most basic principles of ethics.

    The last few thousand years of Catholic theology show how, having married the Church, they engaged in incessant quarrels amongst themselves over the most basic principles of ethics.

    What exactly was your point? That without God, men disagree? Bad point.

  56. Elemenope,

    I was replying to someone who said, and I quote:

    “Why not read the last few hundred years of philosophy to see how people can develop a morality sans religion and almighty tradition?”

  57. Mad Max, when has there been a time when people haven’t quarreled over ethics? It’s just that now, people don’t get burned at the stake, drawn and quartered, or tortured to death for doing so. And Bailey is probably having difficulty with the ethical dilemma of these possible scenarios because there is no precedent. You’d like to think your morality has been set in stone by God for several thousand years and that that is a good thing, but anyone who doesn’t struggle with these issues seems ethically immature.

  58. The Pope managed to figure out that eugenics was wrong, when secular philsophers were (at best) all over the map. Then secular philophers caught up with the Church and discovered that eugenics was wrong all along.

    Now the secular philosophers are wobbling again.

  59. no, zoltan, anyone who feels the need to refight the same battles in each generation, as if preceding generations had nothing to say to us, is ethically immature.

    As a famous fundamentalist (Newton) once said, we stand on the shoulders of giants.

  60. I’m just a lowly physicist, and one who hasn’t yet successfully replicated at that, so I can’t claim to be an expert here, but this whole thing sounds like hooey.

    H. sapiens and chimpanzees are different species. One of the principal characteristics of speciation is that two populations become sufficiently genetically dissimilar that they are incapable of mutual reproduction (aside from perhaps mule-like sterile offspring).

    And humans and chimpanzees are not only different species, but different genera as well, and with a different number of chromosomes (46 vs. 48) to boot. There has been substantial debate over whether genetically modern humans and Neandertals could interbreed, and Neandertals are far closer to us than chimpanzees are. Even African and Indian elephants are incapable of producing viable offspring.

    Plus, given the tendency of humans to, well, fuck around, if human-chimp chimeras were physically possible I’d have expected it to have already occurred, about a million times. In fact, isn’t interspecies copulation one of the prime theories as to how the AIDS virus was introduced to the human population?

    My bet is that dollars to donuts, this “bioethicist” is one of those Santorum types who believes that civil unions and stem cell research lead inexorably to bestiality. Since most sensible people aren’t all that much against using cells from fertilized embryos scheduled for incineration anyway to try and find a cure for Grandma’s Parkinson’s, he’s taking the more direct approach.

  61. When your premises lead you to such a philosophical morass, consider whether you took a wrong turn somewhere.

    Right! No reason to waste time grappling with difficult issues of moral philosophy when you can simply turn to mythology and fairytale for easy answers.

  62. I was replying to someone who said….

    I’m aware. I was pointing out that your argument was sort of silly. The history of ethics seems to show that religiously assisted or not, humans have a devilish time figuring out just what is right in each new situation.

    Crossbow, evil tool of the devil, or righteous tool of warfare? Pope thought the first for a while, until good Catholic troops needed them to kill them some Muslims. Then all of a sudden, crossbows were great and holy.

    Another hilarious history is the ethics of abortion in the Catholic church. Is it OK or is it murder? The church flip-flopped more on that than a FOX news caricature of John Kerry in a pancake house.

    The church seems to do about as well as Kant, Mill, and Nietzsche ever did, which is not well at all.

  63. The Pope managed to figure out that eugenics was wrong, when secular philsophers were (at best) all over the map. Then secular philophers caught up with the Church and discovered that eugenics was wrong all along.

    “The Pope” managed to figure out that the inquisition was moral. All about saving souls, right? “The Pope” managed to figure out that the lands of all non-christian nations belonged to Spain and Portugal. All about saving souls, right? Shall I continue on about the purported moral superiority of the holders of that exalted office.

  64. “The Pope managed to figure out that eugenics was wrong, when secular philsophers were (at best) all over the map. Then secular philophers caught up with the Church and discovered that eugenics was wrong all along.”

    Correction – secular philosophers (at least the ones that subscribed to the principles behind eugenics initially) caught up with _one_ church. The Catholic Church was one of the best with regard to eugenics; religious institutions in general were just as “all over the map” as secular individuals and institutions were.

  65. And humans and chimpanzees are not only different species, but different genera as well, and with a different number of chromosomes (46 vs. 48) to boot.

    There is an ongoing debate in the taxonomic community about whether humans and chimpanzee belong in the same genus. My feeling is a disinterested observer would place us in the same one.

  66. “Another hilarious history is the ethics of abortion in the Catholic church. Is it OK or is it murder? The church flip-flopped more on that than a FOX news caricature of John Kerry in a pancake house.”

    The Church chose to defer to scientists who held that the fetus isn’t alive until it moves in the womb – the basic priciple of protecting human life was there, but, misled by the scientific establishment, the Church assumed that the early-stage fetus wasn’t human.

    Science moved beyond the Middle Ages no later than the 19th century, when the truth about fetal development became clear. The Church acknowledged the insights of science, while the pro-aborts remain in the Middle Ages with their ideas about the unborn human being.

  67. “Shall I continue on about the purported moral superiority of the holders of that exalted office.”

    Yes, but only *after* you’ve acquired some basic historical knowledge. Until then, try not to embarrass yourself.

  68. “Correction – secular philosophers (at least the ones that subscribed to the principles behind eugenics initially) caught up with _one_ church. The Catholic Church was one of the best with regard to eugenics; religious institutions in general were just as “all over the map” as secular individuals and institutions were.”

    Quite an unfortunate coincidence that the “one church” which “just happened” to be right about eugenics is the same Church which has always claimed to be the One Church.

  69. Good point, J sub D. Funny how Mad Max ignored how many centuries of abuse the Catholic Church has inflicted, especially on possessors and actors of reason–did you even address the mere mention of executions and torture in the name of the Church? Eugenics was pretty bad, especially since a lot of scientists fell in step behind it at the time. Not to mention governments forcibly sterilized and executed those with “poor” characteristics like the mentally retarded. The beauty of science is that it corrected itself in less than a generation–how long did it take the Church to stop murdering people who didn’t agree with its beliefs?

  70. It’s fairly broadly accepted by biologists that taxonomic levels above species have very little meaning beyond being a convenient way to hierarchically organize biodiversity. They reflect researchers’ interests and anthropomorphism far more than any biological phenomena. So mammals, and hominids especially, are very finely divided. Most of the various extinct “species” of Homo would very likely be considered the same species if they weren’t on the lineage to modern humans.

  71. how long did it take the Church to stop murdering people who didn’t agree with its beliefs?

    To be fair, in the Middle Ages that was *the thing* to do, whether you were Catholic, straight, or whatever.

    Wait, that came out wrong… 🙂

  72. “Quite an unfortunate coincidence that the “one church” which “just happened” to be right about eugenics is the same Church which has always claimed to be the One Church.”

    I’m not sure why it’s unfortunate, but it certainly is a coincidence. There aren’t too many churches who _haven’t_ claimed to be the One Church; the fact that one of the many “One Churches” got it right on eugenics doesn’t really mean that much.

  73. Most of the various extinct “species” of Homo would very likely be considered the same species if they weren’t on the lineage to modern humans.

    If Great Danes and Chihuahuas are the same species…

  74. Zoltan,

    I would agree mostly with your comment. I fear it is a cultural shift away from such abuses not an acknowledgment of its inherent immorality that has led to its disuse. Culture has a way of being hard to pin down.

  75. Yes, but only *after* you’ve acquired some basic historical knowledge. Until then, try not to embarrass yourself.

    Your right I should have wrote Pope after Pope persecuted religious dissenter for heresy. Alexander VI divide the world between Spain and Portugal.

    Shall we talk of the Borgias? The fact that many popes throughout history have been evil men of the world, concerned with their own aggrandizement is undeniable to any person with two connecting neyrons.

    Explain whee I’m wrong you morally and historically superior dipshit.

  76. Yes, but only *after* you’ve acquired some basic historical knowledge. Until then, try not to embarrass yourself.

    So you’re denying that the Pope at the time allowed for if not planned and executed the Inquisition and claiming of lands for the Church?

  77. Please excuse my typos. I get angry and don’t preview when theist dipshits think they’ve somehow cornered the market on ethics or morality. The theists who are honest with themselves would never even imply such a thing.

  78. You’re right Elemenope and Naga Sadow, there are distinct cultural differences between then and now. I think I’m just irked by someone who thinks the Catholic Church is some harbinger of morality and truth. While being quite possibly one of the most evil organizations in the world, it has also been one of the most charitable, regardless of why they acted charitably (arguably to get into a sweet afterlife, same reasons for acting evilly).

    The problem I have most is that a religion is not really that flexible in that if it changes much, it can’t keep to the truthiness of its original doctrine. Contrast that with science, which is based on principles that are rigorously studied and explained by facts that are kept or discarded based on how well it reflects observations of the world. While scientists can be petty creatures like the rest of human beings, they’re far more likely to admit they’re wrong when they figure out where they misstepped–case in point: eugenics.

  79. zolton, I expect Mad Max is trying to figure out a way to retract that post gracefully, without admitting that if there is a hell, a lot of popes are residents.

  80. First off, there’s no guarantee that it is even possible to cross breed. It may be technically possible, but what’s technically possible, and what occurs in practice, are two different things. It’s something that you would have to try.

    However, we’ve treated chimps, and other apes like shit long enough. I propose that we just leave them alone.

    At the very least, it would be a struggle to even get such a pregnancy to term.

  81. J. P. Carlo wrote, “H. sapiens and chimpanzees are different species. One of the principal characteristics of speciation is that two populations become sufficiently genetically dissimilar that they are incapable of mutual reproduction (aside from perhaps mule-like sterile offspring).”

    Yeah, I was taught that in elementary and high school, too. But in later years, I learned that this isn’t a hard and fast rule. It turns out that there are different species that are closely related (dogs and wolves, for example), which technically CAN produce fertile offspring after interbreeding, but which tend not to mate with each other, on account of what I am going to call racism for lack of a better term. The members of one species simply don’t “look,” “sound,” or “smell” right to members of the other. This often seems to be the case soon after species differentiation. If a long enough period of time goes by without enough interbreeding, the different species can diverge to the point of not being able to produce offspring with each other. But it is often enough true that, just after the branch in the evolutionary tree, two species from a common ancestor are still compatible in the technical sense, if not in the preference sense.

    Now, you may say that successful interbreeding is an indication that two different species really aren’t involved, that the species differentiation in such cases is only the result of arbitrary human decision. But apparently quite a lot of such decisions get made in taxonomy. Much is made of the remarkable similarity between chimp and human DNA. If it turns out the the two species can interbreed to produce offspring, whether mule or fertile, that will only go to show how close we still are to the previous fork in the evolutionary road. There is no doubt, however, that enough differentiation has happened as to make members of either species generally unattractive to the other, so that’s the first step down the road to completely incompatible speciation.

  82. If a humanzee baby will get the Creationists to shut up, than I’m for it. I suggest we mate Ben Stein with Moja the Chimp.

  83. A new species of hybrid primate with superhuman strength and agility. Throw in some human reasoning and advanced forethought along with the chimps natural aggression and lack of moral boundaries. Sounds like a great idea.

  84. I thought the only church that got it wrong on eugenics was The Church Of The State Religion, Progressive Science.Maybe the Unitarians too.

  85. There is no doubt, however, that enough differentiation has happened as to make members of either species generally unattractive to the other, so that’s the first step down the road to completely incompatible speciation.

    With the caveat that everything I know about this subject I learned from Monkey Tuesday, it’s my impression that human women may not be into chimps, but chimps are eying our women.

  86. I bet there were no evangelical, Pentecostal Churches supporting eugenics.

  87. See!!! This is what the Christian Right has been worried about the whole time with the gay marriage issue! Their arguments of “Well, if you allow people to marry people of the same sex, what’s next? Chimps?” have just been realized. I predict this is the wedge issue that will give the White House to McCain this year.

  88. I bet those Chimp/Human hybrids would be pretty good in the UFC and other MMA fighting.John McCain wants to ban the plain old human kind though.

  89. Leave it to the Christian right-wingers to confuse consensual sexual relationships that don’t result in pregnancy with forcibly inseminating a chimpanzee full of human DNA.

  90. At the very least, it would be a struggle to even get such a pregnancy to term.

    Given that an adult chimp is probably strong enough to throttle the average human with one hand, it might be a struggle to even get such a pregnancy started, let alone to term. 😉

  91. I thought the only church that got it wrong on eugenics was The Church Of The State Religion, Progressive Science.Maybe the Unitarians too.

    I think there’s a joke in there that I’m missing, perhaps some sort of play on words. Just in case that is a legitimate dig at Unitarians, Hey, STFU! We’re one of the few churches that welcome everybody. Atheists, humanists, theists, deists, whatever, it’s all good – just be cool.
    And, officially, it’s “Unitarian Universalist” or UU and has been since 1961.

    Or maybe you meant the Unification Church, AKA the Moonies.
    In which case, never mind.

  92. JeeZ,how can anyone mention ‘humanzee’ without referencing Oliver:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-C6NkRUbI38

  93. Or maybe it’s just that, thanks to the Simpsons and Colbert and others, we’re just an easy target.
    In which case, hrumph!

  94. I just assumed Unitarians were ardent supporters of eugenics policy.I would apologize, but first I used google……

    highnumber, you guys wear swastikas and jack boots to church? Or only on the feast of St Mengele Day?

  95. vanya | April 29, 2008, 10:45pm | #

    If a humanzee baby will get the Creationists to shut up, than I’m for it. I suggest we mate Ben Stein with Moja the Chimp.

    Jeez, you must really hate Moja.

  96. With apologies to a great American, ‘Keep your hands off me you damn dirty apes’ just took on a whole new meaning . . .

    Actually that’s: ‘Take your stinking paws off me you damn dirty ape’.

  97. How do you know the Unitarians are pissed at you?

    They burn a question mark on your lawn.

  98. Elemenope | April 30, 2008, 12:20am | #

    How do you know the Unitarians are pissed at you?

    They burn a question mark on your lawn.

    Yeah. But they have to drink lots of strong coffee first.

  99. I think there’s a joke in there that I’m missing, perhaps some sort of play on words.

    Don’t worry. SIV is convinced that progressives are responsible for sunburns, cat allergies, bad cell-phone service, and the HIV virus.

    Since Unitarians are *clearly* the corporeal manifestation of a progressive God-creature-idea-phantom-whatever which may or may not exist but is *Certainly* responsible for progressive science and politics, Unitarians are at fault for all earthly evil.

    Am I getting this right, SIV?

  100. Would Humanzees be able to do useful things, like mow lawns or kill burglers?

    Would we be able to own them, or would they be protected by the 13th amendment?

    Would they have legal rights of their own? Would they be allowed to vote or become president?

  101. Hey SIV,
    Be fair. Catholics get far more google hits for eugenics. (I’m scared to check on “Christian eugenics”)
    But, yes, I do wear my jack boots to Mengele Day. Thank you for asking. That’s not at church, though. That’s a community event. We usually hit that right after the Stalin brunch after coffee hour.

  102. Oh man I read David Brin in high school. Way to bring me back

  103. Would Humanzees be able to do useful things, like mow lawns or kill burglers?

    *If* the gene mix caused traits to average out, the humanzees would be much stronger than humans. They’d be the ones telling you to mow the lawn.

  104. J sub D,

    Nothing to retract. You were commenting on the Pope allegedly carving up Christian lands between Spain and Portugal. He allotted them different *spheres of influence* so that they wouldn’t fight each other over the same territory – not the same as purporting to give away the territories of the non-Christian powers in the area. While some ultraists claimed that the Pope could dispose of the world’s territory, the most sophisticated (and hard-core) Counter-Reformation apologist for Papal power, *Saint* Robert Bellarmine, explained that no such authority existed. Bellarmine explained that the Pope’s spiritual authority over the Christian rulers of Spain and Portugal allowed him to keep those rulers from each others throats and to set forth exclusive domains of exploration and evangelization. The Popes did not authorize aggression against pagan states in America, nor did he authorize the later enslavement of many of the Indians – something the Popes protested vainly against. The Jesuits – who were hard-core Papists – had an Indian republic which defended the Indians against the excesses of neighboring colonial authorities.

    And so forth. In other words, you can’t just say, “OMG what about the Black Legend?”

  105. With regard to the Inquisition (which everyone has come to expect in threads such as this one), the relevant comparison is between the behavior of Church tribunals during the hard-core era of “error has no rights” and the behavior of certain deistic, neopagan and atheist regimes which sought to purge their realms of dissent without the formalities of judicial trial or (in the case of the French Revolution) with trials which got cut off before the defense could put on its case.

  106. Of course, I should observe more Christian charity even on blogs. Sorry if I spoke offensively, J sub D.

  107. Your articles show that you are genuinely troubled about the “happy slave” scenario. However, you seem to have some difficulty explaining, in accordance with strict secular principles, why such scenarios are morally wrong.

    This is not difficult at all.

    It is very easy to argue that slavery is wrong, and from there to argue that slavery by deception is wrong, and from there to argue that slavery by deception aided by debasing the brain of the slave to make it easier to deceive him is wrong.

    Bailey runs into philosophical issues only when discussing the related issue of happiness relative to our potential capacity to control our brain chemistry. It is, in fact, difficult to privilege one sort of “happy brain” above another. I don’t see why this should trouble you, though, since it is a discussion that has nothing to do with your church, which has never regarded living human happiness as a component of ethics, since it utterly devalues everything about, you know, actual living.

    The Church chose to defer to scientists who held that the fetus isn’t alive until it moves in the womb – the basic priciple of protecting human life was there, but, misled by the scientific establishment, the Church assumed that the early-stage fetus wasn’t human.

    BZZZZT! Sorry, wrong.

    I guess your Church membership doesn’t prevent you from engaging in the most atrocious intellectual dishonesty possible.

    If the Church is receiving its morality from God, it did not require the intermediary of “scientists” [as if the Church ever took advice from anything resembling a “scientist”, ever, anyway] and the fact that the Church was able to be deceived by those naughty, naughty scientists on the issue of murder means that we can pretty much disregard everything else it has ever said as potentially the result of deception and error as well.

    Not to mention the fact that this makes your basic argument to begin this thread fucking unbelievably stupid as well. Apparently we should trust religion to give us answers to moral problems – but we can’t trust religion to give us answers to moral problems, because they mistakes. Even though they have a direct pipeline to God. Sure, whatever.

    If the Church ever changed its mind on any issue of any kind whatsoever, then it’s no better a guide than those darn secularists, who sometimes argue among themselves.

    With regard to the Inquisition (which everyone has come to expect in threads such as this one), the relevant comparison is between the behavior of Church tribunals during the hard-core era of “error has no rights” and the behavior of certain deistic, neopagan and atheist regimes which sought to purge their realms of dissent without the formalities of judicial trial or (in the case of the French Revolution) with trials which got cut off before the defense could put on its case.

    BZZZT! Wrong again.

    Since the Church has a direct pipeline to God to tell it what to do and what not to do, it doesn’t get to sometimes fall into the error of making the mistakes the French Terror did or that Stalinist Russia did. For us to regard the Church as a body that can make moral recommendations to us on the basis of its continuing unique insights into a morality received from a deity, it has to have been perfect. Always. Or it is nothing.

  108. “For us to regard the Church as a body that can make moral recommendations to us on the basis of its continuing unique insights into a morality received from a deity, it has to have been perfect. Always. Or it is nothing.”

    I can understand holding one’s own side to a high standard (which is why I’m kind of down on Catholic leaders when they slip up), but holding the *other* side to a higher standard than one’s own isn’t intellectually respectable.

    To say that it’s OK for secular philosophers, or even scientists, to make mistakes, but not for theists, is a useful way to define one’s own side’s mistakes away, while harping on the other’s (and since the Bible itself records the leaders of Israel and the Church making mistakes and committing crimes [see: King David, Saint Peter, etc.], that means you can pre-emptively dismiss anything our side says – which was kind of the point, I suppose.

    Let me note, not only does the Church rely on science, but most of the world today is operating under a calendar promulgated by a Pope, based on the investigations of the Church’s astronomers. We call it the Gregorian calendar, and until the ACLU manages to purge the public square from theocratic influences by returning to the Julian calendar, it’s the calendar we’re going to keep using.

    I am pleased that the Church insists on strict proof before convicting anyone of murder – if the scientific evidence is inadequate to show that there was a human death in the first place, then of course the defendant needs to be acquitted. With the progress of science, fewer guilty need escape when it comes to abortion.

    In contrast to this “Quaker-Papist cant about the sanctity of human life” (as Leon Trotsky contemptuously put it), there’s the attitude of certain modern secular philosophies to kill the enemies of the people and let Odin/FSM sort them out. That’s not the approach I prefer, so I kind of like the presumption of innocence.

    Respectfully, you might consider the possibility that you might not have correctly paraphrased the Church’s teaching on infallibility:

    http://www.vatican.va/archive/ENG0015/__P74.HTM

    This charism doesn’t apply to each and every concrete dispute, to the extent of knowing whether God wants us to buy yellow or purple drapes. We also teach a virtue known as humility which (though it’s hard for me to exhibit on a blog) is just as valuable as upholding the proper teachign authority of the Pope and the bishops.

  109. Look – I misspelled teaching, and I’m humble enough to admit it – damn, my humility is awesome!

  110. I refuse to serve my human overlords.

  111. Max, stop being so disingenuous.

    You argued that one reason religious revelation is a superior guide to ethics than the analysis provided by secular rationalists is because of the absence of doubt.

    You reproached Bailey because he did not have easy answers ready at hand for novel ethical situations.

    You reproached Bailey because secular philosophers squabble and change their minds.

    That means that you set the standard by which I am judging the Church.

    If the Church makes mistakes, that means that relying on the Church does not remove the element of doubt, because one must continually wonder whether any particular moral observation or utterance issued by the Church is one of those “regrettable mistakes”.

    If the Church makes mistakes based on shifting knowledge, then it too can not have ready answers to hand for novel situations – because the entire reason a situation would be novel would be a changing level of knowledge or capacity. If the Church can change its mind based on improved knowledge about the fetus, that means it may one day change its mind based on improved knowledge of genetics, or improved knowledge of neurochemistry.

    If the Church changed its mind about anything, ever, that means that it to is subject to “squabbles”.

    So every quality of the Church’s moral reasoning which you presented as making it superior to secular analysis is exploded if the Church makes mistakes. Sorry.

    I am pleased that the Church insists on strict proof before convicting anyone of murder – if the scientific evidence is inadequate to show that there was a human death in the first place, then of course the defendant needs to be acquitted. With the progress of science, fewer guilty need escape when it comes to abortion.

    Nope, sorry.

    The reason for due process and for the concept of “innocent until proven guilty” is epistemological. It is based on a primitive version of the scientific method, actually – the idea that one cannot know the facts of a matter until one has examined the available evidence in a dispassionate way. This epistemological method is exactly what the Church rejects and you therefore cannot rely on it as a defense of its previous errors.

    If you are getting your moral information directly from God, you have no need to regard people as innocent until proven guilty. You should already know. Unless it is your position that God would provide extremely specific information about a host of moral matters, but would just “forget” to tell you about the rule against aborting fetuses.

    If the teachings of the Church are going to fail unless we have perfect scientific understanding, they are always going to fail.

  112. “You argued that one reason religious revelation is a superior guide to ethics than the analysis provided by secular rationalists is because of the absence of doubt.”

    Hmmm . . . don’t recall saying that.

    I recall first mixing it up with Mr. Bailey in response to this article of his,

    https://reason.com/news/show/125676.html

    which was a detailed assault on the moral stance of the Church against human genetic manipulation, accusing the Church of being anti-science and conflating human genetic engineering with genetic engineering involving plants and lower animals.

    The second-to-last paragraph of Bailey’s article, in its entirety, said:

    “Finally, any genetic manipulations that aim to create human beings with diminished mental and physical capacities must be fiercely and relentlessly opposed. On the other hand, research whose goal is to reduce human suffering and increase our capacities should be vigorously encouraged.”

    Bailey offered no insight into how, exactly, having scorned the Church’s doubts and warnings, he was to come up with a philosophically-sound method of distinguishing between “bad” and “good” research. He certainly gave no reason, after all his rah-rah-science-the-Church-sux rhetoric, to explain why his commitment to a brave new world of genetically-modified humans automatically ruled out the creation of a special slave class, properly engineered to feel happy in their slavery.

    “This epistemological method is exactly what the Church rejects “

  113. “This epistemological method is exactly what the Church rejects ”

    [citation needed]

  114. We know that men mating with sheep can not produce offspring, else New Zealand would be swarming with them.

  115. “This epistemological method is exactly what the Church rejects ”

    [citation needed]

    http://www.bible.com/

    The fact that the Church uses a text which is regarded as inspired or revealed is an incontrovertible argument, dude.

    Any creed which places any stock whatsoever in any revealed truth or any inspired truth, or sets up any authority whose declarations on any matter are claimed to be superior in truth-value to straightforward analysis, by so doing accomplishes the rejection I describe.

  116. Hmmm . . . don’t recall saying that.

    Of course not.

    The last few hundred years of philosophy show how, having abandoned the Church, the philosophers engaged in incessant quarrels amongst themselves over the most basic principles of ethics.

  117. And then there was this:

    The Pope managed to figure out that eugenics was wrong, when secular philsophers were (at best) all over the map. Then secular philophers caught up with the Church and discovered that eugenics was wrong all along.

  118. DO you think Mad Max might actually be Mel Gibson?

  119. “Any creed which places any stock whatsoever in any revealed truth or any inspired truth, or sets up any authority whose declarations on any matter are claimed to be superior in truth-value to straightforward analysis, by so doing accomplishes the rejection I describe.”

    Ah, I see . . . only secular arguments need apply.

    I’m having major deja vu to the arguments over original understanding of the US Constitution. The opponents say, “look, Madison and Hamilton disagreed over the National Bank – the original understanding is hopelessly vague!” Then these same critics proceed to advance interpretive theories which are *much* vaguer – like Brennan’s “human dignity.”

    I repeat, I never said anything about having “absense of doubt” on all issues. You may have been watching too many reruns of *Inherit the Wind* in an attempt to find out how theists think.

    For instance, before modern embryology, Church figures didn’t know with absolute certainty whether the early-stage embryo was a human life. Look, intolerable vagueness! In contrast to such concrete and easily-definable secular disputes as whether human life is worth protecting at all.

    And so on.

  120. Hey, fine, Max.

    Since you have essentially now withdrawn the substance of your criticism of Bailey, I can now withdraw from the field and go attend my victory party.

    Yay Me!

  121. No, Fluffy, I still think the teachings of the Church are much more reliable, including on this subject, than the speculations of secular publicists who insult and defame the church. But far be it from me to stop your party.

  122. When you saw that I didn’t hold your straw-man view, you thought I’d changed my mind. Quite an imagination you’ve got there.

  123. “DO you think Mad Max might actually be Mel Gibson?”

    No, I’m much more handsome.

  124. For instance, before modern embryology, Church figures didn’t know with absolute certainty whether the early-stage embryo was a human life. Look, intolerable vagueness! In contrast to such concrete and easily-definable secular disputes as whether human life is worth protecting at all.

    Prior to the scientific revolution (which the Roman Catholic church did its best to supress) and the age of reason the Catholic church didn’t know shit. It did not not stop the ignorant papal authorities fron proclaiming certainity about such matters as the makeup of the universe. Google Giordano Bruno for more information. Or Galileo Galilei.

    Fuck papal “wisdom” on matters of ethics. Even blind pigs find acorns once in a while.

  125. To all of the Christians and specifically Roman Catholics reading here, I don’t believe that your church is necessarily evil. I just don’t cotton to smug, ignorant jerks who think that belief in “God” is a requirement for moral thinking.

    Yeah, I’m talking about you, Mad Max.

  126. Giordano Bruno – yes, a true martyr to science.

    From Wikipedia:

    “Bruno’s cosmology is marked by infinitude, homogeneity, and isotropy, with planetary systems distributed evenly throughout. Matter follows an active animistic principle: it is intelligent and discontinuous in structure, made up of discrete atoms. This animism (and a corresponding disdain for mathematics as a means to understanding) is the most dramatic respect in which Bruno’s cosmology differs from what today passes for a common-sense picture of the universe. . . .”

    “who think that belief in ‘God’ is a requirement for moral thinking.”

    No, it’s not a prerequisite. The Natural Law, which contains key moral principles, is accessible to atheists, Buddhists, Baptists and even H&R commenters:

    http://www.vatican.va/archive/ENG0015/__P6U.HTM

  127. So Max, which popes do you think are burning in hell right now?

  128. No, Fluffy, I still think the teachings of the Church are much more reliable, including on this subject, than the speculations of secular publicists who insult and defame the church. But far be it from me to stop your party.

    On what basis?

    In the course of this argument, you have jettisoned certainty, clarity, and infallibility.

    That leaves you with “just ’cause”.

    When you saw that I didn’t hold your straw-man view, you thought I’d changed my mind.

    Nope. I saw you trying to reproach Bailey because he was not certain how to ethically analyze certain situations involving new technological developments. But in the course of this discussion [and the discussion you are having with others], you admitted:

    1. The Church changes its mind.
    2. The Church makes mistakes.
    3. The Church can reach different conclusions based on the advance of scientific knowledge.

    This means that relying on the Church makes you no better off than Bailey in terms of analyzing a novel situation where the science is in flux.

    Since you now admit that, my work here is done.

  129. “So Max, which popes do you think are burning in hell right now?”

    I don’t know – only a minority of Popes are officially commemorated as saints – the rest could be anywhere.

    Sorry, Fluffy, I acknowledged that *some* church leaders had been wrong about *some* things – but not on such a wide scale, or on such a wide range of issues, as your crowd.

    Again, you were so discombobulated when I didn’t adhere to your *Inherit the Wind* stereotype that you assumed I must be some sort of total relativist.

    The only relative I know is your mot – no, strike that.

  130. Fluffy, as a public service – since you think than any Catholic criticism of the mistakes of our own former leaders invalidates the teaching of the whole Church – I shall link you to some self-critical reflections by Church leaders:

    http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/john_paul_ii/travels/documents/hf_jp-ii_spe_20000326_jerusalem-prayer_en.html

    http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/pontifical_councils/chrstuni/documents/rc_pc_chrstuni_doc_16031998_shoah_en.html

    These documents aren’t the self-flagellating stuff you may wish for, but they do discuss errors by Catholic authorities, discussion at the very highest levels, so knock yourself out.

  131. I’m fine with humanzees, just as long as no one tries to clone Charlton Heston. That would be an abomination.

  132. BTW, arguing about the teachings of a religion with a fake early history that draws its teachings from a fake book isn’t worth an endless thread, IMHO.

  133. Sorry, Fluffy, I acknowledged that *some* church leaders had been wrong about *some* things – but not on such a wide scale, or on such a wide range of issues, as your crowd.

    What a bizarre statement. Do you have some rational way of measuring or establishing this? The Catholics have a long and established history of being human, they at times have supported stupid and evil things, at other times they have stood for good. Remarkably similar to every other group of humans over the long term.

    Oh and who is “your crowd?”

  134. “Oh and who is ‘your crowd?'”

    A broad category, encompassing at the very least those who call the Bible a “fake book” and who deride the Church’s concerns about human genetic manipulation (including but not limited to creating and then killing embryos for research purposes).

  135. So you’re saying saints can’t go to hell, Mad Max? I’m not up on the mythology of your cult, but I’m guessing that’s what you mean. So what about if a saint is decanonized? Does that mean when he was sitting happy in heaven all of a sudden he plummets to hell?

    And Fluffy’s criticisms do hold for most of Church history. If the Church says its doctrine is infallible then goes and changes its mind, then it’s safe to say it can be wrong a whole lot of other things. Especially when it’s usually last to adhere to scientific principles. If all you can do is put its eugenics position on a pedestal while simultaneously ignoring the myriad other abuses the Church perpetrated, especially against science, then this argument is moot.

  136. I don’t one needs to resort to superstition to have concerns about genetic manipulation. In fact, I would say that superstition gets in the way of discussing the real issues. Particularly if one celebrates the beauty of the individual.

  137. zoltan,

    I didn’t say the *Church* had done erroneous things, but that some of the leaders of the Church made errors on the order of assuming (before modern embryology) that an early-stage embryo wasn’t alive. In the Middle Ages – people had an excuse for believing this – knowledge of early embryology was limited. What excuse do the “it’s not a human” crowd have today?

    The hostility-to-science meme would come as a surprise to the calendar feature in your own computer, which is based on the decree of a 16th century Pope, which in turn was based on science. (Note: The English-speaking Protestant world resisted this decree for two centuries, but finally had to acknowledge the superiority of the Julian calendar).

    I never said the Church was right *only* about eugenics – that happens to be the closest issue to what we’re discussing. The Church was also right about National Socialism, Communism, and the African slave trade, to take a few examples.

  138. No, the Gregorian calendar, not the Julian.

  139. “So what about if a saint is decanonized? Does that mean when he was sitting happy in heaven all of a sudden he plummets to hell?”

    God makes saints, not the Church. There are more saints than the Church officially recognizes, because the standards of establishing sainthood are fairly rigorous.

    After Vatican II, the Church decided that there wasn’t sufficient evidence for the existence of a few saints – there was especially some stir when they de-recognized St. Christopher.

    It makes no difference to the saints themselves, as far as their eternal destiny is concerned – this has to do with the Church’s authorization of cults for particular saints.

    Thank you for asking.

  140. As the prodigy of two apes mating i for one welcome our old Human overlords.

  141. “A broad category, encompassing at the very least those who call the Bible a “fake book”…”

    So that means in discussions with you it is fair to lump you in with everyone who believes or believed in the truth of the bible?

    As the prodigy of two apes…

    I am the progeny of two apes, but also like to consider myself a prodigy. 🙂

  142. It doesn’t seem likely that it would be an easy procedure. If it were it would’ve happened already. However, it’s possible that with the help of modern technology in some laboratory somewhere it could be done. I am an extreme libertarian on most issues but this just feels wrong. What would the practical result be? A race of humanoid slaves kept in some warehouse facilities until their organs are harvested. In addition, unintended consequences are frequent, probably more frequent than intended consequences. What if they will turn out to be significantly more intelligent than chimpanzees? They may understand exactly who they are and what is being done to them. What if they turn out to be significantly more intelligent than humans? After all, some hybrids are significantly more robust in some ways then their parents.

  143. I didn’t say the *Church* had done erroneous things, but that some of the leaders of the Church made errors on the order of assuming (before modern embryology) that an early-stage embryo wasn’t alive. In the Middle Ages – people had an excuse for believing this – knowledge of early embryology was limited.

    But, since the collective noun “church” has no means of expressing itself, there are no “church teachings” that aren’t the product of church leaders or doctors of the church.

    So if church leaders have been wrong, then attempting to follow church teachings means that you run the risk of following error.

    Sorry, Fluffy, I acknowledged that *some* church leaders had been wrong about *some* things – but not on such a wide scale, or on such a wide range of issues, as your crowd.

    And in methodological terms, this doesn’t matter at all.

    If some church teachings have been false, we cannot know at any moment in time if the church teaching we are relying on for our analysis is one of those wrong ones. That is, unless you assert for yourself the right to critically examine church teachings, keeping the ones you like and rejecting the ones you don’t like – but that would make you some kind of Protestant, first of all, and would require you to do independent moral analysis, second of all, and independent moral analysis is the bogeyman you’re complaining about, isn’t it?

    And by the way, it’s kind of silly to assert that the Gregorian calendar indicates an interest in science. The Church was only interested in calendars because of its desire to account for feast days and to properly calculate the date of Easter. Saying that this particularist interest reveals a love of science is like saying that the Eucharist is evidence of a love of science, because communion wafers were produced by baking and the baking of bread involves biology, chemistry, structural engineering, botany, whatever.

    Heck, while we’re at it, burning people at the stake reveals a love of science, because it is evidence of an interest in the science of combustion!

  144. “I’m still interested in knowing what *moral* objection the *Reason* staff would have (having abandoned conventional morality and traditional theology) to the creation of subhuman “happy slaves” with low IQ and a cheerful attitude toward serving their more-intelligent masters.”

    The only difference between this hypothetical creature and a dog or a donkey is that it would likely be humanoid enough for people to empathize with. Humans have been using lesser species of animal labor (and food) for as long as we’ve been human, and aside from PeTA and a handful of other fringe groups no one has any moral objections to that arrangement.

  145. “The Pope managed to figure out that eugenics was wrong, when secular philosophers were (at best) all over the map. Then secular philosophers caught up with the Church and discovered that eugenics was wrong all along.

    Now the secular philosophers are wobbling again.”

    Too bad the Pope couldn’t have used that insight, along with his storied international influence, to avert or limit the Second World War?

    What is inherently wrong with Eugenics? People should not be compelled by any higher authority to choose their mates by any criteria but their own, nor should anyone be denied the ability to breed due to perceived genetic shortcomings, but these are issues of abuse of power. The basic idea of Eugenics can be applied voluntarily, and in some cases is, In Vitro fertilization allows people with debilitating congenital disorders to spare their children from their fate. Do you really think it’s more moral to force people to go through multiple miscarriages and loss of infant children?

  146. What if they turn out to be significantly more intelligent than humans? After all, some hybrids are significantly more robust in some ways then their parents.

    Those would be the red-headed ones wearing the snazzy orange suits, correct?

  147. Exham,

    I appreciate the fact that you look to Pope Pius XII as someone with the power to stop WWII.

    And here’s the encyclical of 1930 in which the Pope discussed eugenics.

    http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/pius_xi/encyclicals/documents/hf_p-xi_enc_31121930_casti-connubii_en.html

  148. “. . . I’m not sure that unease can be expressed in terms of an ethical principle.”

    Sure it can. The ethical principle is called “antinatalism,” and it applies to breeding within as well as between species. For more on the ethical case against reproductive freedom, I recommend David Benatar’s singular treatment of the subject, “Better Never to Have Been.” I have also written about how such a principle may may be derived from a libertarian formulation of the harm principle at:

    http://hooverhog.typepad.com/hognotes/2007/06/initial_harm_pa_1.html

  149. “I appreciate the fact that you look to Pope Pius XII as someone with the power to stop WWII.”

    Assume for a moment that I did, what does it say about him that he had that power and chose not to use it?

  150. I once french kissed a female chimp. It was memorable, to say the least. I would not want to go past 2nd base, though.

  151. I would welcome a humanzee into the world, and since when did damn religion become the subject here?! If I fall in love with a chimp, then I will fall in love with him!!!! If we choose to mate then ok. supose another primate inpregnated me, I would proudly keep him or her and say “This is my son (or daughter).” They would be my baby, and should I die, my baby would live with his dad! A humanzee should have the same rights as any human, and the poor primates should be left alone, as they are social, and can communicate with one another, and sometimes even us. Enslaving chimps or humanzees or doing lab tests on them is pure cruelty, it is exactly like racism! If I have a humanzee child, or any child for that matter, then he or she would have the same damn rights as you and me!

  152. With many new announcement about the wizard of oz movies in the news, you might want to consider starting to obtain Wizard of Oz book series either as collectible or investment at RareOzBooks.com.

  153. it’s an idea that is troublesome, but in terms of what particular ethical principle is breached it’s not clear to me. what is wanna say us…………
    http://destinationsoftwareinc.com

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