On today’s ID the Future, bioethicist Wesley J. Smith explores a recent article in the journal Nature, “The Alarming Rise of Complex Genetic Testing in Human Embryo Selection.” As alarming as that title sounds, Smith says the reality is even worse than the Nature article suggests. Using the breakthrough technology known as CRISPR, scientists are not only altering the genes of a given creature, including humans, but are even altering the creature’s germline. This threatens to permanently alter a species, Smith explains, including the human species. There’s the question of whether we have the right play god in this way, of course. There’s also the practical issue of scientists not really knowing what they are doing yet. A gene identified as having a certain negative effect and therefore targeted for elimination, Smith says, could turn out to also have a positive effect that was only discovered after the gene was eliminated. This precise scenario may have occurred in a case in China involving human beings. Tune in to learn more, and check out Smith’s new podcast, Humanize.Show.
On today’s ID the Future, bioethicist Wesley J. Smith makes the case for passionate opposition to, and stricter bioethical regulations against germline genetic engineering that changes not only the genetics of the subject but also of all that subject’s descendants. He and episode host Casey Luskin discuss germline genetic editing in China, the brouhaha that ensued when the experimental work by He Jiankui came to light, and why Smith is convinced that China’s disapproving response is less than it appears on the surface. He’s convinced, he explains, that the Chinese government wasn’t upset that the Chinese scientist conducted the experiment. They surely knew about his work and allowed it, Smith says. Rather, they and the scientific establishment internationally were upset that Jiankui went public before the public had been softened up to embrace germline genetic editing with lots of talk about how it will save lives. Smith argues the health benefits being pursued can be achieved without permanently altering the germlines, and he warns of a brave new world of eugenics pursued using CRISPR technology and germline editing. As he explains, it’s not just that germline editing could lead to unintended health consequences, or that such changes could work their way into the human population long term. It’s also that the eugenics mindset driving much of this experimental work threatens to undermine the foundational belief that all humans possess inherent dignity and worth, not just those humans who are genetically edited and enhanced. The occasion for the conversation is Smith’s bioethics chapter in the recently released anthology from Harvest House Publishers, The Comprehensive Guide to Science and Faith.
Today’s ID the Future again spotlights The Comprehensive Guide to Science and Faith. Historian Richard Weikart and host Casey Luskin discuss Weikart’s contribution to the new anthology, his essay “How Evil Has Been Done in the Name of Science.” As Weikart explains, over the past century and a half, science has been misused to fuel racist policies and undermine human rights. Darwinian ideas helped lay the groundwork for Nazi ideology in Germany. And we shouldn’t imagine the problem was restricted to Nazi Germany. Scientific racism also reared its head in the United States, including in the long-running and infamous Tuskegee syphilis experiment. More broadly, a marriage of scientism and evolutionary thinking continues to undermine the idea of inherent human worth and dignity, Weikart notes, even among thinkers who likely would reject scientific racism.
On this new episode of ID the Future, The Price of Panic co-author and philosopher Jay Richards hosts bioethicist Wesley J. Smith to discuss a Tweet from Physics-Astronomy.org. The Tweet read, “Imagine a world ruled by scientists, not politicians.” The drift of the Tweet was, wouldn’t rule by scientists be wonderful! Smith immediately threw up a great big “Don’t go there” sign at the Epoch Times. As Smith and Richards emphasize, such an approach to governance would be disastrous, and would actually be anti-science. It would tend to corrupt the practice of science, thrust scientific specialists into positions calling for generalist skills, and further the arrogant mistake that is scientism—the view not only that nature is all there is, but also that science is the be all and end all of human wisdom. As Richards and Smith go on to emphasize, political leaders definitely should have the humility to take into account scientific insights; it’s just that they shouldn’t stop there. They also have to factor in insights from economics, law, ethics, and other fields. Richards and Smith use the response to the coronavirus pandemic as a case in point. Smith’s latest book is Culture of Death: The Age of ‘Do Harm’ Medicine.
On this classic ID the Future, hear more from bioethicist Wesley J. Smith about The War on Humans. In this episode of the series, hear about the legal movement to establish legal rights for animals, and even plants. Smith examines the meaning of the term “personhood” and its implications for human rights.
On this episode of ID the Future, bioethicist Wesley J. Smith exposes the horror of “Medically Assistance in Dying” (MAi/D) in Canada. Worse than physician-assisted suicide, this is medical homicide. Hospitals are even advertising it. Doctors in at least one province have no choice but to be complicit in these killings, or else leave their specialties or even quit medicine altogether. Will MAiD come to America, too?
On this episode of ID the Future, bioethicist Wesley J. Smith speaks with host Dean Abbott about the arrival of human cloning. While significant barriers remain that will slow its development as far as human-cloned babies and adults, ethical constraints still depend only on scientists’ restraint — a “thin reed to stand on.” Human cloning research is underway even now, under cover of scientific jargon to obscure what’s going on, Smith says. Are we ready for this? Please consider donating to support the IDTF Podcast.
On this episode of ID The Future, host Tod Butterfield talks with Discovery Senior Fellow Wesley J. Smith about the use and abuse of Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis (PGD) in China. Smith delves into the initially humane reasons for PGD, but notes how PGD is being used to advance the dark agenda of eugenics. Smith argues that the international community needs to take a leading role in defending the dignity of all human life. Otherwise, he says, China—with its abhorrent record on human rights—may set the standard for the rest of the world.
On this episode of ID The Future, Sarah Chaffee talks with bioethicist Wesley Smith about the gene-editing technique known as CRISPR. Smith describes it briefly and discusses its larger implication for bioethics.
On this episode of ID the Future Joshua Youngkin concludes his discussion on the new book & documentary film The War on Humans with the book’s author, Wesley J. Smith. In the fourth and final segment of the series, Smith discusses the impact of Darwinism on bioethics and human rights and why we need to take the anti-humanism movement seriously.