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 this ID the Future, host Wesley J. Smith talks with polymath and Human Nature author David Berlinski about the philosophy of mathematics, the corruption of science, the burning of Notre Dame, modern Europe’s curious incapacity to build graceful, beautiful structures, and what’s driving the devolution of Western society. But before any of that, Berlinski relates the dramatic story of how his parents, European Jews, escaped the Nazis only by the skin of their teeth. This is Part 1 of a two-part conversation borrowed with permission from Wesley J. Smith’s Humanize podcast.
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.
On this episode of ID the Future, mathematician, polymath, and Discovery Institute Senior Fellow David Berlinski concludes a two-part conversation with Jonathan Witt about Berlinski’s new book Human Nature. Today he talks about what we’ve sadly lost from the West, disputing secularists’ optimistic claims that we’re less violent than the medievals were. From his home next door to Notre Dame Cathedral, he also muses on the cathedral fire and contemporary France’s inability to build anything like the great cathedral. Re-construct, yes — though even that may lie beyond the collective will of France. Create, no.Read More ›
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.Read More ›
On this episode of ID The Future, Casey Luskin talks with ARN Executive Director Dennis Wagner on the Access Research Network’s Top 10 Science Stories of 2011. Gaining top honors on the list was the publication of the 50th peer-reviewed pro-ID scientific paper. Biomemetics, the field of science where man tries to mimic designs found in nature, made the top 10 list again this year with inventors from Harvard building a prototype butterfly and researchers in China reverse-engineering the woodpecker in order to build a better shock-absorbing system. Tune in to find out what else made science headlines in 2011.Read More ›