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.
On this ID the Future, Icons of Evolution author Jonathan Wells sat down with host and fellow biologist Ray Bohlin at the August 2021 Insiders’ Briefing near Seattle to discuss some fresh discoveries into the workings of the human genome detailed in a recent article in the journal Axios, “Diving into the Genome’s Uncharted Territories.” As the article details, researchers continue to discover important functions in the noncoding regions of the human genome, once regarded by evolutionists as junk DNA. Wells and Bohlin explore the exciting new findings and some of their implications for modern evolutionary theory and intelligent design.
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.