Just for the Hate of It
WASHINGTON, July 28, 2006 (LifeSiteNews.com) – In an op ed piece in the LA Times, David P. Barash, a professor of psychology at the University of Washington, says that reproductive facilities should work towards creating a race of human/chimpanzee hybrids, but, he admits, only because it would offend Christians.
Some geneticists have postulated that their distant evolutionary ancestors may have interbred with those of chimps, and Barash argues that this means there is no moral difference between a human being and a chimpanzee, or indeed, between a human being and a sea sponge.
The psychology professor looks forward to the day when IVF facilities will create human/animal hybrids. He reveals, however, that his motivation is not a pure interest in advancing science, but his hatred for “know-nothing anti-evolutionism,” and “religious fundamentalists,” who hold human life to be sacred.
Barash says he advocates interbreeding humans with animals not because it would be a good idea in itself, but because it would offend believers. “In these dark days of know-nothing anti-evolutionism,” he writes, “with religious fundamentalists occupying the White House, controlling Congress and attempting to distort the teaching of science in our schools, a powerful dose of biological reality would be healthy indeed.”Does this guy know what “fundamentalist” actually means? In any case, George Bush is a Methodist, for crying out loud. I am afraid that “fundamentalist” has been redefined twice in the public arena. First off, the term is spread outside of Christianity to lump crazed suicide bombers with the Wheaton College English Department. Secondly, the degraded term is then applied not only to genuine fundamentalist Christians – like the unjustly-maligned Southern Baptist Convention, say – but to anyone who happens to believe Christianity is true, like a Methodist.
Barash says that creating animal/human hybrids would effectively quash the belief that “the human species, unlike all others, possesses a spark of the divine and that we therefore stand outside nature.”
“Should geneticists and developmental biologists succeed once again in joining human and nonhuman animals in a viable organism,” Barash writes, “it would be difficult and perhaps impossible for the special pleaders to maintain the fallacy that Homo sapiens is uniquely disconnected from the rest of life.”
(Read the whole article on LifeSiteNews.)
That is just bad theology. For heaven’s sake, many cultures used to believe in shape-changers and werewolves. Some Christians today probably believe the little grey aliens are making human-alien hybrids (more than a bit nutty, but I don’t think it directly affects their status as Christians). Those beliefs aren’t qualitatively different than Dr. Barash’s human-animal hybrids. Nobody ever thought those ideas had any implications for man being created in the imago Dei. Also, I’m not sure where human uniqueness in spiritual terms disconnects us from the rest of life. After all, it's through the incarnation of Christ as man that all creation is to be reconciled to God – not just people (Rom. 8:22-23).
There seems to be a level of hatred in our current society unlike anything I remember before – it seems to go way beyond Bush Derangement Syndrome to an absolute hatred of all things traditional. In political terms, I recall how lots of people couldn’t stand Nixon, but nobody ever publicly advocated shooting him. I and a lot of other conservatives had a lot of antipathy toward Bill Clinton, but I don’t think many people hated him in any real sense of the word. Heck, he’d probably be a fun guy to drink beer with.
It also goes way beyond traditional religious animosity. Many Americans, myself included, are pretty wary of and hostile towards Islam these days, but hatred? The only people throwing pig heads into mosques are overaged Beavis and Butthead types who think it’s funny. The people I know who directly interact with Moslems are missionaries, not klansmen. Closer to home, I take a lot of potshots at the Episcopal bishops on this very blog, but I feel sorry for them more than I hate them.
(Jud 1:17-23, RSV)