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EGGS FROM STEM CELLS: SOME POSITIVE AND NEGATIVE ASPECTS OF THE ...

In Transhumanism: A Grimoire of AlchemicalAgendas, Dr Scott de Hart and I pointed out that the basic agenda behind transhumanism, as a philosophical movement or meditation upon humanity's future, seems to be at root fundamentally alchemical, since it follows the path of ascent from animal, to vegetable, to mineral, and finally, to androgynous man. Crucial to this emerging philosophical meditation are the so-called GRIN technologies: Genetics, Robotics, Information-processing, and Nanotechnologies. In that book, we likewise advanced the hypothesis that androgyny, in the ancient myths, was really a symbol for all sorts of chimerical fusions, the very types of fusions we see being advocated by some transhumanists: man-and-animal or "manimals, man-and-plant-, man and machine. Similarly, we advanced the hypothesis that the symbol of androgyny may be a legacy of a high science known in ancient times.

Interestingly enough, it is now being reported that scientists in Japan have successfully synthesized egg cells from stem cells:

Life created from eggs made from skin cells

What it interesting here is that the technology is being sold as being potentially beneficial to humans currently unable, for whatever reason, to have children, or, in some cases, for women wishing to have children after menopause:

"If the technique could be adapted for people, it could help infertile couples have children and even allow women to overcome the menopause."

But we may envision some other possibilities. What is possible today with the synthesization of egg cells, may tomorrow also include sperm cells, allowing infertile or impotent couples to have children...

... or it may allow a much more dubious proposition: the elimination of natural childbirth altogether, and the "production" of humans by those elites possessing the technology to do so. And there are other disturbing possibilities as well, some of which Dr. de Hart and I outlined in our book: what is the status in law of such humans? If the entire process of synthesization is an intellectual property, what of its product? Aspects of current American jurisprudence would argue that such offspring would not be property, while other aspects, particularly of patent law, would argue they are.

We need additionally to consider other problems the emerging technologies are opening up. On this website, and in the book, we have reported that some mice are now being synthesized from not just one, not just two, but three parents, all of which, incidentally, were males in a kind of genetically engineered male parthenogenesis. Suppose now the unthinkable: suppose a human child, make or female, were similarly engineered? If in law it was eventually decided this individual were not somehow "property," whose child would it be? How would inheritance law be adjudicated?

If nothing else, these technologies are advancing faster than our discussion of their social and legal implications. Rest assured, what is being done today with stem cells and eggs will be done tomorrow with stem cells and sperm, and eventually this will all be applied to humans, like it or not. We therefore need to begin the philosophical discussions now.

See you on the flip side.

8 thoughts on “ EGGS FROM STEM CELLS: SOME POSITIVE AND NEGATIVE ASPECTS OF THE ...”

  1. “The organ of reproduction will move from the genitals to the throat chakra – we will sing, or enunciate, other beings like ourselves into existence”.~ Daniel Pinchbeck, from, “2012: The Return of Quetzalcoatl”

  2. GWBush opposed government funded stem cell research, which created an uproar and kick-started a whole discussion of the ethics and wisdom of going down the path, or slippery slope, of playing ‘god’. Other people who opposed any stem cell research were endlessly ridiculed and mocked by the media, which was an altered version of “You are going to be raped. Why resist? Lay down and go along with it.”

    Under the guise of solving male infertility we have this news and a quote from a July 2006 article: Scientists have proved for the first time that sperm grown from embryonic stem cells can be used to produce offspring. “For the first time we have created life using artificial sperm.” said Professor Karim Nayernia.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/5154026.stm

    These well-meaning scientists are going to make it possible to circumvent the serious legal issues by using artificially created life. All human life will be the property of the state. Therefore, no serious legal issues will arise. Problem solved.

    Let us hope and pray the program is not accelerated to the point where any pesky humans living today are eliminated because they either raise too many questions or those who will not accept their genetically altered future,

  3. Should have hit “Reply” in appropriate manner.
    1st part starts below with, “Morality has logic…”
    2nd part continues with, “whenever I read ‘wife'”..

    Inattential blindness is a cognitive illusion as opposed to a visual one, an illusion not of the eyes but of the mind. The failure to notice changes in consecutive scenes, in a film and in everyday life, is called change blindness, and like inattention blindness, is fundamental to illusion.

    Survival is a rare thing, far too valuable to be entrusted to what could be called capricious free will.
    What biologist call ontogency, or the sequence of development of our bodies from a single fertilized egg, is that those immensely complex structures get built without anyone in charge.

    The universe is an illusion. So much so that one could say it is infinite in its deceptiveness. This illusion/deception is systemic in nature throughout. In all capacities & all dimensions. The pieces above are part of those deceptions. Mankind is being led to what Arthur C Clark coin “Childhood’s End”(one of his novel’s title).
    The unhidden “nature” of these deceptions have been “seeded” not only in the very structure of the “universe” , but in “our” seeds, in the vuruses that came here, in the parasute of parasites. It is systemic throughout.
    So the find a slid “moral” compass within these infinite illusions of deception is, I’am afraid a Fool’s Folly.
    The problem is I care very much about these “baby” steps towards “transhumanism. They are being taken too qiuickly and not only without the “real” critical thinking required, the it should be DEMANDED!
    For once we step by the twighlight zone signpost, up ahead, it will be too late.

    1. Logical and insightful, Robert. My cynical side says, we have slipped down the slippery slope too far already. The angle of the slope is getting steeper and slicker. We could end up racing past the ‘signpost’ before we finish reading it.

      The news article noted in my post above occurred over 6 years ago. Yet, here we are still discussing the issues and Dr. Farrell is raising awareness. Good for him.

      DARPA, we bring good things to Life.
      DARPA, where Imagination meets Reality.
      DARPA, your tax dollars at work.

  4. Whenever I read “wife” I see “high maintenance”.

    Some of these “foundation technologists” are saying/And now we’re at this wierd point where, even though we don’t understand everything, in fact most things, about the natural living world, we’re beginning-via technology standardization & powerful paintbrushes, like DNA synthesis-to create and consruct. And so we’re implementing a collapse, of the decoupling; we’re starting to participate and systematically design biological systems. We don’t know necessarily what we’re doing-we’re just going out there and trying it.

    This is basically a simplified version, in my mind’s eye of: I guess, if the only tool you have ia a hammer, every problem is a nail.

    So here again we have realism as seduction, because once you have accepted the reasonable notion that you should base your actions on reality, you are too often led to accept, without much questioning, someone else’s version of what reality is.

    And this is a MAJOR Point:
    It is a crucial act of independent thinking to be skeptical of someone else’s description of reality.
    That said. the following is wild speculation:

  5. Morlality has a logic that exists outside us, and that our moral sense, may have evolved to grasp this moral reality, in the same way that our faculty of depth perception, had to deal with a world, that really is three dimensional.
    There are a new breed of scientis dealing in the new “Foundational Technologies”. But let’s back track way back to a time that is now on the drawing board. Now they are wondering how to synthetically invade a living cell with a trojan message. Remeber viruses with overlapping reading frames use the same bare string basic pairs to code up to three different proteins, an incredible genomic effeciency, which makes their small genomes pack a much larger punch. Now there ia also parasites whose consumption tends to be slow and more internalized within the prey. Now there is a wetiko psychosis that is very contagious and rapidly spreading disease. Whatever we call it, it is a disese of consuming of other creature’ lives and possessions.

    Theses disparate strings will be pulled together later.

    Wife calling.

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