Giving Human Evolution a Hand
by Christine Dao *
Although the jury is still out on the creation/evolution debate in the scientific and public policy arenas, media and pop culture present evolutionary assumptions and theories as though they were scientific fact in everything from casual references to featured articles. A recent issue of U.S. News & World Report offered a series of articles on the current state of human evolution, including related scientific advancements.
One U.S. News story titled “What Will Human Beings Become?”1 cites how some parents are using DNA testing to choose the genetic makeup of their children, selecting embryos with desirable traits and rejecting (aborting) those that have perceived flaws. Another article, “Will ‘Upgrades’ Enhance Our Bodies?,” discusses the possibility of “neural implants, wearable robotics, and brain-tweaking software to become smarter, stronger, and faster.” 2 A third article, “How Did Life on Earth Get Started?,”3 features speculations about how life began on our planet, as well as attempts to re-create life from scratch.
Despite the “advances” summarized in each article, little is mentioned regarding the value of human life. Rather than taking steps towards curing current diseases, some scientists are offering people the option to do away with premature life even on such superficial pretexts as an undesirable gender. Bioethicist Thomas Murray of the Hastings Center told U.S. News, “The traits that people most value…being smart, being kind, being a successful competitor—are the ones least likely to be determined by a few tweakable genes. For that kind of control over the next generation, it still takes good old-fashioned nurturing, teaching, and love,”1 traits for which evolutionary theory still cannot account.
Researchers in the new field of neuroengineering are hoping to help people with brain damage and other disorders through the development of neuron implants and prosthetics. The Defense Advanced Research Projects has also provided 75 million dollars for the development of armored versions for the battlefield. “In the process, neuroengineers are learning how hard it is to duplicate nature, let alone do it one better,” the U.S. News article stated.2 So, while some geneticists are trying to assist the natural selection process by weeding out “undesirable” unborn children, bioengineers are trying to make advances to ensure the survival of people currently suffering from other “undesirable” traits. The work in one field seems to counter that of the other.
And scientists continue to try to re-enact the evolutionary processes that created life. “According to scientists, life began when chemistry begat biology—that is, when simple molecules assembled into more complex molecules that then began to self-replicate,” U.S. News reported.3 Researchers are still attempting to jump-start life in a laboratory, even though it has been empirically falsified by decades of failed experiments. “[Rocks] that might harbor traces of such genesis events simply don’t exist…. During Earth’s opening act, space debris and cataclysmic volcanic upheavals destroyed the evidence, like an arsonist torching his tracks,” U.S. News stated.3 But even an arsonist will inadvertently leave behind clues that point careful investigators to arson. These researchers spend their time and resources in trying to create life, based merely on the unsubstantiated belief that “it must have arisen naturally,” rather than putting their efforts into developing ways to preserve and improve the quality of the life that the planet currently has.
If neo-Darwinian evolutionary theory is true, then humanity’s quest for scientific advancement is moot, since the end result will always be death. We as a human race are not evolving into a higher species. If anything, we are fighting a desperate battle merely to maintain the life that is already here. Such a battle has merit, if human life has worth. We won’t find this valuing of life, however, in a belief in “survival of the fittest.” The Bible is still the only documented record that gives a historical and spiritual basis for the innate value and purpose of human life. “For God so loved world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”4
- Shute, N. 2008. What Will Human Beings Become? U.S. News & World Report. 145 (3): 40.
- Shute, N., Will “Upgrades” Enhance Our Bodies?, ibid, 42.
- Vastag, B., How Did Life on Earth Get Started?, ibid, 43.
- John 3:16.
* Ms. Dao is Assistant Editor.
Article posted on August 22, 2008.