Lying Their Way to Brave New World

Apparently the UK government wants to push 3-parent IVF. But fearing an adverse public reaction to genetically modifying progeny, is trying to hide what they are doing. But some scientists have called foul. From the Independent story:

The move, buried within a Department of Health document published last week, is designed to take the sting out of hostility towards mitochondrial donation – a process that aims to avoid the certain inherited diseases being passed on by using healthy mitochondria (microscopic structures in the cell) taken from a donor egg or embryo. Opponents believe that using the healthy donor mitochondria will result in “three-parent embryos” and could usher in an era of “designer babies” and “genetically modified children”.

The Government admits it has decided to adopt “a working definition [of ‘GM’] for the purpose of taking forward these regulations” but scientists believe that the redefinition of GM is dishonest. They also warn it could undermine public trust in medical experts arguing for its introduction in the UK, the only country where it will be permitted in law if legislation is passed.

To be sure, on these–among too many other issues–our governments cannot be trusted.

Lies by government officials particularly serve as the lubricant that furthers our steady advance toward Brave New World. For example, Senators Feinstein and Hatch have twice filed legislation to “ban” human cloning, but they used a false definition to the effect that had the legislation passed, it would have actually legalized the act of human cloning. From one of my 2007 piece, “Cloning Doubletalk:”

Feinstein and Hatch mendaciously named S. 812 the “Human Cloning Ban and Stem Cell Protection Act of 2007.” How can a bill to legalize human cloning be instead called a ban? Through the time-tested method of disingenuous legislating–the bogus definition.

Here’s a rarely discussed truth: Key words and terms in legislation mean only what a bill’s authors say they mean, rather than their actual definitions. If a dung beetle was defined in legislation as a butterfly, for the purposes of that bill, the dung beetle would be a butterfly. Which is essentially what S. 812 does. It defines the term “human cloning” inaccurately and unscientifically so that Feinstein and Hatch can pretend their bill will outlaw human cloning.

The bill lied by defining cloning as the “implanting” of the “product of SCNT”, e.g., a cloned embryo, when the actual act of cloning is the act of SCNT:

This definition is pure bunk. Implantation is no more human cloning then implanting an embryo created via IVF is human fertilization. Rather, implantation is one potential use of the embryo created through human cloning. The bill’s definition is junk biology. The point being to allow Senators Feinstein and Hatch to pretend that they are banning human cloning when their bill actually legalizes it.

No, when it comes to Brave New World–with the money and ideological implications–our politicians cannot be trusted.

Scientists are the good guys of the UK story, properly pushing for truth in advertising. But that is often not the case. When it comes to human cloning, some scientists lie through their teeth in the popular media, while accurately describing the process in science journals. Science mendaciously is also found in public presentations about human cloning.

Oh, and let’s not let the media off the hook, examples of which could be linked all the day long.

Opening the door to Brave New World will have tremendous public consequences, many adverse, some positive. If we are going to be respectful of democratic governance, we need an honest, open, and candid debate.

But that is precisely what too many politicians, bureaucrats, technocrats, scientists, and members of the media want to deny us.

Wesley J. Smith — Wesley J. Smith is a senior fellow at the Discovery Institute’s Center on Human Exceptionalism.

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