The Corner

World

China Turns Against ‘Rogue’ Gene Engineer

Scientist He Jiankui attends the International Summit on Human Genome Editing at the University of Hong Kong in Hong Kong, China, November 28, 2018. (Reuters/Stringer)

Engaging in biotechnological and other medical research in China can free one from normal ethical concerns. After all, this is the country that has allowed imprisoned Falun Gong practitioners to be tissue-typed and killed for their organs, which are purchased for big bucks by complicit outsiders who don’t want to wait in the triage line.

But it isn’t necessarily safe. The brag by Chinese scientist He Jiankui (known once-affectionately in the research and bioethics communities as JK) that he genetically engineered twins to knock out a gene associated with HIV infection, has blown up in his face instead of leading to a Nobel Prize.

Worse (for him), it made China look bad. So, the tyranny is wielding the hammer, pretending that JK broke laws and esteemed ethics protocols while engaging in this research.  From the Xinhuanet story:

Chinese authorities on Thursday ordered suspending research activities of persons involved in the gene-edited babies incident, denouncing the matter as “extremely abominable in nature” and in violation of Chinese laws and science ethics.

The gene-edited twins matter reported by the media has brazenly violated Chinese laws and regulations and breached the science ethics bottom line, which is both shocking and unacceptable, Xu Nanping, vice minister of the Ministry of Science and Technology, told Xinhua.

Moral of the story: Don’t embarrass tyrants!

Ditto “the scientists” and their enablers in bioethics, who screamed and yelled at JK at a big international PR symposia in Hong Kong long planned to move the research forward into the next stage. In reality, they are not upset about what JK did, but rather, about when he did it.

The plan has always been to permit genetic engineering. They just wanted to go through the usual Kabuki-theater process of supposed hand-wringing about ethics to make us, the great unwashed, believe all was under control.

But even that pretense might be collapsing. A noted bioethicist came to JK’s defense in Science. Meanwhile, our friend Rod Dreher has reported that the dean of Harvard Medical School wants to go full speed ahead into genetic engineering now.

Moral objections to manufacturing human life? What moral objections? Safety? Oh, pshaw. We’ve had enough animal testing. Let’s get on to Brave New World!

And what’s to stop them? The technology has dramatically outpaced the governance. There are few binding U.S. rules governing this research and almost a total paucity of international protocols. That means that the ethical parameters of the most powerful technology since the splitting of the atom research could well be reduced to the lowest common national denominator.

Most Popular

Immigration

Angela Rye Knows You’re Racist

The political philosopher Michael Oakeshott said that the “rationalist” is hopelessly lost in ideology, captivated by the world of self-contained coherence he has woven from strands of human experience. He concocts a narrative about narratives, a story about stories, and adheres to the “large outline which ... Read More
Immigration

What the Viral Border-Patrol Video Leaves Out

In an attempt to justify Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s absurd comparison of American detention facilities to Holocaust-era concentration camps, many figures within the media have shared a viral video clip of a legal hearing in which a Department of Justice attorney debates a panel of judges as to what constitutes ... Read More
Politics & Policy

Pro-Abortion Nonsense from John Irving

The novelist has put up a lot of easy targets in his New York Times op-ed. I am going to take aim at six of his points, starting with his strongest one. First: Irving asserts that abortion was legal in our country from Puritan times until the 1840s, at least before “quickening.” That’s an overstatement. ... Read More
Film & TV

Murder Mystery: An Old Comedy Genre Gets Polished Up

I  like Adam Sandler, and yet you may share the sense of trepidation I get when I see that another of his movies is out. He made some very funny manboy comedies (Billy Madison, Happy Gilmore, The Waterboy) followed by some not-so-funny manboy comedies, and when he went dark, in Reign over Me and Funny People, ... Read More