Human Exceptionalism

Anything Goes Crowd of Scientism is at it Again

Nature is supposed to be a science journal. But in a new editorial, it strays into promoting radical individualistic and transhumanistic philosophy–although it doesn’t use the name–which would unleash scientists to “play god” and intelligently design the natural world into a place of their own imagining.

The case of the “man” having a baby is the pretext–meaning that at least symbolically, it is a more important matter than I had at first thought. The editorialist sets out to deconstruct the concept of the importance of “natural” (no link available), and in the process demonstrates how fervently the leadership of the science intelligentsia embrace the brave new world ethos of “anything goes:”

Beatie, who was born female (and participated in beauty pageants), underwent hormone treatment and some gender-reassignment surgery ten years ago, but retained his reproductive organs. He stopped taking hormones so that he and his wife, who cannot bear children, could pursue artificial insemination.
Several doctors turned them down, but last week, the world watched as a baby-faced man [reality check: she is a woman biologically] with a thin beard and a growing paunch [reality check: that was not a paunch, it is the early female showing of pregnancy] went for an ultrasound: the fetus was a girl. Oprah Winfrey was supportive as she nursed the nervous Beatie through a discussion of his personal realizations. So was the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. But other reactions were vitriolic, as when MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough repeatedly commented that he was “going to be sick”. [Scarborough could have avoided the upset if he simply recognized that no man was having a baby.]
And yet, when we consider this story with the reasoning parts of our brains, exactly what was so ‘unnatural’? The longing to have a baby? That is a profoundly human desire, whether the prospective parents are male, female or transgendered. Or is it that Beatie has acted on his certainty that he is a man who happened to be born without a Y chromosome?
Biologists have found that gender-straddling and gender-switching behaviours are not at all uncommon in the ‘natural’ world, either for humans or non-human animals. True, modern biotechnology has considerably raised the stakes, and is allowing humans to manipulate their biological make-up to an ever-increasing degree. But it hasn’t fundamentally changed the game. And its applications, however unsettling they may be to some people, are not, by definition, ‘unnatural’.

Notice how the editorialist uses the Beatie case as a battering ram to break down all barriers to scientific manipulations, including creating scenarios that would truly be something new under the sun. Make no mistake: The editorial was written in the service of an agenda that seeks to shred society’s ability to establish norms. Or, at the very least, the agenda is determined to shred existing norms so that “the scientists” would be freed to manipulate nature into any configuration their imaginations could conjure–so long as it doesn’t warm the planet, of course.

The late philosopher Joseph Fletcher absolutely revelled in such deconstructive approaches–anything to break down the barriers and destroy Judeo/Christian civilization–the true enemy being railed against by the brave new worlders. Fletcher brought us situational ethics which quickly slouched into relativism. And twenty years ago he advocated surgical and hormonal interventions so as to permit a biological man to give birth:

[T]ransplant or replacement medicine foresees the day, after the automatic rejection of alien tissue is overcome, when a uterus can be implanted in a human male’s body–his abdomen has spaces–and gestation started by artificial fertilization and egg transfer. Hypogonadism could be used to stimulate milk from the man’s rudimentary breasts–men too have mammary glands. If surgery could not construct a cervical canal the delivery could be effected by a Caesarean section and the male or transsexualized mother could nurse his own baby

So, this is the game that is afoot. And it is promoted either knowingly, like Nature’s editorialist does, or unknowingly–as in the destructive Oprah, who just wants everyone to feel good. But if we are not careful, we will live in a society that is both libertine in its permissiveness for any kind of “self expression” imaginable–meaning no society at all–while also harshly utilitarian, as in futile care theory, euthanasia both voluntary and non, redefining death to permit the harvesting of organs from the cognitively devastated–and other culture of death agendas accepted by many among the same anything goes crowd that seeks to do away with anything smacking of the “natural” or “normal.”