Responding to the horrific suggestions of a modern academic
Dr David P. Barash is an accomplished academic and prolific writer, holding a Ph.D. in zoology. He is an emeritus professor of psychology at the University of Washington. Dr Barash was included in 2006 on a list of ‘the 101 Most Dangerous Academics in America’ by conservative writer David Horowitz.1
A heinous experiment
Horowitz’ concern was not unfounded, as we will see shortly. Barash recently published an article in the Darwinist science magazine Nautilus entitled, “It’s Time to Make Human-Chimp Hybrids: The humanzee is both scientifically possible and morally defensible.” His article is an adapted chapter from his upcoming book Through a Glass Brightly, whose very title is a jab against Christians by playing on the King James text of 1 Corinthians 13:12 ( … “For now we see through a glass, darkly”)2
Reading the article, one cannot help but feel Barash’s seething hatred of the Bible, and so-called ‘fundamentalist’ Christians in particular. For example, he lambasts Christians for their “nonsensical insistence that human beings are uniquely created in God’s image and endowed with a soul.” Is it this hatred alone that motivates Barash’s horrific suggestion to use genetic engineering to cross humans with chimpanzees?
Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it. And those who fail to see the poisonous ideas filtering through academia are doomed to be subjected to the consequences of those ideas once they are put into practice.
Learning from past mistakes
This is the situation we are once again facing in the Western world. The 20th century was undoubtedly the bloodiest century yet in world history (save perhaps the time of the Flood!), and it all started with poisonous ideas. Darwin’s theories ‘liberated’ academia from all vestiges of God’s role as Creator, as well as humanity’s role as the only life on Earth made in the image of God. Morality was now without a basis and became very fluid (as we are seeing today more and more). With this acidic ideology in the highest institutions, it was only a matter of time before people, and governments, began to act on these principles. As a result, we saw the atrocities of the Nazi and Soviet regimes, and many others besides.
Today, in the 21st century, we have sadly learned very little from this history. Politicians piously say ‘never again’ when talking about this tragic past, yet they have no idea what caused it to happen in the first place, so there is little chance of them preventing it from repeating.
Barash begins his article by repeating the old and thoroughly-refuted myth that humans and chimpanzees share 99% of their genetics. It is based on this pseudo-science that Barash goes on to giddily imagine the possibility of creating a living hybrid between humans and apes.
What is the lofty scientific goal of this project? Why, nothing other than to poke a finger in the eye of God Himself, of course! Barash actually says that creating a monstrosity in this way would somehow invalidate the Christian worldview, proving once and for all that humans are not special. Barash writes:
“I propose that the fundamental take-home message of such creation would be to drive a stake into the heart of that destructive disinformation campaign of discontinuity, of human hegemony over all other living things … How could even the most determinedly homo-centric, animal-denigrating religious fundamentalist maintain that God created us in his image and that we and we alone harbor a spark of the divine, distinct from all other life forms, once confronted with living beings that are indisputably intermediate between human and non-human?”2
His atheopathic3 urge to genetically meddle with humanity, however, is nothing new, considering Genesis 6 with its account of the Nephilim (and what God did as a result!)4. Far from disproving the Bible, Barash’s experiment, were it to succeed, would prove nothing except the dangers of wayward thinking in academia. It is unclear what would result—would humanzees be disabled/disfigured humans, or would they be animals? A crude form of this experiment has already been attempted. The Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin instructed his scientists to create a breed of superwarriors by impregnating chimps with human sperm. Of course, it failed.
The question naturally arises: how can it be moral to knowingly create a potentially disabled person or even a creature, especially since he places creatures on an equal footing with mankind? Barash, who ironically has also written extensively on the topic of world peace, had this to say in response to this anticipated objection:
“It is at least arguable that the ultimate benefit of teaching human beings their true nature would be worth the sacrifice paid by a few unfortunates.”
This was likely the type of justification that would have been bandied about by Nazi scientists in the concentration camps who were performing heinous experiments on the Jews.
How can this kind of talk be tolerated in our universities? It is a logical consequence of Darwinism, the ‘universal acid’, as atheist Daniel Dennett called it, eating through every aspect of our foundations as a civilization, including morality. And why? Because one’s views about origins ultimately provides the basis for one’s worldview. It is hypocritical that Barash endeavors to lecture his readers on morality while he makes statements such as the above. Can there be anything more evil than suggesting we breed disabled monsters for the sole purpose of creating an antireligious talking point?
Barash’s materialistic, atheistic worldview provides no foundation for morality, or any sense of human conscious choice.5 In his article, Barash betrays no hint that he is conscious of these internal inconsistencies in his thought, as he portrays himself as championing a moral high ground, and human scientists as if they have the ability to make free, rational choices. These represent clear failures of the atheistic worldview to account for reality as it is, and present an opportunity for Christians to demonstrate the better way.
Humans are not animals
Barash claims that there is nothing unique or special about humanity that sets us apart from the animals. In spite of his attempts at elephant-hurling, though, he is manifestly wrong6. Just to cite a few examples: humans make music (animals don’t), humans read and write (animals don’t), humans make creative works of art (animals don’t—not counting, of course, when humans train them to play with paintbrushes or the like), and humans are able to use complex abstract concepts like mathematics, as pointed out in an aptly-timed article from our own Creation magazine.7
That these ideas can be seriously entertained shows how far we have fallen from the Christian roots of our society, and it is a stark indicator of what can result if we do not turn from this path—and quickly. God’s Word is proven true once more: “For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools … ” (Rom 1:21-22). Maranatha (“O Lord, come”)!
References and notes
- Horowitz, D., The Professors: The 101 Most Dangerous Academics in America, Regnery Publishing, Washington, 2006. Return to text.
- Barash, D., It’s Time to Make Human-Chimp Hybrids: The humanzee is both scientifically possible and morally defensible, nautil.us, 8 March 2018. Return to text.
- A term, coined by Jonathan Sarfati, which emphasizes the unnatural, or pathological, nature of denying God’s existence. Return to text.
- This has been a controversial issue among Christians for centuries, as covered in chapter 9 of the Creation Answers Book, with the most common alternate view being referred to as the Sethite view. I agree with the position set forth by Jonathan Sarfati in The Genesis Account as well as Gary Bates in Alien Intrusion, that the intended meaning of the text is that fallen angels created the Nephilim with human women; however, we at CMI understand that there is a diversity of opinions on this topic. Return to text.
- Meaning free choice in the context of the philosophical debate between deterministic materialism (belief in only atoms acting according to the laws of physics) versus the belief in a supernatural soul and ‘agent causation’. Return to text.
- Barash writes: “There is an immense pile of evidence already demonstrating continuity, including but not limited to physiology, genetics, anatomy, embryology, and paleontology…” One can only wonder to what ‘evidence’ he is intending to refer here, given his demonstrated propensity to trot out old refuted arguments in support of his view. Return to text.
- Christie, D. and Grigg, R. What Humans do but animals don’t, Creation 40(2):52-53 (April – June 2018). Return to text.