Hambo Shocked by Human-Monkey Hybrids

We can’t find this in any of the scientific journals, but it’s been in the news lately. A typical story is in Newsweek: A Controversial Human-monkey Chimera Has Been Created in China, According to a New Report, which says, with our bold font:

Scientists in China have reportedly created part human, part monkey chimera embryos for the first time. The team hope the technique will bring animals used to grow human organs for transplantation a step closer, Spain’s El Pais newspaper reported.

An international team of scientists working in China genetically modified the embryos of monkeys by turning off the genes which create organs, and then inserted human stem cells. Stem cells are special because they can become another type of cell in the body, such as a nerve of muscle cell. … If successful, scientists could create chimeras which contain organs made of human cells. A chimera is an organism which contains two different sets of DNA.

It should be no surprise that this, ah, abomination has come to the attention of Ken Ham (ol’ Hambo) — the ayatollah of Appalachia, the world’s holiest man who knows more about religion and science than everyone else. He just posted this at the website of Answers in Genesis (AIG), his creationist ministry: Human-Monkey Chimeras Developed in China. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us for emphasis, and occasional Curmudgeonly interjections that look [like this]:

Headlines around the world [He links to this in TheScientist: First Human–Monkey Chimeras Developed in China] announced that an international team of scientists working in China had created human-monkey chimeras. These “chimeras,” grown as embryos, have both human and monkey cells, and the goal is to grow organs able to be transplanted into humans waiting for an organ donor. This kind of research shows a complete and utter disregard for human life on a number of levels and crosses lines I don’t think should be crossed.

Ooooooooooooh! It crosses lines that shouldn’t be crossed! Then he says:

Dr. Georgia Purdom, a molecular geneticist here at Answers in Genesis, sent me her thoughts on this troubling news item:

[Hambo quotes Sweet Georgia Purdom:] The researchers have good intentions in wanting to grow organs in monkeys that could be used for transplant purposes, saving many human lives. However, there appears to be no way to control where the human cells* [Asterisk explained later.] migrate and what organs they are ultimately incorporated into. If they become incorporated into the brain, this raises serious ethical issues. Could these chimeras develop a human consciousness? [Gasp!] It would seem an unwise chance to take.

Those commenting on the research think it’s “unclear” if a human-monkey chimera will fully develop to the point where the organs could be useful for transplant. Their reasoning? The evolutionary distance of “30–40 million years” since humans and monkeys last shared a common ancestor may be too great. From a biblical worldview, our reasoning for the chimeras not developing is very different.

What’s the biblical reason? Sweet Georgia says:

God created animals according to their kind, including several different monkey kinds, but man was made separate and different because man was made in the image of God and given dominion over the animals (Genesis 1:26–28). Monkeys and humans are not the same kind; therefore, a fully developed chimera seems highly unlikely.

It’s worse than that! The human “kind” is so different from all others that growing human organs in a monkey should be as unlikely as growing them in a palm tree! As for that mysterious asterisk after “human cells,” it’s explained at the end of the article:

* Currently available literature is not clear on the source of the cells, but it does not appear to be embryonic stem cells.

Okay, returning to Hambo, he tells us:

Because many — if not most — scientists refuse to recognize that humans are uniquely made in the image of God (Genesis 1:27), and are not animals, they continue to cross and blur ethical lines. [The fools!] But the ends don’t justify the means. Just because the end goal is good (growing organs to transplant for needy individuals) does not make the means justifiable.

But what if it works? Hey — what if Hambo or someone in his family desperately needs an organ transplant, and the only one available was grown in a monkey? Would the organ be refused — even if refusal means an unnecessarily premature death? [Please note: That question was entirely hypothetical. Your Curmudgeon has only benevolent thoughts.] Anyway, Hambo finishes with this:

We need to have an ethic in scientific studies that recognizes the inherent value of human life, including human life that is in the earliest stage of development. In other words, we need to have a truly Christian worldview when examining such issues, based on God’s Word!

But if Hambo’s “truly Christian worldview” means an unnecessarily early death for someone, well, we won’t worry about that until such an option is available.

Copyright © 2019. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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22 responses to “Hambo Shocked by Human-Monkey Hybrids

  1. Christine Marie Janis

    So how come insulin from pigs (or, even worse, these days manufactured by bacteria) works for humans with diabetes?

  2. Only weirded out christANULs could get all silly about a few cells in a monkey! It’s always easy to spot the delusional brainwashed dimwits!

  3. Ooohhh… are already due for a “reimagining” of Platet of the Apes?

    I can’t wait for to hear it’s first words:

    “My grandaddy really WAS an ape!”

  4. Shame Hambo didn’t give a bible reference, I’d be really interested on the bible’s stance on chimeras. Would it be for or against?

  5. The Bible does not speak of a human “kind” (Hebrew min).
    Anything that creationists say about that is a product of their own imagination.

  6. Michael Fugate

    Is Georgia saying that consciousness has a natural cause? I thought consciousness was immaterial, transcendent and god-bestowed – isn’t it up to God who is conscious according to AiG?

  7. “a fully developed chimera seems highly unlikely.”
    Then what’s the problem?
    Though I must admit that the usage of the word “unlikely” is pretty smart. Even YECers are capable of learning!

  8. “The evolutionary distance of “30–40 million years” since humans and monkeys last shared a common ancestor may be too great.”

    Wow! The lack of self awareness is always astonishing when creationists speak! According to the HAMster the Earth is only about 6,000 years old and nothing has ever undergone macroevolution, yet that above quoted statement that they are trying to use to discredit the alleged hybrid claim totally opposes their young Earth views.

    *The hybrid claim is most likely false and/or a major distortion of what was done, if anything was done at all. Remember this has never been confirmed:
    https://www.apnews.com/4997bb7aa36c45449b488e19ac83e86d

  9. Since their favorite god (blessed be his/her/its name) is alleged to have made humans in his/her/its own image, that must mean that their favorite god-thing is a relatively hairless anthropoid primate. Not nearly as cute as Ganesha.

  10. Jason, the Bible (Leviticus IIRC) is pretty clearly against hybrids of any kind, even down to the level of blended fibres in cloth. So it’s a fair bet it would be against this kind of thing

  11. @abestwood
    What do the siilarities to chmps and other apes, more similar than to anything else living on Earth, tell us about the design parameters?
    If the similarities are merely a cosequnce of closeness of descent, it wouldn’t tell us anything about a design goal.

  12. ” … many — if not most — scientists refuse to recognize that humans are uniquely made in the image of God”. That’s quite an understatement. If you limit the field to biologists then Dr Purdom belongs to the 0.1% minority which rejects evolution.

    Breeding animals for human organ transplant using CRISPR gene editing is nothing new. Here is a Feb 2018 article from TIMES describing advanced work using pigs: https://time.com/5159889/why-pig-organs-could-be-the-future-of-transplants/
    I suppose that using monkeys is even more hideous to creationists.

  13. @hans435
    If I accept the scientific exposition of reproduction, does that exclude belief in being a creature of God?
    How does a creationist deal with that? An advocate of ID?
    What is more important, the individual or the “kind”?

  14. @TomS
    Hard questions. I am not really qualified to answer them, but this is my personal opinion:
    “If I accept the scientific exposition of reproduction, does that exclude belief in being a creature of God?”
    I assume you mean the historical development of humans through the process of evolution. No, there are lots of religious scientists out there who don’t have a problem reconciling evolution with being a creature of God..
    “How does a creationist deal with that? An advocate of ID?”
    For the YE creationist evolution is out of question. The literal interpretation of a 6,000 year old universe doesn’t allow for evolution anyway.
    ID is not constrained by literal Bible reading, Common descent and evolution are not radically denied, as long as God directly intervenes.
    “What is more important, the individual or the “kind”?”
    For the religious person the individual is of prime importance. For the evolutionary biologist it will be the survival of the species.

  15. chris schilling

    The best argument against creationism is the paucity of chimeras in a state of nature. If a god can create anything he likes, with no constraints, then we should see freaky hybrids, like the Harpies and minotaurs out of Greek mythology.

    Instead, we see organisms entirely compatible with descent with modification.

  16. @chris schilling
    The argument from the improbability of the order of nature tells us that there are too many natural possibilities and only one actual result.
    As you point out, if one is not restricted to natural causes, the number of possibilities is increased, not descreased. The probability is less!
    To appeal to the supernatural is to make an own goal. If one wants to make the probability of life greater, one should look to ways of decreasing the possible outcomes, for example by restricting the number of possible chemical reactions. Not by invoking possibilities without limit.
    Nature can make life in only so many ways. God can make life in uncounted ways, which means that the probability of things turning out as they are far less under the God hypothesis. No one can limit the acts of God.

  17. “Surely, God could have caused birds to fly with their bones made of solid gold, with their veins full of quicksilver, with their flesh heavier than lead, and with their wings exceedingly small.”
    Galileo

  18. @Christine Marie Janis:

    So how come insulin from pigs (or, even worse, these days manufactured by bacteria) works for humans with diabetes?

    Because both the pigs and the bacteria are chimeras with the human gene for insulin inserted (in the pigs’ case, replacing the porcine version).
    Which doesn’t address the issue of whether monkey-human chimeras should be created to allow for harvesting their organs for transplantation into humans.

    God created animals according to their kind, including several different monkey kinds, but man was made separate and different because man was made in the image of God and given dominion over the animals (Genesis 1:26–28). Monkeys and humans are not the same kind; therefore, a fully developed chimera seems highly unlikely.

    Personally, I find such efforts ethically and morally dubious. that, However, doesn’t mean they couldn’t succeed, as Ham and Purdom insist.

  19. @Eric Lipps, I don’t think there was ever any involvement of transgenic pigs in insulin production (do you have a reference?). For many years, pig insulin extracted from slaughtered pigs’ pancreas was used as a source of insulin, which is how it came about that a Dutch meat exporter merged with a pharmaceutical company to give rise to what eventually became Akzo, as in AkzoNobel.

    I think that Christine is making a point with which you would certainly agree; the ability of pigs to make insulin not too different from ours, and of bacteria to apply their metabolic pathways to the expression of a grafted-in gene for insulin production, shows the unity of living things, in sharp contrast to the view that humankind is a separate creation.

  20. Christine Marie Janis

    Thanks, Paul, precisely what I meant!

  21. @Paul Braterman
    Your observations seem appropriate.
    Yet I cannot help mentioning that there is so much showing the bodily relationship among living things, including humans: the food that we
    eat, and we are eaten by and parasized by.

  22. @hans435
    Yes, I agree.
    I mention the importance of the
    Individual because it seems to me that so much of the creationist rhetoric against evolution is actually relevant, insofar as to anything, to the individual, not the population. Yet the creationist does not object to the scientific explanation of reproduction.
    Many of the creationist arguments were actually used in the 18th century against the reality of reproduction: the
    Watchmaker, irreducible complexity etc.