Brownback’s anti-humanzee legislation

Humanzee coverUpdate July 2009: The text of this post below refers to legislation introduced by Brownback in the previous Congress. He’s done it again this year — this time with a number of co-sponsors in the Senate. I may have more to post on this later, if I see anything new on this that’s worth posting.
In Ligers, Tigons, and Zonkeys, Oh My! [2008 FRC Web post no longer available], Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council writes:

Over the past few years, plenty of animal hybrids have been coaxed into existence, including wholphins (whale and dolphin), lepjags (leopard and jaguar), and a pizzly (polar and grizzly bear). We are quickly approaching a threshold of irresponsibility that is not only immoral but stomach-turning. Unfortunately, the U.S. is letting its scientists roam freely through this unethical territory. Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.) hopes to change that. Last week, he introduced a companion bill to Sen. Sam Brownback’s (R-Kans.) Human-Animal Hybrid Prohibition Act. Under H.R. 5910 and S. 2318, America would ban the creation of all human-animal hybrids. Join us in calling on Congress to do the right thing and outlaw experiments that compromise human dignity.

Those who remember Brownback as one of the three Republican Presidential candidates who say they don’t believe in evolution might be a bit puzzled by this, since successful inter-species breeding, as unlikely as it might be, would seem to be imaginable only on the basis of kinship between species, as in “common descent” via evolution.

Actually, though, such critters are center-stage to creationists involved in “Baraminology,” as Hanna Rosin relates in “From Humanzee to Liger: A Brief History of Evolution,” chapter 8 in her book on God’s Harvard: A Christian College on a Mission to Save America (i.e., Patrick Henry College):

What the spotted owl is to environmentalists, the liger is to an obscure collection of creationist scientists known as baraminologists. Unlike Ivanov, baraminologists do not travel the world foisting reluctant mates on each other; they merely rejoice whenever a blessed event occurs. (p. 184)

It seems that these folks believe that breeding is possible between species within a “created kind” or “baramin” (what DI’s renowned lawyer/scientist Casey Luskin refers to as “basic kinds”), but not species from different created kinds.

So maybe Brownback & Co. are not being so inconsistent, after all? But if they do believe in unrelated “created kinds,” it would seem that their religion would require that humans, above all, do not share common descent or kinship with any other creatures, and that the humanzee would therefore have to be impossible.

One Comment

  1. jess13
    Posted May 12, 2008 at 11:28 am | Permalink

    Re: Our discussion very early in the semester about “humanzees.”

    Apparently Gordon Brown’s government has proposed a piece of legislation that would permit the development of embryos created by using cow eggs and human cells for scientific experimentation. There is a lively argument about the ethics, led on one side by an English Cardinal who perceives the legislation as an attack on human rights and on the other by academics who say that we can no longer make a scientific claim that life begins at conception and that the embryos in question are not “alive” in the sense that they cannot develop into anything.


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