Valhalla

How appropos that a New York scientist trying to obtain a patent on a human-beast hybrid does his work in Valhalla, New York. Valhalla being the Hall of the Slain. According to this news report, Stuart Newman’s

seven-year effort to win a patent on a laboratory-conceived creature that is part human and part animal ended in failure Friday, closing a historic and somewhat ghoulish chapter in American intellectual-property law.

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office rejected the claim, saying the hybrid — designed for use in medical research but not yet created — would be too closely related to a human to be patentable.

“Ghoulish” is a good adjective for this kind of work. It opens a raw wound and exposes the questions of what is human, and what gives us the right to attempt to create things that can not occur in nature.

In a small hint of sanity, a senior officer with the patent office opined about their inability to discern what is human and what is not:

I don’t think anyone knows in terms of crude percentages how to differentiate between humans and nonhumans,” said John Doll, a deputy commissioner for patents. Yet neither is the office comfortable with a “we’ll know it when we see it” approach, he added: “It would be very helpful . . . to have some guidance from Congress or the courts.”

This, of course, is where Mr. Doll is misguided. There is no “guidance” on this matter that can usefully come from Congress, or the courts. Or any other mortal source. Man was created by God, in God’s image. One may argue as to what that image might mean. One may not, with impunity, meld the God-designed DNA that makes us human with animal DNA just because we are able to.

I hate to sound like an old-time preacher man, but in this case, the description for what is being attempted here fits: an abomination unto the Lord. Dr. Stuart Newman and others who think it is their province to better the Lord’s work — stop, in the name of all that is holy. And in the name of all that is human.

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