A group of scientists in the US are continuing to conduct research on human-animal hybrid embryos, despite a moratorium on funding from the National Institutes of Health. Pablo Ross, a reproductive biologist from the University of California, Davis, has been working with a research team to implant human induced pluripotent cells in pig embryos, with the hope of growing human organs in developing porcine fetuses.
As a sign of growing interest in transhumanism, the Washington Post recently featured a symposium with several distinguished writers. It may indicate a growing interest in its aspirations, in an election year when a transhumanist, Zoltan Istvan, is seriously running for President.
When I was tutoring a philosophy of religion unit at my university, I often started the discussion by asking students if they believed in God. Many said that they didn’t believe in the God of the Bible but that they did believe in the existence of some kind of spiritual presence in the world. It was hard to know whether their spirituality was an inconsequential residue left by the death of religion or a stubborn refusal to leave it behind.
The Hebrew Bible starts off by giving an account of the world that is at odds with well-established scientific findings. It is a book that says that heaven and earth were made in one week, yet careful analysis of astronomical data suggests otherwise. It says that various sorts of animals were brought into being just days apart, whereas the fossil record points to an incremental evolution of one species from another over millions of years.
Eleanor Puttock has spent the last few years building up a successful podcast series on science and faith. It’s time to turn the tables and ask her a few questions about her own views on science and faith.