THURSDAY, October 16, 2003
Session 2: Toward a "Richer Bioethics": Chimeras
and the Boundaries of the Human
CHAIRMAN KASS: This will be a change of pace. This session
is entitled "Toward a 'Richer Bioethics': Chimeras
and the Boundaries of the Human," a discussion amongst ourselves.
Let me announce, by the way, that efforts are being made to move
the starting time of dinner this evening from drinks at 6:30 and
dinner at 7:00 half an hour early. So drinks at 6:00, dinner at
6:30. We'll have this confirmed by this afternoon, and if we
have the usual problems with the checks, we have a substitute arrangement
for those who have their addictions to attend to.
The reason for this session, I remind you, is, in part, at the
last meeting when we were discussing the question of mixing animal
and human gametes or blastomeres, it was suggested by Michael Sandel,
amongst others, that we needed to have a more general discussion
of this boundary question between the humans and the animals and
whether it should matter to us, and whether it should matter to
us ethically, aesthetically, politically and why.
Second, it is potentially a future topic for this Council since
this is an area of increasing scientific interest and activities.
What with the growing number of experiments that are now putting
human stem cells and their derivatives into animals to test them
either for their pluripotency or, more interestingly, for their
It is an area of public disquiet for it touches on some rarely
articulated, but perhaps not altogether articulable - Gil, I think
that you'll like that - sense that these boundaries between
man and the animals should not be breached. Yet the boundaries
have long been breached, what with vaccines and drugs that are produced
from animal sources, with the use of transplantations from animals,
whether heart valves or livers, with the growing transfer of human
cells into animal bodies, the movement of genes, et cetera.
And there is the vexed question of, given the evolutionary continuity
at the genetic level, what the difference is at least if you're
thinking genetically between a so-called human gene and an animal
gene, given the enormously high degree of correlation and correspondence
between the human and our nearest neighbors, and indeed, a high
degree of correspondence across some wide evolutionary gap.
There have been in the last couple of years already at least two
major discussions amongst scientists themselves on the ethics of
doing such things as producing a mouse-human hybrid. There's
a newspaper report in your briefing book about this, and there was
a recent symposium on line at the American Journal of Bioethics
on this topic.
For many of the scientists the question might be, to begin with,
largely political. They don't want to do anything that might
upset the public, but for us the question is not in the first instance
political, but what should we really think about this matter of
mixing, about producing hybrid organisms in general, but most especially
human and animal ones.
There is a definitional problem as to what you mean by a chimera
or a mixture, and there is some material in the briefing book that
touches on that.
It seems to me that there are at least the following questions
that we would want to take up if we are not simply thinking politically,
but fundamentally. Do we care about the mixing of the human and
the animal, and if so, why?
And if we do care, how do we know when the boundary has been sufficiently
breached to be worrisome?
And if the first question is the same, the second one is a kind
of part and whole question. Does it matter? Is it a question of
the amount? Is a liver transplant okay, but a transplant of the
monkey's paw would be a rather different matter?
And behind all of this is the larger question of whether the notion
of species and natural limits and definition, whether these things
are of moral and social importance, questions raised, I think, by
that very thoughtful article by Mary Midgley.
Finally, it seems to me this is a topic fitting for our interest
in the richer bioethics. Much of what we do here touches directly
or indirectly on the question of what it means to be human, a question
that has long been explored by a question of the difference between
man and the animals and explored in ancient mythology not only amongst
the Greeks, by these mixed creatures, the chimeras, the centaurs,
the Minotaurs, the sphinx, the satyrs, all of which are in a way
explorations of the monstrous, but as a means also of getting at
the difference of the human and the difference that it makes.
It's not so much that science has raised new questions, but
that it has made these old questions now urgent and very timely,
and it seems to me it's desirable for us to spend some time
The readings that you were given were not meant to be discussed,
though they are fair game if anybody wants to introduce them. It
seems to me without expertise and without any kind of apparatus,
we should probably plunge right in and ask maybe two questions.
Would we care about the production of "geep," that is,
the cross between the goats and the sheep that was achieved in 1984,
And more importantly, would we care about the production of a
"humanzee" were it possible to do so? This is not somehow
to get us in trouble as prophets of an ugly future, but as a way
of getting into the question of the boundary.
Let's take the radical form and then move backwards from that
to questions of perhaps the merging of blastomeres or the production
of hybrid embryos, which is much closer to the surface. It seems
to me if we start with the more radical and see whether there's
something there that bothers us and why, then we might be able to
look more narrowly at partial chimerization or at embryonic chimerization
and take it from there.
So either: do we care about the production of goat-sheep chimeras?
And if so, why or why not?
And depending upon what we do with that, would we care about,
should we care if we could produce a "humanzee," a full
hybrid of a human being and a chimpanzee?
PROF. SANDEL: Well, I'm not sure I know the answer
to either of those questions.
CHAIRMAN KASS: Just don't change the question.
PROF. SANDEL: Well, I can't make any guarantees.
One thing that might intuitively bother us about mixing, about
the "humanzee," is that we somehow think that respect
for human dignity is at stake, that it's imperiled by blurring
boundaries between human beings and other creatures. But the idea
that there has to be a clean, hard, fast distinction between human
beings and animals seems to depend on an idea that we've discussed
here in another connection, that there is respect for humanity,
kind of Kantian respect for human persons, on the one hand, and
where human beings are not involved, it's perfectly all right
to treat other beings and nature as objects open to use.
So this is the all or nothing dualism, and Kant gave it its clearest
formulation between respect for humanity, on the one hand, and everything
else in nature is open to use. And it seems to me we have already
considered reasons to call that hard and fast dualism into question
when we were considering about intermediate notions of respect,
never mind embryos, whether other parts of nature, the sequoia,
works of art, and so on, that we consider worthy of respect, though
not of respect as human persons.
And if we call into question that sharp dualism, persons are worthy
of respect; human beings are worthy of respect, but the rest of
nature is open to use; then I think there is a lot at stake in trying
to avoid any blurring of the lines between human beings and animals
because then the problem arises, well, if you have a chimp who has
some human features, might we be mistreating it if we consider that
creature open to use as animals are.
But if we consider there to be - if we reject the utilitarianism,
the use orientation to nature and to animals and consider that there
are certain modes of respect that are required in dealing with natural
beings other than humans, then it seems to me there may be less
at stake in insisting on a clear distinction between human beings
I think the motivation to insist on that distinction has a lot
to do with this misplaced intuition, that there's respect for
humanity and use toward every other part of nature.
CHAIRMAN KASS: So you think that or are you suggesting
- I'll point the question at you - but you're suggesting
that people who had deep reverence for natural kinds shouldn't
be bothered by "humanzees"?
PROF. SANDEL: By "deep reverence for natural kinds,"
you mean people who don't -
CHAIRMAN KASS: Who are not utilitarians with the rest
of nature, who believe in evolutionary continuity, who believe,
you know, that the sequoia and the gazelle and the cheetah and the
chimpanzee are not simply there for our exploitation, but are to
be regarded and appreciated; that if that's true, that species
mixing is somehow less of a problem?
PROF. SANDEL: Well, this is a suggestion that I'm
offering, yes. Yes.
CHAIRMAN KASS: And then do I take it, therefore, that
- well, let me ask you: do you have problems with the "geep"?
"Geep," a cross between goats and sheep.
PROF. SANDEL: I'm not sure that I do, though I'm
open to persuasion if there's something wrong with it. It would
depend on whether we're frustrating, I think, any functioning
that's important to - if we're impairing somehow the functioning
of either goats or sheep by creating this crossbreed, that would
raise difficulties in the way that we now create giant farm raised
salmon that don't swim and don't exercise salmon-like capacities,
or if we imagined cows that for human convenience we genetically
engineered: blind cows to alleviate the anxiety and resistance they
show on the way to slaughterhouse. We would be impairing some fundamental
capacity of a cow even though they might suffer less.
So that would trouble me, but unless the hybrid impairs some natural
functioning, like the capacity for exercise, for roaming, for sight,
and so on, then, no, the hybrid itself I don't think poses a
CHAIRMAN KASS: Okay. Allow me one more time, and then
PROF. SANDEL: The blind cow would. The blind cow would
bother me more than a cross between a goat and a sheep.
CHAIRMAN KASS: A healthy "geep" on the Scottish
highlands doesn't bother you. What bothers you is exploitation
PROF. SANDEL: Right. The blinded cow for our convenience,
CHAIRMAN KASS: Fine.
PROF. SANDEL: Or the pigs that might be genetically altered
to lack tails and hooves and snouts so that we wouldn't have
to discard all of this before turning them into -
CHAIRMAN KASS: Okay.
PROF. SANDEL: - meat. That would bother me.
CHAIRMAN KASS: Then the question would be free ranging
"humanzees." That won't bother you either, by analogy.
PROF. SANDEL: No, but I -
CHAIRMAN KASS: Not exploited, not made to run the elevators
and collect garbage, but -
PROF. SANDEL: But admitted to public schools and so on
if their capacities warranted that kind of -
CHAIRMAN KASS: Well, to "humanzee" public schools.
PROF. SANDEL: Well, the question is whether we treat them
in accord with their nature.
CHAIRMAN KASS: Yeah.
PROF. SANDEL: And so if it turns out that they have the
capacity to learn, then they should be provided access to the schools
that are appropriate to their nature.
Our worry, I think, is about underestimating their capacities,
but if we don't underestimate their capacities and we treat
them in accordance, then it's not clear to me what the objection
Frustrating their capacities, failing to treat them in accordance
with their capacities for development, for learning, for speech,
whatever it may be, chances are we wouldn't. Chances are we
would make them perform menial jobs or dangerous jobs and so on
that might frustrate. That would be an objection.
But suppose that weren't. Suppose we didn't treat them
that way. Then I'm not so sure.
CHAIRMAN KASS: He's all yours.
DR. KRAUTHAMMER: Well, I'm just curious. You talk
about the "humanzee" as having fixed capacities, but clearly
this would be a created creature. We would be titrating how human
or how chimp-like we'd want him to be. It would be entirely
a creature of our creation. It would be the ultimate in manufacture,
and I had assumed that you thought that manufacture, designer babies,
the mastery of nature, was not a very good thing.
This is the ultimate in manufacture.
PROF. SANDEL: Well, what's bothersome about manufacture
is that we would be imposing our purpose on some creatures of nature
in a way that for our convenience diminished or frustrated their
capacities. In this case, this case is more difficult because it's
not clear that -
DR. KRAUTHAMMER: It doesn't have capacities until
we invent it.
PROF. SANDEL: Well, it sounds like in this case -
DR. KRAUTHAMMER: I mean its capacities are, in fact, our
manufacture by definition.
PROF. SANDEL: Well, I don't know. I think we would
still have - in this case, I assume this is a problem of enhancement.
We're enhancing a chimpanzee, and so it has capacities beyond
DR. KRAUTHAMMER: Or we're degrading a human. I mean,
you could look at it either way. I'm not sure it's - but
I'm going back to your problem which you articulated extremely
well. We're talking about designing humans and cloning. What
is offensive here is the mastery, and this is the ultimate in mastery.
We're not talking about respecting the nature of a given creature.
We're creating it. So its capacities are entirely in our design.
I'm amazed that you are not in principle opposed to this for
precisely that reason.
PROF. MEILAENDER: Just to tag onto that, so this cow doesn't
have the capacity for sight because it was deliberately produced
to be a different sort of beast. That's not one of the capacities
that it has. That's sort of what Charles is pressing.
PROF. SANDEL: So it's a violation of the telos
of the cow.
PROF. MEILAENDER: No, no, because what we have is Cow-X
or something here that doesn't have the same teleological function.
It was deliberately made not to see but for some other purposes,
and the maker has determined what those purposes are. I think that's
the kind of question you're asking, right?
DR. KRAUTHAMMER: And that's what's intrinsically
offensive about it, and in the same way I would expect you would
be intrinsically offended by the "humanzee" for that reason
CHAIRMAN KASS: Jim Wilson, Rebecca, and Michael.
PROF. WILSON: Let me approach this question from a more
grisly standpoint. In one of my other lives, I rounded up cows
for a living and drive them to slaughterhouses, and it strikes me
that the blind cow is much to be desired because as they round the
corner, they know what's in store for them.
PROF. SANDEL: Yes, exactly.
PROF. WILSON: And it produces great terror.
PROF. SANDEL: Yes.
PROF. WILSON: The only difficult is with all blind cows,
it's very hard to drive them because they don't know where
the other cows are, and if they don't know where the other cows
are, a few cowboys can't move 400 herd.
But I don't think that the issue is the telos of the
cow's nature. I think that the question is entirely practical,
and that it is a practical because we distinguish between eating
other creatures and not eating human beings, but there are in-between
We kill a cow, kill sheep, kill pigs routinely. Perhaps we could
do it better. I'm sure we could do it better, but Americans
are not proclaiming a desire for preserving the telos of
the animal, which is to say to snout, graze, and root about free
from human intervention.
On the other hand, if we have a dog, killing it becomes extremely
difficult and is done only, I can testify with some personal knowledge
under extreme circumstances when you're convinced that you're
saving him from very, very great suffering. But it is almost impossible
to kill a human being unless the human being can be certified clearly
as brain dead and there is evidence produced by that person or the
closest relatives that death is what they wish.
So that when we deal with species in extremis , at the end
of their lives, we're attempting to set some boundaries. I
think a "humanzee" is a great mistake because we don't
know what those boundaries are.
We could create boundaries, 40 parts mankind, 60 parts chimpanzee,
or the reverse, but it seems to me that this creates two difficulties.
We don't know what they are and, therefore, it's hard to
know how to treat them, and by no supposition could they be called
God's creatures. God had nothing to do with creating them.
They are our creatures.
And to the extent they have human-like traits, by which I mean
chiefly sociability and intelligence so that they could enter meaningfully
into relationships with other people and accept the obligations
of being a human, they're human. But if not, if the titration
has produced more chimpanzee and less humanity, it seems to me we
are in a puzzle for which there is no easy solution, save the best
solution, which is not to create them at all.
"Geep," on the other hand, that's not very different
from breeding special kinds of cows. I mean, you like black angus
cows, and they're overpriced in the market right now because,
in fact, they're not as good as many others, no better than
many others, but people like them, so we're breeding black angus
cows. And you can breed all sorts of creatures.
You can breed. We have bred dogs and cats to satisfy human desires,
but it hasn't moved any of them into the realm of the human,
save as our personal affection for them has made it difficult for
us in recognition of our own desire to be human beings, to treat
them with some degree of special respect.
But blind cows? That's not a problem. "Humanzees,"
that's a real problem.
CHAIRMAN KASS: Does someone want to respond to Jim before
we simply go in the queue?
He's given two reasons, right? One is the ambiguity of not
knowing what kind of creature this is and, therefore, whether it
belongs amongst us or not and, therefore, a doubt about how to treat
And then the second point, maybe we should ask you to say a sentence
more. That these are not God's creatures but our creatures
and what follows from that.
PROF. WILSON: Well, I don't know what follows from
that. So I'm not going to add to the sentence.
PROF. WILSON: Were I God I could answer.
CHAIRMAN KASS: Someone want to join us?
DR. MCHUGH: I could say just a couple of things to back
up exactly what Jim is saying. First of all, I think that one of
the things that we speak about in relationship to our human dignity
is the mystery of our origins. We are a mysterious creature. Even
Darwin himself talking about us does say that he doesn't see
the link between us and our capacities and what came before.
This mystery gives us an awe for our species that I would hate
to see mismanaged by employing it and putting it into the parenthood
of some other organism, this human lineage.
Secondly, and this comes to Charles' point again, what kind
of creature would these be in relationship to human beings and human
being reproduction? Would they be mules and, therefore, infertile
or would they be interactive with human beings sexually and reproductively
with the contamination of the human gene pool being a real possibility
So we have both, I think, a serious scientific and biological
issue, on the one hand, and also this other deeply special kind
of sense of what we are and the mystery of our origins.
CHAIRMAN KASS: Mike.
DR. GAZZANIGA: I think this topic follows my 17/60 rule,
that it would appeal to 17 year olds and people with a lot of time
on their hands. It doesn't appeal to me, and it certainly sets
an inappropriate stage for the issue of whether embryonic stem cells
should be allowed to be injected into mouse where we're considering
the mouse simply to be a nice, convenient tissue culture to study
the science of embryonic stem cells. And there's a cross-species
activation that is important to biomedicine and I think should be
So I'm not sure the "humanzee," ta sort of Raelian
example, deserves much more discussion.
CHAIRMAN KASS: Michael.
PROF. SANDEL: I'm neither 17 nor 60. So I want to
DR. GAZZANIGA: But you're closer to one than the other.
PROF. SANDEL: I was talking to a leading scientist the
other day, and he said the most exciting question he thinks in this
area is not stem cells, but putting human brain cells into other
mammals, including monkeys, I guess to trace the genetic changes
that correspond to these species' characteristics. So I don't
think it's all that farfetched. This is work that has begun
with mice and is, I think, continuing with monkeys.
I asked him whether he would be bothered if he went into the lab
one day and the monkey spoke to him, and he said he wouldn't
be. And that seemed to me an odd response. So I want to reconcile
my sense of feeling that that was an odd response to this previous
I think that what's disquieting about that does have to do
with the idea of telos . Even though you could say that that
monkey, that talking monkey would have been manufactured, I don't
think it follows from that that its telos is just up for
grabs, something for us to define by fiat because what's troubling
about that is when the monkey speaks, we're not sure what capacities
this creature has, and so we're not sure what counts as respecting
this creature or what it would be to allow its capacities and purposes
to unfold. That's what makes it a strange scenario.
So even though we have manufactured, we haven't really manufactured
this creature, Charles. We've tweaked it by putting in the
human nerve cells or brain cells, and we begin to notice certain
human characteristics hypothetically. But what's puzzling and
still very mysterious and I think at the source of the unease is
that we aren't and we don't conceive ourselves to have manufactured
in a thoroughgoing sense that we've inscribed its telos
or purpose or that we even can fully grasp it.
We might need to know; we might need to talk some to this monkey
to get some glimmer or intimation of what its capacities and what
its telos now consist in, and I think what's uneasy about
it - and this goes to Gil's point, too - well, in the case of
the blind cow it's clear. And here I disagree with Jim. I
think there we have violated the normal, the natural functioning
of the cow for the sake of cheaper steaks. And that is a kind of
hubris in violation of the kind of respect that nature is due.
In the case of the monkey, there may be something deeply troubling
about it, but I think that it's not that we've simply reassigned
its telos by definition. It's that we now are in doubt
about what its capacities are and, therefore, how to treat it, to
which one response might be, well, err on the side of generosity.
Assume that it has the highest.
But still I think it's that we're puzzling, we're
struggling really to figure out what sort of being this is, which
is not to defend the practice, but it's to suggest that it's
a complicated reaction that we have when we worry about this.
DR. KRAUTHAMMER: Could I ask Mike a question just because
he was telling us that this is not a serious subject?
What would you say to the implantation of human neuronal stem
cells into embryonic animals of any kind in larger and larger proportions?
I mean, is that science fiction?
DR. GAZZANIGA: No, that's going on.
DR. KRAUTHAMMER: It's going on. So what do you say
DR. GAZZANIGA: Nothing. Let's do it.
DR. KRAUTHAMMER: No limitation. What if you replace all
of the neuronal material of the animal with human neurons, and assuming
that we have some success, that it doesn't abort and actually
will develop? Do you have any problem with that?
DR. GAZZANIGA: I think you push it to the point where
you're suggesting that some freak is going to emerge. I don't
think that there's any suggestion that that would ever occur.
DR. KRAUTHAMMER: You're sure about that?
DR. GAZZANIGA: I'm not sure about anything.
DR. KRAUTHAMMER: But you would be willing to test it?
DR. GAZZANIGA: That's not why they're doing it.
They're doing it to study the development of the cell and how
it behaves in the neural setting, and it will come to a point where
it wills top the process I would imagine should there be any suggestion
of a freak being developed.
DR. KRAUTHAMMER: Well, I'm sure that the overwhelming
majority of people who are studying cloning are interested in embryology
and in the science, but there are a few who actually want to take
it to produce a cloned human, which most of us believe is abhorrent.
So by analogy, what if you had a scientist, unusual, maybe in
the minority, who was interested not just in the biology, but in
seeing where it takes us? What is your judgment on his work?
You have none?
DR. GAZZANIGA: These are all arguments by extreme, and
I think we're trying to address a very limited, sober, biomedical
question, and I don't find them helpful.
CHAIRMAN KASS: Can I try with you? Because we're
the same age, and if age is determinative, maybe I don't have
enough monkey cells or the reverse.
So to try to keep you on board, the point is not, it seems to
me, to take this bizarre case as a likely possibility, but it was
Michael's suggestion at the last meeting, endorsed by several
others, that you couldn't really think terribly well about whether
it's a good or bad idea not putting individual human cells into
animal models, but whether it would be a good idea to produce the
beginning of an organism by the mixing of gametes or of the merging
That was the particular point at issue, and it's on our agenda
for this afternoon. Michael said, "Look. How can I discuss
that if we haven't sort of thought about the question of the
human-animal boundary in general?" and that one of the ways
to at least explore whether that boundary means something is through
this thought experiment, a thought experiment which is made slightly
less than a mere thought experiment by the kinds of reports that
Michael offers or that you suggest here.
And I don't think there's any presupposition in the discussion
that someone is going to conclude that it's somehow horrible
to, you know, put pig heart valves into human beings or to put human
stem cells, neurons, into mice brains.
But the question is: if there's some sort of disquiet, it's
somehow easiest to get at it, I think, if you take the kind of sharp
and extreme case because if you can't articulate what the problem
is there, you've got really nothing to go on, I think, when
you get down.
That I think is the pedagogical strategy.
DR. GAZZANIGA: I understand.
CHAIRMAN KASS: And let's stick with it for a little
longer to see if there's anything useful that we could bring
to bear on the larger conversation.
DR. GAZZANIGA: But just to follow up on that.
CHAIRMAN KASS: Please, please.
DR. GAZZANIGA: We sort of jump around these huge barriers
with these sorts of arguments. So a few meetings ago people were
wringing their hands about potential long-term outcomes of IVF,
and there may be slight percentage differences in the birth defects
and so forth. And the general belief that nobody in medicine wants
to do harm, right?
Now all of a sudden we're talking about making a "humanzee"
with God knows what neurologic, somatic, other issues are at stake.
I mean, it's like Mars. On the one hand, we're titrating
this little thing and worry about it, epidemiological studies, and
in another thing we've got "humanzees" jumping around
with big pharma, you know, injecting them and testing them. It's
crazy. It's all crazy.
It's not controlled by current reality. I'm telling you
it's people with too much time on their hands.
DR. MCHUGH: I want to pitch in there. Michael, you're
so wonderful I don't know how to respond.
But you know, people have, after all, discussed as perhaps one
of the great novels of modern times the Frankenstein problem. they've
discussed it. They've thought about what it means. It perhaps
and Jekyll and Hyde are the two perhaps new themes of modern life
that have come out of the literature of our times.
And it doesn't seem to me that discussing how the horror that
Mary Shelley created doesn't prepare us better to understand
the nature of human life. So give them a break is all I'm saying.
CHAIRMAN KASS: By the way, on the subject of novels, let
me mention - and Gil is next in the queue or Rebecca, I guess, at
this point. Excuse me - there is a novel exactly on this subject.
I haven't read it in 30 years It's by a Frenchman. The
pseudonym is Vercors, V-e-r-c-o-r-s. It's called You Shall
Know Them . It's really quite wonderful.
They found the missing link off the coast of New Zealand, and
the question is when the Australians want to employ them in factories
as sort of subhuman workers, a British journalist thinks that this
is immoral, and to prove it he impregnates one of these females,
has the child delivered in a London hospital, murders the child
in the newborn nursery, turns himself in, and insists that the court
determine whether this was murder or simply cruelty to animals.
And the bulk of the novel is, in fact, the discussion of the experts
on the question what really is the decisive difference. I was hoping
to put my hands on it. I lent it to somebody and I can't remember
who, but I would have Xeroxed some pages that would have enriched
us, but it's a terrific treatment of exactly this question.
PARTICIPANT: The title again?
CHAIRMAN KASS: You Shall Know Them .
DR. GAZZANIGA: What did the judge decide?
CHAIRMAN KASS: I'm old enough not to remember.
PROF. MEILAENDER: He said it was a silly question really.
CHAIRMAN KASS: Vercors is the pseudonym, V-e-r-c-o-r-s.
It was written shortly after the Second War.
DR. KRAUTHAMMER: The judge was 61 years old.
CHAIRMAN KASS: We've now developed a queue. Rebecca,
please, and we'll just go.
PROF. DRESSER: Well, in regard to the "geeps,"
I wanted to throw out would people feel strongly differently about
them than they do about mules?
Now, mules I know are bred and used for their abilities, and maybe
they first arose in nature and people noticed it and noticed that
they could do things that horses and donkeys couldn't do. So
maybe that's what sets them apart from "geeps," but
I think "geeps" are also, other than the welfare considerations,
aren't nearly as threatening because we morally treat goats
and sheep similarly. So it doesn't threaten our moral categories
and status views.
Whereas the "humanzee" does, and as someone who thinks
we don't give enough ethical consideration to our treatment
of non-humans, I think a good effect of thinking about "humanzees"
is to make us reflect on how we treat chimpanzees and remember that
- I know it's constantly discussed - but I think the high 90s
percent genetic similarity in those two species naturally, and again,
it's controversial, but there are some people who think that
chimpanzees can be taught to communicate with language and have
lots of other high cognitive abilities naturally.
So I think one reason "humanzees" are more threatening
is because they not only ask us to justify the high moral regard
we give humans, but also to justify the low moral regard we give
non-humans and makes us worry about maybe at least both or certainly
the second part or should make us think more carefully about what
CHAIRMAN KASS: Gil, Alfonso, Bill Hurlbut, Michael, Bill
PROF. MEILAENDER: I can't guarantee that what I'm
going to say is going to make sense, but let me try because I want
to try to connect this discussion of "humanzees" or whatever
with what is the more immediate issue of kind of mixing of species
at kind of much more kind of rudimentary levels, and it has to do
with, I mean, the splicing and resplicing depends on thinking about
organisms as essentially sort of collections of bits of material
in a way.
And that's a view that however useful and fruitful for certain
purposes cannot be lived at the level of lived human experience,
and that's what I want to try to make sense of.
Let me take a complete different example. Suppose I say a man
lusting after a woman and a man in love with a woman experience
roughly the same physiological symptoms, and there's really
no difference between the two experiences because it's a collection
of the same symptoms.
You know, if I sort of hue to that line, there may be nothing
you can do to demonstrate to me that that's wrong, to prove
to me that that's wrong, that is to say if I, you know, had
some sort of theory that tells me that or if I've just never
been in love.
On the other hand, someone who has actually had the lived human
experience of being in love knows that the two experiences, even
if characterized by the same physiological symptoms are not, in
fact, the same, but you can't tell it if you for whatever reason
insist on looking at the experience simply as a collection of symptoms.
You have to look at it as a kind of lived human experience.
The same thing is true with human life in a lot of other ways.
If we think of human beings simply as collections of genetic material
to be combined and recombined in various ways, if that's all
we think there is, you know, it will be useful for certain purposes,
but there may be some things that we just can't get at.
And to put it way too crudely, the biologist who thinks that way
would be stunned if his 18 year old son Johnny brought home a chimp
to meet his parents. You can't live that experience in that
So this relates to the Mary Midgley article and the passage she
quotes about thinking of human beings as like pages in the loose-leaf
book, just to be combined and recombined. That's not precisely
what a book is. It loses the integral whole of the thing.
Now, if we once begin to see that, then we may begin to see why
whatever the usefulness of these procedures may be for certain purposes,
and I'm not prepared really to settle the question of that,
why it's right to be worried about it. It's right to be
worried about it, first of all, because it provides a certain way
of thinking about being human, a way that whatever its usefulness
is defective and inadequate for some very important human purposes.
And, second, and this brings us back to the issue Charles was
pushing, it does, as Midgley's article really very nicely makes
clear, it does mean that, you know, if we say, "And who's
the candidate for the one who's doing the combining and the
recombining?" it becomes us or some of us who are the manufacturers.
So there is a certain kind of sense of what it means to be human
that's involved here. We can see it nicely if we start at the
larger level, but it depends on a certain vision that's at work
at the lowest level. It's harder for me to say how it all applies
to animal life in general, and I think one of the reasons it's
harder and one of the reasons you start to run aground is that we,
of course, don't know what lived experience is in those cases,
and we, therefore, have a harder time saying exactly how to make
the transition in the argument.
But anyway, it seems to me we need to think about what the image
of the human being is here when we're thinking of human beings
just as collections of material to be combined and recombined, and
it will not allow us to talk about some of the things at least that
we want to talk about.
CHAIRMAN KASS: Very nice. Alfonso.
DR. GÓMEZ-LOBO: Okay. On the same topic, I'd
like to address some of the things that Michael said because I
would like to preserve something like broad normative framework
for the discussion, and I would like to suggest the following.
And this would be some kind of revamped Kantianism maybe, although
I don't think Kant is as ruthless as you picture him.
I think one of the cornerstones should be that we should respect
human beings, and that should not be very controversial. Now, that
we should use everything else depends how that is understood. I
think that there's an illogical form of respect that is due
to things that are not human, and for instance, your famous sequoias.
I think there's an analogy with human respect, but it's
not human respect. I think that there are circumstances in which
a sequoia may be felled without it being immoral to do so, whereas
in the case of the human being it will not be the case.
So there's one problem in these chimeras, namely, whether
what is being produced is a human being and, therefore, that should
be treated with respect because of, well, to use the Kantian term,
because of the dignity, and here is a challenge for our friends,
the scientists, because what we really would need to know - I know
we're far, far away from that yet - what but we would need to
know would be what would be the necessary and sufficient set of
genes and expressed genes such that that organism can be deemed
to be a human organism.
I mean, that would be a very important question to raise. Now,
the "humanzee," is that? Then I would say it would be
seriously wrong to produce a "humanzee." I mean, I hope
it never happens, by the way.
Now, when we move away from that -
PROF. SANDEL: Again, could I just ask you, Alfonso?
DR. GÓMEZ-LOBO: Sure.
PROF. SANDEL: This is very good, but this is not to object
to the creation of the "humanzee." It's only to insist
that where there's any doubt, we should treat it with Kantian
Suppose we took for granted that we treat any borderline case
with full Kantian respect. Then is there still an objection?
DR. GÓMEZ-LOBO: Yes, I have an objection, and it
is that it would be seriously wrong to produce such a being on the
grounds that there would be an instrumentalization of a human being.
That's one of the reasons that I'm dead set against cloning,
because I think cloning is a form - human cloning and reproductive
cloning - it's because it's a massive intervention, and
therefore, lack of respect and instrumentalization of a human being
in the manner in which I've tried to circumscribe that term.
Now, if we move to other species, I think that there the moral
concerns are very important, but they are different. They are different,
and there I think we have to be very nuanced. For instance, the
fact that modern insulin started with, you know, pigs, et cetera,
is a good example of something that makes a lot of sense and would
be morally acceptable.
As we move up in terms of those interventions, then I think there
would have to be something like a piecemeal examination of each
case. If too many neurons are put into the brain of a monkey so
that the monkey starts to speak, I would find that very worrisome
basically because -
DR. GAZZANIGA: Can I? This is just killing me. Don't
worry about that.
DR. GÓMEZ-LOBO: Great.
DR. GAZZANIGA: A human brain is not a monkey brain blown
up by a few more million neurons. That's just not how it works.
So let's just get that off the table.
DR. GÓMEZ-LOBO: Yeah, I'm greatly relieved
to hear that, but I'm still worried not at the same level of
worry. I'm worried by the "geep," again, not in the
same sense. In fact, there my main concern would be what for.
I mean, is this just, you know, some fine childish sort of desire
or can it be grounded rationally in some way?
And there my inclination would be to say, well, there's something
about species, natural kinds, that in the whole economy of things
makes sense, and that we should have respect and reverence for that.
DR. GÓMEZ-LOBO: I'm sorry. I'm not sure.
It's one thing to breed pet dogs, but as far as I know, pet
dogs have not been manufactured, have they?
CHAIRMAN KASS: Bill Hurlbut.
DR. HURLBUT: I want to continue on this what I think is
a very fruitful line of inquiry that Alfonso has initiated, but
first I want to ask Mike to pin this down a little more specifically.
Okay, Mike. I have some scientific training, too, and I agree
with you basically, but I want to ask you. Doesn't it strike
you that in spite of the fact that some extreme cases have been
cited here, that just because they are extreme they might be put
And I want to ask you first to define whether you're worried
about this at all. Let me spell out what I'm thinking of.
We've already seen the artistic expression of the creation
of a rabbit with firefly genes that would glow. So that probably
was not by the 17 or 60 group. It was the mainstream avant guard.
It seems very possible that we could create a recombinant zoo,
which would be fascinating. We might create entities that were
the 21st Century equivalent to what has now become normally repugnant,
but when I was a child was acceptable, the freak show.
Remember? I remember as a child walking through Madison Square
Garden looking up at the various abnormal human forms, and it was
fascinating and jarring and it caused you think, and certainly people
would be willing to pay for all of this. So I just want to ask
you just as a first take on this did any of those things trouble
you? Is there any reason why we shouldn't go in that direction?
DR. GAZZANIGA: Well, as Jim pointed out, there's all
sorts of animal breeding, plant breeding going on all the time as
part of our whole agricultural food chain industry. So what happens
when you get a transgenic animal or something that's bizarre?
Those are usually objects of great scientific study and of interest.
I just want to take this off from maybe to use your words, the
freak show nature of the inquiry here. That's what I'm
objecting to. There are too many serious things to discuss about
than to try to buzz us or scare us with freaks lurking in the background.
That's my simple point.
DR. HURLBUT: Well, that's exactly my point, too, and
that is I think we need to take seriously there are some moral issues
with the intentional creation of freaks, and I think there would
be commercial reasons to do it, and I think we should acknowledge
that and at the same time then juxtapose the serious issues which
Alfonso alluded to.
And here's what I really want to talk about and maybe ask
Mike specifically about. If you consider that it's not the
freak show elements that are the main consideration here, it's
the very positive possibilities that could be used through medical
models. Then we need to somehow approach the subject in such a
way that if there are moral pathways to go forward, that we can
distinguish that from the freak show element that will trouble the
And I recognize that some of the possibilities people have put
forward are not as possible as they might suggest. Species have
different timing of expression of their genetics and it's not
likely you're going to be able to create certain types of entities.
On the other hand, it does seem to me you could fuse early embryos
and produce something that was a hybrid human. It's also true
that since there's so much conservation in biology, that species
often differ not by the protein sequences produced by the genes,
but by the timing of expression of those genes, and one might get
in and alter form and function of varied species, including potentially
altering human expression, expression of human genes in embryogenesis.
I agree with you that human being is a psychophysical unity and
the infrastructural developmental genetics is not likely to produce
something that is truly a human being if you do a lot of these manipulations,
but there does strike me as a very real issue here that when you
start to combine different species' blastomeres or when you
start to manipulate human embryos in such a way to produce not quite
the normal trajectory of development or you knock out certain human
potentials, you get some very real moral issues.
And yet at the same time, I think there are some positive scientific
possibilities here to produce models so that it would be very useful
to study disease, and it seems to me that the interesting question
here is that this moves us beyond the fundamental issue of the inviolability
of the embryo to the question of when is an embryo a human embryo,
and it's beyond inviolability issues of integrity and respect
because it does seem to me that even if one doesn't think that
the human embryo up to the 14th day is human, that some things that
could be done to it during those phases might end up with something
that would be very troubling morally.
DR. KRAUTHAMMER: Could I just interrupt with one in that
line, to ask one question?
In Attachment 2, the definition, that short page with definitions
CHAIRMAN KASS: Right.
DR. KRAUTHAMMER: - at the bottom I'm not sure what
the source of it is, but you mentioned transferring human neuronal
stem cells into the brain cavity of a mutant mouse that has no known
neurons of its own. This experiment was proposed by Irving Weissman
some time ago. The Stanford Committee was evaluating it, and still
has not issued a report.
I would just like to ask Michael since this is not hypothetical
or science fiction, but rather real whether he thinks (a) it's
a relevant issue and how he would rule on it.
Would you object to that experiment? It's Attachment 2 at
DR. GAZZANIGA: Yeah, I see. You know, I would send it
to committee. I don't know yet. I don't have -
DR. KRAUTHAMMER: But we are committee.
DR. GAZZANIGA: I understand that.
DR. KRAUTHAMMER: That's the issue. We are committee.
DR. GAZZANIGA: I understand that.
DR. KRAUTHAMMER: And you're on it.
DR. GAZZANIGA: Right. Yeah. I'll let you know after
CHAIRMAN KASS: Is there something that's -
DR. KRAUTHAMMER: I rest my case.
CHAIRMAN KASS: - current? Are you in the queue or do
you want to respond to something immediate, Michael?
Then Bill May I think is next and then you, Michael.
DR. MAY: Well, I have wondered why Jim Wilson is on this
committee, and I discovered this morning his fund of knowledge on
the subject of cows, his expertise on that subject is a very valuable
contribution making this -
CHAIRMAN KASS: That's not the only reason.
DR. MAY: You know, in theology one distinguishes between
God as creator and preserver of providential care, and though they
are distinguished from one another, they're very much linked
with one another in the Western tradition, and not a God who creates
and then simply lets go, period, and vanishes, is never seen again,
disappears into the clouds as simply some high God.
And it seemed to me what you said earlier, Michael, in response
to Charles' comments, creation as such is not what is worrisome.
The problem is in the area of care, and one wouldn't know how
to care for them. Their telos is obscure.
Now, that flows backward. If that's the case, then really
should you be creating?
If the telos is very, very uncertain in the creature, and
the second point is given that fact, wouldn't abuse likely be
quite immediate and so forth because it doesn't fit into our
patterns of care for humans?
By the way, I've noticed in the literature the term "humanzee,"
and it seems to me "chimphuman" is much more disconcerting
because you begin to look at this creature that seems to be kind
of a pretender to the throne of the human, but you see it through
the window of the chimp, and so it's a more diminishing term,
where as "humanzee" sounds as though, well, kind of the
tail of this other creature, but it's basically human.
I think the choice of the term is kind of interesting. But as
I listened to you, it seemed to me that what you seemed worried
about is one wouldn't know what counts as abuse and maybe, therefore,
one shouldn't create, but creation as such you weren't too
Now, there are various kinds of uses, as Leon suggested, you know.
Giving them the slot of bellhop or something else would be one illustration
of instrumentalization, but the other instrumentalization would
be simply to satisfy curiosity. That is also a form of instrumentalization,
and that's part of the question that's being raised here
about creating with the intention of the scientist to know, and
one has serious worries about creating for the gratification of
curiosity alone, and one shouldn't think of instrumentalization
simply as some way of drawing into the orbit of human organizational
purposes. There's another way of instrumentalizing.
But it seems to me one ought not to tidily separate what theologically
was seen together, creation and preservation.
CHAIRMAN KASS: Thank you.
Mike, you had a comment and want to respond, and then Robby, and
then I want to shift the gears to make Mike Gazzaniga a little bit
DR. GAZZANIGA: I'm comfortable. I've just been
trying to think about your question, Charles, and I guess I'll
throw it back at you.
By looking at this at face value, I wouldn't have any problem
with this. In fact, I know the experiment has been done, and that's
why my confusion was evident. What is your concern, that the neurons
from the human neural stem cells will form a little human in there
trying to get out of a mouse body?
I mean, that is farfetched. That is a - you have to think of
the mouse as simply a big, interesting, and better tissue culture
system than we can build technologically, and they're going
to study the properties of those cells, and do they make synapses
and are functional and that sort of thing.
And that's all a preamble for using this methodology for things
like Parkinson's disease and all the rest of it. So -
DR. KRAUTHAMMER: I don't deny any of that.
DR. GAZZANIGA: Yeah, good.
DR. KRAUTHAMMER: That's why they're doing it.
DR. GAZZANIGA: And so I think I actually want to just
make the point. I think the experiment has been done, and in fact,
there's a biotech company that's starting.
DR. KRAUTHAMMER: Has it reported anywhere its result?
DR. GAZZANIGA: I think so, and that's why I want to
be specific about my answer to that part of the question.
DR. KRAUTHAMMER: Sure. Do we know? Does staff know whether
it has been?
CHAIRMAN KASS: I don't think it has been published,
MR. ROBLIN: We've not seen it.
DR. HURLBUT: What's the question?
CHAIRMAN KASS: Whether this work has been published.
DR. HURLBUT: You mean Irv Weissman's work?
CHAIRMAN KASS: Yes.
DR. HURLBUT: Yes, some of it has been made public. And
the committee that's producing a report on it, the ethical issues
is close to publishing something.
But you know Irv Weissman himself is concerned about this, Mike.
He thinks there are moral boundaries on this.
CHAIRMAN KASS: Where were we? Michael.
PROF. SANDEL: Well, in reply to Bill, as always I'm
not only instructed but chastened by things that Bill says, and
I do think that what he has to do with the telos being unclear
and, therefore, the appropriate care being unclear, and so I take
the further point that instrumentalization can be to lower the price
of beef or to satisfy idle curiosity, and we haven't talked
about what the reason would be.
I think there would have to be a good reason, not mere idle curiosity,
and I'm not sure what the good reason is. There would have
to be a good reason.
But the telos being unclear and the appropriate care being
unclear would be a problem, though not a problem unique to the case
of the hybrids because it's a problem we confront with respect
to plain nature, as for example in the question of vegetarianism.
I'm not a vegetarian, but there's a live, moral dispute
not only in the society, but at my own dinner table. My son is
a vegetarian, and that I think has to do with the telos of
mammals, say, and, therefore, the appropriate care. So that there
be live uncertainties and even controversies about the telos
of nature and, therefore, the appropriate care, it wouldn't
be unique to these cases, but it's present even now with respect
But I agree that we have to have more than idle curiosity or the
price of beef to even enter into the kind of scenario that we've
been speculating about.
I want to just add I abided by the injunction, Leon, not to change
the hypothetical, but we got onto this because of the concern which
comes up this afternoon about the dignity of human procreation being
threatened by the blurring of these boundaries.
So the case I wanted to put to you, and I don't know if we
have time under this heading to discuss it, is not the "humanzee,"
but one that goes to this issue of the dignity of procreation especially
at stake, and so the case I would put to you, and maybe this will
go some way towards satisfying Mike's worry, we say - well,
let me back up.
We say here later we're going to discuss the idea that we
accept the transplantation of animal organs to replace defective
human ones. A pig's heart conceivably transplanted under this
account would not be objectionable, but to go to the example that
you've put before us many a time and did last time, the idea
of implanting a human embryo in a pig uterus. This is the example,
the kind of example of the horrors that we're often confronted
The heart, as we learned in an earlier session on transplantation,
by that story, that strange story, the heart is the seat of the
CHAIRMAN KASS: That wasn't said, but never mind.
PROF. SANDEL: But that was the learning from that story.
The heart is the seat of soul.
So here's the question that I think that we should be discussing
under this heading if we're concerned about the dignity of human
procreation. Why is it unobjectionable - and this I would direct
to you, Leon - why is it unobjectionable to implant a pig's
heart in a human being, but not to put human embryo in a pig's
CHAIRMAN KASS: But not a pig in a human uterus.
PROF. SANDEL: No, but not a human embryo in a pig uterus,
which is the great example of the horrors of this. Heart is the
seat of the soul. That's okay.
DR. KRAUTHAMMER: A heart is a pump, Michael. It's
PROF. SANDEL: For you it's a pump. For Leon, it's
the seat of the soul. That's why I want Leon to answer the
CHAIRMAN KASS: There is a transcript on this. I won't
trust my memory because I need some of these neural cells, but look.
And let me not simply take the burden myself because there were
things that were said that are pertinent to this.
Gil raised - I mean, there are a number of very interesting things,
and I'm not competent to try to pull them all together. There
are a variety of expressions of the basis of our disquiet about
this mixing. Some of them have to do with the kind of very human,
moral, sociological centered question about the need to know who's
who and who should be treated how, and the ambiguous creatures in
between cause us great difficulties, which if we cannot manage we
shouldn't create, we shouldn't face. I think it was something
like Jim's point.
There are other questions that have to do either with the hubris
of creation or the failure of care that don't finally get to
the question of whether hybridization as such is worrisome.
There's Gil's comment. There's Rebecca's comment,
which in a way invites us to think about the respect owed to creatures
of all sorts because they are the kinds of things they are and have
lives, too, and in which we somehow know that we share some of those
Gil made the interesting point that at the bottom here there is
a certain conception of what makes an organism or a being a being,
and he wasn't simply arguing on the human case as Alfonso, I
think, was inclined to do, but to say, look, to begin to think about
shuttling parts around is to at least invite the understanding that
what you're dealing with here is nothing more than a book seen
as a collection of pages, of leaflets, interchangeable, and in a
way, that's one of the issues of transplantation.
I mean, you can replace this and you can replace that, and eventually
there is the question of the unity of the whole in relation to its
parts and the question of identity.
Now, I think that between saying that the heart is the seat of
the soul and simply saying it's one of the parts you get in
Home Depot is the truth, namely, that there is some kind of understanding
of part and whole, very mysterious, which doesn't somehow reify
any one part and assign to it our humanity any more than you would
really assign your humanity to a brain in a bottle.
But that leaves something of the mystery of the relation of the
parts and the whole in the kind of being and entity that any organism
is and that we are at least from the inside capable of being conscious
that we are.
Now, the reason for singling out the things at the beginning of
life and wondering about them differently is this. Let's not
start with where you put the embryo, but let's start with what
the embryo is, and never mind the question as to whether it's
a person or not a person, but entitled to some intermediate respect.
It is the kind of being that is on its way or could be on its way
to becoming an organism.
Granted some of these hybrids will never get past whatever stage
they will get to, but there you're creating a whole which is
from its very beginning intended to be some kind of hybrid whole
rather than going to the pig farm to get a heart to replace a human
heart that the understanding is you've still got a kind of human
being with worries, not very great worries, about what the intervention
of this is any more than you'd worry about having a mechanical
But it seems to me when you're starting a new life, whether
by mixing sperm and egg across species or blastomeres from two different
species, you're producing an organism the design of which is
to be a hybrid rather than to somehow help the particular being
it is with the aid of other parts. So that you're producing
a new kind of integrity, a new kind of unity.
And there are a number of reasons around the room that have been
given on the basis of which I don't think you want to condemn
it, but you have to recognize that you're engaged in something
And to state a kind of maxim that I would put later, I mean, it
seems to me that if a human embryo is to be put - if there's
some kind of deep relation between a human embryo and a womb which
nurtures it such that if anything goes into a womb, a human womb,
it ought to be solely for the purpose of trying to produce a human
And if it's a human embryo and if it goes into a womb, it
goes only into a human womb; that that is somehow fitting with the
kind of thing that it is and the kind of relation that it has.
And that has to do with the fact that we're not dealing in the
case of the embryo or the womb with merely a part for its own sake,
but in the case of the embryo, an unfolding organism; in the case
of the womb, that special part which is not for itself alone, but
is the home of a new life.
PROF. SANDEL: But could I just follow up?
CHAIRMAN KASS: Please.
PROF. SANDEL: We had this story of the woman who went
to great distance on this journey to listen to the beating heart,
Charles, the pump, the beating heart. Do you remember that story?
DR. KRAUTHAMMER: I remember the story. I also remember
PROF. SANDEL: And Leon sympathized with this woman, and
she listened to the heart of her husband beating in the chest of
some stranger, and this was of great human significance.
Now you're saying now - this is what I don't understand
- that a pig's heart could go into a person. That would be
okay. That wouldn't trouble us from the standpoint of mixing,
even though we worried even about a human heart there that belonged
to this woman's husband and she had to go traipse there and
listen to it and feel that she was in touch with her husband.
DR. KRAUTHAMMER: As I recall, that was a work of fiction.
PROF. SANDEL: It was a work of fiction, but we were meant
to take it morally and humanly seriously. I thought that was the
burden of the whole discussion.
DR. KRAUTHAMMER: I think we have got to make a distinction
between cogs and consciousness. I mean, it seems to me that we
can talk about intrinsic natures and what's human. We sort
of intuitively accept that you can have a pig's valve in you,
and it doesn't make you pig-like, and that's why we don't
have a lot of problem with it.
We may have had it. Initially it seemed odd, but nobody who has
gotten a mitral valve from a pig acts in pig-like ways. So we know
that it has no effect.
It seems to me that the shuttling of parts is pretty easy. As
long as they are internal and cog-like, that's fine. It doesn't
change our nature.
The two areas where I think it would worry me and I think it would
worry most people are anything that affects consciousness or thinking
or that affects our external appearance. The second is slightly
less easy to understand, but you wouldn't want anybody you loved
to have an appearance -
CHAIRMAN KASS: With a snout.
DR. KRAUTHAMMER: - that was animal-like.
So those I think are the easy answers. I mean, we can look for
deep principles underlying all of this, but intuitively I think
all of us would agree we wouldn't want any shuttling of parts
that involves an alteration of consciousness or of external appearance.
And that seems to me a pretty easy cut on parts. And then you
get to Leon's issue of, well, embryonic mixing, where you're
creating a new whole and that's a different issue, and I think
he's right; that when we're creating a new integrated whole,
the mixing of the human and non-human is intuitively abhorrent,
and I think the burden of proof is on the other side to show us
that it's not.
PROF. SANDEL: Though none of that covers the pig's
uterus, which is the big example that has been looming here.
CHAIRMAN KASS: A pig's uterus has its honored place
on the agenda this afternoon.
Gil and then Bill. This was, I think, both to follow up with
DR. KRAUTHAMMER: Could I push Mike once more just for
On the Weissman experiment, if it weren't a mouse but a monkey
with no neurons of its own, would that not trouble you?
DR. GAZZANIGA: That's fine.
DR. KRAUTHAMMER: Okay.
CHAIRMAN KASS: Gil, do you want very quickly to Charles?
DR. HURLBUT: I just wanted to add to the idea that you
said about - I can't quite articulate it. Let me just say the
I'm also concerned that we not create something that looks
like a human, but is a simulacrum of a human. That seems to me
to go even beyond biology to robotics. I think there's something
about the expressed form of something that carries its dignity,
CHAIRMAN KASS: Gil.
PROF. MEILAENDER: Well, I may only be repeating in my
own way what Charles said, but a good point is always worth repeating.
I think at least we do need to distinguish questions, and the
one sort of question is whether if I needed a heart transplant it
would be more troubling to get a pig organ or a human organ. That's
I mean, I recall once saying to a friend talking about pig organ
transplants you'd have to want to stay alive awfully bad, to
which he said, "Oh, no, I'd much rather have that than
a human organ."
I mean, I think there is a question there that kind of needs thought
and that is a little puzzling, and it's related to your query
about the story, which was not only a story. I agree with you on
that. I mean, there's more going on there.
So that's one sort of question.
PROF. SANDEL: So you wouldn't run the risk, Gil, that
the pig's wife would come looking for you to listen to the -
PROF. MEILAENDER: We hope not anyway, yes.
But I do think that's a different question from the question,
you know. Unless one really thinks that the transplantation of
the heart has somehow altered the whole that we're dealing with,
it's a different question from the question Leon distinguished.
Well, no, I don't think he did. So it seems to me we've
got different issues going on, and we just need to keep them separate.
That's all. They're all puzzling actually and not easy
to answer, but I do think they're different.
CHAIRMAN KASS: I won't try to summarize this conversation,
and I think it really does deserve a lot more careful thought, not
so much about these far out examples, but I think the far out example
has lifted up a variety of possible grounds for the disquiet, and
there is some kind of disquiet.
I mean, one simply doesn't want to say the public is irrational
and Mary Midgley's paper, I think, is really quite lovely on
this particular point.
Insofar as we will see a lot more of the importance of chimeras
for sound biologic research, the ethical boundaries, if any, that
should be set on this, especially when there aren't whole organisms
involved, I think, will be an important question. And we can revisit
this in the context of the procreation subject this afternoon as
we will when we go through those things one by one.
But I'd be interested in postmortem notes from any of you
as to whether you think not in the way in which we've discussed
it this morning, but whether this area of chimeras in the embryological
sense or in the research sense is something that deserves our attention
And anybody with an epiphany, too much time on their hands and
a pen and a muse that visits them who wants to share further thoughts
on this subject, send them around because this has been a nice opening
of some very interesting things.
All right. We are adjourned - am I right? This is the time we're
allowed to break? On time for a change.
But we'll reconvene at two o'clock here for two sessions
on that document of defending the dignity of human procreation.
(Whereupon, at 12:14 p.m., the meeting was
recessed for lunch, to reconvene at 2:00 p.m., the same day.)