by Peter Franklin
Tuesday, 8
June 2021
Spotted
07:00

Will we accept human-animal hybrids?

The reaction to a new Netflix series shows that we may not be ready just yet...
by Peter Franklin

Sweet Tooth is a new big budget series from Netflix. Better described as fantasy than science fiction, it is set in a future where “nature made everyone sick” because “bad people ruled the Earth”. But then a “miracle happened” and human-animal hybrids were born. 

What follows is a struggle for acceptance as bigoted humans try to wipe out the hybrids. These faux headlines (actually an advert in a real newspaper) make the political subtext clear: “General calls hybrids a threat to national security; Activists fight back”.

It’s as subtle as a brick and equally original. 

What did surprise me, however, was the following tweet from Netflix featuring images of the hybrid babies, each sporting a different set of animal features — dog, bird, deer and pig:

Though we were invited to find the hybrid babies “cute”, the replies to the tweet were overwhelmingly negative: “sick”, “vile”, “Alex Jones was right” etc etc. We hear a lot about ‘transhumanism’ these days, but clearly cishumanist sentiment is alive and kicking. 

I have to agree with cishumanists. The images are disturbing — and all the more so for presenting the ultimate transgression as “cute”. Of course, we’re talking about a work of fiction here and not one that concerns itself much with scientific credibility. 

Even if it were possible to engineer a full human-animal hybrid (as opposed to the insertion of a limited number of animal derived genes) and sustain it beyond the earliest stages of embryonic development, it would look nothing like the kids of Sweet Tooth. No, the results would be… messier. 

Of course, if we ever get to that stage it won’t be through some sudden “miracle”, but step by step — each one justified under the banner of scientific progress and signed off by the appropriate ethics committees.  

Should these experiments then succeed in producing viable offspring, and if they are found to be useful in some way to their creators, then you can be sure that the effort to secure public acceptance would draw upon the language of diversity and tolerance. 

How far along the road to ‘progress’ are we? Only last months the US Senate rejected a proposed ban on the creation of human-animal chimeras for medical research purposes.

So while we’re a long way from destroying the distinction between man and beast, the process has begun. 

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Simon Denis
Simon Denis
1 year ago

This appalling programme comes straight from the vegan / “animal rights” stable, which imagines no difference between humans and beasts. Do animals care for each other beyond infancy or the boundaries of the pack? Do they hold each other to account, organise persistent, large scale schemes of mutual assistance across breed and species, clearly articulate feelings or ideas, produce technology beyond the obvious or sustain culture? No. They do not, for all the petty experiments which suggest that an octopus might be Einstein or a parrot capable of solving Fermat’s last theorem. And the secret acknowledgement of this point among the animal rights brigade is found in their aversion to hold animals accountable for anything. Is the tiger put on trial for eating the gazelle? The hedgehog fined for injuring the slow worm? Again, no. Blurring the human / animal distinction is yet another totalitarian symptom of our shady times.

David Fitzsimons
David Fitzsimons
1 year ago
Reply to  Simon Denis

I’m not sure how accurate your 1st sentence is but your comment is a zinger!

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Simon Denis

Despite those remarkable achievements you mention, all of us, including you and I are only ‘up market chimps’ at the end of the day. Some of us even share a predilection for eating our own, as do various mammals and others.

Unlike other animals we are experts in extermination, and Warfare. It is our defining characteristic, and we just ‘love’ it ! The elixir of power is insuperable.

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
1 year ago

NO, man is unique. I spent decades in nature, man is what justifies existence. Nature is utterly cold. It is death and suffering on a scale beyond comprehension. The little creatures breed an excess for the young to die miserably, and a couple make it to maturity and breed, and then die miserably as their offspring do. That is nature, I have seen a very great deal indeed – I have killed a great many things, I know how nature is, and it is not nice at all – it is utterly cold.
Humans are the one life which has compassion, altruism, and an aesthetic feeling. Humans can understand, appreciate nature’s beauty, and unless a city person, know its utter coldness. Humans are the only thing which makes nature not just the ultimate cycle of cruelty as they have awareness, love, creativity, compassion, and feel aesthetics. Without us there is no point but the cold of infinite and endless nature. Man is utterly unique, and not an animal as all the others are.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

All that is true but it doesn’t get away from the fact that we are still a primate or if you prefer a rather smart chimp.

All the very best!

Prashant Kotak
Prashant Kotak
1 year ago
Reply to  Simon Denis

The thing is, everything indicates sentience is not an on/off switch, it’s a dimmer switch – across all living creatures. That only breaks down right at the edges, for example when you are struggling to decide if a virus is a living entity or not. The difference exists even within humans and even within the same human at different points in time – someone suffering from, say, late stage dementia might have at that point in time very considerably less sentience than when they were young. So the level of sentience of apes for example is already quite some way towards that of humans. This leads to a number of uncomfortable conclusions – (i) there can/will be entities with greater levels of sentience than humans (in fact we are probably the ones who will create them, unless them aliens turn up first) (ii) it really is not possible to make a distinction between humans and ‘beasts’, except on the basis of xenophobia (in the technical, not the ‘guardian’ sense of the word), which is something mechanically built into all species anyway as it’s a species survival trait that builds up over evolutionary time.
Don’t get me wrong – I’m not making the “vegan” case, all creatures live off each other, and humans no less than the others. In fact, just like other creatures, humans have been known to eat other humans – and nothing says the human who did that is in fact any different from you or me. But like it or not, the fact that someone will say it’s ok to consume a cow, while simultaneously anthropomorphising the dog or cat you grew up with, is just random stuff, with no basis in nothing.

Phil Mac
Phil Mac
1 year ago
Reply to  Prashant Kotak

Completely agree, the idea that humans are some special category flies in the face of evolutionary evidence, and in particular in reflection on the conduct of humans.
To Sanford, above,I’d say the impulse if the tiger in killing an antelope is no worse than you paying someone to run an abattoir for you, and humans wars are no more or less bad than territorial battles by seals – we’re just a bit ‘better’ at it than they are.

Simon Denis
Simon Denis
1 year ago

Exactly. It is sentimentality driven to insane extremes. These are proceeding apace towards the degradation of human exceptionalism – which in turn fits in with an utter disregard for freedom. Left-modernism, to use Eric Kaufman’s illuminating term, regards us all as animals, to be fed, starved, mixed, mated, sterilised or killed as the left-modernists see fit – take, for example, their attitude to unborn infants. Take their equally inhuman attitude to migration, by the terms of which the immediate resettlement of millions takes precedence over the human achievement of particular culture. Decadence and barbarism are in strange alliance, and “anti-humanism” is their banner.

Prashant Kotak
Prashant Kotak
1 year ago

In fact, the Nuffied Council, the regulatory body in the UK, opened the gate to research in the editing of heritable genes via ‘genetic scissors’ tech like CRISPR, within the UK a couple of years ago, the first country in the world to do so.
And I don’t doubt that research is progressing outside regulation in many countries (China not least) because the monetary rewards are so huge.

Mel Shaw
Mel Shaw
1 year ago
Reply to  Prashant Kotak

The Nuffield Council is not the regulatory body in the UK. Try the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (for the human side) and the Home Office (for animal experimentation). There is plenty of UK legislation preventing problematic research on this.

Prashant Kotak
Prashant Kotak
1 year ago
Reply to  Mel Shaw

So for example
https://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/bioethics-heritable-gene-editing-nuffield-report-by-donna-dickenson-2018-07?barrier=accesspay
You should be able to read it for free if you register with them, no need to subscribe as they allow a fixed number of articles to be read free per month.

Ian Perkins
Ian Perkins
1 year ago
Reply to  Prashant Kotak

Does a report endorsing heritable gene editing mean they are a regulatory authority?

Prashant Kotak
Prashant Kotak
1 year ago
Reply to  Ian Perkins

My assumption was Nuffield Council was a regulatory body but as Mel Shaw said that is not the case. Looking at this a bit more they in fact provide heavyweight steer to the regulatory bodies.

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
1 year ago
Reply to  Prashant Kotak

‘Humanized Mice were the tool of developing the covid virus, and then the altered viral RNA is injected in us – Johnson and Johnson vaccine is made from the cloned cells of an aborted baby. I will have neither.

Prashant Kotak
Prashant Kotak
1 year ago

Reminds me somehow of a pop song from the late 70’s, ‘Supernature’ by Cerrone, with the lovelies from Hot Gossip gyrating on the Kenny Everett Show.

Um, anyone got a time machine handy?

Ian Perkins
Ian Perkins
1 year ago

Even if it were possible to engineer a full human-animal hybrid (as opposed to the insertion of a limited number of animal derived genes)
Is there any difference between the two, beyond the number of animal-derived genes inserted (or the number of human genes inserted into an animal)?

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
1 year ago

I could not bare to read the article. I have spent a great many years in nature, much in the remote wilderness, and I know nature exceedingly well, and I have been to a great deal of the world, and know humans equally well – this is an abomination
I have decided Netflix is pure Evil. I got a subscription to see something and am disgusted at how much is satanic, living dead, and sadistic, twisted, deviant, cruel, mean spirited, and just hateful. The rest is stupid, misleading, of very low morality teaching low standards.

Netflix is Satanic, it shows where the world is going. Prime is no better. There is Nothing good on – nothing educational uplifting, wholesome, Noble, and elevating. Just horror and degenerate junk.

Ian Perkins
Ian Perkins
1 year ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

I wouldn’t go so far as to call Netflix Satanic, but from what little I’ve seen of it, it’s mostly drivel, and I’ve no intention of subscribing.

Dave Weeden
Dave Weeden
1 year ago

What I find disappointing is that this show seems so unimaginative. Only this week, there were headlines about humans using echolocation (and maybe knowing something of what it is like to be a bat):
https://www.itv.com/news/tyne-tees/2021-06-02/what-is-echolocation-and-can-it-help-those-who-are-blind-navigate-the-world-around-them

Octopuses don’t have a blind spot (their eyes evolved along a different path to vertebrates, though arriving at a very similar place); some fish can see five primary colours (no link, this is one of those factlets I don’t date check); Jim Al-Khalili has proved that pigeons use polarisation of light to navigate. There may be lots of ways to improve humanity, but sticking antlers on a kid isn’t going to be one of them. And clearly the world is not yet ready for an adaptation of Cordwainer Smith “Instrumentality of Mankind” universe with intelligent animals (I forget how that happened, but for those of us who found PK d**k not quite weird enough, there was always Cordwainer Smith).

parkalot01
parkalot01
1 year ago

Island of Dr Moreau

Simon Coulthard
Simon Coulthard
1 year ago

I think the author’s reading too much into this. Those hybrid babies are art rather than reality so the commentators are frothing over nothing really. Given the pop culture landscape that includes baby Shrek, baby Yoda, sex scenes in Avatar, mermaids and the like, thus Is nothing new.

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
1 year ago

This is twisted stuff. Netflix is evil.

kathleen carr
kathleen carr
1 year ago

Theres a scene in film O Lucky Man where Malcolm McDowell discovers what they have in mind for him when he discovers a man grafted onto a sheep . Its rather terrifying & references Greek myth. Nowadays-probably because of trans movement it might be thought of as acceptable .