Abraham Lincoln said: “Character is like a tree and reputation like a shadow. The shadow is what we think of it; the tree is the real thing.”
Character matters, not only in terms of one’s own person, but in terms of a society. Society is the accumulation of the character of many peoples, averaging out to a median. The character of a nation is important, because it casts a shadow over the rest of the world, and through the rest of time. A shadow–or reputation–of a society, or a generation, will determine how it is studied and remembered. Simply put, bad history has a way of haunting a nation, long after it has passed.
More specifically, we—as a society—will be viewed by how we treated the weakest among us. We will be measured by what we did to protect life, and what we did to destroy it. Speaking to that, a relatively new genetic screening process has produced the first ever “perfect” baby.
According to The Guardian:
“The first IVF baby to be screened using a procedure that can read every letter of the human genome has been born in the US. Connor Levy was born on 18 May after a Philadelphia couple had cells from their IVF embryos sent to specialists in Oxford, who checked them for genetic abnormalities. The process helped doctors at the couple’s fertility clinic in the US select embryos with the right number of chromosomes. These have a much higher chance of leading to a healthy baby…The birth demonstrates how next-generation sequencing (NGS), which was developed to read whole genomes quickly and cheaply, is poised to transform the selection of embryos in IVF clinics…After standard treatment at the US clinic, the couple had 13 IVF embryos to choose from. The doctors cultured the embryos for five days, took a few cells from each and sent them to Wells in Oxford for genetic screening. Tests showed that while most of the embryos looked healthy, only three had the right number of chromosomes.”
Following these tests, one embryo was selected for implantation. Reading this story at a surface level doesn’t really raise any immediate red flags, but if you actually think about what is being done, the situation quickly becomes quite frightening.
Over a dozen embryos (fertilized eggs: human beings) are tested, and the victor (the embryo with the least flaws) is chosen to be born. This is seriously disturbing material. This is something out of a science fiction movie. Parents are choosing which of their already fertilized children is allowed to live, while leaving the remaining—apparently inferior, and therefore subject to death—to be terminated. This determination is made based on genetic testing. It’s IVA: In Vitro Abortion.
This couple wanted a perfect, healthy baby. They did not want any chance of what they thought might be an inferior product. It is this mentality that is driving us: to be gods, and to make judgments on who is allowed to live, based only on their genetic code. This is the new eugenics. We want products, not human beings. We want a perfect species. Our materialistic culture has produced a society that has no care about life, if it is not perfect. Children are no longer human beings; they are items to be designed.
We will be remembered for how we treat our weakest. We will be remembered for what we do to these embryos. We will be remembered for mass murder. The specter of this scientific “advance” will haunt us. Our tree of character may be minuscule, but it will cast a massive and dark shadow.
The most disturbing questions remain to be answered: Do we care? Do we have the fortitude to stop this evil, or are we simply going to sit back and watch?