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In die Skriflig

On-line version ISSN 2305-0853
Print version ISSN 1018-6441

In Skriflig (Online) vol.45 n.4 Pretoria Jul. 2011




Chimeras: An ethical consideration


Chimeras: 'n Etiese oorweging



H.J.G. Zandman

School for Ecclesiastical Studies, Potchefstroom Campus. North-West University. Potchefstroom. E-mail:




Scientists have started with experimentation that raises difficult ethical questions. It comprises taking material from the human blueprint (DNA) and inserting this in various test animals. The purpose of such research is noble, namely the alleviation of human suffering. Yet the ethical ramifications of blending the human and animal genome are significant, especially for Christians. The creation of all living entities after their kind and the image-bearing dignity attributed to man both come under severe ethical stress for those who presuppose divine order in God's ecology.
For non-Christians the philosophical dilemma ought not to exist in the ethical sense if applied at the purest level. If the human is merely a kind of animal, along with and ontologically not different from other animals, there is little logical reason to object to chimeric research apart from a concern about what such research and application might do to the order of life pragmatically. However, many non-Christian do object. Man is made in God's image and the concept of human dignity and a universal sense of right and wrong still binds Christians and non-Christians when considering ethics in the field of chimeric research. As the mixing of human stem cells with embryonic animals takes place, certain non-Christian authors protest that human dignity is being diminished and the animal essence is being violated.


Wetenskaplikes het met navorsing begin wat moeilike etiese vrae teweegbring. Die navorsing behels dat die menslike bloudruk (DNS) geïsoleer word en dan in verskeie toetsdiere geplaas word. Die doel van hierdie navorsing is eerbaar, naamlik die verligting van menslike lyding. Nietemin, die etiese gevolge van die samevoeging van 'n menslike en dierlike genoom is gewigtig, veral vir Christene. Die skepping van alle lewende wesens (elkeen volgens sy soort) en die beelddraende waardigheid van die mens kom onder geweldige etiese druk vir diegene wat 'n goddelike orde in God se ekologie vooronderstel.
Vir nie-Christene behoort die filosofiese dilemma eintlik nie 'n etiese kwessie te wees indien dit op die suiwerste vlak toegepas word nie. Indien die mens bloot as 'n soort dier beskou word wat ontologies nie van die ander diere verskil nie, is daar min logiese rede vir besware teen chimeriese navorsing - behalwe vir die kommer oor wat sodanige navorsing en die toepassing daarvan op 'n pragmatiese vlak aan die orde van lewe sal doen. Tog bestaan daar talle nie-Christelike teenstanders. Die mens is na God se beeld geskep en die konsep van menswaardigheid en 'n universele sin vir reg en verkeerd bind steeds Christene en nie-Christene saam in die oorweging van chimeriese navorsing. Terwyl die vermenging van menslike stamselle met embrioniese diere plaasvind, protesteer sommige nie-Christelike outeurs dat menslike waardigheid aangetas word en die wese van die dier geskend word.



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