Saturday, December 31, 2005

Thunderheads on the Horizon?

In Dean Koontz's Fear Nothing, scientists create cross-species genetic therapies that spiral out of control with freakish results. One of the peripheral characters, in cahoots with the scientists, places his faith in their ability to eventually control the damage and perfect the process--in part, because of his hopes for a "cure" for his Downs Syndrome-afflicted son. "God had his chance," he says. "Now it's our turn."

Man always wants his shot to improve on God's design. To "fix" it. Nowhere is this arrogant drive more disturbing and fraught with ultimate risk than in our experimentation with the genetic building blocks of life itself. Of course, the goals of the ambition are almost always perfectly benign and may yield attractive results. Such has been the case with Genetically Modified (GM) crops and foods. We in the United States have been producing and consuming them for about a decade with no serious, measurable damage.

But then, there are clouds gathering on the horizon. Here's how one good idea--engineer crops that are resistant to herbicides so that the weedkillers kill only the weeds--is already going astray. Turns out the weeds are picking up the genetic traits of the herbicide-resistant crops and are themselves becoming resistant to the poisons. Ooops. Never saw that one coming.

And this is always the problem with assuming that our knowledge runs deeper than it does in truth. Something to temper, perhaps, evangelical zeal when exegeting Scripture. How many times have I heard "as the Bible plainly says..." in an evangelical sermon when half as many times out of ten it isn't so plain at all. The damage from that kind of arrogance runs far deeper and more subtlely than the damage from scientific missteps.

So in 2006, a little more humility and reverence for Scripture and creation would be really, really nice.


At 4:59 AM, Blogger nathaniel adam king said...

If this tells you how long it has been since I checked your blog, I did not know you were 'back'. I had just saw that you commented on someone else's site and I was going to ask if you were, and now seeing I see that you have posted at least since Christmas.

I am happy now...more Zeke heresy for me to daily check!


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