|One of the Church of England's leading academics today dismissed objections to hybrid animal-human embryo research by others of his faith as 'absurd'.|
The Rt Rev Richard Harries, Lord Harries of Pentregarth, told an audience that it was an 'extra-ordinary' position to think of every fertilised embryo as a living soul.
The former Bishop of Oxford said his position differed from the 'more conservative' Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams who recently used the word 'rape' in connection with the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill.
Lord Harries told Cheltenham Literature Festival: 'We now know that two-thirds of fertilised eggs are lost anyway in nature.
'If each of those really is an eternal soul it seems we have the extra-ordinary position - and I know it seems rather vulgar - that Heaven would be populated by people that have never been born! That's absurd.'
He added: 'When the Bill was going though there was talk about creating Frankensteins, but it's crucial to remember that we are only talking about animal and human material for the first 14 days.
'I know of no scientist wanting to do experiments after 14 days and there is a law that says the egg cannot be implanted in a woman's womb.
'We have got something firm to hold on to and I see no reason that we will go down a road that is genuinely worrying.
'Rowan Williams takes a more conservative position. He says that these experiments on early embryos are effectively commodifying and instrumentalising human life and doing it as a means to an end.'
He concluded: 'We have to remember that these experiments are going on for an overridingly good purpose.
'There's a whole range of very serious diseases that could ultimately be cured. I don't think the objections are strong enough to override that fundamentally good objective.'
"overridingly good purpose" There is the rationalization at work. If we do A to cure B then why not. Its a slippery slope of expanding human experiments to the point where there is no line. No scientist or company is going to stop just at one point.