Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Stop the Mousemen!

There are only a handful of people who can misread a scientific study more adeptly than 700 Club evangelist and longtime Augoeides punching bag Pat Robertson. I'd probably put nutty creationist Ken Ham in that camp, and the jury is out on potato soup entrepreneur Jim Bakker. Last week Robertson launched into a rant against the scientists attempting to breed a race of half-mouse half-human freaks using cells derived from fetal tissue. You know, a rant against something that totally doesn't exist and never will.

Televangelist Pat Robertson has claimed scientists are attempting to "make a mouse human" using aborted fetal tissue, adding that "Adolf Hitler never did anything as bad as this." The comments were made Tuesday on Robertson's Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN) show, The 700 Club, after the program aired an emotional report concerning fetal tissue being used in scientific experiments.

The segment mentioned a study involving mice and fetal reproductive tract tissue. It did not mention the aim of the research, which appears to be studying the effects of synthetic hormones on female reproductive tracts, rather than creating human-mice hybrids. The segment also contained interviews with anti-abortion activists, including one who mentioned a cancelled study that involved "humanizing mice."

"I'm sure a lot of people will be shocked when they learn of these experiments," said CBN anchor John Jessup, who introduced the segment. "Well, they're no more shocked than I am," replied the 89-year-old Robertson.

To be clear, there are legitimate ethical issues surrounding the use of fetal tissue and the creation of transgenic organisms for research. But framing it as a courageous battle against the mousemen is just ridiculous. What, does Robertson think these non-existent monsters will escape from a lab and proceed to commandeer all the cheese in the world by force?

Also - even if our ethics lead us to conclude that this research is very wrong, and even if the research involves what Robertson claims, can we really compare the creation of a few mousemen to the mass genocide of millions? Sorry, I just don't buy that. Robertson's sense of proportion has always been out of whack, but this is extreme even for him.

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