Al Jazeera America broadcasts a fascinating report, explaining how Chinese scientists have edited the DNA of human embryos.
The video narrator Jacob Ward points to a few the problems with editing human beings. As Mr. Ward explains, scientists have not perfected the technique, and perhaps never will. DNA is amazingly complex. One small change can have severe unexpected consequences.
But more importantly, how many human embryos will die as scientists go through trial and error to perfect the process? The Nuremberg Code, adopted in the wake of Nazi atrocities committed in the name of science, states several appropriate rules for human experimentation:
The experiment should be so conducted as to avoid all unnecessary physical and mental suffering and injury.
No experiment should be conducted, where there is an apriori reason to believe that death or disabling injury will occur;
Proper preparations should be made and adequate facilities provided to protect the experimental subject against even remote possibilities of injury, disability, or death.
During the course of the experiment, the scientist in charge must be prepared to terminate the experiment at any stage, if he has probable cause to believe, in the exercise of the good faith, superior skill and careful judgement required of him, that a continuation of the experiment is likely to result in injury, disability, or death to the experimental subject.
Even if we could instantly perfect such technology without killing thousands or millions of embryos, manipulating the DNA of a human embryo would still violate her human dignity. It treats a vulnerable human being as a product to be manufactured rather than as a human rights bearing individual, created in the image of God.