Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Artificial Womb from Science Fiction gives birth to Science Fact

(…in a bucket of artificial amniotic fluid and bioethical controversy)

Video: Artificial Wombs(Uterus):The End of Natural Motherhood? The Matrix Begins?
“The future is rosy for bioethicists.”
The revelation that Japanese scientists had incubated goat fetuses in an artificial womb (ectogenesis) using a technique known as extrauterine fetal incubation (EUFI) was first reported in the New York Times in 1996.

Interestingly, the first installment in the wildly popular film franchise The Matrix was released in 1999, just three years after the New York Times article. And one cannot deny the eerie similarity between the design & functionality of the artificial wombs used by Japanese researchers and those depicted in The Matrix films.

Does this mean science fact gave birth to science fiction?

Image Collage by Genesis: Which Artificial Womb came First: Sci-Fi or Sci-Fact?

Well, Aldous Huxley had the jump on this one, actually:
''One by one the eggs were transferred from their test-tubes to the larger containers; deftly the peritoneal lining was slit, the morula dropped into place, the saline solution poured . . . and already the bottle had passed on through an opening in the wall, slowly on into the Social Predestination Room.'' - Aldous Huxley, ''Brave New World.'' 
Source: http://www.nytimes.com/1996/09/29/magazine/the-artificial-womb-is-born.html
Here at Genesis, we do not think of ourselves as naïve. We know that materialist science is barrelling forward in directions which have potentially catastrophic consequences for individual living beings, ecosystems, the environment and this humanity and the planet as a whole. That’s just a fact. (Nuclear weapons, et al).

But at Genesis, we are concerned with matters which penetrate the veil of material reality. We know that the foundation of the physical world is not physical, and that the things that truly matter to man and beast alike lie beneath the veneer of what appears to us as a very solid foundation of everything.

And even though science knows this, it takes a stubbornly materialistic, reductive, secular and ultimately cold-hearted perspective on energy, quantum physics, consciousness. That somehow, although we know physical reality is built from these non-physical building blocks, they are somehow still regarded as inferior; disrespected, in essence, by the intellect which—if we’re honest—wants to know everything and be the centre of our universe. 

That’s because the intellect is the ego. Science likes to “play God” because the ego wants to “be godlike.” 

Don’t believe us? How else does one explain the position of UK bioethicist Anna Smajdor of the University of East Anglia, who believes that pregnancy and childbirth is a barbaric illness which lasts nine months and is occasionally fatal; an illness which should not be tolerated in a truly liberal society:
“Changes to financial and social structures may improve things marginally, but a better solution needs to be found. Either we view women as baby carriers who must subjugate their other interests to the well-being of their children or we acknowledge that our social values and level of medical expertise are no longer compatible with “natural” reproduction.”
Source: http://www.sodahead.com/united-states/is-pregnancy-unethical-yes-says-uk-bioethicist/question-2491463/ originally from an article in Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics, Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics, January
Ummm…and what about the babies? Where are there rights in all of this? How is it ethical to deny a baby the gestation within the womb? 

Here we see how the intersection of materialist science and liberal intellectualism hit head on to create the conditions which can result in catastrophic cascading effects. The assumption that ectogenesis can be “perfected” is entirely materialistic, mechanical, biological. It assumes that human beings are sacks of ectoplasmic goo surrounded by skin. It denies human beings their essentiality true nature: love.

The fallacious materialist scientific assertion that mind, emotions and love are born out of the physical realm and are by-products of material reality (genetic predisposition and environmental factors) is what allows a scientist to deny the fetus any capacity for mental, emotional well-being and to feel love. Only such a cold-hearted intellectual conclusion could conceive of denying a developing baby the essential connection between it and its mother, and the space of love of the womb (which is BOTH the mother’s womb AND the child’s womb).

Luckily, not everyone think as Ms. Smajdor.
“I would argue that God in her wisdom created pregnancy so Moms and babies could develop a relationship before birth, says Alan Fleischman, professor of pediatrics at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York, who directed the neonatal program at Montefiore Medical Center for 20 years.”
Unfortunately, we cannot be naïve. It won't be long (relatively speaking) before fertility clinics begin offering this "service" to women and Homosexual male couples. At first they will offer it to women with ovarian cancer or who have had their uterus removed, in other words, any of the many medical reasons why couples have turned to surrogate mothers. However, when wealthy models, actresses, musicians (or just self-conscious women) see this technology available, there will be cases of women who choose this method over traditional pregnancy for self-serving reasons.

Such babies will not be breastfed, for obvious reasons, and the long term psychological impacts on children "produced" this way will be catastrophic. They will have so little sense, so little feeling of what it means to be a human being...their psyche will be utterly mechanical: easily programmable by the system.

And that is exactly what Aldus Huxley predicted.

As for The Matrix, it uses ectogenesis, malevolent artificial intelligence and hypnotic virtual reality allegorically to tell us something much more significant about ourselves…that we are already in The Matrix. And the ego-intellect is the mechanical intelligence inside of us responsible for every technological terror humanity has ever devised. 

The technology of ectogenesis happens to be one of the most terrifying; an atrocity of the highest order magnitude…one capable of robbing newborns in development of the most precious, important and essential nutrients required for life…the impressions of a loving, caring, nurturing space of mutual harmony and symbiosis…a space of love.

Intellectual animals “produced” in this way will be even more callous, mechanical, heartless than we already are. Ecosystems? Harmony? The Environment? What do any of these things matter to a biological machine produced on an ectogenetic assembly line? Nothing. 

But this is the perfect technology for fulfilling many another dark, ghastly sci-fi vision: from Sauraman’s army of fiercely loyal Uruk-Hai  in The Two Towers to Palpatine’s Clone Army of Stormtroopers.

Video: The creation of the first and badass Uruk-hai, Lurtz- Fellowship of the Ring (2001) 

Video: Begun the clone war has.... 

Take your pick. There’s no shortage of real-life examples and dystopian visions of what atrocities humanity is capable of when we allow materialist science, technology and “liberal intellectualism” (a clever euphemism for egotistical self-interest) to run amok.

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