As the global COVID-19 scourge appears to recede, questions remain over the source and morphology of a virus that had locked down two-thirds of humanity over the first half of 2020. It may take years to satisfactorily decipher this extraordinary episode in human history.
Nonetheless, the novel coronavirus was not germinated in a vacuum. The type of research conducted at the Wuhan Institute of Virology had ominous analogues worldwide. These included the quest for super intelligence and the development of interspecies hybrids or chimeras.
What began as a scientific mission to remedy congenital defects has rapidly morphed into a global race to create designer babies, super soldiers and transhumans through the aid of biotechnology and Artificial Intelligence. 21st century eugenics is tacitly justified by the need to boost “national competitiveness”.
China leads the way here. In one revealing instance alone, genome sequencing giant BGI Shenzhen had procured and sequenced the DNA of more than 2,000 people – mostly Americans – with IQ scores of at least 160. According to Stephen Hsu, a theoretical physicist from Michigan State University and scientific adviser to BGI:
An exceptional person gets you an order of magnitude more statistical power than if you took random people from the population…
BGI Shenzhen intends to become a “bio-Google” that will collate the “world’s biological information and make it universally accessible and useful”. From 2012 onwards, it began to collaborate with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
Scientific endeavours like these are based on the assumption that an assemblage of smart samples will help in the identification and transplantation of optimal bits of DNA into future generations. It is not dissuaded by the nurture over nature debate, even after exhaustive studies have failed to establish genetic variants associated with intelligence. For example, a 2010 study led by Robert Plomin, a behavioural geneticist at King’s College London, had probed over 350,000 variations in single DNA letters across the genomes of 7,900 children but found no prized variant. Curiously, most of the smart samples procured by BGI Shenzhen were sourced from Plomin’s research activities.
Periodic setbacks will not deter the proponents of “procreative beneficence” who argue that it is a human duty to augment the genetic codes of future generations1. Failure to do so is couched in terms of “genetic neglect” and even child abuse2. If this sounds eerily familiar, look no further than the worldview that once animated Nazi Germany.
The eugenic zeitgeist has gripped China in a big way. Under its Maternal and Infant Health Care Law (1994), foetuses with potential hereditary diseases or deformities are recommended for abortion. At the rate Beijing is building its eugenic utopia, the definition of serious deformity may ultimately include a genetically-diagnosed lower IQ.
Instead of raising an eyebrow, the law precipitated a headlong rush to select “intelligent” babies through methods like preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD). The idea behind PGD is to screen and identify the most promising embryos for implantation and birth. Combined with CRISPR gene-editing tools, next generation Chinese citizens are expected to exhibit remarkably higher IQs – at least according to bioethicists who fret over a future marked by the “genetic haves” and “genetic have-nots”. China already has three CRISPR-edited babies whose current fate remains unclear.
In the aftermath of the COVID-19 contagion, the availability of “smart samples” would have increased exponentially and may dovetail nicely with the vaccination agenda of the Rockefeller Foundation and Bill Gates. Incidentally, Gates grew up in a household that was heavily invested in population control and eugenics.
Our smart societies may inevitably face the existential question of “live-lets” and “live-nots” down the line. The orchestrated rebellion towards selective extinction, if it occurs, has a tragicomical public face: A 17-year-old Swede who unceasingly exhorts the world to “listen to the science” and “listen to the experts” but who has little time to listen to her own school teachers.
What can future designer babies contribute to society? For one thing, we will be missing individuals like Beethoven (deaf); Albert Einstein (learning disability/late development); John Nash (schizophrenia); Andrea Boccelli (congenital glaucoma) and Vincent van Gogh (chronic depression/anxiety). A future Stephen Hawking (motor neurone disease) and Greta Thunberg (Asperger’s Syndrome – allegedly) may be genetically disqualified before birth.
It is now an inconvenience to consider intelligence as a result of peer interactions, human environment and personal adversity. Mapping out the complex and sometimes unpredictable interplay between 100 trillion synaptic connections in a human brain may take centuries. Genetic manipulation is implicitly regarded as the eugenic wormhole that will accelerate the emergence of a global smart society.
The late billionaire paedophile, Jeffrey Epstein, was a prominent proponent of this eugenics philosophy. Epstein intended to breed a “super race of humans with his DNA by impregnating women at his New Mexico ranch, genetic engineering and artificial intelligence.” Welcome to Lebensborn 2.0 and it is all about saving the environment and humanity. For now!
Prominent scientists linked to Epstein’s transhumanist fantasies included “molecular engineer George Church; Murray Gell-Mann, the discoverer of the quark; the evolutionary biologist Stephen Jay Gould; the neurologist and author Oliver Sacks; and the theoretical physicist Frank Wilczek.” The late Stephen Hawking – who will ironically flunk the genetic pre-screenings of tomorrow – was another Epstein associate. Are misanthropes in charge of humanity now?
Eugenics-driven national competitiveness is a tacitly growing obsession among major powers. Its hyper-materialistic focus is encapsulated by an analogy used by Russian scientist Denis Rebrikov:
It currently costs about a million rubles ($15,500 at the time) to genetically change an embryo—more than a lot of cars—but prices will fall with greater use…I can see the billboard now: ‘You Choose: a Hyundai Solaris or a Super-Child?’
Will that be an energy-efficient, coronavirus-resistant super child who will instinctively lead a low carbon-emitting lifestyle? The road to hell is indeed paved with fanciful intentions.
But why stop at children? From genetically engineered horses in Argentina that are supposedly faster, stronger and better jumpers to super-dogs in China that are comprehensively superior to the average mutt, the DNA of the entire natural world may be slated for a revolutionary redesign in the future.
Crouching Chimeras, Hideous Hybrids
We however cannot create a future generation of superhumans without being adept at recombining genetic sequences across species. That is the logic guiding eugenicists. As a result, a slew of chimeras or interspecies hybrids have been spawned with the aid of CRISPR. These include human-monkey hybrids, monkey-pig hybrids, human-rabbit hybrids and a host of other lab-manufactured monstrosities.
Chimeras are created when human embryonic stem cells are injected into embryos from another species. The goal, for the time being, is to induce the growth of targeted human organs. Those facing terminal illnesses will no longer have to worry about long organ waiting lists. A less controversial approach to human organ replacement is 3D bioprinting or its 4D bioprinting iteration. These techniques involve the “printing” of a replacement organ from the stem cells of a transplant recipient, thereby eliminating the odds of organ rejection.
But why stop at replacement organs when we can have replacement humans altogether? Future generations must think like Einsteins, be as nimble as leopards and possess owl-like night visions. And, of course, be virus-resistant as well!
The manipulation of the human genome is the new “grand response” to the venerable set of “grand challenges”. Thanks to globalization, China is the go-to place for such genetic tinkering as some of these undertakings are technically illegal in the West. Since 2014, the Wuhan Institute of Virology was the recipient of a two-stage grant worth $7.2 million from the United States government for gain-of-function research into bat coronaviruses. According to a Newsweek report:
Many scientists have criticized gain of function research, which involves manipulating viruses in the lab to explore their potential for infecting humans, because it creates a risk of starting a pandemic from accidental release.
Such caution has not deterred a flurry of research into microbial gene manipulation. It may have instead spawned COVID-19. Recombining genetic codes at the substrate levels is fraught with risks, as any systems theory scholar can attest3. COVID-19 was therefore not a Black Swan event but likely an “emergent”4 outcome arising from complex genomic interactions and human folly.
To solely blame China for the coronavirus pandemic therefore may be a tad unfair. Just as China is the factory of the world for foreign corporations, it is also the genetic incubator for a variety of viruses and chimeras for foreign governments and foundations. Even so, the human-pig chimera was the creation of the Salk Institute in California. Research into the world’s first human-mouse hybrid was largely a Japanese affair. The Portuguese in the meantime had created a virus chimera.
The British, on their end, had spawned a human-cow hybrid embryo in 2008 – perhaps reflective of the bovine disposition of those who consume its mainstream media. Clinically-speaking, such analogies are not wholly unwarranted. It was in Britain where the game-changing Dolly the Sheep was cloned in 1996. The transition from sheep to sheeple may turn out to be a short 21st century Jurassic Park ride.
Coincidences and Consequences
Before the advent of gene-editing tools and supercomputing, it would have taken hundreds of years to create a viable chimera. The Genetics-Industrial Complex and contact tracing-type Panopticons constitute a new growth area for nearly-bankrupt Tech Titans5. Is it any wonder that the mainstream media and their Big Tech owners are furiously censoring contrarian expert views on COVID-19?
The dangers of genome editing were in fact included in the Worldwide Threat Assessment reports submitted to United States Congress in 2016 and 2017. They were either omitted or glossed over in the 2018 and 2019 reports – just as such risks were on the rise.
Is it a coincidence that the nations most affected by COVID-19 are the very ones that had either promoted or encouraged a variety of genetic experimentations that are contrary to nature? By the time this crisis is over, independent researchers should superimpose the maps of “genetic superpowers” with those of nations with either the highest COVID-19 fatality rates or the worst socioeconomic fallouts. There may likely be a good degree of overlap as the figure below indicates.
A Pandora’s Box has been opened and more hideous chimeras may emerge during this decade. It is quite an irony that a new generation of artificially-manufactured and cerebrally-deficient “thought leaders”, academics and activists are being groomed to promote “global governance” – a concept due for a portentous mission creep in tandem with the Second Great Depression. What will be their future worth in a eugenic global society that is centrally-controlled by a digital panopticon6?
“Designer babies” and “super humans” may also render many humans redundant. Will the genetic have-nots be reclassified as “live-nots” in the not-so-distant future?
1 Savulescu J. (2001) Procreative beneficence: why we should select the best children. Bioethics. 2001;15(5-6):413‐426.
2 Hammond J. (2010) Genetic engineering to avoid genetic neglect: from chance to responsibility. Bioethics. 2010;24(4):160‐169.
3 Kauffman, S. A. (1993). The Origins of Order: Self-Organization and Selection in Evolution. New York: Oxford University Press
4 O’Connor, Timothy; Wong, Hong Yu (2012). Edward N. Zalta (ed.). “Emergent Properties”. The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Spring 2012 Edition).
5,6 Maavak, M. (2019). Bubble to Panopticon: Dark Undercurrents of the Big Data Torrent. Kybernetes, Vol. 49 No. 3, pp. 1046-1060. https://doi.org/10.1108/K-06-2019-0403
Dr Mathew Maavak is a regular commentator on risk-related geostrategic issues.
Top image: Pixabay
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