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Post by d9popov »


The word “passion” (_pathos_) is used with many different meanings in the Holy Fathers. “Passion” or “passions” can refer to change or suffering, to inclinations towards good things or inclinations towards sin. The God-Man had “sinless passions” such a thirst, hunger, and suffering pain on the Cross, since He is “like us in all things except sin.” Christ’s sufferings are routinely called “the passions” (_ta pathe_) of Christ in the Orthodox Church, which is often translated into English as “the Passion” of Christ, but the Greek is usually plural, “the passions” (_ta pathe_). “The passions” is also used as shorthand for “sinful passions.” But that is clearly not the only meaning. Broadly, “passion” can refer to something that human beings experience or “undergo”: undergo change, undergo suffering, undergo a longing for God, undergo an inclination toward sin. “Passion” can also refer to “susceptibility” to change, suffering, good desires, and bad desires.

Science is beginning to associate specific parts of our DNA with specific passions. This is called “behavioral genetics,” in which certain genes and certain behaviors are correlated. The relationships will turn out to be incredibly complex, but we are learning enough that scientists are beginning to “edit” our DNA with the idea of changing our susceptibilities, aptitudes, and passions.


According to Carl Zimmer, a highly-praised science writer at the _New York Times_,, there is one type of genetically modified human that already walks among us, and a second type may have just been created and born. These, of course, are baby steps towards what might be much more extensive genetic modifications to human beings down the road.

The type of genetically modified humans that already walks among us is a group of a dozen or more adults who have DNA from one father and two mothers. The majority of the maternal DNA comes from one mother who donated the egg; but some of the DNA comes from a second woman who donated cell-filling material (from one of her eggs) that was injected into the egg (from the other woman) that was fertilized. In each of these cases the egg that was fertilized was a hybrid egg created from two women’s eggs. There may be a dozen or more such people alive today.

In recent days it was announced that a scientist in China, He Jiankui, used a technology called Crispr to edit out part of a gene in an embryo. This person was just born last month, according to Dr. He. It is believed that the genetic material that he cut out is associated with susceptibility to H.I.V. and AIDS.

Some experts are predicting a blanket ban on such procedures by governments, but others believe that human genetic modifications will continue and increase — with unforeseen consequences for humanity.
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