Case 22-2017: Salk Institute for Biological Studies
Notification to the NASA on Colonization in Mars
On May 28, 2020, the Buddhist Tribunal on Human Rights contacted NASA in the wake of the recent “Alienating Mars: Challenges of Space Colonization” conference at the New York Academy of Sciences, where astrobiologist Kennda Lynch stated that space travel and Mars colonization will necessarily require genetic engineering technology, which would be an alteration of human DNA that makes it possible to live permanently in an extraterrestrial environment. Accordingly, geneticist Christopher Mason of Cornell University explained that human-animal hybridization could be necessary for that purpose, proposing the ethical using of genes of Tardigrades, which are microscopic animals that are capable of living in space and even of resisting high levels of radiation.
The Buddhist Tribunal on Human Rights & International Buddhist Ethics Committee created this idea in 2017, during an ethical trial against the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, judging it as Responsible for Crimes against humanity and Violation of Animal Rights for having carried out human-animal hybridization experiments with the excuse of creating human organs for transplants. The Buddhist Tribunal on Human Rights argued that violating the genetic heritage of humanity is a violation against a collective right and that it cannot be above the right of an individual, in addition to the fact that this excuse of hybridization for organ transplants is false, since 3D printing technologies of human organs already exist. This human-animal hybridization was declared unethical and unscientific, since it uses the genetic heritage as a consumption object and nullifies all kinds of intrinsic rights to human life.
However, during the Ethical Judgment against the Salk Institute for Biological Studies on April 3, 2017, the Buddhist Tribunal on Human Rights also proposed the radical idea that there would be a single exception to the rule of prohibiting human-animal hybridization, claiming that human genetic engineering might be ethical if it enables humanity to survive outside the Earth:
“However, in view of the fact that the Buddhist Tribunal on Human Rights prohibits and declares the genetic manipulation of human-animal hybrids as illegal, it should be made clear that this rule has only one exception. Faced with a probable catastrophic event in which planet Earth would be driven to inevitable destruction, humankind would have the collective right to survive in other planets. Even so, in order to perform such a cosmic achievement, humanity should obligatorily make a genetic modification that allows it to survive the arduous environmental conditions of outer space or other planets. Undoubtedly a human-artificial hybridization or a possible hybridization with living beings such as the Tardigrade (also known as waterbears or moss piglets) would provide hibernation capacities for hundreds of years and also abilities to resist high levels of heat and cold, which is necessary to survive both in space and in other planets. The exception to the prohibition of genetic manipulation demonstrates that the Buddhist Tribunal on Human Rights is not morally dogmatic, since this exception is the case of a modification of the collective genetic heritage in order to respect the collective right to survival of species, and it should only be applied facing an enormous need to respect the right to life of all humankind. Clearly, the experiments of the Salk Institute for Biological Studies and the scientist Jun Wu do not meet the requirement of necessity to be an exception to the rule prohibiting genetic manipulation. This exception to the rule could not be used to save an individual life, since collective rights could not be violated in order to respect an individual right, nor should this exception be applied to the creation of immortal human beings.”
Humanity must spread throughout the Universe in an ethical and sustainable way, including promoting the terraforming of extraterrestrial and extrasolar planets, since the reproduction of the great superorganism of Mother Earth is a collective duty of humanity, probably being the unconscious design behind the space missions according to the Gaia Theory. This scenario is the only possibility to ethically perform human-animal hybridization. In conclusion, the Buddhist Law is in favor of human evolution, although it must be carried out ethically, therefore, the Buddhist Tribunal makes itself available for NASA in order to ethically advise all kinds of scientific projects on this matter that may be carried out in the future.
Always with spirit de reconciliation (maitri),
H.E. Master Maitreya Samyaksambuddha
President and Judge of the International Buddhist Ethics Committee & Buddhist Tribunal on Human Rights