GENTECH archive


Re: GE domestic plantsa nyone/


I think the reason for bringing God into the discussion is as a way to 
communicate that our society needs to start placing limits on the power and 
authority of science, which currently sees itself as having ultimate power 
and rights over all people and things, without restraint from other paradigms.

I am Jewish, and everybody knows that Jews have been among the world's 
greatest contributors to science, from Newton to Einstein. The Jewish 
religion has always supported appropriate advances in science. However, we 
specifically have a prohibition against the grafting of species, coming from 
Leviticus 19:19. Here is a statement from Nachmanides, who lived in the 12th 

"One who combines two different species, thereby changes and defiles the work 
of Creation, as if he is thinking that the Holy One, blessed be He, has not 
completely perfected the world and he desires to help along in the creation 
of the world by adding to it new kinds of creatures. . . . The act of 
combining different species is despicable . . . their nature and form change 
when they derive nutrition from each other. . . And one of our colleagues 
adds to the reason for the prohibition against mixing seeds, that it is in 
order not to throw into disorder the primary forces which bring about the 
growth of the plants, when they derive nutrition from each other. . .  All 
plants have their foundations in higher forces, and it is from there that the 
Eternal commanded them the blessing, even life forever. Thus he who mixes 
different kinds of seeds, denies and throws into disorder the work of 

Therefore, genetic tampering of plants violates my religious convictions and 
my religious freedom, particularly when the plants are not labeled. This is 
not a Luddite position -- again, we have always supported scientific advance, 
but we also recognize that science, like everything else in our physical 
world, has limits, and these limits are clearly defined by our tradition. 
Genetic tampering of plants oversteps those limits. 

I haven't seen anything coming from the biotechnology industry which can be 
described as self-restraint or a self-awareness of the appropriate limits of 
their sphere.

- Nina