Head Transplant: An Ethical and Religious Taboo?

A Chinese-Italian research group announced in November that they conducted a head transplant with two human cadavers, arousing controversy.

Italian neurosurgeon Sergio Canavero collaborated with Harbin Medical University to transplant a head between two donated human cadavers, successfully attaching the spinal cord, nerves and veins.

Canavero aims to make head transplants possible between living humans, and this recent experiment was a step toward gaining the necessary knowledge for doing so. He has published a paper titled “First Cephalosomatic Anastomosis in a Human Model” on the Internet.

Many scientists, however, have voiced their skepticism about this endeavor.

“It’s impossible to know what has been done and whether these claims stand up until the paper, which will presumably be peer-reviewed, has actually appeared.” (Prof. Roger Lemon, Sobell Chair of Neurophysiology, Institute of Neurology, UCL)

“Unless Canavero or Ren provide real evidence that they can perform a head . . . transplant on a large animal that recovers sufficient function to improve quality of life, this entire project is morally wrong.” (Dr James Fildes, NHS Principal Research Scientist at the Transplant Centre, University Hospital of South Manchester)

[source: Science Media Centre]

Many other opinions question the ability to properly regenerate the spinal cord after a patient is paralyzed upon the complete transection of the nerves.


What Will Happen to the Soul?

Criticisms from scientists are well worth heeding, but one essential point is missing from their arguments: what will happen to the soul?

The Liberty Magazine has covered stories about the problem of organ transplants from brain dead donors. In one case, a man who received the heart organ of a donor displayed changes in personality, fell in love with the donor’s ex-wife and ended up shooting himself dead like the donor.

Master Ryuho Okawa, founder and CEO of Happy Science, has long been warning of the dangers involved in organ transplants from brain dead patients. He reiterated this in his public lecture “How I See and Think” given in August:


“Often the more important the organ, the more the donor has an attachment to it. So even if the donor is dead, if the organ continues to live in another body, they begin to think the new body is theirs. And they can come to spiritually possess the body.”

This was probably what was behind the above case. Transplant rejections occur because organs have a spiritual function as well.

What then, if the whole body is transplanted? It is most likely that two souls will be ‘crammed’ into one body. While it may be painful to have an illness that hinders freedom of physical movement, the idea of a head transplant – in fact the very idea of transplantation – has religious problems.

Canavero’s experiments have crossed a line into areas of ethical and religious taboo.


Medical Advancement Must Go Hand-in-Hand With Spiritual Research

The more medical science advances and moves away from the mystical aspects of life, the more we require spiritual and religious understanding.

Humans are immortal souls residing in a mortal body. Life is a temporary training ground in which we shape our individuality through various experiences, before we return to the other world. After this, we are born again to resume our soul training.

If medical science was created to save human bodies, this spiritual world-view is imperative for taking the next leap forward to truly saving people’s lives.

Head Transplant: An Ethical and Religious Taboo?
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