Things to be Dodged

From the New Hampshire Union Leader, 8/15/17, page C1, “DNA discovery: NH biologist reacts to gene-editing breakthrough”: an associate professor of molecular and systems biology at Dartmouth’s Geisel School of Medicine is asked for his comment on a recent study published in the journal Nature. The study reports that researchers in Oregon have had success using gene-editing to repair human embryos that carry a certain mutation.

Says the Dartmouth professor: “The way they have dodged some ethical considerations is that they didn’t go on to have that embryo grow into a person.”

No dispute that these are human embryos, each with unique DNA. But considering them persons would make a hash out of things – or rather, would raise “ethical considerations.”  Considerations to be dodged, apparently.

There’s something to think about.

(Photo: By ekem, Courtesy: RWJMS IVF Program [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons)

 

 

Marching for Science (Including Biology)

Coming soon: the “March for Science,” actually numerous local Marches for Science, scheduled to take place Saturday, April 22. There will be New Hampshire versions in Concord and Portsmouth. From the event’s web site: “We unite as a diverse, nonpartisan group to call for science that upholds the common good and for political leaders and policy makers to enact evidence based policies in the public interest.”


Okay, then – how about the evidence that human beings in utero are truly human beings? That would lead to some policies in the public interest.

Rehumanize International is up to the challenge. Members of the group will be attending various Marches for Science, carrying a pro-life message: “a human’s life begins at the moment of fertilization.”

Image courtesy of Rehumanize International

The reception given to that message will tell me a lot about how much the March is really about science.

If you’d like to support the pro-life effort, Rehumanize International is selling “March for Science” kits for $10, with April 19 the last day to order them. I have no financial interest in the project; it’s just something that ought to get plenty of attention.

I like Rehumanize International’s hash tag for the March: #proscienceprolife. I think I’ll be pushing that one on the 22nd. Feel free to join me.

Image in this post is from Rehumanize International’s Facebook page.

 

He said it: Walker Percy

Walker Percy (photo from www.southernliterarytrail.org)
Walker Percy (photo from www.southernliterarytrail.org)

The onset of individual life is not a dogma of the Church but a fact of science. How much more convenient if we lived in the 13th century, when no one knew anything about microbiology and arguments about the onset of life were legitimate. Compared to a modern textbook on embryology, Thomas Aquinas sounds like an American Civil Liberties Union member.

…Please indulge the novelist if he thinks in novelistic terms. Picture the scene. A Galileo trial in reverse. The Supreme Court is cross-examining a high-school biology teacher and admonishing him that of course it is only his personal opinion that the fertilized human ovum is an individual human life. He is enjoined not to teach his private beliefs at a public school. Like Galileo he caves in, submits, but in turning away is heard to murmur, “But it’s still alive!”

~~ Walker Percy(1916-1990), American novelist, from an article written for Catholic Twin Circle magazine, 6/28/81. I retain that yellowed clipping from my college years.