Thursday, September 10, 2009

All I Know About Science

gene therapy, disabled, abortion, christian, atheism, doctors, science,
I learned from Jurassic Park.

That was the shortest shorter Ken Connor of The Christian Post.

Recent reports of an unprecedented development in gene therapy indicate that humility before the mysterious and awesome power of nature is a lesson mankind has yet to learn. Like Crichton's Hammond, the scientific community seems unable to resist the Siren song of "discovery," even when the future of humanity may well be at stake.

shorter Ken: I know fuck all about gene therapy, but it scares me. All science does.

The field of genetics has been viewed as the last frontier of biological science, and with good reason. Unlike other forms of medicine that are applied at the individual level-e.g., mending an artery, fashioning a skin graft, or removing a tumor-genetics involves manipulation of the very building blocks of life. Manipulation of genetic material can affect not only individuals, but generations yet to come. That's why some scientists are celebrating after successfully replacing "faulty" genetic material of one female monkey with genetic material from another female monkey to produce several apparently healthy offspring from the genetically altered eggs. Many in the field are excited at the prospect of using this technology to help women with genetic maladies produce healthy children-despite "a host of safety, legal, ethical and social questions" that should give them pause.

I still don't know anything about gene therapy, but if women, even monkey women, are benefitting from it, I'm against it. And I like to put quotes around random assortments of words for no apparent reason.

It is easy to understand the altruistic impulse that drives many scientists to push the limits in pursuit of eradicating diseases and disabilities; but, as they say, the road to hell is paved with good intentions. Scientists and society must weigh the potential benefits of any given scientific "advance" against the costs of any unintended consequences. If we allow ourselves to be guided solely by our passion to break barriers and our irrepressible desire to play God, we could end up the authors of immeasurable damage to the whole human race.

Those scientists, always showing off and trying to disprove god. They couldn't possibly be motivated by a desire to help people by permanently curing such horrific maladies as Tay-Sachs or hemophilia. (Hey, if god wants you to watch your baby bleed to death from a scratch, that's what you should do. He's love, you know.)

Thousands of years of knowledge and discovery have illuminated much, but when push comes to shove doctors and scientists still wonder at the miraculous poetry and precision on display in the workings of life on earth. Of course, things sometimes go wrong. Nature does not always work the way we would like; but considering the vast complexity of the natural world, it is amazing that nature malfunctions as infrequently as it does.

It's not like scientists know everything, and until they do, they shouldn't do anything. Except give me antibiotics when I'm sick and chemo when I have cancer. But other than that, they need to stop playing god. As for the "infrequency of malfunctions"? Wow, really, cuz this is a long list.

True to our nature, however, mostly good is not good enough. Human beings desire perfection on this earth. We reject the Christian understanding of sin and fallenness as inescapable features of the human condition (manifested in part by our physical imperfection and frailty) and resort to the use of science as our instrument of omnipotence. Following Margaret Sanger in the early 20th century, for a time we believed that we could breed imperfection out of the human race by controlling who could and could not procreate. Adolf Hitler extended the theory of eugenics to its atrocious conclusion with his holocaust of 11 million Jews, Poles, Catholics, Christians, gypsies, the mentally and physically disabled, homosexuals, Communists, and others. In the early to mid-20th century, patients with psychological and mental disorders became experimental fodder for doctors convinced that lobotomy was the solution for ailments now treatable through therapy and medication.

atheists like to kill people, doctors and scientists have been wrong in the past, and sure, i'll pass on a bypass and let my heart explode rather than mess with god's perfect creation. right.

Today our methods of playing God are more subtle, but no less inhumane. With our righteous defense of a woman's "right to choose" and an individual's "right to die," we assume the divine mantle of Creation and Destruction. With our embrace of bioethicists like Peter Singer-who defines personhood according to a utilitarian "quality-of-life" criteria that does not recognize the humanity of the unborn, the disabled, the diseased, or the infirm-we endeavor to remake nature in our own vain image.

wouldn't gene therapy prevent abortions related to such disorders as Down's, etc? so, less abortions is bad? oh, i get it, Tay-Sachs is good? no, i don't get it.

So it is with genetic technology. When wielded proudly, unconstrained by humility and a sense of our place in the natural order, it represents a grave danger. Whether you call it the Law of Unintended Consequences or Murphy's Law, experience demonstrates that if something can go wrong it usually will-despite the best laid plans and the best of intentions. This may be of little consequence when applied to the mundane decisions of daily life, but when we are talking about the use of a technology that could irrevocably alter the human species, shouldn't we ask whether some risks are worth taking?

so, gene therapy done whilst praying to the lord would be okay? and, yes, i think we should ask parents whose children have died of these sorts of diseases if some risks are worth taking.

look, there are legitimate questions about this sort of thing, but "why aren't they consulting the bible before making medical/scientific breakthroughs" is not one of them. asshat.


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  3. Science are scary.
    I are pray to the Jesus.
    Science are scary.

  4. It took me three times
    To get that right, I suck at
    knowing the English

  5. lolcat is a difficult language.

    unless you're an incredibly ignorant 13 year old, in which case it's your native tongue.

  6. Some asshat said: "Scientists and society must weigh the potential benefits of any given scientific 'advance' against the costs of any unintended consequences."

    ..."Any" unintended consequences? 'Cause it really sounds like we're veering away from consequences which can reasonably be expected - e.g. If I get a liver transplant I might die on the operating table - and into the territory of any conceivable consequence, no matter how far-fetched - e.g. If I get a liver transplant it might turn out to be an alien seed-pod which will take over my body in the service of SATAN! {cue dramatic music}

    I mean, it sort of almost sounds like a reasonable argument, until you realize that he's arguing in favor of what we do already. That being the case, I'm forced to assume that he means to imply that we must consider not only "unintended" consequences, but also the nebulous area of unexpected consequences. This is an extremely silly way to try and plan, but it also points to a rather ignorance-based fear of science.

    I say ignorance-based because he's not addressing any specific, credibly (or even arguable) risk. He's just saying, "We shouldn't do this because something horrible might happen! Oogah-boogah!"

  7. That wasn't just lolcat, that was lolcat haiku.

  8. it was actually really awesome haiku. and i'm not a huge fan of haiku, but i liked this! maybe lolcat haiku is the way i should go...

    have you heard of MetaHaiku? it's links - 3 lines of links - the 1st line had 5 links, the second 7, the last 5 (replacing the syllable scansion of regular haiku) and then the links are all supposed to tie in to what the haiku is about. it's actually really neat, if one likes haiku and researching...


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