Every human life has value.

designer-baby2.jpgWhat’s with society’s split personality when it comes to genetically modified organisms (GMOs)? Milk from a cloned cow is unnatural and unsafe, but injecting a human being with stem cells from their own (dead) clone is positive scientific progress?

Why are we going to great lengths to regulate and raise awareness about the use of GMO in our food supply, while largely ignoring the genetic modification of human beings?

Rebecca Taylor and I discuss in the latest episode of BioTalk!

See also:
Genetic Modification: Bad for Cows and Corn, but Okay for Humans?
Genetically Modified Food: Bad; Genetically Modified Humans: Good

March 19th, 2014 at 8:12 pm | Comments & Trackbacks (1) | Permalink

Sport doesn’t care what your problem is:

This is a great promo from Samsung for the 2014 Paralympic Winter Games, which are still going on right now.
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Who says you can’t be just as active and athletic with a disability?

Yes, it takes a lot of hard work (does it not when you’re able bodied?). But, you’re only really “limited” by your own lack of imagination, determination and ingenuity.

Life with a disability is not as awful as you might think. Trust me.

Previously: Meet the 2012 Paralympians

March 14th, 2014 at 12:20 pm | Comments & Trackbacks (0) | Permalink

Hard to believe it’s already been a year since I wrote this.

Happy anniversary, Papa!! And thank you for continuing to preach the Gospel of Life in word and deed.

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“[B]ear witness to and disseminate this ‘culture of life’ … remind all, through actions and words, that in all its phases and at any age, life is always sacred and always of quality. And not as a matter of faith, but of reason and science!” -Pope Francis to Catholic doctors.

‘Viva Papa Francesco!’

March 13th, 2014 at 11:19 pm | Comments & Trackbacks (0) | Permalink

My BioTalk partner-in-crime, Rebecca Taylor, has a new article at the National Catholic Register on the disconnect that many in our society seem to have when it comes to GMOs:
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So we live in a society where people are wary of eating meat or drinking milk from a cloned cow but support cloning human embryos (using the very same technique) with the hope of producing stem cells for treatments. We as a society are suspicious about genetically modified food but are indifferent to genetically modified children.

What a colossal disconnect! The logic seems to be: GM plants and animals: bad; GM humans: good.

How did this disconnect materialize? Is this yet another manifestation of “reproductive rights” and the abortion culture? Is this the fruit of the modern confusion surrounding our own reproduction? Dogs gestate baby dogs. Horses gestate baby horses. But, as society likes to say, humans gestate “blobs of tissue.” That is, except when the blob of tissue is desperately wanted — then we can go to dangerous experimental lengths to make more.

Read the whole thing. Consider this a sneak preview of the next episode of BioTalk, which we recorded yesterday.

Previously:
GMO Inconsistency

March 12th, 2014 at 10:53 am | Comments & Trackbacks (0) | Permalink

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This is a great piece from CBS on comedian Jim Gaffigan about his family life. At the end of the interview Anthony Mason asks Gaffigan if he’s “done” having kids. To which he responds that, because he’s Catholic and his wife is a “shiite” Catholic, “there is no goalie” and he’s, “not opposed to it.”

gaffigan2.png“I know the positives that I can get from each of my children,” he said. Adding, jokingly, that he also wants to create his own nationality: a country called “Gaffghanistan.”

I love Gaffigan’s brutal honesty when talking about how marriage and fatherhood helped make him a better man. In the CBS interview, he admits to being a “loner” before meeting and marrying “a woman who gets pregnant looking at babies.”

In his book, Dad is Fat, Gaffigan reveals that “Getting married and becoming the father of young children has taught me that I am a narcissist…I lived my life as a single man, and even for a few years into parenthood, just looking out for number one.” As a result, he says, “My perceived needs were all-important.” When it came to his career, relationship, or taking the last piece of pizza, “I was only thinking about myself. And, of course, the pizza.”

But, he found that marriage and children change you. Your spouse and kids draw you out of yourself and put your own wants and needs behind those of your family.

Why have more children?

“Well, why not? I guess the reasons against having more children always seem uninspiring and superficial. What exactly am I missing out on? Money? A few more hours of sleep? A more peaceful meal? More hair? These are nothing compared to what I get from these five monsters who rule my life. I believe each of my five children has made me a better man. So I figure I only need another thirty-four kids to be a pretty decent guy. Each one of them has been a pump of light into my shriveled black heart. I would trade money, sleep, or hair for a smile from one of my children in a heartbeat. Well, it depends on how much hair.”

Gaffigan’s “revalation reminds me of these words from Gaudium et Spes: “[M]an, who is the only creature on earth which God willed for itself, cannot fully find himself except through a sincere gift of himself.”

We may have each been made for our own sake, but we were not made to keep to ourselves and worry about our own wants and needs. We were created for companionship…and love. “Precisely that love in which the human person becomes a gift and — through this gift — fulfills the very meaning of his existence” (TOB 15:1).

March 11th, 2014 at 9:51 pm | Comments & Trackbacks (5) | Permalink

For several years now, Wesley Smith has been warning that the animal rights movement is one of the greatest threats in our day to the dignity of the human person.

war-on-humans.jpgThis was the topic of his 2010 book A Rat is a Pig is a Dog is a Boy: The Human Cost of the Animal Rights Movement. This month he released a new book on the subject called The War on Humans.

From the book’s description:

The environmental movement has helped produce significant improvements in the world around us—from cleaner air to the preservation of natural wonders such as Yellowstone. But in recent years, environmental activists have arisen who regard humans as Public Enemy #1. In this provocative e-book, Wesley J. Smith exposes efforts by radical activists to reduce the human population by up to 90% and to grant legal rights to animals, plants, and Mother Earth. Smith argues that the ultimate victims of this misanthropic crusade will be the poorest and most vulnerable among us, and he urges us to defend both human dignity and the natural environment before it is too late.

Smith’s book is actually a companion book to the Discovery Institute’s 30 minute documentary of the same name:

I think John G. West, author of Darwin Day in America summed it up quite well, “Our view of the human person — whether we’re unique or not — is important to us not just personally, in our own sense of meaning, but to whether we’re going to have a compassionate society.”

“Part of human exceptionalism,” says Smith, “is that only we have duties.” “If we see ourselves as just another animal in the forrest, that’s precisely how we’ll act.”

The War on Humans book can be ordered, in all its forms, through: http://www.waronhumans.com/

March 6th, 2014 at 8:46 pm | Comments & Trackbacks (2) | Permalink

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Last week I was on the radio in Lexington, KY talking to Mike Allen about “three-parent embryos” and genetic engineering. Click the play button below to listen. I come on about 15 minutes into the program — in the second segment.

This is serious stuff, y’all! We are on a threshold. Will we move forward in genetically-engineering our children? This move, it is fair to say, will forever change the course of humanity.

Read: FDA Considers Allowing Genetically Modified Children

March 5th, 2014 at 8:10 am | Comments & Trackbacks (0) | Permalink

As the FDA considers allowing genetically engineered children, I’m reminded of this meme I came across several months ago illustrating the split personality that many progressives have about genetically modified organisms.

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See: Genetic Modification: Bad for Cows and Corn, but Okay for Humans?

February 27th, 2014 at 7:11 am | Comments & Trackbacks (0) | Permalink

genetic-engineering.pngThis week the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) met to discuss allowing the creation of human beings with three genetic parents to proceed to clinical trials. That is, whether to allow human “three-parent embryos” to be implanted and possibly grow to term.

There are currently two different techniques for manufacturing three-parent embryos, the purpose of which is to combat mitochondrial disease. The first, being developed at Britain’s Newcastle University, is known as pronuclear transfer (PNT) and swaps DNA between two fertilized human eggs, intentionally destroying multiple embryos in the process.

The second, which has been done by scientists in Oregon and New York and is likely what the FDA is looking at, is called maternal spindle transfer. This technique swaps material between the mother’s egg and a donor egg before fertilization.

This is not just another reproductive technology. This kind of gene therapy is genetic modification that will be inherited. So, what the FDA is really considering is whether or not to proceed with genetically engineering future generations without their consent.

On top of the fact that, like traditional IVF, the creation of new human life in this way (out of the marital embrace and in the science lab) is immoral in and of itself, there is also no telling what kind of effect this will have on the children it produces.

The science is still very new. Three parent fertility as a concept was only thought of about 14 years ago. And both of the techniques described above were only first successfully used to create human embryos less than five years ago.

Animals created through these methods have had significant health issues, and in Oregon, genetic abnormalities were detected in half of the human embryos created with manipulated eggs. So, there is a good possibility that we may simply be trading mitochondrial disease for other abnormalities, if babies are ever born using either of these techniques.

And that’s a big if.

In Newcastle’s initial report, most of the embryos were so mangled in the reprogramming process itself that they couldn’t even start dividing. In order to get better results with this technology in humans, more research must be done, which means more and more tiny human lives lost and destroyed.

The concerns don’t end there. The massive amounts of “donated” human eggs that will be needed to manufacture children in this way are worth considering. As are legal issues such as  who would be the legal parents of a child generated from genetic material obtained from multiple donors and would such a child have the right to know the identity of all his gene donors?

The FDA’s chief concern, of course, is safety and some members of their advisory committee seemed to agree that there was not sufficient evidence in animal models to suggest that it was safe to proceed in humans.

“There’s overall great concern for the well-being of these kids,” Evan Y. Snyder, the panel’s chairman, said at the meeting, summarizing some of the thoughts of the members. “I think there was a sense of the committee that at this particular point in time, there was probably not enough data either in animals or in vitro to conclusively move on to human trials … without answering a few additional questions.”

Preventing mitochondrial disease is a good and noble goal, but this is not the way to go about doing it. Allowing germ-line modification for mitochondrial replacement to proceed sets a dangerous precedent and may only be the beginning.

We are on a threshold. Will we move forward in genetically-engineering our children? This move, it is fair to say, will forever change the course of humanity.

More than 40 other countries have passed laws or signed treaties banning human genetic modifications that can be inherited. Let’s hope, in this case, at least, that the United States will not live up to her reputation of being  the “Wild West” of reproductive medicine. 

This radical experimentation on children must be stopped before it gets any worse.

February 25th, 2014 at 5:49 pm | Comments & Trackbacks (2) | Permalink

Danielle-Sheypuk.jpgAt this year’s NYC Fashion Week, Carrie Hammer made headlines by breaking ranks with her fellow designers and casting “real women” as her models instead of the 5’10″ bean-pole professional models you typically see strutting their stuff on the catwalk.

One model in particular got everyone’s attention. Dr. Danielle Sheypuk, a Brooklyn-based clinical psychologist and 2012′s Miss Wheelchair New York, became the first disabled model on the Fashion Week runway.

“I was invited by the designer Carrie Hammer to be in her first runway show, and she used role models as the models on the runway, so they were influential females in the community.” Dr. Sheypuk told FOX411. “I have my Ph.D. in clinical psychology so I’m a psychologist that works with adults, and my daytime job is at a clinic, and I work with individuals with chronic and persistent mental illness.”

“Everyone wants to be stylish, and people with disabilities have been completely ignored by the fashion industry; in the magazines, on the runway, and it doesn’t even make sense because you’re in a wheelchair doesn’t mean you don’t care about the way you look or the clothes you wear,” she said.

She wants to change the image that people have of people with disabilities, which “includes things like, if you have a physical disability you’re not sexy, you’re not glamorous, you’re not stylish.”

“I mean, it’s 2014 and this community we’re educated, we’re professionals, we’re married. We have children. We’re single. We’re dating. We’ve been integrated in a lot of areas except this one area, so I hope to really change that image.”

When asked by Elle magazine if she thinks that using models with disabilities will become a “trend” in the industry, Carrie Hammer responded, “I hope it doesn’t become a “trend” as trends come and go. I hope casting powerful women, disability or no disability, becomes a mainstay in the fashion industry.”

Related:
Disabled People are “Sexy,” Too!

February 24th, 2014 at 6:15 am | Comments & Trackbacks (0) | Permalink