Sunday, September 03, 2006

Playing God

Back in the beginning God gave a command that mankind has never had much of a problem obeying. He said "Be fruitful and multiply." And so we have. By natural means mankind went from the original pair to maybe a billion (I've done the math), and then started over again with six after the first batch "didn't take"!

It has taken about five thousand years, but we've passed six billion folk in this ol' world. In some places that rate is increasing, in others it is actually decreasing, but we keep on producing that "fruit." And for all of that six thousand years or so, we have "allowed nature" to take it's course.

Not anymore. Now there is an increased use of diagnostic tests to choose which babies to keep! Though it is quite expensive, in vitro fertilization is being used more and more. Now, for infertile couples it is a viable choice. Except that it entails the destruction of unused embryos. That is a problem for many.

But I am on the fence here. While I strongly believe that life begins at conception, I am aware of the science that favors emplantation as the most important milestone for an embryo. Some naturally formed embros (some estimate 2 out of 3) never make it to that stage. The formation of nerve cells that become the personality center of the brain form soon after emplantation. A very good alternate definition of "life" that might form as a good compromise.

However, the new developments in testing a single cell of an eight-cell embryo -- which if it passes will be emplanted and become a baby -- are going beyond the obvious birth defects and into genetic testing for potential diseases -- notably cancer. Parents are chosing to pay for embroyo cells to be tested for more and more conditions that MIGHT happen in middle age! This is very close to eugenics, a practice condemned by civilized peoples generations ago.

Though this precludes abortions of developing babies of recognizable human form after tests showing defects, it nevertheless encourages the god-like decisions of life and death among those that can afford it. Meanwhile, the rest of us keep obeying God in the old fashioned way!

It is so much better just to depend on God to make those decisions. It is He who will work in the lives of the strong and the weak to work His good will. If you can't have children, there are plenty that are "unwanted" children to go around. And many diseases, especially cancers, are treatable or even curable even today. In thrity years they may all be just a bad memory.

Even for the poor who were just doing what God has commanded.

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