Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Standing up for superstition

I see today that the Catholic church continues its crusade in favour of dogmatic, pre-scientific superstition over human well-being. In a statement released yesterday a spokesman criticised the recent Nobel prize for medicine awarded to Robert Edwards (who pioneered work into in vitro fertilisation) In it a top Vatican "bio-ethics" official Monsignor Ignacio Carrasco de Paula said that "his (Edwards) research didn't treat the underlying problem of infertility but rather skirted it", an interesting perspective, the rest of us would look at the situation and see parents without children having treatment and afterwards, er, actually having children, seemingly hitting the problem of infertility squarely on the head?

Perhaps all those years of theological training have imparted some deeper knowledge of reality (unavailable to the rest of us) to Mr de Paula, a reality in which embryos conceived in vitro are somehow inferior to those conceived through sexual intercourse between two (married) people? As is typical for "experts" of Mr de Paula's ilk he does not explain how he knows this, conveniently (and unlike the scientists) avoiding any proper scrutiny of his position. The Vatican spokesman goes on to point out the fate of unwanted or excess embryos, i.e. they are destroyed or used in stem cell research, he objects to this, using the age-old playground bully's defence of "because I say so". Every other rational person realises that although any kind of waste is regrettable, this is exactly what happens in nature where un-fertilised embryos are traditionally flushed down the toilet rather than being used to further our attempts to reduce the suffering of millions.

In case you are wondering, the picture shows professor Edwards with the first ever test-tube baby, Louise Brown who is a Mother herself now. I wonder if she's Catholic?

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