Sunday, February 15, 2009

Been Too Long

Ok, it's been too long, and I've been too busy. But I hope to get to posting again on a more regular basis. But I'm still kind of strapped for time, so I'll catch up just by listing some interesting articles from the past few days worth looking at.

In the Wall Street Journal about the work of Fr. Greg Boyle with Homeboy Ministries. They were on the front page yesterday, as you may have seen. The article can be read here. The title is: "A New Gang Comes to Los Angeles: Solar Panel Installers." A lot of these ex cons that Fr. Greg works with are finding work installing solar paneling. Kind of cool. Not only working, but contributing to the green revolution.

Next, also in the Wall Street Journal, a scarier article about Pre-implantation Genetic Diagnosis, called for short PGD. Found here, the article is about a new fertility clinic opening in Los Angeles that will allow couples to select for gender and physical traits, such as eye and hair color. What is even more scary is that:
While many countries have banned the use of PGD for gender selection, it is permitted in the U.S. In 2006, a survey by the Genetics and Public Policy Center at Johns Hopkins University found that 42% of 137 PGD clinics offered a gender-selection service.
Wow. Leaves us much to think about, especially on the birthday of Darwin and Lincoln. PGD essentially offers the opportunity for people to work out their racist tendencies in ways never before thought possible. You want blond hair and blue eyes? Fine, just pay for it. You want no physical deformities? Fine, just pay for it. Children have truly become commodities, not loved for their own sake, but bought as trophies for their parents so that they can live out their fantasies in their "perfect" children.

What Lincoln would have thought of this, I don't know. Maybe I can tease Mason Slidell back into writing by saying something like "Lincoln was a hero who hated slavery." He will no doubt comment back that even while the Civil War was being fought, Lincoln's slaves were forced to continue building the dome on the Capitol building. But Darwin is more interesting. Viciously against slavery, one only has to read small parts of his book, "The Descent of Man" (it's long, so small parts may be all you get to), to recognize that his application of evolution to human descent is terribly racist. Selecting for genes would have been right up his alley. I'm no Darwin hater. But he had some weird ideas in that book. Benjamin Wiker has an interesting article on this connection between Darwin and Lincoln here. He's in the Intelligent Design movement, so I'm not much of a fan. But he's entertaining.

Can you imagine a world where all children born are the genetic results of the passing whims and fancies of their parents, as opposed to the eternal design of God?

Nathan O'Halloran, SJ

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