Boinkie's Blog

Universalis

Sunday, May 29, 2005

LINK

Hilareous discussion on what to sing on the scaffold...(read the whole thing)...
Actually, when we were missionaries, we had a song all picked out. We weren't being overly dramatic-- thirty misisonaries were killed during our last six months there...we planned to sing "how great th0u art"...

I am upset because of something I read.
I am reading a biography of a famous British physician. He mainly tells of his physician parents, the cruel bording schools, and his love of science...and his colourful relatives.
In many ways it is sad, because he was raised by nannies before boarding school, and his parents seemed so self absorbed to be oblivious to a young boy's emotional needs, and as a result he is enamoured of pure science.
But the part that horrified me was when he talked of his mother. She was a surgeon but had changed to Ob/Gyne...and would bring home abnormal babies and show them to him...(already I wonder what kind of mother shows a twelve year old abnormal babies, let alone dead ones?)
But then he goes on and says nonchalantly...most were stillborn, but some she and the matron drowned at birth ("easily, like kittens", she explained) when they decided that the children would have "no conscious or mental life" ....
The abnormal babies were of various sorts, but appreared to be mainly spina bifida...and actually these children DO have a decent mental life...although in those days before shunting of hydrocephalus and antibiotics for urinary infections, they probably did not live very long.
But what kind of doctor cooly makes such a murderous decision?
The answer was that in those days of the late 1930's and early 1940's, such ideas were very popular (although perhaps popular is not the right word...perhaps a better word would be a common opinion among the educated)...
Indeed, there were articles in American medical journals of the early 1940's where one doctor advocated just that... and this doctor was given an award by a German medical society before World War II...
So in such a climate, one does not wonder why a physician would have no conscience in ending an innocent life unworthy of living...(to use a translation of the German phrase of that time).
What is actually upsetting is that a humane modern physician would blithely write such a terrible thing, and not recognize that his mother essentially not only was callus to the sensitivities of a young boy, but that she murdered without any feeling she had done something wrong...and neither the author nor the editor of the autobiography thought much of the incident.
Now, imagine if he had written that his mother dissected live kittens and then drowned them...and bragged to her son about how easy it was to kill the kittens, and who brought dead kittens home to her young son. Imagine the horror...imagine PETA and animal lovers criticizing the author for insensitivity...
Alas, we now live in a world where not only killing unwanted offspring is considered nothing, and using unwanted offspring for experimentation is considered a good, but we live in a world where killing an undefended innocent child is noted in passing as if it was nothing...
And yet, in those days, the German relatives of that doctor were probably being gassed because the Nazis considered them life unworthy of life...the ultimate fruit of callousness toward inferior people.
And today we see those insisting that embryos are less than mosquitoes, so should be used to treat ____ (put in favorite disease: parkinson's, alzheimer's, diabetes)...overlooking the fact that the same pragmatism that kills embryos for curing the sick is the same pragmatism that starves brain damaged women, aborts inconvenient babies, and is busy extending the right to die to anyone requesting it...as long as you are a burden to another healthy human being...

What is lost is the moral vocabulary that says God gives life, and it is for a reason...

Pear Buck, the mother of a retarded daughter, put it this way:

"It can be
summed up perhaps, by saying that in
this world, whom cruelty prevails in so
many aspects of can life, I would act add
the choice m kill rather tharn to let live.
A retarded child, a handicapped human
being, brings its own gift to life, even to
the life of normal human being&. That
gift is comprehended in the lessons of
patience, understanding and mercy,
lessons which we all need in receive and
to practice with one another, whatever
we are:,

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Neumeyer has this line commenting on stem cells:

"Morality and all that" must be swept aside so that one group of human beings can exploit a class of weaker human beings, mere "clumps." It doesn't occur to Kinsley that the very diseased people he thinks this embryo-destroying research will cure are the ones least likely to survive in the dehumanized, self-centered ethos he's advocating to justify it. He throws down the gauntlet and says in his subhead, "Mr. Bush, don't I matter more than tiny clumps of cells?" One day, probably not very long from now, society will say, "No, Mr. Kinsley, you don't. We don't think disabled adults are valuable." And at that point, what principle will protect him? He belittles bioethicists for marshalling arguments against therapeutic cloning that "are concerned with the nature of humanity and stuff." It is those arguments that protect the weak and vulnerable from the designs of a dehumanized scientific culture.

Kinsley calls Leon Kass "fatuous" in a column full of complacently stupid comments, such as: "is human cloning such a horrific concept that it crosses a line into the territory of Frankenstein and 'Brave New World'? Well, they said the same thing 27 years ago about in vitro fertilization, and that is now uncontroversial." Uncontroversial? The largest religion on earth condemns the practice unequivocally, a teaching that proves more prophetic with each passing year as IVF is the ever-widening door through which all exploitative reproductive science passes.

Kinsley's reckless indifference to rudimentary, Golden Rule morality is seen in his blithe and shamelessly accepting admission that therapeutic cloning will result in organ-harvesting of born children and reproductive cloning: "If we're willing to destroy microscopic embryos for their stem cells, why will we stop before harvesting body parts from advanced fetuses, or breeding babies for their organs? Once we allow human cloning for embryos, how can we be sure no one will bring a cloned embryo to term and produce an actual cloned human being? The answer is that we can't."

And he doesn't care.

Like a lot of stuff on Am Spectator, it's a bit harsh in it's rhetoric, but true in it's assertion...

There is a delicate line that is being crossed here: anyone following bioethics knows that this field has long been, in the words of Nat Hentoff, "apologists for death" rathr than those who "place a fence around the law"...

Indeed, one marvels that Bush found such distinguished pro life ethicists to place on his council...

And those who insist "compassion" justifies killing should read Percy's The Thantos syndrome, where social engineering, abortion, and euthanasia (including for those in famine areas) is justified...leading the ex drunk priest to insist that it is "compassion that leads to the gas chamber"...

Neumeyer has this line commenting on stem cells:

"Morality and all that" must be swept aside so that one group of human beings can exploit a class of weaker human beings, mere "clumps." It doesn't occur to Kinsley that the very diseased people he thinks this embryo-destroying research will cure are the ones least likely to survive in the dehumanized, self-centered ethos he's advocating to justify it. He throws down the gauntlet and says in his subhead, "Mr. Bush, don't I matter more than tiny clumps of cells?" One day, probably not very long from now, society will say, "No, Mr. Kinsley, you don't. We don't think disabled adults are valuable." And at that point, what principle will protect him? He belittles bioethicists for marshalling arguments against therapeutic cloning that "are concerned with the nature of humanity and stuff." It is those arguments that protect the weak and vulnerable from the designs of a dehumanized scientific culture.

Kinsley calls Leon Kass "fatuous" in a column full of complacently stupid comments, such as: "is human cloning such a horrific concept that it crosses a line into the territory of Frankenstein and 'Brave New World'? Well, they said the same thing 27 years ago about in vitro fertilization, and that is now uncontroversial." Uncontroversial? The largest religion on earth condemns the practice unequivocally, a teaching that proves more prophetic with each passing year as IVF is the ever-widening door through which all exploitative reproductive science passes.

Kinsley's reckless indifference to rudimentary, Golden Rule morality is seen in his blithe and shamelessly accepting admission that therapeutic cloning will result in organ-harvesting of born children and reproductive cloning: "If we're willing to destroy microscopic embryos for their stem cells, why will we stop before harvesting body parts from advanced fetuses, or breeding babies for their organs? Once we allow human cloning for embryos, how can we be sure no one will bring a cloned embryo to term and produce an actual cloned human being? The answer is that we can't."

And he doesn't care.

Like a lot of stuff on Am Spectator, it's a bit harsh in it's rhetoric, but true in it's assertion...

There is a delicate line that is being crossed here: anyone following bioethics knows that this field has long been, in the words of Nat Hentoff, "apologists for death" rathr than those who "place a fence around the law"...

Indeed, one marvels that Bush found such distinguished pro life ethicists to place on his council...

And those who insist "compassion" justifies killing should read Percy's The Thantos syndrome, where social engineering, abortion, and euthanasia (including for those in famine areas) is justified...leading the ex drunk priest to insist that it is "compassion that leads to the gas chamber"...

Friday, May 20, 2005

Yesterday we were at the birthday party of Doy's daughter.
It was held at the pool, and like most Filippino parties, had plenty of food, a kareoke player and lots of kids and teenagers there.
It is a joy to see children.
Usually whereever I am, I have friends with children...
I don't have a lot of patients with little ones, especially when they are bad. But I do enjoy the liveliness of them.
In some ways here I love Christina, but am sorry that she is an only child and not likely to have a sibling.
And in some ways I am sorry I had only my adopted children, and was unable to have children by my husband.
Children are the future. They play and they learn and they love.
Americans too often merely have pets.
I take that back: for where I have always worked, people had children. That is because I worked in poor rural areas, where children were considered part of life, or even something that happened and you accept them.
But when I read the yuppie papers, we read about pets being considered as part of the family: In San Francisco the word pet is not PC: They are "animal companions; (this is in a city cited as one of the most "child friendly" communities due to social services available, until someone pointed out that housing is so expensive that few families with children actually live there).
There is something grotesque about jokes that pets are their children. I love pets as much as anyone, but they are not children. If the pet is bad, you can get rid of them. If you move to a small apartment, you can give them away. If you go on vacation, you can let out food and have a neighbor put out daily food and no problem.
But, of course, in American Society, children are indeed like pets.
If you don't want them, you abort them. You can give them to daycare or to schools and afterschool programs if they get in the way. Summer camp for city kids is a joy, but how many parents send their kids there to be free of the burden of kids hanging around all summer?
Whereas in the Philippines, children are children...cared for by extended family. And pets?
Well, the pet store in the upscale mall has small dogs for pets. But here up country, dogs are...well, treated like dogs. Which is an improvment on Pampanga, where dogs are treated like...well, kept in cages to fatten for stew.
My step son says he is sick the way animals are treated here...they live here, and eat here, but rarely are pampered.
Whenever I read about women lacking equality with men in the job market, I cringe. What they mean is women often work part time, or at lower end jobs that pay less so they can care for kids...
I always worked part time with my kids, who were of course quite "old" when I adopted them...but now I think: How bad a mother I was, not to be there all the time...all the problems of moving etc. which were outside my power to change was of course part of it.
Maybe that is why now I am being taught to stay home...to value time spent in "nothing"...for work is the god of America, not the hard work of those trying to make ends meet (which is a sin of the economic powers which see women's "equality" as a way to get cheap hard working labor) but as the yuppies who want more of everything but children.

Ah, well...I am a sinner, and maybe since I am "idle" I can pray for them, and for the poor who do the best they can.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

The Chicago SunTImes says:

For years, fertility clinics have been storing thousands of surplus frozen embryos that couples no longer need to get pregnant.

Now a bill that appears close to passage in the U.S. House would allow couples to donate such embryos to federally funded stem cell researchers.

This brings up two questions:

One: What type of parent would donate their offspring for experimentation?

Two: Where did they get all the embryos they already have been experimenting on? Did they pay college students for eggs and sperm? Or did they steal "left over" embryos?
You see, we read of human embryonic stem cell experiments where they were placed into animals, but rarely about animal embryonic stem cell experiments...

In the meanwhile, the president's bioethics department has a new report out.

Want to make a bet they don't cover it in the MSM?

After all, using embryonic stem cells is a back door way of supporting both abortion and the morning after pill (implication that blastocysts are not the same as embryos)...even though there is a higher danger of embryonic overgrowth into cancer...

Monday, May 09, 2005

Today's meditation is you did not chose me, I chose you.
As a western Christian, I am of the practical way. I figure God wants us to do stuff, so we find what we want to do and assume (or if we are pious, ask) God to bless us.
The alternative to "ask" God what to so seems a bit overboard: like groveling before an eatern potantate.
But, of course, God give us talents to be used. If we are called to be artists, then when we produce art, we are obeying the call of the great Artist to produce beauty. If we are musicians, even the most secular music will mirror that joy and praise or that longing or lament inside us that echoes the way of the heart that seeks the Good, that marvels at the beautiful, that longs for the glorious, or laments at the burdens of earth that can only be solaced by the mercy of the great comforter.
I "chose" to follow God, partly because I was a goody goody, but partly because I had the talents for science and the ability to tolorate the sick. And I loved new things and travel and was fascinated how different people thought and acted differently, not only as individuals but in different cultures. So being a missionary was a big adventure, not a long faced pious deed. And the Jewish doctors I worked with, who were aware of this, said that doing a mitzvah was wonderful: such deeds make one happy.
But God also chose me.
If I am a doctor, it was because I saw my mother's lady doctor as a child. I heard of sisters nursing the sick. I was given a stubborn heart so not to listen to the wiser who told me just to be a nurse, because in those pre women's lib days women didn't become doctors. (yes, even our faults are given by God for a reason).
But I also got scholarships --one that was available only for a few years. Born later or earlier, I would not have had the money to afford medical school.
But spiritually, being self sufficient, indeed I tend to tell God what to do...
But when I manage to shut up (Hard for a garroulous Irishwoman like me) and listen, there are times the Lord intervened and things happened that improved my spiritual life.
When I went to Medjugore, I had never read about it in the Catholic news paper (indeed, our bishop disapproved of that place, and forbad his priests from going there). The only place I read about it was in a Protestant pentecostal magazine that David DuPlessis went there and said he disapproved of Marian stuff but did feel the presence of the Holy Spirit and saw a revival starting. Then I read a screed from some traditionalist Catholic writer...someone I disliked because he was so self righteous and lacked charity...and after reading his "expose", I realized he was basing his condemnation on minor things.
The third reason I went there is that the group was led by a nurse who couldn't stand dirt, yet went there despite the pit toilets...
And I received grace, unexpectedly. I had gone to "shrines" and revivals, but never heard the quiet voice that comes in the breeze.... and several similar "coincidences" occured to me: Where I received the quiet impression I should do something...and there would be opposition and difficulties, but I did it anyway, and as a result I recieved Grace.
There ARE no coincidences...
Right now I am not depressed, and feel well, but even in my darkest days, I recognize that the Lord's hands are behind both the good and the bad.

Sunday, May 08, 2005

I'm still happy as a clam doing nothing...
this afternoon, I had to lay down from back pain and sure enough, a thunderstorm came in this evening....
I ran into this fact in a "green book" essay on hobbits...
It was discussing Pius X who allowed children to receive communion.
When I was a child, I was always grateful, because altho like most kids I did not understand deep theology, I understood that receiving the sacrament was a thing of reverence, and was in some way asking the living God to come into my heart via a visible thing: just as food strengthened us, so too the communion strenghtened our soul.
But what I learned about this article was that his deed went against the hoity toity ideas of gnosticism, that the holy were those with secret knowledge: the wise, the intelligent, the upper class, those steeped in ritualistic superiority.
Children had none of these things, and by allowing them to receive the holiest sacrament, it had the implication that the holiest included the most lowly, not those smart enough or "holy" enough (ritualistically or theologically) or whose superior knowledge made them superior spiritually.
So the tv commentaries that disdain the asian and african christians can think about this next time they tout their superiority

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Well, last week was the fiesta.
Alas, while going jogging at 5 am, I slipped and hurt my back and right knee.
Today we went to a mall about an hour's drive and bought a nice recliner chair which I am using now to blog.
It is so hot that I can't think much.
I want to write an essay on how they are making chimera and show how that is merely a new way of deathmaking.,
You see, "superhumans" and enhanced designer humans will probably still be humans (I always think of Heinlein's FRIDAY). And no, Mr. H, in Catholic theology they have souls.
But what about animal humans?
The nightmare is that of Cordwainer smith's underpeople: Animals enhancd with human traits that are used essentially as slaves, but who have no legal rights to life or what to do...yet Smith/Leimbacher (?) was a christian, but his world did not allow any mention of God..but the underpeople kept this secret alive, which inspired D/Joan and the underpeople to hold their peaceful revolt a la Gandhi/MLK in the Mad lady of Clown town short story.
Right now they state (stanford univ) they will destroy any mice with human traits: But does that make it right?
Another lesson from Science fiction is lord of the Rings. One of the "sins" committed by Saruman is that he bred orc and human...to make more powerful uruk hai. In Peter Jackson's film, it shows them being born from a mud like womb, implying a test tube type breeding...
This was wrong, but not merely from mixing species (orcs, after all, are degenerate elves and there were several human elve marriage) but because it was done in a way degrading and in mockery of God's creature: Not from love but for power.
Now, in Tolkien, one of the valar made dwarves without asking if this was within his power, but when he repented, Eru/god allowed the dwarves to live: It was wrong for him to try to make life, which was only granted to God but when he repented and his creatures asked for mercy, Eru realized that they were not slaves but free creatures, and so allowed them to live...
So science fiction and fantasy discusses the morality of chimera or creatures with human traits made by lesser beings.
As Smith writes: they too are creatures of the One and their lives have meaning.