Thursday, October 7, 2010

Every Sperm Is Sacred...

This year's Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine went to Professor Robert Edwards for his work on developing IVF technology. As you can probably tell from the title, I'm not making this post solely to congratulate him on his achievements or his award. IVF is an incredibly powerful technology. Personally, I'm in favour of infertile couples adopting in preference to using IVF, but that doesn't mean I don't think the prize is completely deserved.

The Catholic Church has come out and called the award "completely out of order". Because there are too many people in the world already? Of course not; this is the same organisation that hates condoms and birth control on principle. Because it is kinder to adopt a child than to create one? No. One could be forgiven for assuming that the church doesn't care about actual children at all, given the way it treats them. (I'm not just talking about pedophile priests, or the foot-shuffling approach to dealing with same, I'm talking about behaviour that the church actively condones.) Instead, its entire concerns are with the millions of embryos created in the course of employing Edwards' technology that don't then go on to become children.

The reality is that, if he did exist, God would be the biggest abortionist of them all. Roughly a quarter of all pregnancies pass unnoticed because the embryo fails to implant, or dies in the first few weeks. Including these cases, the number of pregnancies that end in miscarriage is roughly a third. I lost more cells the last time I played The Unforgiven than these unused embryos possess. I'm not going to get into a lengthy rant on the permissibility of clinical abortion here, but I will say that the only people, by and large, who think IVF is a remotely controversial technology are the minority of Catholics who still swallow every turd that comes out of the Pope's office. They ought to consider the possibility that it is they, and not those with actual medical knowledge or fact-based ethics, who are out of order. They won't, of course — blind faith in irrational dogma tends to discourage one from doing such things — but they damn well ought.


  1. Unfortunately, a lot of people have opinions that have no basis in actual understanding or research.

    This is one reason why I am SO glad that the power to allow RU486 was taken away from Tony Abbott - he is NOT a doctor of medicine, he has NOT been involved in any of the research and he was quite simply unqualified to make that kind of decision, even if we take his religious views out of the equation.

    Sadly, very few people are as smart as they think they are and, to make things worse, a lot of these people make up for it with pride (isn't that one of those Deadly Sins?) so they can't deal with having their misconceptions corrected.

    The result of this is that people in general will make all sorts of unsupported claims based on bits and pieces of rumour and conspiracy theory. Classic example is that one of Ritalin being used to "turn kids into zombies", or that vaccination does more harm than good.


  3. Man, I just don't know how the Catholic church is still running anymore. It's practically a symbol of institutionalised evil these days... poor Pope B and his dark Rasputinous eyes.