Different River

”You can never step in the same river twice.” –Heraclitus

June 1, 2005

Is this the future?

Filed under: — Different River @ 5:55 pm

I’ve written before of the efforts to legalize killing of babies, especially (at first anyway) disabled babies. The most prominent advocates of legalized infanticide seem to be Princeton “bioethicist” Peter Singer, and the Dutch medical establishment.

Someone with an imagination as terrified as mine but much more colorful has written the following, which appeared in the January 1999 issue of First Things and which I was finally able to locate online.

When it was mentioned that Senator Daniel “Pat” Moynihan said that partial-birth abortion is “too close to infanticide,” the lady on the talk show was obviously impatient. Her brisk response: “All that does is impose yet another moral judgment.” I can only suppose she had in mind the Senator’s assumption that there is something wrong with infanticide. The following is from the parish newsletter of the Church of St. Mary the Virgin in Arlington, Texas.

Dear Mom,

Gosh, can you believe it’s 2023 already? I’m still writing “22″ on nearly everything. Seems like just yesterday I was sitting in first grade celebrating the century change. I know we haven’t really chatted since Christmas. Sorry. Anyway, I have some difficult news and I really didn’t want to call and talk face-to-face. Ted’s had a promotion and I should be up for a hefty raise this year if I keep putting in those crazy hours. You know how I work at it. Yes, we’re still struggling with the bills. Timmy’s been “okay” at kindergarten although he complains about going. But then, he wasn’t happy about day care either, so what can I do? He’s been a real problem, Mom. He’s a good kid, but quite honestly, he’s an unfair burden at this time in our lives. Ted and I have talked this through and through and finally made a choice. Plenty of other families have made it and are much better off. Our pastor is supportive and says hard decisions are necessary. The family is a “system” and the demands of one member shouldn’t be allowed to ruin the whole. He told us to be prayerful, consider all the factors, and do what is right to make the family work. He says that even though he probably wouldn’t do it himself, the decision is really ours. He was kind enough to refer us to a children’s clinic near here, so at least that part’s easy. I’m not an uncaring mother. I do feel sorry for the little guy. I think he overheard Ted and me talking about “it” the other night. I turned around and saw him standing at the bottom step in his PJ’s with the little bear you gave him under his arm and his eyes sort of welling up. Mom, the way he looked at me just about broke my heart. But I honestly believe this is better for Timmy, too. It’s not fair to force him to live in a family that can’t give him the time and attention he deserves. And please don’t give me the kind of grief Grandma gave you over your abortions. It is the same thing, you know. We’ve told him he’s just going in for a vaccination. Anyway, they say it is painless. I guess it’s just as well you haven’t seen that much of him. Love to Dad . . .


Will there be a DNA editor?

Filed under: — Different River @ 11:45 am

Matthew Herper at Forbes Online reports:

The new firm, Codon Devices, is aiming to perfect a new technology that would allow scientists to edit sequences of DNA with never-before-seen ease. The leap might be akin to going from having to correct articles with Wite-Out to editing them onscreen with a word processor. The goal is to move from having to merely tweak the proteins that are used as biotech drugs to being able to design them, even taking material from multiple organisms and using them to create new, functional genes.

“I think if we pull it off, it changes everything to do with our interaction with the living world,” says Drew Endy, a young MIT professor who is one of the company’s co-founders. “We’ll see if it works.”

If you’re interested, read the whole thing.

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