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Commentary: The Eugenics Legacy of the Nobelist Who Fathered IVF


An inventor of the technology that led to the first test-tube baby was an active member of Britain’s Eugenics Society
 
Human embryos undergoing development in vitro.
 Image: Wikimedia Commons
Robert G. Edwards might not be a household name, but the innovation he pioneered along with Patrick Steptoe certainly is. In vitro fertilization (IVF), the process whereby human eggs are fertilized outside of the body and the resulting embryos implanted in a woman's womb, led to the 1978 birth of Louise Brown—the world's first "test tube baby." To date, an estimated five million children worldwide have been born using this innovation. Edwards received the 2010 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for this remarkable achievement.

Edwards’s passing earlier this year prompted an outpouring of praise. He has been widely described as a maverick researcher disinterested in personal recognition who simply wanted to give babies to those who couldn’t make them on their own. The New York Times quoted Edwards’s former collaborator, Barry Bavister, as saying “Dr. Edwards’s motivation—his passion, in fact—was not fame or fortune but rather helping infertile women.” Bavister continued, “He believed with all his heart that it was the right thing to do.”

But Edwards’s views on the technology he created and the uses to which it should be put may be more complicated than this portrayal. One detail omitted from the obituaries published around the world was that Edwards was a member in good standing of the Eugenics Society in Britain for much of his career. Recently uncovered documents show that Edwards served on the organization’s Council—its leadership body—as a trustee on three separate occasions: from 1968 to 1970, 1971 to 1973 and once again from 1995 to 1997 after the group euphemistically renamed itself "The Galton Institute" for the founder of the eugenics movement, Francis Galton. As we consider Edwards’s legacy in light of his recent passing, it is important to think critically about the relationship between Edwards’s development of IVF and his participation in an organization that was dedicated to promoting one of the most dangerous ideas in human history: that science should be used to control human reproduction in order to breed preferred types of people.

‘Father of IVF’ Edwards, with Louise Brown, the world’s first test-tube baby.
‘Father of IVF’ Edwards, with Louise Brown, the world’s first test-tube baby
Coined by Galton in the late 1800s to mean "well-born," eugenics became a dominant aspect of Western intellectual life and social policy during the first half of the 20th century. It started with the seemingly simple proposition that one's social position is rooted in heritable qualities of character and intellect.

Eugenicists of that era also believed that people with what they considered the least desirable traits tend to have the most children, precipitating what they saw as an inevitable decline in a society’s intellectual and physical vigor. Taking their cue from livestock breeders, eugenicists argued that socially disadvantageous characteristics could be bred out of human populations through policies that limited the reproduction of "the unfit"—the "feebleminded," the poor and the weak.

Read the rest here: http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=eugenic-legacy-nobel-ivf

The opposite faith policies of two presidents, both unprecedented

              Reagan went out of his way to promote religious freedom while Obama works to suppress it

By Shafer Parker
The Christians
Oct 22, 2013
Reagan and Gorbachev: At one point the former set out to convert the latter.
Reagan and Gorbachev: At one point the former set out to convert the latter
                           

Americans will forever argue over the part religion played in the founding of their nation, but it cannot be denied that they have turned to God in times of trial. “In God we trust,” for example, became the official motto of the United States in 1956 at the height of the Cold War. All the same, they defend religious freedom, including the freedom not to believe.

Thus when president Ronald Reagan actively promoted religious freedom in the former Soviet Union during his several summits with Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, he was well within the parameters established by his predecessors in office.

Reverend Ron reaches out

Less known, and only recently revealed, is that Reagan went further and sought in a private meeting to convert Gorbachev away from atheism, if not quite to Christianity. That was unprecedented. The story of Reagan’s evangelistic efforts appeared in James Mann’s 2009 book The Rebellion of Ronald Reagan: A History of the End of the Cold War. Mann based the story of Reagan’s evangelism on declassified notes taken by two Reagan aides – now available for viewing at the Reagan Library in Simi Valley, California.
Obama and Pope Benedict: Fifty documented administration attacks on Judeo-Christianity.
Obama and Pope Benedict: Fifty documented
administration attacks on Judeo-Christianity.

In an excerpt reprinted in the Wall Street Journal, Mann reported that at the fourth summit with the Russians, Reagan, in a private meeting with Gorbachev, turned a discussion about human rights into a talk about religion. He began by stating that what he was about to say had to be kept secret, and that if any portion of their discussion got out, he “would deny he had said anything about it.”

After some preliminary discussion of religious freedom, Reagan went into full evangelist mode, telling Gorbachev a story about the battlefield conversion of a Russian soldier in the Second World War, and then mentioning that his son, Ron, was also an atheist. It was his idea, the president said, to serve his son a gourmet dinner and then “ask him if he believed there was a cook.” Gorbachev was non-reactive.

President Obama Slaps Down Faith

Contrast that with President Barack Obama. Instead of defending religious freedom internationally, he has attacked the principle in his own country, with the result that over 60 lawsuits have been filed against the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare), by hospitals, charities, religious colleges, and other for-profit institutions, because it forces Christian employers and caregivers to violate their consciences over contraception and abortion.

 - See more at: http://thechristians.com/?q=node/761&utm_source=The+Christians+Book+Buyers&utm_campaign=7fd0c830b6-TCH-Issue0139-BB&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_e2d8bf6d30-7fd0c830b6-57142977#sthash.vV5zybQc.dpuf

Slavery is back – with 30 million victims worldwide

The work of past Christians must be renewed as the world returns to its old ways

By Steve Weatherbe
The Christians
Oct 22, 2013
A nine-year-old slave girl in India, whose whole family belongs to a brick maker and works seven days a week.
A nine-year-old slave girl in India, whose whole family belongs to a brick maker and works seven days a week.
                           The media spotlight was turned briefly on slavery last week by the year-old Walking Free Foundation. Its first report, The Global Slavery Index 2013, turns old ground already ploughed by the U.S. State Department and the International Labor Organization (ILO) while drawing headlines with the highest yet estimate of slaves worldwide – 30 million, equivalent to the population of Canada.

The brainchild of Australian mining tycoon Andrew Forrest, the report points to developing countries such as India, Nigeria and tiny Mauritania, where as many as 160,000 live in hereditary bondage, but it does not ignore slavery in the U.S. and other developed countries. It does miss the work being done by many Christian organizations, such as the evangelical Protestant International Justice Mission and the Coalition of Catholic Organizations Against Human Trafficking.

India has the most

Though people now associate modern slavery with the sex trade and forced marriages, the ILO estimates only about a third of its victims suffer that fate. It estimates that 44 percent of slaves have actually been bought and sold. Over half are hereditary or bonded into servitude for debts, most often in India, which has half the world’s slaves according to the Walk Free Foundation’s report – as many as 14.7 million.

China comes next in absolute numbers, with as many as 3.1 million. In per capita terms, Haiti has more than anyone except Mauritania, and Pakistan comes third in both lists, with up to 2.2 million. Out of 160 countries covered by the report, the United States comes 134th on a per capita scale, with 63,000 slaves or forced laborers, while Canada comes 144 with an estimated 6,200.

Trafficked for organ transplants

While China has long been reported to be harvesting body parts for transplants from its political prisoners, Britain has just reported its first known case: a young girl from Somalia. In Canada and the U.S. women and girls are more commonly smuggled in to work as domestic servants, prostitutes or second or third wives, while male slaves are usually forced laborers – a return to practices of the 18th and 19th centuries, when slavery was still legal in both countries.

- See more at: http://thechristians.com/?q=node/762&utm_source=The+Christians+Book+Buyers&utm_campaign=7fd0c830b6-TCH-Issue0139-BB&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_e2d8bf6d30-7fd0c830b6-57142977#sthash.MirQtVUm.dpuf

Today on "Kresta in the Afternoon" – October 23, 2013

Talking about the "things that matter most" on October 23
 
4:00 - Direct to My Desk
 
5:00 - Common Core and Catholics
We have received an overwhelming amount of e-mails, letters, phone calls, columns, press releases, articles and more regarding the Common Core Curriculum. Today we delve into it with Dan Guernsey, headmaster at the Donohue Academy and serves on the board of the National Association of Private Catholic and Independent Schools, (NAPCIS), which provides consulting and accreditation services for more than 150 independent Catholic schools across the nation

Today on "Kresta in the Afternoon" – October 22, 2013

Talking about the "things that matter most" on October 22

4:00 – The New Evangelization: What It Is and How It Affects the Life of Every Catholic – Continued Conversation From Last Week
"No believer in Christ, no institution of the Church can avoid this supreme duty: to proclaim Christ to all peoples."-- Blessed John Paul II. With the encouragement of Blessed John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI, discover a renewed urgency and growing enthusiasm for sharing the Gospel with those in your life, both non-believers and those who are no longer practicing their faith. In The Urgency of the New Evangelization: Answering the Call, Ralph Martin explains: It's not just a churchy buzzword, It's not just for priests and missionaries to carry out, YOU and every individual Catholic play a role, it is literally a matter of life or death for everyone in your life, And… it's not as hard as you think. Ralph joins us to continue a conversation we started last week.

5:00 - Graphic Images: An Apologia – Their History and Role in the Pro-Life Movement
The Nazi Holocaust ended nearly seventy years ago. Yet, despite the overwhelming evidence of the systematic extermination of European Jews, there are those who deny that these atrocities actually occurred. Much, if not all, of such denial is motivated by a politically or philosophically based anti-Semitism. One of the most persuasive rebuttals to Holocaust denial is the photographic record of its victims. This record, both still photos and film, was used to great effect by the prosecutors during the Nuremberg trials. They are often graphic and hard to look at, but they are real. They show something that is real. Why not the same for the reality of abortion? Dr. Monica Miller offers an apologia for graphic images of abortion.

Faith schools may lose the right to teach religion from their own perspective and be forced to tell pupils more about other faiths

Faith schools could be banned from teaching their own denomination if proposals to add RE to the national curriculum go ahead
Faith schools could be banned from teaching their own
  denomination if proposals to add RE to the national
curriculum go ahead
  • Report says RE should be added to national curriculum
  • Fears that subject has been marginalised and is being badly taught
  • Faith schools would be legally required to teach standard syllabus
  • Currently RE is a compulsory subject but with no agreed content
By Chris Pleasance
|
 

Faith schools could lose the right to teach their own belief and instead have to give more weight to other religions.

A report by the Religious Education Council for England and Wales says RE has become marginalised and should be added to the national curriculum.

But that would make it a legal requirement for all school to teach the same syllabus, regardless of their faiths.

The report, a three year review of religious teaching in schools, could form the basis of a new curriculum when it is released next week.

Chairman John Keast has admitted that it would be difficult for faith schools to teach their own denomination, but said one solution could involve optional modules for students.

Speaking to The Times, he said: 'These are quite important and difficult issues to overcome. I don't personally think they are insuperable.

'I think you could get sufficient agreement on a national body of religious education knowledge and skills and understanding that everyone should know for the modern world.'


Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2467231/Faith-schools-lose-right-teach-religion-perspective-forced-tell-pupils-faiths.html#ixzz2iQLnrWPt
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Drunk, But Not on Whiskey

 

The Public Discourse
We have the worst of both worlds: a Prohibitionary State that gives license to all kinds of evil, but that regulates and restricts actions that are not evil, to manage the chaos that results from the license.
 
In October, 1919, a heavily “progressive” Congress passed the Volstead Act enforcing the Eighteenth Amendment, prohibiting, for almost all purposes, the production, sale, and distribution of alcoholic beverages. There are two things everybody has learned from Prohibition. First, it is wrong to try to legislate morality. Second, you cannot do it, for Prohibition failed. But neither of these things is true, and the real lessons of Prohibition go unheeded.

First, law is nothing if not the codification of morality. All laws bear some relation, however distant, to a moral evaluation of good and bad. We cannot escape making moral distinctions. One man’s theft is another man’s redistribution of income. One man’s defense of family honor is another man’s murder. Even people who reduce law to utilitarian calculations cannot evade this truth. They may say, “It is useful to refrain from stealing, because then everyone’s goods will be secure,” appealing to self-interest. But why should security be prized higher than the thrill of danger? And how can mere usefulness bind my conscience? A man may fight to the death for justice, and to hell with utility.

Second, if Prohibition was intended to curtail hard drinking, it did work. It’s always easier to look at something that happened than to imagine what would have happened but didn’t. Most people obeyed the law. Of course there were speakeasies and bootleggers. The Kennedy family made their fortune on illegal whiskey. But there wasn’t a speakeasy on every street or a still in every backyard. Actuarial tables show that, shortly after Prohibition began, deaths from cirrhosis of the liver dropped considerably, and continued to drop through the twenties, leveling off by the time Prohibition was repealed in 1933.

After all, Prohibition did enjoy some wide support. Billy Sunday, baseball player and itinerant preacher, campaigned for it. Even Irish Catholics were not uniformly in opposition. I recall a photograph of a parade held in my coal-mining town in 1918, to celebrate the armistice. Prominent were the Knights of Father Mathew, an Irish temperance society.

So, then, what does Prohibition teach us?

Read the rest here: http://www.thepublicdiscourse.com/2013/10/7577/

“What was Auschwitz?” “I don’t know…”



No rant here, just clear demonstration of our terrifying ignorance and disconnection from our recent past:

Questioner: What was the Holocaust?
American College Student: Um…I’m on the spot.

Questioner: Which country was Adolf Hitler the leader of?
American College Student: I think it’s Amsterdam?

Questioner: What was Auschwitz?
American College Student: I don’t know.
.....


Watch it to the end. The woman makes her point, very well, and with no acrimony.

 



Read the rest here: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/theanchoress/2013/10/17/what-was-auschwitz-i-dont-know/

Some Hard Spiritual Truths That Will Set You Free.

A Meditation on a Teaching from St. John of the Cross

 
I have written before on Five Hard Truths That Will Set You Free. In this post I would like to ponder Some Hard Spiritual truths that will set us free.
 
In calling them “hard truths,” I mean that they are not the usual cozy bromides that many seek. They speak bluntly about the more irksome and difficult realities we confront. But, if we come to accept them, they have a strange way of bringing serenity by getting us focused on the right things, instead of chasing after false dreams.
 
For it sometimes happens that a person can spend his whole life being resentful that life isn’t peachy, forgetting all the while that we are in exile, that we are making a hard journey, we pray, to a life where, one day, every sorrow and difficultly is removed, and death and sorrow are no more. But not now.
 
There is a kind of unexpected serenity in living in the world as it is, rather than resenting the world for not being what we want it to be. For now, the journey is hard and we have to be sober about our obtuse desires and destructive tendencies. And that is why there is a value in calling these insights, “hard truths that will set us free.”
 
In the very opening section of his Spiritual Canticle, St. John of the Cross lays out a presumed worldview that the spiritually mature ought to have attained. And because he presumes it of his reader, he states it only briefly.
 
Yet, for us who live in times not known for spiritual maturity, we ought to slow down for a moment and ponder these truths which are not only poorly understood, but even actively resisted today by many who call themselves wise and spiritually mature.
 
Remember now, these are hard truths, and many today wish to bypass the harder teachings of God. Thus we do well to pay special attention to a Spiritual Master who is deeply immersed in Scripture, as a remedy for the soft excesses of our modern times.
 

Church Flooded With Calls After 15-Year-Old Orphan Pleads to be Adopted


by Steven Ertelt | Washington, DC | LifeNews.com | 10/18/13 3:44 PM

Davion Henry made national headlines two weeks ago when he pleaded with members of a local church he attends to be adopted into a loving family. From the story about his request for someone to adopt him.
In church, Davion scanned the crowd. More than 300 people packed the pews. Men in bright suits, grandmoms in sequined hats, moms hugging toddlers on their laps. Everyone seemed to have a family except him. Davion sat beside Going, his caseworker from Eckerd, and struggled to follow the sermon: something about a letter Paul wrote. “He was in prison,” said the Rev. Brian Brown. “Awaiting an uncertain future … ”
The preacher spoke about orphans, how Jesus lifted them up. He described an epidemic, “alarming numbers of African-American children who need us.” Then he introduced Davion, who shuffled to the pulpit. Without looking up, Davion wiped his palms on his pants, cleared his throat, and said: ”My name is Davion and I’ve been in foster care since I was born … I know God hasn’t given up on me. So I’m not giving up either.”
Davion said he’d take anyone. “Old or young, dad or mom, black, white, purple. I don’t care. And I would be really appreciative. The best I could be.”
Now, Fox News says the church has been flooded with calls.
“It has been just an awesome outpour,” Cynthia Coney, a secretary at St. Mark Missionary Baptist Church, said. “We’ve been getting calls from as far as Utah and forwarding them to his adoption agency.”

Read the rest here:  http://www.lifenews.com/2013/10/18/church-flooded-with-calls-after-15-year-old-orphan-pleads-to-be-adopted/
 
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