Friday, May 15, 2009

The Wave of the Future

Writing in the May 2009 issue of First Things (still behind a subscription firewall), Editor Joseph Bottom notes an indicator of where our utilitarian society is headed.

Back in February, Dr. Jeff Steinberg, director of Fertility Institutes in Los Angeles, announced that he would help couples choose the eye, hair, and skin color of their children using genetic embryo screening. "Genetic health is the wave of the future," he told the New York Daily News. "It's already happening and it's not going to go away. It's going to expand. So if they've got major problems with it, they need to sit down and really examine their own consciences, because there's nothing that's going to stop it."

As it happens, enough people did sit down, examine their consciences, and then stood right back up again: The public outcry eventually forced Steinberg's clinic to suspend the service. In its news release, the Fertility Institutes admitted that, "though well intended, we remain sensitive to public perception and feel that any benefit the diagnostic studies may offer are far outweighed by the apparent negative societal impacts involved." The clinic hasn't exactly stopped practicing eugenics. They still boast of a "100 percent sex-selection success rate"--meaning, of course, that embryos of the undesired sex are discarded. The clinic also screens embryos for "albinism or other ocular pigmentation disorders" as well as a range of genetic abnormalities such as Down syndrome and hemophilia. Eugenics is fine, as long as you don't alter eye and hair color.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Love the sarcasm...

Might we also say that the Bible is fine, as long as we are able to pick and choose passages that are to our liking, or personally interpret without the guidance of the Church?

Or, the Catholic Church is fine, as long as I "get something" out of the mass, or can ignore precepts or teachings that don't fit my personal lifestyle, or are not "up with the times"??? CCL members and those practicing NFP will know what I mean... And, I will never stop being amazed when I hear people I consider to be basically good Christians or even Catholics, say things like "I don't personally believe in abortion, but it should be allowed for incest/rape, and/or because women will die due to unsafe or illegal abortions."

Maybe I'm a bit off your topic of eugenics, but it's scary some of the stuff going on today that even mainstream society thinks is "fine".

As I believe one of our Holy Fathers has alluded to (not sure whether John Paul or Benedict), moral relativism is a slippery slope, I would say even trecherous.