Thursday, May 12, 2005

BIOETHICAL Blow-up ...

... TWO GRAND RELIGIONS, God the Father & Science, DUKE IT OUT!

What distinguishes "a clump of cells in a petri dish" from "early human life"? You might ask a scientist – or perhaps a novelist... Last March, Martha Montello sat in a session of the Kansas Legislature and heard about a bill that would criminalize all stem-cell research in the state. Evangelical politicians duked it out with molecular biologists. Montello, a lit prof, left thinking that these guys needed to read more fiction, particularly by novelists like Margaret Atwood, Kazuo Ishiguro, Walker Percy and others who confront bioethical dilemmas by spinning stories about them.

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But whoa! Science a religion?

Well, yeah!!! For one, Science like all religions answers the Big Questions: Where do we come from? Where do we go after we die? Who made the universe? (Answer: The Big Bang.) Etc., etc.

But Religion "Science" has dragged us into terrifying cul-de-sacs where we fight virtual wars in our minds over bioethics. Cloning!?! Conceiving kids to harvest their body parts!?! Yikes! Too scary.

Result? Religion 2, God the Father, knee-jerks. "Back to the old days! Get a shovel! Dig up the Old Testament!" Can't really blame the loves -- these bioethical cul-de-sacs are the stuff nightmares are made of....

But see, this is where Religion 3 needs to step into the room. What would the Goddess say about Religion Science and its Pandora's Boxes?

Personally, I think the Goddess has been talking to us -- through our novelists, filmmakers, and graphic artists. Particularly the ones who resonate deeply with us.

I think, actually, I might go out and pick up one of Montello's books and see what the Great Mother has to say.

Any ideas? What is the Goddess telling us about bioethics? The scientific "law" that scientists may travel any unexplored road, no matter where it leads?

(IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER: Science must be saluted for the things it has given us other religions have not. Electric lights. Central heating. We may complain about the down side of electric lights and central heating [pollution etc.], but I'm not sure we're ready to chuck these things over night. Gradual chucking may be OK, but sudden? I think not.)

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