One of my favorite magicians is Criss Angel. His ability to draw the viewer into the most amazing illusions is seconded only by his peer, David Blaine. The kind of "magic" they perform has earned Angel the title "the Mind Freak."
However, as I was reading the news from the scientific community this week, I was tempted to say that the most unbelievable mind freaks are not magicians at all, but people who have dedicated their lives to destroying the most vulnerable human beings while claiming that they only want to advance science. And if science can make it possible for only disease-free people to be born or for allegedly dying people to die earlier, why not?
Let me introduce you to a few of the dastardly mind freaks.
Dr. Julian Savulescu, the Uehiro Chair of Practical Ethics at the University of Oxford, and neonatologist and Oxford graduate student Dominic Wilkinson, who suggest that
bold steps may have to be taken to increase the supply of organs for transplant. This, they say in a co-authored article published today, could be accomplished by removing one simple impediment – the requirement of donor "death." In a separate article, published last week, Wilkinson suggested an even more radical plan – mandatory organ donation.
These two men go so far as to suggest that when a patient like Terri Schiavo as a possible organ donor, the rule should be that organs can be taken from the patient, since they are going to be allowed to die anyway!
Australian Dr. James Tibballs, who is a pediatric intensive care specialist, is telling the public that contrary to popular opinion,
most organ donations take place before the donor is actually dead. He argues that the vague criterion of "brain death" has blinded potential donors to the fact that their organs are often harvested while they are still alive.
Some would suggest that Tibballs is simply making a statement of fact. However, I believe that Savulescu and others like him are in favor of this new way of making sick people dead and simply want the public to think about it and accept it. After all, I could imagine Savulescu asserting that if one is going to die anyway, why not open up the hospital bed for someone else and permit doctors to take your life early so that your organs can help someone else!
Professor Alan Handyside has developed a genetic test for preborn children, which could be used to screen the preborn for a number of diseases. His test would be used prior to the preborn child being implanted and therefore falls into the category of preimplantation genetic diagnosis.
The test will not only alter the range of innate disorders, but will also increase the speed and accuracy of existing tests and could also improve the probability of pregnancy for those who are infertile by selecting embryos which have the best chance of developing normally.
It is another in the long list of tests developed by scientists for the express purpose of weeding out undesirable people prior to their birth, or in this case, before they ever get the chance to experience prenatal development in their own mother's womb!
Ghastly? Of course it is, but it is thought to be the sort of test that could become mandatory! Yes, mandatory.
And that's not all: "Professor Alan Handyside says the test could also be used, more controversially, to detect a genetic profile which showed a susceptibility to conditions such as heart disease or cancer."
The fact is, that as science labors to discover new and more efficient ways to determine who among the preborn are fit to continue living, more and more errors are going to be made. There is a history of this already occurring as I have documented in previous articles.
A report published on October 28 tells us,
Supporters of the testing, which costs about $1,600 and is not yet covered by insurance, argue that the results can lessen the future parents' worries or identify abnormalities early enough to terminate the pregnancy or prepare for an infant with special needs. However, critics argue that the tests could increase unnecessary worries in parents, lead to termination of healthy pregnancies or potentially be used to "vet" fetuses for other characteristics, such as personality, intelligence or beauty, the Post reports. Leslie Biesecker of the National Human Genome Research Institute said the testing is a "classic Pandora's box*," adding that it "solves some problems while at the same time creating new ones. How you use a powerful technology decides whether it's good or bad."
*Pandora's Box: sent by the gods to Pandora, which she was forbidden to open and which loosed a swarm of evils upon humankind when she opened it out of curiosity .
While it is commendable that Biesecker, herself a scientist, is concerned about what is good and what is bad, it is disconcerting when one thinks about the alternative to such quality control for the preborn. The alternative is that a couple would accept God's will, accept their child as His gift and prepare to welcome the child, regardless of what sacrifices that might entail.
And from the scientific perspective, Biesecker is quick to point out that "there is a large number of variations in DNA that might not cause any consequence and are 'part of what makes us different,' adding that the 'trick is, you have to distinguish whether it's going to cause any disorder. We're not there yet.'"
But I have to ask if it's really a question of whether we are "there yet" or whether we should even attempt to go there in the first place. Perhaps there really are scientific research capabilities that should be set aside because technology in the wrong hands can lead to tragic results, not only on a purely human level but a spiritual one as well.
When the "mind freak" performs a magical illusion, you will hear gasping and a few screams, but when it's over, there is pleasure and overwhelming awe at the ability one man has to put one over on everyone, so to speak.
But the kind of freakish mind games these scientists are discussing will result in gasps and screams of a different kind. One can only hope that common sense, logic and respect for the natural law once again make an entrance on the stage of scientific discovery, for, as we know, when Pandora's Box was opened, nothing good came forth.