Thursday, December 23, 2010

More on the Man Who Is "Potentially Evangelical"

Denise O'Leary has a post worth reading over at Uncommon Descent on the case of Dr. C. Martin Gaskell, the astronomer who was denied the directorship at the University of Kentucky's observatory because he was "potentially evangelical" (See here for details of Gaskell's case.).

Can you imagine, Gaskell's lawyer asks, the U of K poobahs declining someone the position because he was "potentially" Jewish or "potentially" Muslim? Say I, suppose the man were "potentially" atheist. Would that be a disqualifier for the directorship? If not, why not? Please don't make the mistake of replying that naturalism is not a religion. All such responses will be immediately sent to the trash heap of metaphysically misinformed ideas.

Anyway, O'Leary's is an informative piece if you're interested in how Christians who take their faith seriously fare at the hands of the secular bigots in the modern university. Check it out.

Distinguishing Tumors from Unborn Children

The gossamer thinness of arguments advanced by the pro-abortion folks in defense of a woman's right to kill her unborn child is nowhere more apparent than in the case made by Josh Rosenau of the National Center for Science Education. Rosenau makes the incredible claim that it's hard to come up with a "clean, uncomplicated distinction" between a baby in the womb and a cancerous tumor.

Michael Egnor pretty much demolishes this claim and a couple of others in a piece at Evolution News and Views. Here's part of Egnor's essay:
Contra Rosenau, there is a sharp biological distinction between a baby in the womb and a cancer. That sharp distinction holds at every stage of human development. A zygote/embryo/fetus is an individual member of the species Homo sapiens. A cancer cell/tumor is not an individual member of the species Homo sapiens. A cancerous tumor is a part of a human being that has lost growth regulation and replicates without normal inhibition. Dermoids (benign tumors) and HeLa cells (immortal cervical cancer cells grown in culture and widely used for experiments) are not human beings.

A cancer cell if unchecked will grow into a tumor which will kill the human being of which it is but a part. A human being at conception will mature to a newborn baby and to an adult. A cancer is biologically, physiologically, biochemically, morphologically, histologically, phylogenetically, teleologically, therapeutically, and morally different from an unborn child. Cancers should be excised, radiated, and eliminated with chemotherapy. Children in the womb should be nourished, loved, and delivered alive and healthy.

The question is not whether a zygote (or embryo or fetus) is a human being. He or she is. And the question is not whether a cancer is a human being. It is not. Both are uncontested rudimentary facts of biology. Any competent biologist can distinguish an unborn child from cancer. Any competent pathologist can distinguish an unborn child from cancer. Any competent obstetrician can distinguish an unborn child from cancer.

Yet Rosenau, Programs and Policy Director for the National Center for Science Education, finds that "that line is hard to draw."
It is surprising to me that anyone who holds such a lofty position in an organization given to the promotion of science, as Rosenau does, would affix his name to such an absurd assertion. Anyway, anyone who's interested in the abortion issue should read Egnor's entire essay. It's what the kids, I'm told, call a smackdown.