Revolutionary Couplings

Last year Salon ran a piece titled “Sex for ‘mere pleasure’? Shame on you! — 15 sexual hang-ups we can blame on the Catholic Church.” Wait a second Salon, I thought shaming was haaaateful!!! Anyways, go ahead and read it and then take a look at Mr. Austin Ruse’s response at Breitbart. “10 Reasons the Sexual Revolution Has Been a Complete, Utter, and Deadly Failure That Have Nothing to do with the Catholic Church.” I’ll list out his 10 reasons so that you can get the gist but I highly recommend reading it in its entiriety.

It is rather funny when a sexual revolutionary accuses the Catholic Church of being obsessed with sex, as a writer at Salon recently did.

Does anyone really think that the Catholic Church runs modern American society? And does anyone really see any institution talking more about sex in all its permutations than our cultural gate keepers?

American society is drenched in sex and that is certainly not because of the Catholic Church. It is because of the sexual revolution.

So, how is that revolution going? No question it has been remarkably successful. We are awash in sex. But like most revolutions, the sexual revolution been most successful in eating its young.

Here are ten reasons the sexual revolution has been a complete, utter, and deadly failure and none of these reasons has anything to do with the Catholic Church.

#1. Women are depressed. #2. Young women are even more depressed. #3. Declining rates of marriage. #4. Fatherless children. #5. Our immense porn culture. #6. The objectification of women. #7. 50 million dead. #8. 8 million infected. 650,000 dead. #9. New infections. #10. STDs everywhere.

Speaking of #s 9 and 10, Salvo published this info sheet for your reference in the most recent issue. Germs of Promiscuity Sexually Transmitted Infections by Marcia Segelstein

Screen Shot 2016-01-26 at 11.15.06 AM

Whence Evil?

I recommend another great video from Prager U, this time hosted by Dr. Peter Kreeft.

“The problem of evil” is a hindrance for a great many people in coming to faith in God. But yet if one looks for it, they will find that this dilemma isn’t new and has been addressed by many people over the course of human history.

It’s been addressed in Salvo too…

Evil? No Problem
In Fact, It Might Just Prove the Existence of God by Greg Koukl

6a00e00988aca988330120a5d4238c970b-pi

The presence of evil in the world is considered by some to be solid evidence against the existence of a God. I think it proves just the opposite. The entire objection hinges on the observation that true evil exists “out there” as an objective feature of the world. Therein lies the problem for the atheist.

To say something is evil is to make a moral judgment, and moral judgments make no sense outside of the context of a moral standard. Evil as a value judgment marks a departure from that standard of morality. If there is no standard, then there is no departure.

Evil can’t be real if morals are relative. Evil is real, though. That’s why people object to it. Therefore, objective moral standards must exist as well. This discovery invites certain questions. Where do morals come from, and why do they seem to apply only to human beings? Are they the product of chance? What worldview makes sense of them?

Read the rest.

Big Pharma Gets CRISPRed

34cunningham

From Scientific American:

Money from Genes: CRISPR Goes Commercial
The new DNA-changing tech has attracted millions of dollars from AstraZeneca, DuPont and other big companies

. . . It was only a matter of time before the technique moved beyond academia, and in 2015 a number of companies have invested in Crispr technology. First it was pharma heavyweight Novartis, which signed two separate deals with gene-editing start-ups Intellia Therapeutics and Caribou Biosciences. It plans to use Crispr for engineering immune cells and blood stem cells, and as a research tool for drug discovery.  . . .

In Salvo 34 (Fall 2015), our resident bio-ethicist Paige Cunningham gave us a brief report on what CRISPR is, how it’s being advanced, and the ethical dilemmas surrounding it. Excerpted briefly below:

“This should not be done. I am not alone.”1 This was bioethicist Ruth Macklin’s reaction to an announcement made earlier this year by a team of Chinese scientists to the effect that they had “edited” the DNA of human embryos in an effort to correct a genetic mutation that can cause thalassemia, a serious blood disease.

To edit the DNA, the team used CRISPR/Cas9, an enzyme complex. When injected into a cell, CRISPR/Cas9 acts like micro-scissors. It targets the defective section of DNA, snips it out, and replaces it with healthy DNA provided by the researcher. The technique is well established for editing adult human cells—for instance, to modify a patient’s bone marrow cells to increase resistance to HIV—and has also been used on animals. It is so common in genetics research, in fact, that it has become a verb, as in “I’m going to CRISPR that.”2

When it is functioning correctly, CRISPR/Cas9 identifies all mutated segments and repairs each one with a corrected DNA segment. Every cell in the research specimen should be changed. That is not what happened in the Chinese study.

After describing the Chinese study further, she goes on . . .

Genetic engineering can be divided into two streams: (1) genetic modifications that are performed on adult human cells, called somatic cell therapy, affecting only the patient, and (2) germline modifications that are inheritable, that is, passed along to subsequent generations. In the case of somatic cell therapy, ethical concerns center on the customary issues of informed consent, safety, efficacy, and so forth. But with germline modifications, deeper questions are introduced: Should we limit the power of researchers to change future human beings? If so, where do we draw the line?

You can read the whole article: Genetic Restraint: Things That Simply Should Not Be Done by Paige Comstock Cunningham

Obviously this will be a story to watch now that interested parties are investing millions in a possible billion dollar industry.

Feeling What We Know

Are there people who feel no remorse? Perhaps, but they still have a conscience. by J. Budziszewski

. . . Conscience is not about what we feel, but about what we know. Remorse and regret are not about what we know, but about how we feel about what we know. Guilt is the condition of having done wrong; awareness of guilt is the knowledge of being in this state; and the sense of guilt is a feeling resulting from such knowledge.

Considering these distinctions, it should be entirely possible for a person to have a conscience yet have no remorse. The very fact that people with antisocial personality disorder make excuses for their bad behaviour shows that they know that right and wrong are different things. A being who didn’t understand the difference wouldn’t even grasp the concept of an excuse. . . .

A good read from J. Budziszewski and our friends at Mercatornet. We at Salvo are fans of Prof. Budziszewski and he’s been in our pages a number of times over years. An interesting thinker—I recommend these articles to you.

41C9plab+FL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_

The Moral Facts of Life What We Can’t Not Know: A Guide by J. Budziszewski

Free Love Is Neither: Liberation Fatigue & the New Sexual Renegades by Terrell Clemmons

Wise Man on Campus: An Interview with J. Budziszewski by Marcia Segelstein

News Story Filed Under “Sci-Fact or Sci-Fi?”

I’m continuing to recycle articles from past issues of Salvo at salvomag.com. Three more are now up at the top of the page, one of them being “Sci-Fact or Sci-Fi? What We Won’t Learn from Hyped-Up Science News Headlines” by Casey Luskin. From the article:

. . . So why are such paltry and uncertain claims being hyped in the first place? Materialists are apparently desperate for such “good news” stories because they need them in order to convince their patrons, the public, to continue funding their work. The media willingly cooperates, printing stories that sound plausible but that are ultimately science fiction. . . .

Not more than 10 minutes after I posted it, I came across this story trending on Facebook.

Black Hole: Study Proposes Theory That Planet With Lifeforms Could Be Orbiting Space Region

Screen Shot 2016-01-20 at 10.08.41 AM

Casey concludes his articles with:

The fact that materialist cultural elites are willing to hype such modest—and dubious—claims tells you everything you need to know about the state of the evidence. If they had something better, we’d surely know about it.

As always, the key is to think for yourself, and, like George Orwell, to maintain a healthy skepticism about what you read in the media.

What Is Natural?

For several weeks now I have been trying to write about the Nuffield Bioethics Report called (un)Natural. The Nuffield Bioethics Council is a non-partisan bioethics think tank that analyzes particular issues of importance in science, medicine, and technology. They are based in the UK and have some influence over policy issues because of their presence in the mainstream media.

Their report with the longer title of “Ideas about naturalness in public and political debates about science, technology, and medicine,” analyzes the various ways that the terms “natural,” “unnatural,” and “nature” are used in the media, in journal articles, and in other venues. They are particularly concerned with how those terms shape people’s perceptions of new technologies. They solicited the help from experts in language and had poetry readings.

Continue reading