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Posts Tagged ‘Genetics

Olivia Judson is the most interesting biologist I know

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Francis Galton laid the foundations of behavio...
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Who else tells us stories about Francis Galton, a British polymath and cousin of Charles Darwin.

Now that we are told about the availability of personal genome analysis, she reminds us that we are not only our genes but also the nurturing those genes are subjected to as we grow in families and out.

We evolve subject to our genetic makeup and the effect of the nurturing we get from parents, family and other environments we live, learn and work in. Here’s the link!

Francis Galton was the first scientist to propose theories of heredity for all animal species. At least, that’s the message I got here!

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Written by BobG in Dalian & Vancouver

2010/06/09 at 04:05

How can ID and a benevolent God allow Tay-Sachs babies?

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Fundus photograph showing retina changes assoc...Image via Wikipedia

Insurance Company Yields in Fight With Parents of a Tay-Sachs Child – New York Times

I don’t usually read this kind of an article. I am squeamish about genetic disorders that affect babies, who seem normal at birth. I am squeamish about rare genetic disorders that affect members of a specific group of people defined by their ethnicity and very specific genetic family. I feel very cowardly about my ability to deal with any comparable disorder/disease affecting me or my family or my friends.

But what is Tay-Sachs?

It does sound like a terrible sentence to pain, suffering and a very short and miserable life for these babies. And of course a terrible genetic retribution that focuses on a small very identifiable ethnic group of human beings. How can this form of genetic disorder be reconciled with Intelligent Design or attribution of the creation of humans to a God, benevolent or not? The dire circumstances for those babies and their parents can only be seen as a quirk of a natural process gone awfully wrong.

I realize that parents of Tay-Sachs babies can and must seek financial relief from whatever source is at hand if they live in an organized developed society. But surely there are similar genetic disorders that zero in on other specific groups of people defined by their ethnic/genetic characteristics. And surely some of these families live in developing and undeveloped economies that don’t offer any, or only very limited, financial or medical resources to deal with such dire human situations.

How can anybody, agnostic, religious or spiritual, reconcile any power in our universe, real or imagined, with so cruel a fate for the babies/children and their birth families? Reconcile or explain away?

In my heart and mind I know that if I had anything to do with this hell-on-earth situation, I would argue strongly for euthanasia as the only reasonable way of ending this kind of unecessary, unbidden and undeserved suffering. Tay-Sachs babies die early in their life. Surely all they know in their frail psyches is pain, suffering and isolation from the normal course of human life – a very human version of hell-on-earth.

And don’t tell me that God has a special place for them in Heaven!

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Written by BobG in Dalian & Vancouver

2006/08/24 at 10:04