11 March 2008

Forgive me, Father, for I have cloned

Oh, great. Not only am I going to Hell for what I am, I now also deserve eternal damnation for what I do. I can either finish my degree, or drop out and be saved. Hmm... decisions, decisions. Not only is biological research now not helping civilization advance, but the very act of holding a test tube up to the light is akin to stabbing a kitten. It has become a reprehensible act, worthy of the utmost punishment Catholicism affords. Yes folks, the Vatican - being the groovy and happening place that it is - has updated the Seven Deadly Sins of yore (which one is your favourite?):

  • sloth

  • envy

  • gluttony

  • greed

  • lust

  • wrath

  • pride

to the 21st century 'social' sins of:

  • genetic manipulation

  • human subject research

  • environmental pollution

  • violating human rights

  • inflicting poverty

  • accumulation of excessive wealth

  • drug trafficking (and consumption!)

So now I'm not allowed to put plant genes in bacteria anymore (or bacterial genes into plants, for that matter), unless I plan to spend eternity in Dante's inferno. Brilliant. Or perhaps I'll just spend some time in Purgatory instead - after all, I gave up chasing the dragon and injecting orphans with trial size volumes of toothpaste years ago.

Read the full story from Reuters here.


Claire said...

First of all, you must finish your degree so you can be in charge of our "Mia-cloning" Lab!! I think the Vatican is more worried about those persons of interest with evil intent (I worry about that too!) of which I am sure you cannot possibly be included. And my favorite sin is sloth, hardy, har, har -because I'm really good at it!

arcadia said...

ja ou satanskind, definitief gluttony.

*dalyn said...

personaly im going to have to go with accumulation of excessive wealth and the consumption part of drug trafficking. sounds like a good combo, no?
i vaugely remember my father telling me he got fired from his highschool teaching job in the 70's (science/biology teacher) for trying to clone a carrot. he ended up with a mushy mass of orange stuff and was told to 'resign' quietly... *d

gm said...

Only two mortal sins! For shame.

I enjoy all the sins of our cultural stew (to misquote Homer Simpson).

Lisa said...

Although I'm an agnostic (read: cowardly atheist), I have never been able to understand the intent behind the sentiment that it's somehow unholy to pursue certain areas of scientific research. Where does one draw the line between what's okay and what's not? If it's okay to transplant an organ or to manufacture one artificially, why then would we draw then line when it comes to potentially cloning one? Why practice medicine or try to heal a human being at all? Isn't that interfering with nature's course too -- except that most disease begins, at least in part with some kind of external cause. I can consider almost any law or prohibition if there is a rational explanation for it, but the positions on cloning and especially stem-cell research stymie me. I suppose it shouldn't surprise me since I live in a country where a growing number of people believe the earth is 6,000 years old and every living thing on it appeared in a six day period.

david mcmahon said...

Definitely finish the degree.

Anonymous said...

I think religion loses any remaining sense of credibility with such things. According to Biblical accounts, God is quite capable of making it's will known. I say, stay in the lab until some tablets show up or something.

Unknown said...

claire: Well, then the least they could have done is worded it so that 'bioterrorism' is a cardinal sin, or something.

arcadia: Hahaha! As ek *eendag* weer in Pretoria uitslaan, moet ons koek gaan eet.

*dalyn: WTF? Sounds hallucinogenic.

gm: Glad to see you back, thought you'd been swallowed up by corporate Jozi.

lisa: There's so much flawed logic out there, you're absolutely right. As for the evolution/religion debate - I'm not even gonna go there! It will turn nasty.

david mcmahon: There is nothing I would rather do, erm... come Hell or high water (pun intended).

jason evans: the only tablets likely to show up in our lab are a couple of Tylenol, I'm afraid.

HopSkipJump said...

Oh, please. If we're going to hell, I'll see you there. Since we're going to be there, we might as well redecorate the place and drive property values up.

I say the rest of us non-Catholics make up our own 7 deadly sins... Hmmm... maybe that should be my next blog posting.

HopSkipJump said...

Is there a way of sending you my email address without publishing it?

Unknown said...

Ask Dalyn - she's got my email address. And I'm looking forward to the new deadly sins, IF-style.

SleekPelt said...

So I guess pharmaceutical salespeople are screwed. And I've read some stories about the Vatican's own partaking in the violation of human rights. And talk about the accumulation of excessive wealth. I've never understood why there is so much opulence in religious buildings.

Chris Eldin said...

You will finish your degree! The road may be bumpy here and there, but there are so few of us in careers we're passionate about. You'll get there, you have to.

About the article, I'm also a 'cowardly' atheist, but I don't see anything wrong with the Vatican going green. I think that it's good if they can get more people interested in caring for the environment. But I sooo draw the line at mixing science with religion. Most often, they hold opposing views. I am particularly sickened that we're not doing more with stem cell research.

Another great post.

Angela said...

Ah well, I hear hell is underrated. :) You wouldn't seriously consider not finishing your degree, would you??

Unknown said...

You guys realize I was being facetious in this post, right?

sleekpelt: At least their tendency towards opulence and hoarding activities over the past couple of centuries have given us some of the greatest works of art, and lots of things to see when abroad.

christineeldin: I'm not afraid of not finishing, and just as determined as I ever were. Indeed, stem cell research promises to do the opposite of sicken you.

angela: What? Just because of what some person deemed a sin? Never fear. You ought to know me better than that by now. I will not be intimidated by subjective nonsense. I am a scientist; I'm all about logic.

Anonymous said...

Human-Animal Hybrid Embryos

I thought this was a little better example of why the Catholic Church has problems with genetic mutation's about the sanctity of human life, which the Church believes begins at conception.

I'm not saying they're right or wrong - just trying to help explain.

Unknown said...

aerin: Thanks for the link, and thanks so much for stopping by! Ethical science is a subjective minefield, of course. I guess a lot of researchers wouldn't be comfortable pursuing the kind of research mentioned in that article. One of the reasons why I elected to study plants is because I didn't enjoy working with animal tissue and human abnormalities all the time. I just thought it curious that the objection from the Catholic Church is being touted by the media as being against all 'genetic manipulation' . Which means no recombinant DNA techniques whatsoever, regardless of what the Church actually meant. That would leave me between a rock and a hard place. And the world without humane cheese.

But what about mouse-human hybridomas? That's hardly a new technique, but also makes Frankenstein-type cells. No-one seems to be bothered by that, though. I guess it's only once the word 'embryo' is mentioned that people get upset.

Mary Witzl said...

I have to go along with the Seven Deadly Sins of Yore; I saw a little of all of those in myself and there was no weaseling out of it. Then I read through all the new deadly sins and figured I was home free -- until I got to the very last one. I've had two stiff cups of French roast today and have every intention of doing so tomorrow too. I'm doomed. If they're going to catch people engaged in genetic research, no way are they going to let caffeine addicts off the hook.

Ah well.

Unknown said...

mary witzl: Hail Mary! That's hysterically funny. I guess we all have our addictions - mine would be impulse buys on Amazon. At least I've been a good boy and steered clear of eBay. Although, they are selling a number of holy grilled cheese sandwiches of late.