Hello again :) I'm back with another rant about my biology class. But first I'll update on my last rant involving the question "What are two limits of science that make scientific study of miracles difficult or impossible?" which appeared on last Monday's test. This question goes hand-in-hand with the short discussion we had in class about science and miracles, with my professor ending said discussion by proclaiming that science is outside the realm of miracles. 
Well, not too surprisingly, he gave me all the points for my answers to the question. How anticlimactic.
For reference, here are my answers:  "1). You need evidence for scientific studies, and there is no evidence to be dealt with from miracles. 2). Since scientific discoveries are constantly made and others changed, if science ever came up with an explanation for miracles, the conclusion could easily be proven inadequate or false later on with a new study." 
I am content with this for now. 

So, on to the next rant.  

We're getting into cell reproduction and genetics now, which brings with it all sorts of ethical issues and whatnot. We had to do a reading and worksheet assignment as a segway into the realm of bioethics, and I have to admit that I might have gotten a little bit sassy with how I answered a few of the questions. The slight ridiculousness of how we were supposed to think when we answered ("Specifically, please think about these case studies within the context of the conviction that human beings are created in the image of God.  You’ll need to consider the extent to which individuals with the following conditions do or do not reflect that image." [bold added by me]) caused my bullshit meter to ascend too high, thus opening me up to answer a few of the questions somewhat sarcastically, and others satirically. 
Here is the file for the questions, should anyone want to take a look (The underlined and bolded sentences were done by me). Also, here is the reading pdf.
And Here are some of my answers to said questions. 

The question of whether or not genetic-engineering is a "good" or "bad" thing is as shaky as the definition of the time when "life" truly starts in the womb. The debates on those two subjects are interesting to me, and are definitely complex. But when my professor started asking whether or not genetic diseases were "just genetics", or if they were in fact punishments by god on unbelievers, sent to punish a man's family for many many generations, THAT is when my face starts to look like 

and my mind goes "what the actual fuck?" Honest to goodness, he set it up with a verse from the bible (can't remember which one! Dangit!) and then injected a biblical conspiracy into the minds of my fellow classmates wherein genetic diseases aren't actually a biological happening, but a godly phenomenon/punishment thing. I swear, I was one muscle twitch away from raising my hand and asking "So, does that mean that god is blackmailing everyone to love him or else he'll curse our families with genetic disorders? Because that's what it sounds like to me." But instead I bit into my thumb knuckle so hard that it was red and swollen for the rest of the class. 
Alas, my dear fellow atheists, I am still too much of a coward to speak out in class against such things as this. :/ I'm sure once I start it won't be so hard, but I can already tell that those first couple of times that I put myself out there I'm going to be a shaky, sweating, nervous wreck. 

Before I end my post, I want to propose a question related to what we're studying in class: 

With genetic testings becoming less expensive and more available, and knowing that specialists can now perform tests that will enable you the chance (since the embryo might not take in the womb) to have a non-genetic disorder-affected child (but at the price of twelve or so -affected embryos), would you have such a test done? Also, if you or your significant other became pregnant, had a test done, and found out that the future offspring had a genetic disorder that would significally affect the child's quality and/or length of life, would you abort it?

Keep in mind that I'm no geneticist, and have limited understanding of how these things actually work. 


P.S. I know a lot of people are probably wondering why I'm still going to (and will continue to graduate from) this small Christian college that's driving me a little nuts. I'm working on my reasons, and I'll have that posted up either later tonight or sometime this week when I get the chance. Till then, ~Taylor <3 

Views: 112

Tags: genetics, god's, wrath

Comment by Mike on February 27, 2012 at 7:01pm

Do your classmates know you're an atheist? Does your professor? How will your grades be affected if/when they find out? If you're going to a small, Christian college I would be wary of becoming too sarcastic to the professor as this might come across as an attack to him.

And I would like to know your reasons to staying at such a place.

Comment by Taylor Campbell on February 27, 2012 at 9:45pm

No, my classmates don't know; yes, my professor does know; my grades shouldn't be affected too much, but I will have to defend my points with a lot more detail. 

Comment by Logicallunatic on February 28, 2012 at 6:25am

with my professor ending said discussion by proclaiming that science is outside the realm of miracles.

What's the realm of miracles then? Seems like wooly-minded nonsense to me. Rather, miracles are outside the realm of reality and science. Have you read Hume on miracles? It's pretty good stuff. In summary, his argument was that any miracle would be a suspension of the fixed laws of nature therefore it's hardly a law if it can be broken on the whim of some god. Further, what is more likely?.... That the laws have been broken in your favour or you have made a mistake? And even worse than that, if these accounts are filtered through a system of Chinese whispers and fabrications, of copies of mutated copies, reinforced by authority and tradition, and hammered in through indoctrination. It's no wonder the miracle meme took off

Comment by kris feenstra on February 28, 2012 at 2:21pm

Just a few thoughts off the top of my head while I sip my morning coffee:

If he's a biology teacher, then you should ask him by what means his speculation could be tested.  I would think, at the very least, we should see a higher incidence of genetic disorders in the children of atheists and heathens/ pagans/ people who put other gods before Him.

  • I'd also inquire why trisomy 21 is on the question sheet.  There may be genetic factors at play, but strictly speaking, it is not a heritable disorder.  It doesn't condemn the family line of the individual who incurred God's wrath.
  • What of polydactyly, which in some cases is genetically dominant?  Is it a punishment, or just a genetic variation?  I mean, it doesn't cause any harm apart from the fact that some cultures aren't partial to it.  Seems odd that some human beings get more digits than the rest of us.
  • What of genetic disorders in animals?  Why did god cause those?  Can animals sin?
  • What about sickle cell anemia?  Sometimes fatal and sometimes a boon, depending on the circumstances. 

Regarding the question on abortion, philosophically, yes, I would terminate the pregnancy where a number of disorders are concerned.  A foetus lacks the capacity to miss the life it never had, and there's already enough to deal with in life; I wouldn't wish for someone to start out with some affliction on top of that, right from the moment of birth.  Being a man, however, it wouldn't be up to me.  If I got a woman pregnant, I'd support her decision either way to the limits of my ability.

Regarding embryo screening, I doubt I would go to such lengths unless there was a specific cause for concern.  At this point in my life, I would be more likely to refrain from breeding in that situation.

Comment by Ed on February 29, 2012 at 12:16am

It's not much of a stretch that your Xtian school professor would offer the possibility that genetic disorders are a possible family condemnation to be passed on to successive generations. The idea of "original sin" that requires ALL homo sapiens to beg for divine forgiveness supports that particular train of illogical thought. My hat is off to you in being able to deal with and tolerate this mythological quagmire you find yourself in. 

Comment by Ed on February 29, 2012 at 9:09pm

Taylor,

That befuddled incredulous look on your face is priceless! Remember to vent to avoid cranial catastrophe.

Comment by Rob Klaers on March 1, 2012 at 5:28am

I think the first thing to consider is that you're going to a Christian college, so you have to expect things to have a religious undertone to them. .. Beyond that I can't be much help, as I have an issue with dropping my social filters at times and so I would have asked that very question - had it occurred to me-  that you thought about.. Which I must say I loved.. It would have been interesting to see the other students reactions should you have asked it.  

Comment

You need to be a member of Think Atheist to add comments!

Join Think Atheist

Blog Posts

The tale of the twelve officers

Posted by Davis Goodman on August 27, 2014 at 3:04am 4 Comments

Birthday Present

Posted by Caila Rowe on August 26, 2014 at 1:29am 6 Comments

Services we love!

We are in love with our Amazon

Book Store!

Gadget Nerd? Check out Giz Gad!

Advertise with ThinkAtheist.com

In need a of a professional web site? Check out the good folks at Clear Space Media

© 2014   Created by umar.

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service