BioTalk

A Pro-Life Podcast


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BioTalk12: The World’s First Head Transplant?

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No, this is not a joke or an onion parody. A man in Russia has actually volunteered to receive the world’s first human head transplant (or body transplant, depending on how you look at it).

head-transplant.pngValery Spiridonov, who suffers from a rare form of spinal muscular dystrophy, recently met with Italian Dr. Sergio Canavero who has agreed to perform the 36-hour operation. The procedure will also require Spiridonov to be put in a medically induced coma for 3-4 weeks.

Spiridonov and Canavero were recently in the United States — where Canavero has said he wants to do the surgery — presenting their case to the American Academy of Neurological and Orthopaedic Surgeons (AANOS).

In the latest episode of BioTalk, Chelsea Zimmerman and Rebecca Taylor talk about the ethical considerations of this and and other extremely invasive medical procedures, our tendency to treat mental diseases as physical diseases, recent comments from the Vatican on plastic surgery and how it relates to transhumanism and the importance of “bodily integrity.”

Or audio only:

Movie suggestion: The Brain that Wouldn’t Die (with MST3K commentary, natch).

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BioTalk11: Three-Parent IVF — Make Your Voice Heard!

In the latest episode of BioTalk, Rebecca Taylor and Chelsea Zimmerman give an update on “three-parent IVF” (aka “midochondrial donation or replacement”) and genetic engineering, what it means for our human future and what you can do about it.

Or, if you prefer, you can listen to audio only:

There is a very real possibility that the United States may follow the UK’s lead here. The FDA is once again revisiting their policy on three-parent IVF here in the States, and have asked the Institute of Medicine (IOM) to conduct a consensus committee to evaluate the technology.

As part of their evaluation, the IOM Consensus Committee is holding open meetings for public comment on March 31, April 1 and May 19. If you are in the DC area, please consider attending and making your voice heard!

If you are unable to attend, you can submit feedback to the committee here by clicking on “Provide FEEDBACK on this project” or you can email MitoEthics@nas.edu. That’s what we plan on doing; I hope you will join us (Rebecca has posted a sample letter that you can use).

Let’s not sit idly by while the Brave New World advances. This technology is still new enough that we can influence public opinion — if we act now. If not, then it could take generations more to reverse what has been done.

Please let them know how you feel about the genetic modification of future generations.


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BioTalking With Dr. David Prentice

At the National Right to Life Convention last summer Chelsea caught up with Dr. David Prentice, former Senior Fellow for Life Sciences at Family Research Council now Vice President and Research Director with the Charlotte Lozier Institute, and chatted with him a bit about the current status of the great “stem cell debate”, how scientists are tinkering with human life these days and what, if any, positive signs he sees for trying to stop this train at some point.

Only audio this time:


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BioTalk, Episode 9: Transhumanism in Popular Culture

Transhumanist ideas are often spread in notable science/tech journals, magazines and even some conferences. And today’s rapidly-progressing technological world is making their goals more and more plausible.

However, as Rebecca put it recently, “To grease the wheels of the transhumanist technological utopia it will take getting a generation on board with radically changing the nature of humanity.”

That’s where the world of popular entertainment comes in.

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In this episode of BioTalk we discuss how transhumanism is portrayed in some recent movies and television shows.

What we see is a mixed bag. Some seem to take the subject more seriously, showing the negative consequences of trying to enhance the human race beyond our nature. For others, the radical altering of an otherwise healthy human body is not only largely unquestioned, it’s sometimes portrayed as an act of patriotism.

However its portrayed, for good or for ill, we should use these forms of entertainment as an opportunity to have a serious conversation about our transhumanist future. Especially now such a future is not as far fetched as we once thought it was.

This has been a recurring theme in Rebecca’s writing lately. A few examples:

TV Show Intelligence: Patriotic Transhumanist Propaganda
Transhumanist Children’s Book Says “Death is Enemy of Us All”
Why I am not a fan of Captain America
New Disney Show Pushing Transhumanism
E. Christian Brugger on Transhumanism and Captain America


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BioTalk, Episode 7: Is IVF Really Good for the Children?

After 35 years, IVF is still a vast experiment. An experiment on children, millions of whom pay for it with their lives. Even those who are lucky enough to have survived the process are paying for it in other ways: By having agreater risk of developing birth defects or spending their lives desperate to know where they came from, who they look like, whether they have any biological siblings and sometimes even why they’ve developed some genetic disease because they’ve had half of their identity deliberately withheld from them.

In the latest episode of BioTalk in which Rebecca Taylor and Chelsea Zimmerman discuss the ironic legacy of IVF: that couples are so desperate for a child to love and yet concern what’s good and right for the child himself is actually put last.

Related:
What Are the Rights of Donor-Conceived People?
Anonymous Father’s Day
Anonymous Us

 


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BioTalk, Episode 6: Good News About Down Syndrome

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In recent years, modern academics have managed to recast “eugenics” as a positive term, distinguishing their vision from past government-mandated eugenics policies. The emphasis now is on “selective reproduction” and the parents’ “choice” to decide what kind of child they want to have. The result has been a search and destroy mission to wipe people with Down syndrome off of the planet through eugenic abortion. And it has taken so much love and joy out of the world.

In the latest episode of BioTalk, Rebecca Taylor and Chelsea Zimmerman “raise awareness” about the good news about Down syndrome. Not only is life with Ds not as bleak as most parents are told when their child is prenatally diagnosed, but scientists are making significant advancements in the treatment some of the more serious side-effects of the disorder.

Links:
Extra Chromosome Silenced in Down Syndrome Cells
Mom: “Down Syndrome Research, Hope for My Daughter”

Be Not Afraid
Jérôme Lejeune Foundation USA

Awesome image via: Kerri Liles Photography


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BioTalk, Episode 4: Biotechnology and the Catholic Church

What does the Catholic Church have to say about biotechnology — and is she as “backward” thinking as most people believe? Rebecca Taylor and Chelsea Zimmerman discuss in the latest episode of BioTalk:

A few related links:
The Church Is Not Backward, But Forward — expanded thoughts from Rebecca on the far-reaching wisdom of the Church.

The Catholic Church is No Enemy of Science or the Infertile — the Church might reject third party reproduction, but she doesn’t condemn the use of science to treat infertility. In fact, she has helped develop highly effective reproductive medicine.

Related Church documents:
Humanae Vitae
Dignitas Personae
Evangelium Vitae
The Charter for Health Care Workers

“Behind every “no” in the difficult task of discerning between good and evil, there shines a great “yes” to the recognition of the dignity and inalienable value of every single and unique human being called into existence.” (Dignitas Personae, Conclusion)

“If technical progress is not matched by corresponding progress in man’s ethical formation, in man’s inner growth (cf. Eph 3:16; 2 Cor 4:16), then it is not progress at all, but a threat for man and for the world.” (Pope Benedict, Spe Salvi, 22)