Thursday, January 06, 2005

PRIDE: First sin in the Garden!

THE PARABLE OF THE WHALE! [Proverbs 16:18]
Remember, it's when a whale surfaces that it gets harpooned. Whales blow to clear their air passage of water in order to replenish their air supply.

Man doesn’t blow to get air; he blows to get attention. So, beware, if you plan to rise to the top in order to blow your horn, keep the parable of the whale in mind … that’s when you’re most likely to get harpooned.

[Neil Anderson (Practical Theology class notes); edited for publication]

Modern Man - Same Old Problem [Genesis 2:7 (11:6)]
Edie Lau, Science Writer at the Sacramento Bee, writes, “The cute and healthy-looking ones get names such as Dolly, Amy, Betty and Daisy. They get their pictures taken. But for every good-looking lamb and calf conceived in a laboratory dish, a confounding number of animals come out oversized or malformed or aren’t born at all.”

What is Lau talking about? He's talking about cloned animals. The problem is so tenacious in “artificially reproduced and genetically engineered animals that some scientists are devoting their full attention to what they call Large Offspring Syndrome.”

Lorraine Young, a research scientist at the Roslin Institute, said, “I think at the moment, (the syndrome) is the norm.”

Nowadays, animal cloning is not as impressive as it once was; chances of producing healthy young from cloning and other reproductive techniques involving genetic orchestration is quite low, ten percent at best. Scientists want to know: Why doesn’t it work more often?

Lau quotes Dr. Torben Greve, a veterinary researcher in reproduction at the Royal Veterinary Agricultural University in Denmark, “The prospect of hidden health problems troubles [me].”

Greve says, “The main problem ... is the subtle differences that nobody wants to admit to. What if life expectancy is changed?”

In discussing in vitro fertilization, the scientists note that the same technique has been used for 21 years to assist humans to conceive, with no obvious ill effects in their babies. They ask, “What is the difference?”

“It’s extremely curious,” remarked Young, noting that mice also seem not to experience the syndrome. “We don’t understand that yet. .... [But] just because it hasn’t happened in people doesn’t mean it won’t,” Young lamented. ”I would feel happier knowing (the cause),” she said.

Young said scientists believe “imprint genes” from the male promote growth because it’s in the father’s best interest to have the biggest and strongest babies. The mother’s interest, on the other hand, is best served by limiting womb damage so she can bear several babies, so her genes limit growth.

Somehow, so the theory goes, manipulations external to the body topples the balancing act. If true, Young says, the challenge will be to identify the factors controlling these genes. “I don’t think (the problem of abnormal offspring) has to be the norm,” she said. “We think we can improve it.”

Man always thinks he can improve on it: he continues to build his Towers of Babel, when what he really needs is the Ark of the Lord. Man, it seems, will go on and on trying to elevate himself to the same level of God; if that doesn’t work he will try to pull God down to his level.

As they said, “It is in the Father’s best interest.” [Adapted from “Dark side of cloning perplexes scientists,” The Sacramento Bee; Aug. 18, 1999]

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