Saturday, January 15, 2011

Yes I am religious

Reading yesterday's post, I realize that I maybe sounded like a religious dweeb when talking about baptizing my baby. I can't help it, I'm religious. In my defense, I also keep my religion as far away as possible from any scientific argument.

Take embryos, for example. Ever seen one? I have. Well, the ones I saw were chicken embryos, but they were indistinguishable from human embryos. We all know how they look like: a bunch of cells. Were they alive? Definitely (those cells kept dividing right under my eyes). Did they constitute a chicken life? What do I know? They looked like a bunch of cells, not like a chicken. The same goes for human embryos.

What bugs me is to have religious "leaders" dictating whether or not an embryo constitutes a human life. To  my knowledge, they've never seen an embryo under the microscope. And even if they had, what could they possibly see besides a bunch of cells? Do they have some sort of superpower that allows them to detect the presence of a human soul?

Had they not ended under my microscope, those embryos would would have turned into chicken fetuses. Now, fetuses have something that embryos don't have: a central nervous system. This means they are capable of experiencing sensations, including pain. And this is important to me. I am perfectly OK with eating live oysters precisely because they lack a central nervous system and I tell myself that they do not suffer. So I would not want to hurt a fetus.

Still, let me tell you that at that stage you cannot tell a human fetus from a pig fetus. Does that fetus constitute a human life? Again, what the heck do I know? It no longer looks like a bunch of cells but it really looks ugly and scary and certainly not human. I know, its genetic material screams "human!", but so do the cells in my spit and I don't think of spit blobs as human beings.

Basically, because I don't think these questions can be answered, I believe we should let people act based on their own opinions. Me, I would never do anything to harm a human fetus once it is capable of experiencing pain. At the same time, I don't feel I am in any position to impose my personal viewpoint on anyone who thinks differently. Hey, some people think it's wrong to eat live oysters.

When I think of IVF for myself, I worry, among other things, about the contrast between having an empty nest and having a freezer full of embryos. I don't think of them as children, just as bunches of cells with potential. If it were my embryos, I would not want to waste that precious potential... but that's just me being sentimental. If someone else feels good about donating their embryos to research that may one day save a life, who am I to judge them?


  1. I love that we live in a country that allows us to all to have our own beliefs and I love that you wrote about this :)

  2. Indeed, I am lucky to live in this country :)