Happy Birthday Louise!


The world's first test-tube baby, Louise Joy Brown, turns 25 today. Twenty-five years ago, President Bush's bioethicist Leon Kass warned that in vitro fertilization would undermine "the idea of humanness and of our human life and the meaning of our embodiment and our relation to ancestors and descendants." Nonsense. Fortunately, over the past 25 years, nearly one million parents ignored Kass' dire warnings and used in vitro fertilization to have families that they would otherwise have missed. Happy Birthday Louise.


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  1. So many bioethicists and church groups nowadays want to scare people away from cloning or genetic engineering because of all the supposed moral dilemmas involved. I am glad to see that someone remembers how the same arguments were made against test-tube babies- the bioethicists said that the procedure was too unproven and dangerous, and the religious groups said that it was God’s perogative to “ensoul” a person, not man’s. Hopefully people will notice how safe accepted in-vitro has become despite the chicken littles’ protests, and lay off those who are just trying to improve the quality of human life through innovative new procedures.

  2. what i could never understand is that if it’s god’s prerogative to ensoul people, why doesn’t he just stop doctors from doing the procedure?

    i know there’s a whole ream of lines about free will and all that but that always struck me as the equivalent of “god works in mysterious ways” – it’s the religious version of “shit happens.”

  3. The christian god is too weak to simply insert a soul any time he wishes. Just as he is to weak to have orchestrated evolution of life on this planet as it currently is from some timepoint billions of years ago, without constant tweaking and creations. He is also too weak to dreate an object hat he cannot lift.

    A truly omnipotent god could do all of these things and also make one kick-ass Manhattan. Please worship carefully.

  4. “Leon Kass and his ilk should be tarred and feathered. Drawn and quartered. Boiled in oil.

    What other fate is appropriate for people who obstruct life-saving research?”

    Skeptical – was your choice of ancient punishments intentional as to jibe with the outdatedness of their thinking? If so that was brilliant. I’d like to add burned at the stake, disembowelled, guillotined, crusified, and put to the rack to your list! 😉

  5. J&A,

    your logic is flawed – just because God did not do these things doesn’t mean he CAN’T do those things. He must have had good reason to do it the hard way. The Lord works in mysterious ways, you know.

    I’m being devil’s advocate here (actually the opposite – quite ironic) because I’m actually an athiest. You’re making us look bad – come back with better arguments! 😉

  6. Who said I was an atheist? My god may not be omnipotent, but it can sure as hell kick the crap out of the christian god and any other takers out there.

    – Justified & Ancient

  7. you mean america or abroad? the jesus crispies are a bit too strong here still…

  8. dhex: Good question–the estimate is global, but very squishy since there is no central registry for IVF babies. So the actual number of IVF babies is variously estimated between 500,000 and 1 million worldwide. In order not to hype the subject I simply chose the lower number and then, to get a rough estimate, I multiplied 500,000 by two parents per child.

  9. Quote:

    Is it just me, or does that sort of statement sure sound a whole lot like the Church’s opposition to Galileo and the disproving of Celestial Spheres? Except that was about our relation to God and The Cosmos, I think, rather than ancestors and descendants.

    Amazing how resilient we humans are, isn’t it? Seems we’ve doomed ourselves to often that we’ve gone and put ourself right back firmly on earth…again.

  10. I wonder if she feels like a true human being? Or if there was some part of her that at times doubts her human-ness.

    I noticed she was quite overweight. Perhaps is it possible she developed an eating disorder due to the stress of her title as #1?

  11. Yeah, these “bioethicists” aren’t scientists or philosophers, although the beard-pulling and chin-resting-in-hand poses are a nice touch.

    I can’t help but get the feeling that all this soul talk isn’t even believed by them; it’s all so much dust that they might kick up in order to legislate their preferences. And what preferences they are! Like the preference that we should halt a promising avenue of research (to wit: stem-cell) against cancer or any other disease because “suffering is essential to ‘authentic’ human experience.”

    Leon Kass and his ilk should be tarred and feathered. Drawn and quartered. Boiled in oil.

    What other fate is appropriate for people who obstruct life-saving research?

  12. I love religious wars:

    “My imanginary friend can beat up YOUR imaginary friend!”

    It brings out hte best in us.

    BTW, the appropriate punishment for Kass is exposure. Let him die slowly like the people awaiting medicine’s advance to treat their ailments, and let him die of starvation, as our scientists are starved of the support they need to make this world better.

  13. Where did the first comment go? Is it against the rules to mention cloning?

  14. hello:
    I am from turkey and I want to connect with louise joy brown
    please help me if you have her adress or mail adress or phone number
    thank you

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