Friday, January 25, 2008

Let's See How This Plays Out

Rick Majerus, the men's basketball coach for the University of St. Louis, told a reporter at a recent Hillary Clinton rally that he supports abortion and embryonic stem cell research. Upon receiving this news, St. Louis Archbishop Raymond Burke called on SLU, a nominally Catholic school, to discipline Majerus. The school hemmed and hawed its way out of doing so, but unfortunately for them the incident has now taken on a life of its own.

ESPN had a front-page article on the situation, and CBS Sports also got in on the act (both support him in the name of free speech). Pundits have weighed in from both sides of the debate, including Fr. Tom Euteneuer, the president of Human Life International, who went so far as to say that Majerus "should be excommunicated along with all the Jesuits who 'educated' him."

The Majerus incident is no different from scandals that occur time after time at Catholic schools, our Lady's University included. We've seen school figures publicly endorse positions incompatible with the Catholic faith many times, and we've tried to chronicle them in the Rover.

But none of those events were instigated by anyone nearly as famous as Majerus. Archbishop Burke's condemnation seems to have reached a tipping point in the media -- and particularly the sports media -- and thus is (or should be) pressuring SLU with more force than they've faced with a rogue professor or administrator. This time, they can't make the situation go away quietly.

There's a lot more to this story, including background on Majerus, SLU, and Burke, but I'll refrain from going into any discussion of what we can draw from this episode. For now, watch closely as the events unfold, and when the dust settles we'll figure out what happened.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Human Clones

I found this last week on the BBC news page, and it disturbed me because this is a serious step in man's attempt to play God.

US scientists say they have produced embryos that are clones of two men, in an attempt to produce patient-specific stem cells.

Researchers removed DNA from donated human eggs, and replaced it with DNA from the skin cells of two volunteers.

They produced embryos with genetic material that matched the men's, but did not go on to extract stem cells.

The group produced five embryos called blastocysts from 25 donated eggs. DNA fingerprinting proved that at least one of these was a clone.

"This constitutes technical progress," he [Professor Jack Price, King's College, London] said. "It shows that the approach using human embryos does still have promise and it does provide justification for continuing that avenue of research."

As far as I'm concerned, this is several steps too far, especially when there is ample evidence that embryonic stem cells just don't work. Scientists have proven that skin cells - heck, even snot cells - are more effective than embryonic stem cells. I disagree with Professor Price from London when he says that using human embryos still has promise. I don't believe that the embryonic stem cell route will ever be effective, but that scientists will insist on continuing so they will be able to receive the recognition for any scientific breakthroughs. They said this was only a small step because it used the same process to clone Dolly the sheep way back in the 90s. I think this is a step too far into increasingly dangerous territory as scientists continue their quest for the worldly and mundane at the expense of the innocent.


EDIT January 26

Related to this was a story I heard on the news yesterday morning about scientists who have completely recreated the DNA of ______ . (A bacteria or insect or a potato or something - a really simple life form). Nothing happened when they injected chromosomes into the DNA, which is good. Otherwise they would have just recreated life in a test tube. Which would be bad.

All in the name of science ...

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Recruiting Class Still 1

With less than 2 weeks to go until College Football's National Signing Day, Notre Dame still boasts the No. 1 recruiting class in the nation. Despite losing 5-star defensive lineman Omar Hunter to Florida, the Irish have been able to maintain the top spot with the recent signing of 4-star receiver Deion Walker, who, at 6-foot-4, bolsters a class of receivers that already includes Michael Floyd and John Goodman.

Although they may not make immediate impacts, I have to think that Notre Dame's football program is still headed in the right direction.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Out of Context

If I were Mike Brey, I would make sure never to say this complete sentence:

"In the midst of basketball, in addition to getting an NCAA tournament bid, there's an educational side," he said.

It just looks bad. Looks like the kind of thing an SEC football coach would say for real or something.