Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Things I Have No Excuse For Not Yet Doing
Exercising regularly
Learning about differential forms
Visiting the Lawrence Hall of Science
Buying an acceptable dress coat
Meeting a Dominican in person
Reading Lord of the Rings

Oh yeah, look at that strikethrough there. Went to a bioethics talk at the Dominican School of Philosophy and Theology tonight. Doot, as Geoff would put it, doot.

I should have tracked down the Dominicans much sooner, what with Tom, Lauren and Fr. Philip rocking my corner of the blogosphere so hard. I've admired the philosophical chops and solid devotion of good Dominicans for a long time now, not to mention their real rock star. I'd like to see the whiny emo band that can manufacture half the sincerity of Adoro Te Devote.

OK, toning down the giddiness.

Tonight's event at DSPT was a fascinating discussion on the ethics of Altered Nuclear Transfer*, a method of generating pluripotent stem cells without growing and killing human beings. In ANT, scientists inhibit certain genes before fusing a nucleus with an egg cell, so as to create a cluster of non-differentiating stem cells rather than an embryo. Dr. William Hurlbut of Stanford, who originally proposed the technique in 2002, and Fr. Nicanor Austriaco, OP, PhD, talked about the ethical status of ANT, then opened it up for questions. I still have some reservations about the process, though Fr. Austriaco was good enough to spend some time talking to me about it when I found him at the reception afterwards.

I also had a good chat with Br. Matthew (who mentioned knowing a certain Casey K. at the University of Chicago), and I was invited several times to attend Vespers and Mass at the Dominican House. Ha! Little do they know, I'll go there and capture myself the spiritual director I've been lacking! My fiendish plans for future sainthood are unfurling perfectly...

P.S. Going to New York the weekend after next and visiting Little Sister in her NYU element. Hurrah!

*For the curious, a set of links on the ethical debate surrounding ANT (including critiques and Fr. Austriaco's reply), can be found here.

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