Saturday, April 09, 2011

Matt Maher "Alive Again" for STS-132

This is a few months old now, but I still think it's cool.  The astronauts of Shuttle Mission STS-132 Atlantis, docked to the International Space Station last May, waking up to "Alive Again", a song by Catholic singer/songwriter Matt Maher...  and a greeting from Houston to Mission Specialist Michael Good.

Blogger template

Over the last few weeks, I have been revamping the template a bit...

Susan G. Komen and Planned Parenthood

My wife and I support breast cancer research, but we do not give money to Susan G. Komen in light of the fact that Komen has given money to Planned Parenthood in the past, ostensibly for breast cancer screening and mammograms.  It now appears that, in spite of statements to the contrary, Planned Parenthood does not offer mammograms at any of its facilities.  Lifenews reports:
Now that an expose’ has revealed Planned Parenthood abortion centers do not do mammograms on site but merely refer women to legitimate medical centers that do, a key organization that funds it is facing questions.

After concerns earlier this year that Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards made false claims in defending its taxpayer funding that it provides mammograms for women, the organization Live Action released videotaped footage of calls to 30 Planned Parenthood centers nationwide in 27 different states where abortion facility staff were asked whether or not mammograms could be performed on site. Every one of the Planned Parenthood centers admitted they could not do mammograms. Every Planned Parenthood, without exception, tells the women calling that they will have to go elsewhere for a mammogram, and many clinics admit that no Planned Parenthood clinics provide this breast cancer screening procedure... That information is now raising questions about the millions of dollars the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation has given in grants to the abortion business, which it says is partly for mammograms.

Komen’s own figures show 20 of Komen’s 122 affiliates have made donations to Planned Parenthood and, last year, those contributions totaled $731,303. Komen spokesman John Hammarley also confirmed Komen affiliates contributed about $3.3 million to the abortion business from 2004-2009.

In a March 2011 statement about Planned Parenthood, Komen claims the grants to the Planned Parenthood abortion business are meant to help women with breast health.

“Early screening through mammograms and education is critical to end the suffering from this disease: 98 percent of women treated for early stage breast cancer, before it spreads, are alive five years later. The widespread use of mammography and heightened public awareness of breast cancer both contribute to these favorable statistics,” Komen says. “And while Komen Affiliates provide funds to pay for screening, education and treatment programs in dozens of communities, in some areas, the only place that poor, uninsured or under-insured women can receive these services are through programs run by Planned Parenthood.”

With Planned Parenthood not offering mammograms for women, SusanAnne Hiller of the conservative website Big Journalism wonders why Komen is making the grants...

Hiller also notes that Planned Parenthood only provides breast exams of the self-exam type women can do on their own or with a trusted friend or family member at home.

“However, the Komen memo links mammography, screenings, education, and treatment of breast cancer as their list of reasons it contributes to PP. It’s perpetuated all across the media without validation,” she says. “The Komen Foundation needs to come clean on specifically what those PP contributions are designated for and why they really continue to support Planned Parenthood.”
Former Planned Parenthood director, Abby Johnson, recently stated that if any type of cancer is diagnosed at Planned Parenthood, the patients are always referred out - Planned Parenthood doesn't actually provide cancer treatment.  Rather than give money to Susan G. Komen, consider donating instead to the Breast Cancer Prevention Institute or the Polycarp Research Institute.

The Inadequacy of Intelligent Design

Professor Francis Beckwith (Baylor) weighs in on an ongoing discussion between Edward Feser and Jay Wesley Richards on Intelligent Design theory and classical Thomism.
My friends Edward Feser and Jay Wesley Richards, both fellow Catholics, are engaged in an online dispute about whether contemporary Intelligent Design theory (ID) runs counter to classical Thomistic understandings of nature and final causality. On this matter, I am with Ed. For I believe that ID, as defended by Michael Behe and William A. Dembski, is a view that in the long run serves to undermine rather than advance the cause of Christian theism. Of course, I see why some of my fellow Christians, both Protestants and Catholics, are so attracted to ID. For it promises to beat the apologists of atheism at their own game with the only tools they believe are epistemically appropriate, the methods of the empirical sciences. But this posture, it seems to me, uncritically accepts this first premise, which is inherently hostile to the sort of metaphysical thinking on which large swaths of the Christian worldview depend.
Naturally, I agree with Frank and Ed on this. Though without getting into some of the more explicit, philosophical details here, I would just echo what I have said before: In general, ID theory (and the movement behind it), and, in particular, notions such as "irreducible complexity" (Behe), tend easily toward a "God of the Gaps" view; such a view is not consistent with the Catholic intellectual tradition or understanding of God. We do not believe a God whose existence is somehow demonstrated by our ignorance of what isn't presently known or understood. On the contrary, we believe and profess a God who created and upholds the universe and who has purposely and intentionally imbued it with intelligibility. The universe is rational, and our growing comprehension of it only further demonstrates God's hand, not the other way around.  I echoed Christoph Schönborn on this before (emphasis mine):
A great deal that was previously incomprehensible in natural processes, because we did not know how to explain it, can be explained today through scientific research and has thereby become comprehensible... The more that is explained, the less there remains that is inexplicable. Is the "room" for God becoming steadily "smaller"? It is no wonder that Der Spiegel closes the article ["God versus Darwin: a religious war over evolution"] with the words, "It's becoming cramped for the creator."

Yet belief in the Creator does not begin at the point where we do not yet know something, but precisely where we do know very well. The proper approach is to look at what we already know today. That, thank God, is a great deal. We are not looking where there is still something unexplained to see if there is still room for God, but looking at what we know and asking, "What is this based on?"
Read the Beckwith's whole treatment and follow the discussion.

The Dead Yeast Society

Fr. Nicanor Austriaco, O.P., Ph.D., molecular biologist at Providence College (Rhode Island), speaks about teaching biology and the Dead Yeast Society research lab. :)


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