100 Below: Gamers

Without looking away from the television Billy said to Kwame, “Dude. I think we should start a bank for gamers.”

Kwame flinched in his chair, game contrller clenched in his hands, eyes never moving from the luminescent screen.

Billy restated, “It would be a bank where you could keep money that would be used for keeping your on-line accounts current. I’d call it ‘The Users Bank.’”

Kwame killed another virtual zombie. “Dude, that sounds too much like ‘The Usurers Bank.’ Bad idea.”

Billy frowned. “Yeah.”

Card Catalogue

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader made himself a Naked Villainy card catalogue card… Here tis:

Thanks to Rachel (who doesn’t seem to be oddly obessed with Jimmy Carter.) for the link.

Get your own…

Carry on.

Congratulations Mr/Mrs Smallholder

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader is pleased to report that Mrs. Smallholder delivered an 8 pound 6 ounce, red-haired, little boy earlier today. Mother and son are doing well. Father is a wreck - but he is most of the time anyway.

Many congratulations. This is a welcome addition to the Smallholder’s wonderful family.

Carry on.

Busy Days

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader has some guests arriving at the Villainschloss today - so between his guests and regular responsibilities, he will not likely be posting much.

Your Maximum Leader is also waiting for news… News of Mrs. Smallholder… She is going to the hospital today to birth the third wee Smallholder. We don’t know anything about what to expect. Well… Except that the baby will be half-farmer and half-cultured… And we expect the child to be good-looking, but that is thanks to Mrs Smallholder’s genes and not our manure bespeckled friend…

In the meanwhile…

Go and read this post from the great and terrible Velociman. The V-man is one of my all-time favourites. His posts never cease to delight (and sometimes disturb) your Maximum Leader.

Carry on.

Napoleon, Alexander, Franklin, etc

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader has not been a particularly good blogger this week. If “good blogger” is defined as “providing good content” or even defined as “providing content.” He can’t explain it, but he’s been tired and turning in early - thus not blogging.

So, in an attempt to provide fresh content… Here is some stuff off the news wires and other places…

First off… Happy Birthday (my second) Dad. Your Maximum Leader owes you a phone call. Probably he owes you a lunch too…

And while we are celebrating birthdays… Happy Day Benjamin Franklin. The true father of our country (biologically at least he did his best). You are the most entertaining of all the Founding Fathers and the one most people would likely want to go partying with. One wonders if Franklin were alive today if Lindsay Lohan or Paris Hilton would “want some” from Ben. No doubt Franklin would decline, as Lohan and Hilton ar low women…

Some scientists with nothing better to do have decided to declare that they have solved the mystery of Napoleon’s death. They nix-nix those who say the Brits poisoned the Emperor. It was cancer… Strange… But that is exactly what the autopsy done by the British doctors said…

If you follow those links on the page about Napoleon, you will see the “Top Ten Reasons Alexander was “Great.” Frankly… Some of the choices are lame… But it is better than a sharp stick in the eye…

Another of those links tries to start a mystery surrounding the death of George III of Great Britain. The article claims that ole Farmer George was poisoned… While Prinny never loved his dad, your Maximum Leader just doesn’t see a conspiracy…

Well… This might be all for today minions… Your Maximum Leader may try to post more tonight, but no guarantees.

Carry on.

300 years on…

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader will point out that today is the 300th anniversary of the Act of Union of 1707. That famous act joined together the Kingdom of England and the Kingdom of Scotland. Of course, the monarchy had been “joined” since 1603…

Your Maximum Leader wishes he had the time and energy to expound further on the Act of Union. But he does not.

Instead, he will leave you with this link to a wire report about Tony Blair warning Scots that moves for independence are bad ones (although popular).

Your Maximum Leader happens to agree with Blair, and Gordon Brown, that Scottish independence will not likely benefit the Scots. At least the Scots wouldn’t benefit in the way that many claim they would benefit. (Start off with North Sea oil… Many Scottish Nationalists assume that England would just “give” Scotland all the North Sea oil because the North Sea is closer to Scotland… Ha! Likely that happening…)

Carry on.

What what?

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader is having a hard time getting started today. It is already afternoon and he feels like crawling into bed and getting some sleep. It is likely that this will be all you hear from him today.

First off, many thanks to Buckethead and Mrs Buckethead for hosting a fabulous par-tay at Casa de Buckethead yesterday. Your Maximum Leader had a great time and was sorry he had to cut out early. It was a pleasure to see many of the Perfidious ministers as well as the very engaging and beautiful Princess Kat.

Over on the Llamabutcher’s site it seems as though your Maximum Leader and Robbo share some TV viewing in common. Neither of us has seen an episode of 24 and we both watched the season premier of “Rome” on HBO. Robbo calls out for a review. Your Maximum Leader will attempt to oblige…

And finally, your Maximum Leader cruised on over to the Hatemongers this morning for his daily fix of… well… hate… When he discovered there was no HMQ update! What? The Crack Young Staff of the HMQ takes off Martin Luther King Day? Humm… Curious…

Carry on.

Sellers performs…

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader was sent a link to a You Tube video by the Air Marshal today. It was just what your Maximum Leader needed to bring a smile to his face.

Peter Sellers performs…

The Beatles “Hard Days Night” in the style of Olivier doing Richard III.

Carry on.

Awake at Night

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader has been writing this piece for a while. He forgets when he started it. It was probably the week before/of Christmas. He’s been tinkering with it off and on. It doesn’t satisfy him. But, at some point he felt he just needed to hit the publish key…

Your Maximum Leader read something the other day. Contemplating the full implications of the item he’d read kept him up that night.

Yes. You read that correctly. Your Maximum Leader read something and it kept him from sleeping for a good hour or two one night. (And a few subsequent nights actually.) If you know anything about your Maximum Leader you would know that he likes his sleep and is loathe to lose any of it.

He thought he’d blog about it, but Christmas intervened and the item flew from his list of priorities upon which to opine.

Then he was catching up on reading blogs he’d missed over the past few days and came upon a post by his friend Buckethead. The post cited the very same article that kept him up. The item kept circulating in his mind. And finally, a post is now coming on this subject in an effort to exorcise this mental demon.

Did you happen to catch a brief piece in The Economist? The one entitled “Liberalism and neurology: Free to choose?” No? Well click here for it.

Didn’t click? Let your Maximum Leader excerpt a few passages:

In the late 1990s a previously blameless American began collecting child pornography and propositioning children. On the day before he was due to be sentenced to prison for his crimes, he had his brain scanned. He had a tumour. When it had been removed, his paedophilic tendencies went away. When it started growing back, they returned. When the regrowth was removed, they vanished again. Who then was the child abuser?

His case dramatically illustrates the challenge that modern neuroscience is beginning to pose to the idea of free will. The instinct of the reasonable observer is that organic changes of this sort somehow absolve the sufferer of the responsibility that would accrue to a child abuser whose paedophilia was congenital. But why? The chances are that the latter tendency is just as traceable to brain mechanics as the former; it is merely that no one has yet looked. Scientists have looked at anger and violence, though, and discovered genetic variations, expressed as concentrations of a particular messenger molecule in the brain, that are both congenital and predisposing to a violent temper. Where is free will in this case?

Free will is one of the trickiest concepts in philosophy, but also one of the most important. Without it, the idea of responsibility for one’s actions flies out of the window, along with much of the glue that holds a free society (and even an unfree one) together. If businessmen were no longer responsible for their contracts, criminals no longer responsible for their crimes and parents no longer responsible for their children, even though contract, crime and conception were “freely” entered into, then social relations would be very different.

Science is not yet threatening free will’s existence: for the moment there seems little prospect o anybody being able to answer definitively the question of whether it really exists or not. But science will shrink the space in which free will can operate by slowly exposing the mechanism of decision making.

At that point, the old French proverb “to understand all is to forgive all” will start to have a new resonance, though forgiveness may not always be the consequence. Indeed, that may already be happening. At the moment, the criminal law - in the West, at least - is based on the idea that the criminal exercised a choice: no choice, no criminal. The British government, though, is seeking to change the law in order to lock up people with personality disorders that are thought to make them likely to commit crimes, before any crime is committed.

Nor is it only the criminal law where free will matters. Markets also depend on the idea that personal choice is free choice. Mostly, that is not a problem. Even if choice is guided by unconscious instinct, that instinct will usually have been honed by natural selection to do the right thing. But not always. Fatty, sugary foods subvert evolved instincts, as do addictive drugs such as nicotine, alcohol and cocaine. Pornography does as well. Liberals say that individuals should be free to consume these, or not. Erode free will, and you erode that argument.

In fact, you begin to erode all freedom. Without a belief in free will, an ideology of freedom is bizarre. Though it will not happen quickly, shrinking the space in which free will can operate could have some uncomfortable repercussions.

Heh. That is understatement for ye. “Uncomfortable repercussions.”

(Excursus: Okay… Your Maximum Leader pretty much excerpted the whole article. He fears that you are lazy and wouldn’t click. Then again perhaps you aren’t lazy, your Maximum Leader doesn’t want to risk you not returning… Your Maximum Leader, after reading the piece in The Economist, thought about it so much he had to go back and print it out. He printed it out and posted it upon his Villainschloss bulletin board. Right next to a copy of another opinion piece he printed out… The other piece he printed out in 2002 (and found on his bulletin board ever since). That other piece is entitled “Unpleasant Truths.”)

So what is happening to Free Will? Longtime readers will know that for many years your Maximum Leader and his good friend the Smallholder have been going back and forth about a genetic disposition towards homosexuality. While your Maximum Leader has not accepted that a specific “gay gene” has been discovered, he recognizes that further genetic research may well show the existance of such a gene or grouping of genes. Or, it is possible that brain research will show that a particular area of the brain might be formed in a way (thanks to a person’s genes) that predisposes them towards homosexuality.

As it stands now, the arguement goes, “you can’t object to a person being a homosexual if their genetic makeup predisposes them towards being gay.” Frankly, your Maximum Leader doesn’t object to a person being gay. It really isn’t any of his business. So honestly, your Maximum Leader doesn’t care if it is Free Will or genetics/neurology that might make a person gay. In this case, genetic predisposition towards this particular lifestyle is benign.

But when you talk about other genetic predispositions, ones that aren’t benign, then you start to get into a very scary area.

Your Maximum Leader had mentioned at some time in the past the (now discredited) studies of those men that have an XYY chromosomal pairing (as opposed to the “normal” XY pairing). It was believed, and who knows - future research might show again, that men with the XYY chromosomal pairing were prone to violence. While having the XYY condition did not act as a mitigating factor a criminal proceeding, who is to say that in the future it will not?
Consider for a moment the number of cases where women suffering from extreme PMS have had their criminal sentencing reduced or been found not criminally liable for their actions. (Here is an interesting PDF from an Austrailian doctor on this subject.) In the United States the “PMS Defense” was first used in the early 1990s by a Virginia surgeon. Alan Dershowitz wrote a piece lamenting the successful “deployment” of the defense. Your Maximum Leader remembered reading it at the time, and a quick Google search found a copy of it. It is here. It is interesting that Dershowitz wrote in the article: “Her acquittal sends a doubly dangerous message. First, that our hormones are beyond our control and that we are not responsible for how they manifest themselves. And second, that women with premenstrual problems are somehow less reliable and less predictable than other people. Neither is true.” Dershowitz’s statement that our hormones are within our control is particularly interesting. Will modern genetic research and neuroscience back him up on that?

We’ve established, for good or ill, a legitimate (if hard to utilize) defense against criminal prosecution involving hormonal changes. How hard will it be to make the short hop over to a legitimate defense against criminal responsibility based on one’s genes?

Now, you may be saying to yourself that your Maximum Leader is something of an alarmist on this. (Frankly, Mrs Villain and her sainted Father thought so.) Perhaps you are right. But consider carefully the past 30 years and how our understanding of human biology has changed our life. Then consider how that understanding how changed our behavior and attitudes.

Consider the recent peice from the Times of London that figured in a recent Opinion Journal piece. The Times article was “Science told: hands off gay sheep.” Here is what the good people at Opinion Journal wrote about this article:

A frequent complaint about social conservatives is that they are “antiscience” because in some cases (most notably embryonic stem cell research) they oppose scientific inquiry for moral reasons. But here, courtesy of the Times of London, is a case of social liberals who are antiscience for reasons of ends rather than means. That is, there are some things they do not think we should know:

Scientists are conducting experiments to change the sexuality of “gay” sheep in a programme that critics fear could pave the way for breeding out homosexuality in humans.

The technique being developed by American researchers adjusts the hormonal balance in the brains of homosexual rams so that they are more inclined to mate with ewes.

It raises the prospect that pregnant women could one day be offered a treatment to reduce or eliminate the chance that their offspring will be homosexual. Experts say that, in theory, the “straightening” procedure on humans could be as simple as a hormone supplement for mothers-to-be, worn on the skin like an anti-smoking nicotine patch.

The research, at Oregon State University in the city of Corvallis and at the Oregon Health and Science University in Portland, has caused an outcry. Martina Navratilova, the lesbian tennis player who won Wimbledon nine times, and scientists and gay rights campaigners in Britain have called for the project to be abandoned.

Navratilova defended the “right” of sheep to be gay. She said: “How can it be that in the year 2006 a major university would host such homophobic and cruel experiments?” She said gay men and lesbians would be “deeply offended” by the social implications of the tests.

It is an article of dogma among gay-rights activists that sexual orientation is entirely biological in origin and that it is immutable. If one accepts these premises, it is harder to sustain the premise that homosexual conduct is immoral or hat gays should not be protected by antidiscrimination laws. But what if science determines that there are elements of environment or even choice at play? Seems to us gay-rights activists ought to think about alternative arguments rather than making their moral conclusions dependent on an empirical supposition that may or may not be true.

The italicized portion was the Opinion Journal quoting The Times. Blockquotes within blockquotes seemed a bit much…

What are the implications of a “straightening patch” that a pregnant woman could use to “remove” the hormonal tendency towards homosexuality in her child? What would be the implications if a “straightening patch” could be developed for a mature man or woman?

Isn’t the very discussion of homosexuality as a “hormonal condition” fraught with philosophical danger? If homosexuality is hormonally driven could one say that it is a “hormonal abnormality” and that heterosexuality is “hormonally normal?”

More insidiously, suppose that a “gay gene” is identified? It isn’t outside the realm of possibility that a pre-natal test could be developed to show if a human fetus had the “gay gene.” If parents found that their fetus/baby was going to be gay and they chose to abort the baby, what then? Your Maximum Leader reads that approximately 90% of pregnancies were terminated when there was a positive prenatal test for Downs Syndrome. Can one assume that there would be an alarmingly high rate of abortions if a fetus’/baby’s orientation towards homosexuality could be detected?

In this rather long and rambling post we see two streams of science that are, in their own way, moving towards challenging our basic ideas of free-will. The greater role in which our genes, hormones, or other human chemistry determine behavioral traits diminishes our traditional understanding of free will; but also opens up potentially distressing areas of ethical discussion about how to craft a human’s behavior through modifcation of genetics or hormones.

Many people will blithely dismiss the full implications of what is going on here. Others will justify manipulation by pointing out the benefits that could possibly accrue from manipulations. It is easy to do both. Afterall, if you could assure that your children (or grandchildren) would all grow up to be healthy, intelligent, athletic, and beautiful wouldn’t you? No need to bring them into the world if they will be sickly, mentally retarded, invalid, or just plain ole ugly…

You might be thinking to yourself, if you can find a cogent thought in this whole post upon which to build a thought of your own, if my Maximum Leader is so unsettled by all this; he must be against the research that is causing us to learn all this… Well… You’d be wrong on that count…

And in a way… That is a terrifying prospect in and of itself.

Carry on.

News from Italy

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader seems to remember that once upon a time he read something about how to be a better blogger. Although the advice didn’t take, he does from time to time remember some admonitions of whomever the author was. One of the pieces of advice was that every post should have a single unifying theme and should jump all over the place.

Well… This is not going to be one of those posts.

The first bit of news from Italy is off the news wire. It seems as though thanks to a clandestinely made plaster cast of Dante’s skull (crafted by Professor Fabio Frassetto in 1921) scientists have made a 3D model of the great poet’s face. The reconstruction is very interesting and does have Dante’s famed “aquiline” nose. But the nose is not as pronounced as some renderings would have one believe it was. You can judge for yourself…

3D rendering circa 2007:

Dante by a renaissance artist:

Your Maximum Leader doesn’t have a problem with either… So he’ll probably start to think of Dante using the new model…

In other news from Italy…

Famed Italian Producer Carlo Ponti has passed away. Ponti was 94. Your Maximum Leader has loved many of the films Ponti produced (most of all Dr. Zhivago). He was great at what he did.

Of course, his passing also means that Sophia oren is now available. Perhaps it is wrong of your Maximum Leader to notice but Sophia Loren is still very very attractive (although she is old enough to be your Maximum Leader’s - youthful - grandmother). Honestly, your Maximum Leader feels empathy for Loren right now. After more than 50 years of marriage, Ms. Loren must be particularly desvastated. One hopes she finds solace in her family and friends.

Carry on.

Lying Canucks!

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader is back to posting. He thanks his very good friend (and quasi-libertarian) Smallholder for providing such bloggy goodness over the past few days. Your Maximum Leader has been crushed with work and family stuff that he’s not been adept at posting…

Anyhoo…

Check your pockets! If you are an American did you find any Canadian coin in your pocket/purse? If you did beware. That loonie coin may not as be as undervalued and innoccuous as you think it is…

U.S. warns about Canadian spy coins

Aiiieee! Spy coins! From Canada! What the hell?! (En Francais: Aiiieee! Les coynes du espy! A Canada! Quoi?! - Okay… That is a joke… For you francophones out there - and that means you Big Hominid - don’t go correctin’ the French…)

The article says:

In a U.S. government warning high on the creepiness scale, the Defense Department cautioned its American contractors over what it described as a new espionage threat: Canadian coins with tiny radio frequency transmitters hidden inside.

The government said the mysterious coins were found planted on U.S. contractors with classified security clearances on at least three separate occasions between October 2005 and January 2006 as the contractors traveled through Canada.

Intelligence and technology experts said such transmitters, if they exist, could be used to surreptitiously track the movements of people carrying the spy coins.

Top suspects, according to outside experts: China, Russia or even France - all said to actively run espionage operations inside Canada with enough sophistication to produce such technology.

The Canadian Security Intelligence Service said it knew nothing about the coins.

“This issue has just come to our attention,” CSIS spokeswoman Barbara Campion said. “At this point, we don’t know of any basis for these claims.” She said Canada’s intelligence service works closely with its U.S. counterparts and will seek more information if necessary.

Experts were astonished about the disclosure and the novel tracking technique, but they rejected suggestions Canada’s government might be spying on American contractors. The intelligence services of the two countries are extraordinarily close and routinely share sensitive secrets.

Yeah… Sure… Pass it off on the French or Chinese… We all know that Canada is bent on world domination. They even have a website that says so…

All your Maximum Leader can advise red-blooded Americans to do is make sure you dispose of all your Canadian currency, check that your firearms are ready for quick use, get rid of any Molson or Moosehead beer you might have in your fridge (by any means necessary), and keep your eyes on the horizon for invading hordes of polite Canadians.

Vigilance!

Carry on.

UPDATE FROM YOUR (ILLEIST) MAXIMUM LEADER: Steve-O says go Red! Great minds…

Smallholder Thinks This Is Apropos For The Maximum Leader

Illeist.

Steyn on Hussein

I recommend Mark Steyn in the Jerusalem Post.

Favorite line:

“The king is dead. Moqtada al-Sadr should be, too”

Is it a sin to celebrate the death of another human being?

These Are Not The Clones You Are Looking For

William Seletan on cloned animals.

As a small farmer, I’m concerned that cloned animals are NOT good for the farmer (imagine the price of milk if every Holstein calf is a cloned heifer), but they are safe to eat.

Found via Volokh.

Chicken Soup for the Foreign Minister’s Soul

The Foreign Minister is a bit despondent over the outcome of the November elections. I tried to buck him up a bit over the phone, but will expand on those initial thoughts in this post.

Why the midterm defeat is good for the Republicans

The “Republican” majority of 2006 had become unmoored from their original principles, particularly the principle of fiscally responsible limited government. The Republicans in power were spending money like a Kennedy in a liquor shop. Kool-aid drinking apologists liked to argue that things would have been worse under Democrats. Even if that was true, it certainly is faint praise. I’d argue that it isn’t true because the Republican attempt to buy a permanent majority through pork-barrel spending was unprecedented. Democrats might like to emulate that model (though for less Machiavellian reasons - many liberals actually believe government spending can ameliorate all of society’s ills), but the simple fact is that Democratic incompetence partially vaccinates society from their spendthrift ways. The electoral debacle will hopefully convince Republican leaders that pork isn’t the Holy Grail. Even if they don’t really believe in fiscal responsibility, the thumpin’ might make them fiscally responsible out of self-preservation. I’m not sure if the right is interpreting the election in this matter, but one has to hope that the election returns will make it easier for deficit hawks to navigate party primaries.

The election may also serve as  check on the Christian Right’s overreach. The Maximum Leader linked to a silly little political poll a few days ago. One of the questions was about whether the Christian Right was a threat to democracy. I answered that it wasn’t - which artificially burnished my “conservative” score, but actually reflected my faith that the electorate has and will reject the more dangerous theocon ideology. While many Americans are disquieted about abortion, some on the Christian Right (an odd term - as if it was a monolithic movement) have wrongly interpreted this as support for a broader “culture of life agenda.” We saw this rampant, arrogant idiocy in full panoply over Terri Schiavo - and most Americans realized that the theocon agenda could affect their own personal end-of-life decisions. When the theocons made their torturously illogical case against stem-cell research*, Americans realized that the agenda could affect Dad’s diabetes treatment. Many Americans have a family member who has Alzheimer’s. If the Republican party continued down that restrictive road, they would be heading for a cliff. The Foreign Minister should be happy for a chance to stop his party for a map consultation.

The American public’s attention span is short and its memory is shorter. In 2006, Americans looked around at governmental profligacy and incompetence and said, “Throw the bums out.” By 2008, many Americans will be ready to throw Pelosi’s bums out. Much better to loose a midterm and keep the Presidency than to postpone the reckoning to a quadrennial election cycle.

Speaking of Pelosi, she’s a godsend to the Republican Party. Not only is she easily caricatured; she is shaping up to be a weak party leader. The Alcee Hastings and Jack Murtha fiascos aren’t just illustrative of willful stupidity. They are illustrative of a woman who isn’t fully in control. I liked George Will’s mortally incisive question: “Can you imagine Tip O’Neil whining that he couldn??t be an effective leader if the caucus didn’t accede to the appointment of his favored lieutenant?” Can you imagine Tip O’Neil losing a vote in his own caucus? Pelosi is going to be a train wreck for the Democrats. The Kos kids can delude themselves about a long-term power shift all they want. The pendulum could easily swing back to a chastened Republican party made wise by its time in the wilderness.

Finally, and most importantly, the shift to the Democrats will spread the blame for the Republican-led Iraqi catastrophe.

Let me be clear. I supported the war. I think the war was just. I think the world is a better place with Saddam in the ground.

But the delusional mismanagement, failure to build long-term support, willful refusal to take military advice, partisan appointments of reconstruction officials, planning failures, and bone-headed stubbornness of the Bush administration have doomed the venture to CATASTROPHE (note the bold all-caps). A good outcome in Iraq is no longer a possibility. We are now in 1970-contain-the-damage mode, and this damage will be much harder to contain than the Vietnam blowback.

But! Think about how America perceives Vietnam. A good proportion of the American public truly believes that we lost Vietnam because of that dad gum lib’ral press.

In 2006, the majority of Americans understand that Bush is responsible for the Pottery Barn mess. By 2008, their short-term memory will leave them open to the idea that things were going swimmingly. If only those dad gum lib’ral mainstream media types and Nancy Pelosi had just listened to George Bush and stayed the course, Iraq would be a utopia! I, as the say, gay-run-tee that 2008 will see ads accusing the Dems of losing the war. This can only be good for the Republicans. Cries of “cut and run” can be easily used to shift the blame. Heck, if I was a Carvillesque partisan hack, I would have told my fellow Dems to take a knee in this election and let the Republicans marinate in their own Iraqi juice.

Finally, a true conservative ought to applaud deadlock. Hopefully Bush will oppose the Democrats and the Democrats will block Bush??s proposals ?? and fewer laws will get passed.

Hallelujah.

* I refer to the tortuously illogical case that the use of stem cells destined for incineration constituted murder while at the same time failing to condemn the fertility treatments that create fertilized ova/fetuses, many of whom (or which if you are of the no life at conception persuasion) will never be implanted. Of those that are implanted, the vast majority will not take. A dozen fertilized eggs are typically used to get one viable pregnancy, causing eleven deaths for one life (insert quotation marks around ???deaths??? if you are of the fetuses-are-just-tumors-without-moral-claims persuasion). I have seen some anti-fertility Catholic commentary and explicitly exempt those folks from the torturously illogical charge. But for all of those folks who stayed mum on the process that created fetuses destined to be discarded and then piously condemned researchers who wanted to save lives through medical research, I say: Bah!

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