Saturday, October 27, 2007


I was a teenager when Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home was released in theaters--many refer to it as "the one with the whales". In that movie, the Enterprise crew ends up in 1980's San Francisco. Mr. Chekhov suffers a potentially fatal head injury and is taken to a hospital, where he's not expected to live.

Enter Dr. McCoy.

Coming from the 23rd century, McCoy is disgusted by the so-called medicine he sees. Dialysis? Needles? He speaks to Chekhov's doctor--who wants to drill into Chekhov's skull to relieve pressure on his brain. He's a doctor, not a butcher--or something like that.

When my brother was dying a few years ago, I marveled at how little we know about human biology. In the past I had always marveled at how advanced we were, but there I was, reduced to hoping that someone, somewhere would die so my brother could have a liver. I wondered then how future generations would sneer at us, like we do the leech doctors, for actually taking organs from one person and putting them into another. It sounds so advanced and wonderful, but could just as easily sound ghoulish and barbaric.

So I read with interest this opinion piece wherein the author juxtaposed two interesting topics: the opening of a London exhibit on slavery, and thoughts on abortion.

I found myself wondering how abortion will be viewed by museum curators, teachers, historians and moralists 200 years from now.

As the slavery exhibition shows, something that one generation accepts readily enough is often seen as abhorrent by its descendants – so abhorrent, in fact, that people find it almost impossible to understand how it could have been countenanced in a supposedly civilised society.

It's a well-written article, and the comments at the end run the gamut of expectations; many on both sides are just as well thought out, while others are puerile or in the manner of a sound byte. I recommend taking a read if the topic interests you.

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