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Phriday Phive: Hope for the Future Edition

This week has given me reason to hope about the relationship between religion and science. I suppose I will explain as I go along.

1. For whatever reason, I've noticed quite a few flyers around my school regarding the HHS mandate and the alleged attack on "reproductive rights" and "women's health." Needless to say, some of the flyers weren't too tolerant about the other side of the "argument." In fact, I would even venture to say that some were outright offensive propaganda that tend to ignore a few important issues. It think Patrick Mahoney's status this Tuesday sums up the hypocrisy rather nicely:
Do you want to know the real "War on Women?" How about President Obama's Secret Service team paying women for sex? Maybe some of them the victims of sex-trafficking. How about a DNC and Obama Advisor saying women who stay home to raise their children never working a "day in their lives?" How about President Obama cutting $19,000,000 to a program that helped the victims of sex-trafficking? In light of this, I wonder who really cares about women?
2. I listened to a talk on the stem cell debate this week. For the first time, in a long time, the speaker did not spend the entire talk ranting about how the conservatives/religious/Republicans/etc ruined potential scientific discoveries. Unlike much of what is going on in politics (and in academia), it was a pretty fair talk that weighed the issue in an informative manner without any of the name-calling and anti-conservative remarks I've grown used to over the years. Also, there was a great level of honesty in his talk...and I truly appreciated it. I am really glad that I did not end up skipping the talk...I was seriously considering it considering my previous experiences with invited speakers talking about controversial topics...

3. I appreciated the talk so much, I ended up looking up some of the work by this speaker. WOW. Not only have they been able to make impressive contributions to science  and medicine...but THEY'RE A FELLOW CSG!!! Impressed with this news and the fact that this individual also spoke out against the HHS mandate, I was compelled to email this speaker and tell them a little about my own experiences as a pro-life Catholic scienge geek in an increasingly pro-abortion and pro-embryonic stem cell research world. I also added at the end of the email that I would love to talk with them if they ever had the time. I really never expect people to EVER have the time to talk with me...but decided to go out on a limb and try my luck anyway.

4. I checked my email...and got the following reply:
". . . .Your experience with the dominant academic culture mirrors mine. I would be delighted to meet with a kindred spirit. . . ." 
THERE IS HOPE FOR PEOPLE LIKE ME!!! If this person was able to make it big in science/medicine while still remaining true to the Catholic faith...then there is hope for me! These two sentences will certainly make any future attacks on my faith and prolife views a lot more bearable in the days to come. With that said, even if there's neon pink flyers up in every corner of Columbia insulting my religious/prolife is possible to rise up against this negativity and pursue both science and religion...without having to choose between the two. ALSO, I get to talk with them! Huzzah!

5. After this bit of inspiration, I came across one of the best images ever via The Catholic Church Facebook page:
With that said, it has been a good week....even if I ended up having to drive through a couple of pot holes and ditches.

Pax Vobiscum


  1. Awesome news followed by an awesome pun! Seriously, though, I'm super glad that you found a mentor in a field that risks becoming its own god.

  2. That's so neat that you connected with a scientist with similar values. The more I've learned about things like stem cell research, the widespread use of HEK cells, and even some animal research, I've been disappointed with how little thought goes into some scientific ventures. I hope you have a fruitful and fulfilling career pursuing both your religious convictions and your passion for science!

  3. Thanks everyone. Yes. HEK cells are so omnipresent, it's scary. I really hope that I can slide by working on primary cell cultures.

    1. HEK cells really are everywhere. I was so lucky to avoid them as a grad student, and then even in my first few years of working as a freelance science editor, but I ran head-on into them a month or so ago. A Chinese lab I'd done work for before sent me an article to edit before publication (it'd already been accepted), and HEK cells were used for a luciferase assay. I wound up talking to my confessor about it, and since I'd already accepted the job, there was no time for the PI to find another editor (it was due in a week), the paper was already accepted (I was just fixing the grammar), and the HEK cells had been used simply as a reagent and were not the focus of the research, we decided that I could work on this paper, as long as I informed the client I would not work on any future papers using HEK cells or similar cell lines. And I wound up finally writing an ethics policy for my company (

      This is something I really feel we need to get the word out about. I've been warning my pro-life friends for years that even if hESCs didn't pan out wrt clinical uses, they'd still be used in research settings.

    2. Wow. Thank you so much for sharing your story. You have no idea how encouraging it has been for me to hear from other Catholic science geeks that have the same misgivings and concerns I do. I had no idea that there were quite a few of us out THANK YOU.

  4. "How about President Obama cutting $19,000,000 to a program that helped the victims of sex-trafficking?" Hmm. That is indeed ironic on the President's part. I'd be interested in learning more.