The College sponsored a lecture tonight by Fr. Kevin Fitzgerald, a bioethics expert from the University of Georgetown. Fr. Fitzgerald has both a doctoral degree in molecular biology and a doctoral degree in bioethics, so back in Austria where I went to school he would be Herr Fater Doctor Doctor Fitzgerald.
His talk was about ethics and genetic research. Since I was asked to introduce the speaker, my mind turned to what I know about genetic medicine. Which is nothing, really, but I did recall a ramshackle old building a few miles north of Lander topped by this ominous sign: GENE CHOPPING.
The kids have asked me, What goes on in there?
I don’t really know. All you can see out front are a bunch of old cars.
Fr. Fitzgerald’s talk was not only wonderfully enlightening but also funny. My favorite part on the humor front was when he described how scientists can cause a human liver to grow inside a sheep–and not just a human liver, but the exact liver of a specific human being. Then, he explained, you could take this sheep home and have it wandering around in the back yard with your liver in it. You party hard, drink all you want, and when your liver fails then they wheel you into the emergency room, together with your sheep, and a few hours later you come out with a brand new liver–and a wool coat!