May 15, 2008

The Intelligent Designer at work in Greece (warning – graphic pic alert)

A 9-year-old girl in Athens went to a hospital with stomach pains. Doctors discovered she had an embryonic twin in her stomach:
Andreas Markou, head of the hospital’s pediatric department, said the embryo was a formed fetus with a head, hair and eyes, but no brain or umbilical cord.

Markou said cases where one of a set of twins absorbs the other in the womb occurs in one of 500,000 live births.
The usual questions abound, of course.

Here’s a sampling:
Picture via The Telegraph
• How could an Intelligent Designer botch this? And hundreds of similar births in the U.S. every year?
• Did the embryonic twin have a soul?
• Was this “soul-killing” to remove the embryonic twin? Let alone the 11-year-old Chinese girl’s much-larger embryonic twin pictured at right?
• Could the Grand Poobah of ID be so cruel, in the “problem of evil” crux, to let poor people go 11 years (or all their lives, not too many years before this), before having the option of surgery to remove an embryonic twin like the one shown?
• Would people who aren’t hardcore anti-choicers on reproductive rights soften their stances even more if this were presented as a counter-graphic example of the one-third or so of human conceptions that are “botched” in some way or another?
• Will IDers of an conservative Christian bent trot out “original sin” to try to explain away all of this? (And, yes, like Ken Ham, some Xns actually will attribute the cause of anything wrong in our world to original sin.)

Update, March 18, 2010: Abortion in the animal world provides an additional entree to this issue.

Beyond abortion in the animal world, both partially absorbed "Siamese" twins and an even more radical pregnancy development, a teratoma (when a second fetus is absorbed inside the first totally, and early in development) exist in the animal world, as do "mosaics" — when two fetuses "blend" to an even lower level. In humans, people who have different blood tests report them to have different blood types are an example.

Connected is the fact that about one-third of human pregnancies are spontaneously aborted — as noted by a Ph.D. biologist who is also a professed Christian, while still telling fundamentalists that under their worldview, god must be called "The Great Abortionist."


Anonymous said...

God made the world for us, then gave us the choice to stick close to Him and learn from him, or do things our own way. We chose our own way. He has left us to our own blunders unless we choose to learn from him and do things according to His design. You see, without Him, things will go wrong, but it's our choice!

Anonymous said...

I agree totaly.
And for the question of "Did the embryonic twin have a soul?" or "was this soul klling" i would like to ask how would someone define "soul"?

Remember humans as any of creater is made of millions of cell and beyonde. Do these cell have soul?or do the viruses or bacterias have one? or only when they form and become creater?

Its something we could never know. because untill now, no one has able to return from dead and explayng to us whats is on the other side. Yet science also changese too. Co you cant relay on that all the time.

My unswer is, this embryonic thing may have soul or even become human in another life. We choose our destiny but some are absolite and cant be change. Thats what i belive in.

I bilieve in God, And with that i Believe he gave me brain to learn and to evolve without forgeting him. And in Order I to understand God more, I explore in Science, Philosofy and literature. Then i go back to find answer that I cand understand.

Alex said...

I don't think this is like abortion. In this situation the other embryo is already dead, with some of its tissue being nourished by the other twin. If there was a fully functioning brain inside the twin, then it would be harder to say, but there never is a brain in these cases.
Just to be clear, I am against abortion and believe that a person becomes a person with human rights at conception. If a fetus dies while developing, it's not like the mother sinned to make it happen.
In this case, by the time the twin's tissues were found in the other twin it is already dead. If anything, it could be removed and given a funeral as an acknowledgement of being someone in this world, but ultimately it's dead.
It's kind of like the situation of a person who's brain is dead but is still receiving life support in a hospital. The person's brain is not functioning, but the organs continue functioning through the machines. Likewise, a person might be supporting a twin's tissues in one's body, but those tissues are not a living person anymore.
anyways,, I realize the basis for all this stuff might not be what everyone believes to begin with, but I just figured I'd put in a perspective.