Saturday 26 November 2011

" noble in reason, how infinite in faculties..."

"Conception to birth, visualised" is a stunning use of MRI technology to show the development of the human baby. I was interested to note that the video's subtitles say  "baby's first division" at 24h showing the initial cell division, not "embryo" or  "clump of cells" or "blob" or other dehumanising euphemisms that we've become inured to. The video's creator, Alexander Tsiaras, Chief of Scientific Visualization in the department of Medicine at Yale University, seems almost overwhelmed by the miracle of developing human life. It is, he says, beyond any human imagining. 

Indeed. Whilst the video was clearly not made with a pro-life agenda (it's the result of scientists enjoying the fruits of new technology) it's virtually impossible not to take a pro-life message as a given, particularly if you have any understanding of the science. What is clear here is that the miracle of human life is evident from the very first moments after conception; describing the moments before conception Tsiaras  says "these two simple cells ... have this unbelievable machinery that will become the magic of you" then notes that at four weeks "[heart] cells are developing at one million cells per second".

It's rare to hear a high-profile scientist using words like "it's a mystery, it's magic, it's divinity..." and the video would would be worth watching for this alone, but the conception to birth imagery is so breathtakingly  beautiful that it stands alone, needing no explanation. It makes a sobering contrast with recent stories about the new RCOG abortion/feticide guidelines and the tragic story of the Australian 32-week-gestation twins killed in utero (one by "accident" the other deliberately).

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