One of the perennial accusations lobbed at conservative Christians is that we are anti-science. This is a shallow and unfounded charge, perpetuated by a hopelessly biased media duping a gullible public.
On virtually every issue of contemporary significance, we make our arguments from science as well as Scripture, logic, history, and reason. For example, our argument that there are just two genders, male and female, includes the biological fact of DNA and the “x” chromosome as a marker for the female sex and the “y” chromosome as a marker for the male sex.
Our argument for the normalcy of heterosexuality includes the absence of a “gay gene” despite decades of work to find one by pro-gay researchers. Our argument against catastrophic man-caused global warming includes a reliance on NASA satellite data (which indicates there has been no global warming for 20 years) and the plain scientific fact that CO2 is plant food, not a toxic pollutant.
Our arguments against evolution include:
- The laws of physics (if neither matter nor energy can be either created or destroyed by any process in the known universe, that’s a powerful indicator that someone or something outside the universe - i.e., the Creator - put it there);
- The laws of genetics (like begets like, not new and different life forms; genetic mutations are not stepping stones to more advanced life forms but are almost invariably harmful to the host organism);
- And the fossil record, which reveals the virtually complete absence of any transitional fossils when there should be countless numbers of them.
Biological science is also part of the core of our defense of the sanctity of human life in the womb. And surprisingly, even secular observers are starting to catch on. The Atlantic, a tony, left-leaning publication, recently published a lengthy article entitled, Science Is Giving the Pro-Life Movement a Boost.
The article includes a mini-profile of pro-life activist Ashley McGuire, who believes “it makes perfect sense to be pro-science and pro-life.” She argues that “studies of fetal development, improved medical techniques, and other advances anchor the movement’s arguments in scientific fact.” The concept of a “fetus” being a human life has been “more of an abstract concept until the last decade or so.” But, she adds, “when you’re seeing a baby sucking its thumb at 18 weeks, smiling, clapping,” it becomes “harder to square the idea that that 20-week-old, that unborn baby or fetus, is discardable.”
While Roe v. Wade, relying on scientific and medical information that is now 45 years old, pegged the viability of a baby outside the womb at 28 weeks, modern medical science has now pushed that back to close to 22 weeks.
New technology, says The Atlantic, “makes it easier to apprehend the humanity of a growing child and imagine a fetus as a creature with moral status.” Consequently, pro-lifers are increasingly rallying the power of scientific evidence to their cause. Pro-lifers “hungrily follow new research in embryology” and “celebrate progress in neonatology as a means to save young lives.”
While both the pro-life and pro-abortion movements claim the scientific evidence is in their corner, “in recent years, pro-life activists have been more successful in using that tool to shift the terms of the policy debate.” This is particularly true in the discussion of fetal pain, since biological and medical science now indicates that a baby in the womb is fully capable of experiencing pain at 20 weeks of development.
Prenatal surgical advances have now created the bizarre and ludicrous spectacle of medical teams spending enormous amounts of time and effort and money to nurse premature infants back to health, while babies in the womb of the same age are being aborted.
Colleen Malloy, a neonatologist and faculty member at Northwestern University, says, “The more I advanced in my field of neonatology, the more it just became the logical choice to recognize the developing fetus for what it is: a fetus, instead of some sort of sub-human form. It just became so obvious that these were just developing humans.”
One quite practical effect of advances in neonatal science is that it is becoming increasingly difficult for pro-choicers to argue that a “fetus” (a Latin word which means “baby”) is just a blob of tissue, especially when you can hear the fetal heartbeat and see little hands waving around. Pro-abortionist Kate Michelman said as long ago as 2010 that, “The technology has clearly helped to define how people think about a fetus as a full, breathing human being.”
For those of us in the pro-life community, the ultimate argument for the humanity of the unborn baby lies in our belief in the laws of nature and nature’s God, and our conviction that every child, in the womb or out, has been created in the image of God and is therefore of eternal worth.
But science is the handmaiden of the theology of life and a powerful witness to the humanity of a baby in utero. As Farr Curlin, a physician who has an appointment in Duke’s schools of medicine and divinity, says, “Science is a practice of using systematic methods to study our world, including what human organisms are in their early states. I don’t see any way it’s not an ally to the pro-life cause.”