Pastor Don Landis opened our morning session with a devotional on what Jesus taught about forgiveness. Pastors and their families are often involved in difficult situations where many terrible things are done or said to them. But even in these tough situations, Christians have been called to forgive. This important reminder was well-received by those in attendance.
Dr. David Menton: Beauty Is Skin Deep
Dr. Menton taught anatomy and histology at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis for over 30 years and retired as an Associate Professor Emeritus. The title may seem contrary to Scripture since God looks beyond the outside and sees a person’s heart, but this particular talk focused on the incredible intricacies of skin.
The human body is unimaginably complex, and skin is just one of many examples one can use to show this. Dr. Menton highlighted many of the design features of skin. Our skin acts as a sort of armor to protect the rest of our body. It is continually renewed as new cells replace dying cells at a perfectly consistent rate. Imagine how deadly it would be if we lost skin cells slower than new cells were being made or vice versa.
Let’s briefly consider some of the other amazing features of our skin. Our fingertips are perfectly designed for gripping objects. Our skin helps us to recognize one another, since without it we would see the skeletal and muscular systems, but these are quite similar in all people. Additionally, God uses our skin to display incredible diversity. The DNA in skin cells (and every other cell) has a built-in repair system to prevent the vast majority of mutations from being manifested.
Dr. Menton explained so many other complex features of the skin. He believes that those who study the skin are without excuse when they deny that a Creator made us. He puts this in the “Duh!” category. In other words, it’s a “no-brainer” that God made us, and anyone who studies the human body should acknowledge this.
Dr. Georgia Purdom: Eugenics & Planned Parenthood—Past, Present, and Future
Dr. Purdom holds a PhD in molecular genetics from Ohio State University and has published papers in several prestigious journals. As a researcher and speaker at Answers in Genesis, she has spoken at several women’s conferences and will be a featured in our upcoming Answers for Women conference (April 19–20, 2012).
This presentation focused on a subject that has been extremely controversial. Eugenics was quite popular in the United States in the first half of the twentieth century. Eugenics literally means “good in birth” or “well born.” Those who follow this idea believe that certain individuals who have what they deem to be undesirable traits should not be allowed to reproduce or should be eliminated. These beliefs led to 30 states having laws on forced sterilization and more than 60,000 forced sterilizations in the United States in the twentieth century. Perhaps the most notable case was Buck v. Bell, which made it to the Supreme Court leading Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes to announce, “Three generations of imbeciles are enough.” These words may shock modern readers, but this thinking was common in those days.
The popularity of eugenics waned following World War II when the world learned about Hitler’s horrific practices in this area. The Nazis killed millions of Jews and hundreds of thousands of gypsies because they were viewed as lower classes of humans. The Nazis believed that if these people groups were allowed to breed, then it would weaken the human race and the so-called “master race” could never be achieved. It is quite easy to see how evolutionary thinking is at the root of these beliefs. This movement also faded because the alleged science behind it was soundly refuted.
Although it is not as visible today, the eugenics movement is still around. Margaret Sanger founded Planned Parenthood. She stated, “The most merciful thing a large family can do to one of its infant members is to kill it.” In an interview with Mike Wallace, she said, “The biggest sin in the world is bringing children into the world, that have diseases . . .” Planned Parenthood still honors their founder and is responsible for more abortions in the United States than any other organization.
So how does eugenics show up in today’s world? There are several ways. One way eugenics shows up is through prenatal genetic screenings. While there can be some great benefits to these screenings when parents are able to quickly find help for potential health problems with the child. But this can also be used for great evil. Consider the following tragic statistic: According to Dr. Brian Stotko, 92 percent of children who are diagnosed with Down Syndrome in the womb are aborted. My own sister was told ten years ago that her daughter might have Down Syndrome (she doesn't) so the doctor encouraged her to abort her baby. Thankfully, she did not, because as she and her husband told the doctor, they would love the child the same whether she had Down Syndrome or not.
There will be two more sessions and a total of five talks left in the Answers for Pastors conference. Please check back soon for an update on these talks.
Thanks for reading!