Besides the computer revolution, medical advances have caused tension between faith and reason. The medical advances of the Twentieth Century have many beneficial effects for humanity. Diseases that used to be dangerous or life threatening, like mumps, measles, and whooping cough, are no longer worries in todays medical world. Tetanus, typhoid, and the bubonic plaque can now be treated with antibiotics or other medicines. Vaccines, especially the polio vaccine, freed many people from the effects of a disease. Advances in heart surgery and organ transplants have saved many lives. Anesthetics and painkillers have been made to reduce or eliminate pain during surgery or a painful disease. Advances in cancer and AIDS have also been made, although many of the details of these diseases are yet to be learned.
Another area of medical advancement is genetic engineering. Genetic engineering will detect and possibly stop diseases before birth. Many diseases are associated with specific genes that can be checked for disease and replaced if dysfunctional. Genetic testing has already revealed genetic mutations that cause hypertension, heart disease, diabetes, osteoporosis, colon cancer, polycystic kidney disease, Alzheimers disease, and others. (5) Replacing missing, altered, inactive, or dysfunctional genes will prevent diseases or even death. Also, progression of a disease can be monitored, and
proactive measures against recurrence and relapse of the disease can be made. Molecular medicine in genetics will also improve the design and testing of new drugs.
Cloning is another new medical advance that allows for many great possibilites. Exact organ matches for organ transplants could be made through cloning. Animals with superior traits for their species will be cloned to continue breeding of this species after the superior animal has died. This will tremendously benefit farmers who raise livestock, and cloning of the superior animals will also make the food supply healthier and larger in this growing world.
Other advances in medical technology deal with the preborn and postborn babies and prolonging life techniques. Prenatal technology and obstetrics have allowed babies to be born as early as twenty-two weeks after conception. Life support systems have helped to prolong lives and have even supported people in comas who have "woken up" after many years. However, these medical advances have been questioned as to whether they really are "advance." Many of these new medical techniques conflict with peoples faith in medical ethics and with their religious beliefs, especially Catholicism. A debate about the extent to which humans are allowed to "play God" to destroy, alter, or create life forms has risen. Most of the new controversial medical procedures have become accepteed in this impersonal, technological world, but many people do not believe these procedures are really "progress." Many people believe that Church should be...