Good evening Mr. & Mrs. Catholic, and all you other Christians at sea, welcome to another edition of the Newsreel. We’ve been away for a short while, but our recent review of Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues at Aleteia has prompted our return. Now off to press.
DATELINE: BETHLEHEM – Unless you’ve spent the last few weeks in cave, then you’re probably well aware that Christmas, the day Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus to the Virgin Mary, will soon be upon us. Parthenogenesis, the act of reproduction in which an unfertilized egg develops into a new individual, is actually pretty common amongst certain insects and invertebrates, and occurs much less frequently in some of the lower vertebrates. But it is nigh impossible for a highly developed creature like a human, at least according to Marisa Bartolomei, a molecular geneticist at the University of Pennsylvania, due to the overwhelming number of random mutations which would be required to make the process work. “Is there a mutation that could eliminate all imprinting, so we would see that we didn’t need Dad or Mom in order to have normal development?” the doctor asks. “This is a question that people have asked a lot, and we don’t know the answer.” So unfortunately for all of us who celebrate the virgin birth of Jesus, science appears to say that no such event is ever likely to occur barring an act of God. Oh, wait…
DATELINE: INNERSPACE – In other news that comes as absolutely no surprise to Christians, but appears to have flummoxed a few scientists, researchers at the University of Pennsylvania (they sure are busy there this year) have determined that the brains of men and women are different. The study, one of the largest of its kind, indicates “greater neural connectivity from front to back and within one hemisphere in males, suggesting their brains are structured to facilitate connectivity between perception and coordinated action. In contrast, in females, the wiring goes between the left and right hemispheres, suggesting that they facilitate communication between the analytical and intuition. Ragini Verma, PhD, suggests, “These maps show us a stark difference--and complementarity--in the architecture of the human brain that helps provide a potential neural basis as to why men excel at certain tasks, and women at others.” Blessed John Paul II, who in his 2004 letter to the Bishops on the collaboration of men and women in the Church and in the world, wrote, “The second creation account (Gn 2:4-25) confirms in a definitive way the importance of sexual difference.” could not be reached for comment on the scientists’ findings, but we imagine his general reaction would be something along the lines of, “Well, duh!”
DATELINE: THE DEEP BLUE SEA – Speaking of the creation account, perhaps you remember the episode from Genesis wherein God allowed Adam to name all of the animals. “So the Lord God formed out of the ground various wild animals and various birds of the air, and he brought them to the man to see what he would call them; whatever the man called each of them would be its name. The man gave names to all the cattle, all the birds of the air, and all the wild animals.” Well, you know us humans, we couldn’t just let it go at that. Take the octopus for example. A recent article in the Scientific American informs us that having now given a name to each of the creature’s tentacles, scientists are now working feverishly to individually identify each of the 2,000+ suckers that line the appendages. Ah well, the Catechism does tell us that “basic scientific research, as well as applied research, is a significant expression of man's dominion over creation.” So if nothing else, this research will show those octopi that from now on there’s no way that they can sneak in an extra sucker without us knowing about it. We were left in charge here, after all.
And on that note, we’ll close out the latest of the Newsreel, ending it, as is our custom, with the immortal words of the great Les Nessman. Good evening, and may the good news be yours.
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