Category Archives: Essays

Evolution of Multicellular Organisms from Unicellular Organisms – A Catholic Critique

This paper is about experimentally testing the conditions for the evolution of multicellularity from unicellular organisms. This is an important topic since the development of multicellular life required the development of specific factors. These are 1) the higher energy requirement that only aerobic respiration is able to provide; 2) the development of a genetic mechanism for the differentiation of genetic expression that leads to cell specialization; and 3) cell communication between neighboring cells that is necessary for determining which cell becomes specialized for different functions. [1] The transition from unicellular to multicellular life is an important milestone in the history of life. The importance of an understanding of the increasing complexity in life forms cannot be understated in the current controversy between faith and science. Continue reading

Assessment: Is Brain Death Really Death?

The moment at which a human person dies is of great significance particularly when considering the timing and liceity of human organ transplantation. There has been ongoing debate and discussion of the topic since the 1960s. The stakes are high in terms of whatever consensus is reached. The need for transplantable organs is great but it is important that we reach a justifiable position as to what constitutes death and how we can reliably determine the moment when it occurs. Otherwise, we may very well be causing death by the process of transplantation rather than performing transplantation following death. E Christian Brugger’s paper, “Are Brain Dead Individuals Dead? Grounds for Reasonable Doubt,” presents both sides of the question and, while failing to arrive at any conclusive determination, brings to light the need for careful consideration of the questions. At the current time the Catholic Church ascribes to the commonly held criteria for establishing that death has occurred, but new developments threaten to weaken the Church’s stance or at least call into question the commonly held assumptions. This paper will briefly summarize the history as well as current thinking on this subject and will pose further questions for thought. Continue reading