A roundup of news and commentary from around the interwebs.
Some of you may have seen that horrifying little video that went viral last year, depicting a lab/warehouse filled with artificial wombs—filled with babies. It looked like something from a science fiction film, and not the kind that ends well. Many people wondered: Is this in the immediate future? Could this actually happen? A good answer can be found at the excellent Substack newsletter Pilgrims in the Machine. From “Pod Babies”:
We are still years away from a real EctoLife, but birth-tech research is progressing. A few months ago scientists created synthetic mouse embryos from stem cells—without the need for sperm, egg or womb—which may in turn lay the foundation for creating synthetic human embryos.
Read the whole thing here. It is a great summary.
I’ve been writing about this for a few months, but here’s a good summary from Quillette: “At Last, Mainstream Journalists Are Starting to Report the Truth About Youth Gender Clinics.”
What would J.R.R. Tolkien say about the ironically named “Respect for Marriage Act”? Jake Meador has a fascinating answer over at Mere Orthodoxy, in which he takes a look at a Tolkien letter found tucked into a pamphlet by C.S. Lewis: “Tolkien Was Right: Notes on the Respect for Marriage Act and the Post-Boomer Church.”
Donald Trump has decided to blame the GOP underperformance in the midterms not on himself, or his terrible candidates, or his own toxic character, or his incessant re-litigation of the last election. No, Trump says it is all the fault of…pro-lifers:
As I've been saying for years: Trump is not one of us. Period. https://t.co/dnTgAR04CS
— Jonathon Van Maren (@JVanMaren) January 2, 2023
Anybody who supports that guy over Ron DeSantis is not voting based on their pro-life values. They’re part of a personality cult and need to come up for air.
In case that last point irritated you, consider this story from last month in Politico—in which Trump and his crowd celebrated the Respect for Marriage Act, which dealt a devastating blow to religious liberty: “Scenes from a celebration of the same-sex marriage law — at Mar-a-Lago.” An excerpt:
“We are fighting for the gay community, and we are fighting and fighting hard,” the former president and 2024 candidate said. “With the help of many of the people here tonight in recent years, our movement has taken incredible strides, the strides you’ve made here is incredible.”
Throughout the evening, speakers praised Trump for his embrace of the gay community. They credited him for his initiatives to combat the criminalization of homosexuality, his work pushing for public heath initiatives to combat the HIV epidemic, and for appointing the first openly gay Cabinet member, Grenell, as director of national intelligence.
Charles Moran, president of the Log Cabin Republicans, challenged other 2024 hopefuls to also say they are willing to fight for gay rights.
“I just heard a Republican candidate for president stand up and say he is willing to fight and I challenge every other Republican to make the same pledge Donald Trump made tonight,” Moran said.
“I’m going to hold all candidates to that same standard,” he added in a later interview. “We’re really at a place now where we’re going to have an open election and there are going to be other Republicans running, and we have a responsibility to look at the entire Republican field.”
DeSantis, meanwhile, highlighted the religious liberty concerns with the new law. Again, social conservatives—pick your champion.