Thursday, 26 February 2009

Children of Men

The news today told the story of the leader of David Cameron, the British opposition and the person who will probably be the next PM. His seven year old son died, and everyone seems to be grieving with the family.
In a speech at parliament, Gordon Brown, the current British PM and the person who will probably lose the next election, said that the death of a child is something no parent should endure. But is that really the case?
Historically speaking, it is only during the last 150 years or so that infant and child mortality rates have drastically been reduced; before that, the ratio of kids who didn't make it to two was fairly substantial. It is probably fair to say that historically, most humans lived in conditions where the death of a child was a fairly normal affair. Sad, yet normal.
My point is simple: While I grieve with the mourning family, I also marvel at this miracle that allows us to take the privilege of not enduring the death of a child the vast majority of the time. I wish we could leverage on it more to reduce the number of cases children die on their parents. Yet that miracle is not really a miracle; it is all the work of science.
Let us not forget the positive effects science has had on the way we live.

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