Monday, July 21, 2008

Why would God...

... come up with Harlequin Ichthyosis?

It's been awhile since I did a post like this. I stumbled upon this stunningly cruel birth defect by accident through YouTube (more on that in a minute).  You can read the Wikipedia entry, but here is a general description of the condition:

Babies born with this condition have skin that basically consists of large reddish scales, diamond shaped.  The skin doesn't bend or fold, it cracks.  The eyelids are turned inside out.  Ears, nose, and mouth and genitals may be malformed.

This was almost always fatal within a few days, either due to infection of the skin, overheating because the thick skin prevents heat loss, or breathing failure due to the skin restricting the chest from expanding enough to draw air. In recent years, some success has been had in helping the afflicted child live longer.

Here is a drawing of a fetus with the condition.

Normally, I include actual photos or videos of the topics I'm talking about.  However, the drawing above is as far as I'm comfortable going with this topic on this page.  For those who want to see more of the disease in real life, I offer the following two links.

PLEASE, BEFORE YOU CLICK ON THE LINKS, be certain you want to see them.  These images are distressing beyond what you are probably imagining. I myself was not prepared for them when I saw them, and I can handle a lot.  People who know me know I don't exaggerate things like this. 

You don't have to see the images to understand the rest of the post.

Here's a link to a single photo:  PHOTO

Here's a link to a YouTube video:  VIDEO.  It's heartbreaking and extremely difficult to watch all 3 minutes of it.

It's the video I want to discuss for a minute.  For those who have decided not to watch the video, it is filmed by what I'm assuming are the parents of a child with this condition in the hospital.  A man (the father?) is holding the child and singing a prayer to Allah while someone (I think the mother) is moving the camera all around the child's body.

I understand the man's prayer. However, what kind of god would create a situation like this? It's helpful to no-one, child or parents. A comment on the video says the man is saying that Allah is merciful and that everything has a reason. But possible reason could torturing a baby and its parents like this have?

Theists often report visceral reasons to believe in God - rainbows, beauty, etc. 
For me, this is another visceral reason to say God couldn't exist - it's a product of blind genetic malfunction. 

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