Cloning and Stem Cell Research ( A Christian's perpective)

                                    CLONING AND STEM CELL RESEARCH

                                                  (A Christian’s Perspective)

 

 

  As a Southern Baptist Minister of the Gospel, I certainly do not, nor do we as a group collectively, pretend to be experts in the field of Bio-engineering.  We do, however, unashamedly present what we believe are biblically-based foundational truths upon which our morals, beliefs and actions should be based. 

1.         Life begins at conception.

Psalm 139:13, says, “For You, (God) formed my inward parts; You knit me together in my mother’s womb.”  v.15  “My bones were not hidden from You when I was made in secret, and skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth (in my mother’s bowels).

v.16  “Your eyes saw my substance being yet unformed.  And in your book they all were written, the days fashioned for me when as yet there were none of them.”

Jeremiah 1:5 says, “Before I (God) formed you in the womb I knew you; Before you were born I set you apart, I appointed you (before you were even born) a prophet to the nations.”

2.         All life is sacred.

 

I’ve heard it said that we as Southern Baptists are a bunch of “gainers,” that we’re against everything progressive.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  We are FOR a great many things.  We are FOR life, for health, for healing, for research, for medicine, for heaven, for truth, for people.  What we are against is death, murder, deception and half-truth.

We understand the issues facing us today may perhaps be the most important issues of our generation.  We want it known that we are FOR stem cell research and the advances it has brought and will bring to the health and well-being of people worldwide.  We also want it known that we are opposed to embryonic stem cell research and human cloning.  Our position is not based on theory nor on theology alone, but also upon straightforward scientific facts and the necessary ethical implications which flow from those facts.

Cloning (which is advocated by large Bio-research companies for the purpose of harvesting stem cells from embryos) is often discussed as if there were two different kinds of cloning, sometimes described as “therapeutic cloning” and “reproductive cloning.”  Both terms, however, are seriously misleading.  If we do not use accurate language, it is unlikely we will be able to think clearly about the issue.

All successful cloning is reproductive!  That is, once cloning results in a living single-cell human being, reproduction, be definition, has occurred.  It does not matter for what purpose this cloning was accomplished.  Another member of the human races exists.

(Statement on Human Cloning to the President’s Council on Bioethics:  William Saunders, Esq.)

If a living human being has been created, then we must face this crucial question:  how are we ethically obligated to treat that human being?  One purpose for which cloning is pursued is to produce a subject for research experiments.  Proponents of such cloning call this “therapeutic cloning.”  This is seriously misleading language.  For even if the aim of the experiment is to produce a therapy for a disease or injury that was suffered by someone else, the research is lethal for the subject of the research, the human embryo.  Such experiments have been rejected throughout Western history, and condemned by an ethical consensus expressed after World War II in the Nuremberg Code, which stated:  “No experiment should be conducted where there is an a priori reason to believe that death or disabling injury will result.”  However noble the ultimate purpose for which it is done, we have always agreed it is wrong to kill one human being to benefit another.  Yet, experimental cloning does just that.  If we are not careful, we might just find ourselves, not in a PROgressive society but a REgressive society, taking us back to the morals of Hitler’s Third Reich. 

We know for a fact all human beings began as a single-cell organism. When a single-cell embryo or zygote has been created, whether by sexual reproduction or by asexual reproduction, that embryo is a living, distinct, genetically complete human organism which, unless interrupted, will direct its own integral growth and development through all the stages of human life--from embryo to infant to teenager to senior.  Therefore, we must be reminded science has been and should continue to be subject to ethical limits. 

 

Allow me to share the following excerpt from award-winning author Wesley J. Smith, senior fellow at the Discovery Institute and a special consultant to the Center for Bioethics and Culture.  (His book, Consumer’s Guide to a Brave New World, was published in the fall of 2004.)

“Imagine the difficulty of engaging in a political debate in front of an audience that didn’t speak your language.  Empirical (visual) analysis would mean nothing:  What use would be the marshaling of facts and evidence when your audience wouldn’t be able to understand what you were saying?  And as for the art of persuasion, forget about it.  No matter how brilliant your argument, to your audience, it would just be confusing noise.

Unfortunately, confusing noise is what much of the public is hearing in the political debate over biotechnology.  This isn’t an accident.  Promoters of human cloning and other controversial biotechnologies know that if the American people heard the plain, unvarnished truth about what biotechnologists want to do and where the research would be likely to lead, popular support Big Biotech’s political agendas would collapse.”

Smith says promoters of human cloning and embryonic stem cell research has seized upon a deeply cynical tactic of using scientifically inaccurate words and terms to obscure the entire debate to the point of incomprehensibility.  Smith says, “Take the controversy over human cloning, as just one example.  Cloning is accomplished via a process known as somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT).  According to the unanimous conclusion of the President’s Council on Bioethics, the act of human SCNT creates a ‘cloned human embryo.’  Morever, as the Council rightly reported, ‘The same activity (SCNT) may be undertaken for purposes of producing children or for purposes of scientific and medical investigation and use.’  In other words, CLONING, is cloning, is cloning.”

SCNT CLONING CREATES A NEW HUMAN ORGANISM, A NEW HUMAN LIFE.

But this is precisely what cloning proponents will not admit.

 

Senator Dianne Feinstein presented an argument from the floor of the United States Senate in support of legislation in hopes of legalizing human cloning for biomedical research.  In the argument she sates:

The beauty of our legislation is that it would allow this most promising form of stem cell research, somatic cell nuclear transplantation, to be conducted on a human egg for up to 14 days only, under strict standards of Federal regulation.  The reason for this 14 days is to limit any research before the so-called primitive streak (the beginning of the nervous system) can take over that egg.  This stem cell research can only take place on an unfertilized egg.  An unfertilized egg is not capable of becoming a human being.  Therefore we limit stem cell research to unfertilized eggs.

This political jargon is nonsensical rhetoric. An unfertilized egg does not develop embryonic stem cells, embryos do.  An unfertilized egg cannot develop a primitive streak (nervous system) on its own.  An unfertilized egg could never be capable of becoming a human being.  It is merely a cell, a “gamete” in scientific lexicon.  Pretending that a cloned embryo is merely an unfertilized egg distorts the moral stakes in the debate through the use of false definitions and junk science.

There is one other example of political rhetoric to hide the truth.

The California Stem Cell Research and Cures Act, known as the infamous Proposition 71, grants researchers in California a constitutional right to engage in human SCNT cloning and embryonic stem cell research.  But look at how these acts are described in the legal initiative:

There is hereby established a right to conduct stem cell research which includes research involving adult stem cells, cord blood stem cells, pluripotent stem cells, and or progenitor cells.  Pluripotent stem cells may be derived from somatic cell nuclear transfer or from surplus products of in vitro fertilization treatments when such products are donated under appropriate informed consent procedures.

Notice that while the popular terms “adult stem cells” and “cord blood stem cells” are used, because they are basically uncontroversial, the term “embryonic stem cells” is completely absent because it is highly controversial.  Instead, the authors used the very generic and non-offensive term, “pluripotent stem cells.”  The purpose is to hide the fact that the initiative would grant a right to engage in research that destroys embryos.  What’s worse, the authors of the initiative are so disingenuous they don’t even call embryos, whether natural or cloned, embryos.  They are merely referred to as “surplus products of in vitro fertilization treatments” or pluripotent cells “derived from somatic cell nuclear transfer.”  And even this latter phrase in inaccurate, since SCNT does not create pluripotent cells.  It creates CLONED EMBRYOS, which must be destroyed to derive pluripotent cells.

Another mis-directive in rhetoric is that cloning for biomedical research is called SCNT, while the same procedure when undertaken for making babies is still called cloning.  The purpose of this false dichotomy is to make it appear to voters that the initiative is against cloning, when it is seeking to create an explicit constitutional right to engage in that very activity.

It appears the promoters of the Big Biotech industries and research companies don’t care they are being purposely deceptive.  They know the more confusion their word games sow, the more likely they are to get their way.

 

AGAIN, we are not against stem cell research with adults.  We are against embryonic stem cell research and we are against cloning which results in lives being created for the express purpose of being destroyed to harvest stem cells.  Wrong is wrong and right is right and according to God’s precepts, we believe these two research procedures to be vehemently against God’s holy standards.

 

 

   December 2018   
SMTWTFS
      1
2345678
9101112131415
16171819202122
23242526272829
3031   
Bible Search