See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient with it until it receives the early and the late rains. - James 5:7

Monday, March 09, 2009

We interrupt this blog-break to announce: Federal funding for embryonic stem cell research is on!

Why the fuss?
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Today a friend asked me with genuine sincerity, "I do not understand why it is so wrong to take stem cells from embryos, embryos which will be destroyed anyway. Isn't it better to use them to save lives and cure disease? In either case, they will eventually be destroyed."
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I understood his confusion, and answered as best I could, "We have been socially conditioned into rejecting the idea that a human embryo is actually a person. I'm not a bio-ethicist nor a theologian, and therefore I'm unable to explain it in depth, but the destruction of a human embryo is the destruction of a human person. It is killing."
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"Yes, but the embryos will probably be destroyed anyway, so isn't it better to use the stem cells for the good of the living?"
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Again, he wasn't seeking to challenge me, or to argue the matter, my friend simply did not understand why the Church was so opposed. I realized that most lay people, as well as those who are physically disabled by illness, yet hoping for a cure through this research, see it the same way: "What's the difference? If the embryos are there, why not put them to good use." I tried to explain as best I could that I understand that thought process, and compared it to the experimentation by the Nazis. I said, "The prisoners in the camps were going to die anyway, so the Nazi doctors thought, 'why not experiment upon them and harvest what we can first.'"
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"Well that was different," he answered respectfully disagreeing. "This isn't the same thing."
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Human sacrifice back in vogue.
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"I think it is," I said politely. "The marketing of such an evil is more slick and sophisticated today; it is presented as a sanitized, clinical study for the benefit of mankind. (Potentially generating huge profits for the health-care industry.) As a society we already kill children through abortion and in post-abortion born-alive situations. Popular culture ignores it however, and calls it choice. Even if one is against abortion, one does not always accept the reality that an embryo is a human person. Therefore, exploiting human embryos, indeed sacrificing human lives, which do not even look like babies, doesn't seem so evil."
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Nevertheless, I could not persuade him. My friend, along with countless other Americans simply do not believe a human embryo is a person. We discussed the matter for a few more minutes. He, asking if other religions were opposed to it, or was it just the Catholic Church, and so on. Sadly, many people think it is simply a faith issue, and that the Catholic Church is just one religion among countless others, making up rules to control mankind. Such are the effects of relativism - Catholicism is just another ideology. I guess if Buddhism taught that it is okay to do it, then my friend would say, "So there, it isn't immoral." Once again we see how fallen human nature searches for approval, to the point of altering natural law, in order to affirm evil as good.
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Nevertheless, I could not convince my friend, and he changed the subject. He likes the British actor, Tilda Swinton quite a lot.
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Comments are back on BTW.

9 comments:

  1. Terry - embryonic stem cell research was never banned - only Federal funding was banned (except for the lines that were already started.)

    People need to understand how the msm distorts things. Their headlines will read "Obama overturns ban on stem cell research", and in the body of the story you will find the truth (sometimes quite hidden)

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  2. I stated it incorrectly - I will correct that.

    Any chance you can help me out with explaining to my friend why embryonic stem cell research is evil?

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  3. Interestingly enough I noted in a post today on luminousmiseries.ca that Canadians made a breakthrough in regard to stem-cells that could "bypass the eithical problems of using embryonic stem cells." This is not new news. Unsuprisingly leaders in each of our countries down play this and continue to go on and on about the need for the latter.

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  5. Jessica4:00 PM

    Terry, check out Fr. Tad's column, "Making Sense of Bioethics". http://www.ncbcenter.org/makingsense.asp
    I went to a conference of his about hESCR, took copious notes. I will try to dig up something that might help your friend, but I encourage you to check out Fr. Tad. God bless

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  6. Jessica - thanks, I'll check it out ASAP. I know who he is.

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  7. I heard Prof George (of Princeton)at Franciscan U. last year on the topic of embryonic stem cell research. He used a totally non-theological argument to prove how wrong it is to destroy a human embryo.
    The main thrust of his argument was that ALL of us are on a life continuum. Some are toddlers. Some are adolescents. Some are middle-aged, some elderly. The embryo is simply the FIRST PART OF THIS CONTINUUM and the continuum CAN NOT BE STOPPED UNLESS ACTED ON BY A HARMFUL AGENT. Ie, the embryo will grow in the womb (it's natural environment) since it is life and life moves forward, unless it is forcefully stopped--- it contains all of the biological materials that make it complete. It is not awaiting some further material to make it human or add to its makeup.
    Does a newborn look like an old man? No. Does an embryo look like a teenager? No.
    But just because an embryo is defenseless and doesn't look like any of us on the life continuum, doesn't mean we have the right to destroy it.
    WE ONCE LOOKED JUST LIKE IT. Nothing was "added" to us to make us human.

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  8. I hope you don't mind me announcing this, Terry, but:
    If anyone lives in the Pittsburgh/Steubenville area, Prof George will again be speaking at Franciscan U on March 27. We need to support Catholic bioethics.

    http://www.franciscan.edu/home2/Content/main.aspx?id=3283

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  9. Susan - I'm grateful for the link. I also forgot to email you - I'm praying.

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