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Archive for the ‘Science’ Category

Give Them Some Skin

Posted by thelamp on June 18, 2007

A high-five is in order for ethical scientists who continue to identify ways of advancing stem-cell research without destroying human embryos. The latest breakthrough was announced last week – ironically, on the same day that Congress voted to increase taxpayers’ funding for experiments on embryonic stem cells. Hold that thought!

There’s no reason to destroy any more human embryos in the quest to find cures that will save or improve lives. Scientists in Japan and the United States have now found a way to reprogram skin cells back to an embryonic state.

Although the experiments have involved only mice so far, this discovery could end the controversy that has caused Christians consternation over biomedical research for nearly a decade. In 1998, scientists first discovered how to generate human embryonic stem cells from embryos discarded by fertility clinics. Immediately, men and women who respect the sanctity of all human life objected to callously ending it in a laboratory petri dish.

Opposition to embryonic stem-cell research – mounted primarily by Christian activists – has served as a catalyst to the search for alternatives. If skin cells can mimic embryonic stem cells and perform the same function, there would be no need to continue down the dangerous, destructive path now tempting medical pioneers.

This development should sway people critical of President Bush’s promise to veto the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act, which Congress has sent to the White House for the president’s signature.

People who don’t place value on the developmental stage of life that occurs before birth have argued that protecting embryos from scientific experimentation is tantamount to denying life-saving therapy to the sick and dying. Yet, even the most passionate voices in the scientific community acknowledge that human embryonic stem-cell research is a long way from producing any practical therapies.


Posted in Center for Moral Clarity, CMC, Embryonic Stem Cell, Food/Health Related, human embryonic, medical research, Recent News & Events, research, Rod Parsley, Science, Stem cell debate, stem-cell research | Leave a Comment »

There’s HOPE for Ethical Research!

Posted by thelamp on April 18, 2007

There’s good and bad news this week from the U.S. Senate, where debate on federal funding for human embryonic stem-cell research ended with the approval of two diametrically opposed bills: The HOPE Act and the infamous Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act. The latter, which would advance medical experimentation at the expense of human life, was vetoed by President Bush last year.

Given that the president has promised to veto it again, it’s disappointing that legislators passed it anyway on a 63-34 vote Wednesday. The good news is that the margin is too narrow to override President Bush, who has voiced support for the ethical alternative – which the Senate also passed 70-28.

Here are the 28 senators who voted against the HOPE Act:

Baucus, D-Mont.; Bayh, D-Ind.; Bingaman, D-N.M.; Boxer, D-Calif.; Cantwell, D-Wash.; Cardin, D-Md.; Clinton, D-N.Y.; Durbin, D-Ill.; Feingold, D-Wis.; Feinstein, D- Calif.; Inouye, D-Hawaii; Kohl ,D-Wis.; Lautenberg, D-N.J.; Levin, D-Mich.; Lieberman, I-Conn.; Lincoln, D-Ariz.; Menendez, D-N.J.; Mikulski, D-Md.; Murray, D-Wash.; Nelson, D-Fla.; Obama, D-Ill.; Reid, D-Nev.; Rockefeller, D-W.V.; Sanders, I-Vt.; Schumer, D-N.Y.; Stabenow, D-Mich.; Tester, D-Mont.; Wyden, D-Ore. 

Click here to thank your senator for voting for the HOPE Act and supporting ethical research.

Although both legislative proposals would remove restrictions on the use of federal funds in pursuit of ground-breaking research to cure diseases, the Hope Offered through Principled Ethical Stem Cell Research – or HOPE Act – would forbid the creation, cloning or destruction of embryos. However, this bill would authorize research on embryos with no chance of survival. The Senate missed an opportunity to make a clear statement about the value of life. Instead, lawmakers are sending America a mixed message.

Stem-cell research is a complicated undertaking. This much, though, is clear – ending life at any stage of development is morally indefensible. Christians know that Scripture plainly admonishes against killing, and invoking the merits of research doesn’t change anything.

Ethical research using stem cells from adults and umbilical cord blood is already contributing to improving health conditions associated with more than 70 diseases and injuries. These advances dispel the notion that cloning, destruction of human embryos or exploiting women by harvesting their eggs are the only avenues for discovering new medical treatments.

“The current adversarial climate has made many Christians think they must choose between science and faith,” said Pastor Rod Parsley. “It has also convinced many decent men and women in the scientific community that they must reject all religious influence in order to be faithful to science.”

The fact that Bible believers condemn senseless destruction of life does not mean they want to stand in the way of all medical research. The HOPE Act would “promote the derivation of pluripotent stem-cell lines without the creation of human embryos” or destroying them. (Read and compare the bills for yourself: the HOPE Act vs. the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act.)

The Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act isn’t just immoral; it would also be a foolish use of taxpayers’ money. Prudent and fiscally responsible lawmakers shouldn’t divert public funds from promising and less controversial research options. Of course, to some folks death is palatable when it occurs in a petri dish. Not so for Christians. Those who want research to continue, but also respect human life, are backing the HOPE Act.

Click here to thank your senator for voting for the HOPE Act and supporting ethical research.


Posted in Abortion, Anti-Abortion, babies, Center for Moral Clarity, Children, Christianity, christians, Cloning, CMC, congress, Embryonic Stem Cell, Family Matters, Health related, Health Sciences & Medicine, medical research, Partial Birth Abortion, planned parenthood, Recent News & Events, Religion, Religion/Politics, Republicans and Democrats, Rod Parsley, Science, Stem cell debate, stem-cell research | Leave a Comment »

Interspecies Cloning is Udderly Wrong

Posted by thelamp on April 2, 2007

Roughly a dozen years ago, an animal biologist at Michigan State University inserted his own DNA into a cow’s egg. Although Jose Cibelli’s foolish attempt to play God didn’t spawn a new life form, the failed sci-fi experiment did give birth to a controversial technique known today as interspecies cloning.

Predictably, scientists have grown discontented with standing at the threshold of a “brave new world.” At least three teams of British researchers are eager to make the leap into the land of biological engineering and reproductive technology. The real-life ramifications of “advancing” science are certain to be more frightening than anything Aldous Huxley dreamed up for his futuristic novel.

Life on the cutting edge isn’t limited to Brits experimenting with bovine eggs. Esmail Zanjani, a professor at the University of Nevada, reportedly has created the world’s first human-sheep chimera – which has the body of a sheep and half-human organs. The new animal has 15 percent human cells and 85 percent animal cells, and its evolution brings the prospect of animal organs being transplanted into humans one step closer.

Either way, injecting adult human cells into a sheep’s fetus or a cow’s egg, this new wave of research should do more than reignite debate over the morality of such experiments; it should jar Christians from their current state of ambivalence. Interspecies cloning is not a step forward. There is no doubt that genetic engineering defiles human dignity and promises to change life as we know it, which is hardly the gratitude God deserves for creating mankind and giving humans dominion over animals. Why would anyone even think about altering God’s unique, perfect design or his wonderful handiwork?

Scientists point to the lack of an ample supply of human eggs for embryonic stem-cell research as the catalyst for expanding cloning between humans and animals. The idea is to take DNA from patients sick with diseases like Alzheimer’s and fuse it with cow eggs that have had all their genetic material removed. Scientists expect the human DNA to trick the eggs into thinking they’re pregnant, and the development of life would begin. After about five days of growth, the cloned embryos would be destroyed and the stem cells extracted.

Cloning and human embryonic stem-cell research are morally wrong. Furthermore, interspecies cloning is the most repugnant and reprehensible act that can occur in a petri dish. Biologically blending man and beast is not a matter for intellectual, academic debate. This is the Church’s call to action.

“We are living in a day of almost unimaginable scientific possibilities. Yet as a moral culture, we have never been in a weaker position to manage those possibilities responsibly,” said Pastor Rod Parsley. “We must face the disturbing fact that technology is racing forward so quickly, policy makers and so-called bioethicists can’t possibly keep up.”

Properly understood, science is a natural extension of Christian faith. However, the faithful must be engaged with the broader culture to maintain the biblical influence as science progresses. When the church retreats into its religious enclaves, militant scientists are allowed to go on their wayward course undeterred. Christians must preserve the sanctity of life by guiding technology and medical research with moral discipline.


Posted in Center for Moral Clarity, christians, Cloning, CMC, cows, dna, Embryonic Stem Cell, God, human embryonic, moral, Religion, Rod Parsley, Science, stem-cell research | Leave a Comment »

Adult Stem-Cell Research Takes a Hit

Posted by thelamp on March 17, 2007

The latest news about the research potential of adult stem cells is disappointing, but it doesn’t diminish the moral objections for the alternative sacrificing life through human embryonic stem-cell research.

Click here to urge Congress to fund ethical medical research.

A scientific panel is questioning the 2002 study that suggested adult stem cells might be as useful as human embryonic ones was flawed, and its conclusions may be wrong. This new perspective raises questions on two fronts.

For scientists, bone marrow as a potential source for stem cells is less promising. For Christians, the possibility of advancing medical cures through ethical research is diminished. This setback, however, must not become an excuse for forsaking like through the expansion of experimentation on human embryos.

Five years ago, research by Catherine Verfaillie at the University of Minnesota concluded that stem cells taken from the bone marrow of mice could grow into an array of biological tissues, including the brain, heart, lung and liver (click here to read the original research findings). Currently, only human embryonic stem cells are known to hold such regenerative capability. The scientist acknowledged flaws in parts of the study after inquiries from the British publication New Scientist, which publicized its qualms with the research in its Feb. 15 edition (click here to read the article).

A panel of experts commissioned by the university determined that the process used to identify tissue derived from the adult stem cells was “significantly flawed, and that the interpretations based on these data, expressed in the manuscript, are potentially incorrect.” The panel also noted that the error was attributed to mistakes, not falsifications.

Since Verfaillie’s study was published in 2002, other researchers have been unable to duplicate her results.

The scientific community is now wrestling with the overall impact this new information will have. CMC members should pray that scientists will return to the lab and continue fine tuning their work with adult stem cells. For some, the easy answer is to put the effort into embryonic stem-cell research.

Just because something can be done doesn’t mean it should be done.

Certainly, Christians share the broader culture’s desire to treat people ailing with diseases and other conditions. No one would argue against improving the quality of life. In the case of embryonic stem-cell research, though, the ends do not justify the means. Bible believers must use their voice to call for moving forward without destroying embryos which, of course, are people.

The sanctity of life is not doled out in stages. It’s all inclusive from the moment of conception.

Experimenting with adult stem cells is not the only means of ethical medical research. This week, members of the medical community will conduct a Capitol Hill briefing on the use of cord blood to treat disease and disability and to call for full funding of the National Cord Blood Inventory (NCBI) program in the 2008 budget.

Three years ago Congress created the first national inventory to collect the needed units of blood and make them readily available. The legislation authorized collection of 150,000 units of cord blood, with a focus on genetic diversity that is expected to meet the needs of 90 percent of all patients. These units will be made available through an open registry that will link public cord blood banks nationwide to simplify a physician’s search for a blood match.

CMC applauds and encourages such medical advances.


Posted in Anti-Christian attitudes, Center for Moral Clarity, CMC, Embryonic Stem Cell, Family Matters, Health related, Health Sciences & Medicine, planned parenthood, Recent News & Events, Religion, Science | Leave a Comment »

Promote Ethical Stem-Cell Research

Posted by thelamp on January 18, 2007

Last week, medical researchers embarked on a new era. The catalyst was the fabulous news from scientists at Wake Forest University and Harvard Medical School. They discovered therapeutic potential in stem cells found in human amniotic fluid.

Pro-life enthusiasts across America lauded the great promise of advancing cures for dozens of diseases without endangering human embryos. Yet many members of Congress didn’t bother pausing long enough to digest the true enormity and significance of the announcement. Instead, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and company pressed forward with plans to channel millions of tax dollars into human embryonic stem-cell research.

Click here to ask President Bush to fulfill his pledge to veto the Stem-Cell Research Enhancement Act.

“Unequivocally, there is no compelling reason why taxpayers should finance unethical research,” said Pastor Rod Parsley. “Christians should never tolerate or condone disregard for the sanctity of human life. The argument that untold medical cures for the living outweigh the death of an undeveloped embryo has never been biblically sound. The position is even more indefensible in light of the new, life-preserving discoveries.”

The bill, H.R. 3, easily passed in the U.S. House of Representatives Jan. 11 by a 253 to 174 vote. If the U.S. Senate also passes the measure and the president vetoes it as promised, 290 representatives and 67 senators would be required to override the veto. The Senate will be taking up its version of the bill, S. 5, within the next few weeks.

On Jan. 11, the White House issued a Statement of Administrative Policy (SAP) voicing President Bush’s strong opposition to the use of taxpayer dollars for this objectionable purpose.

“Destroying nascent human life for research raises serious ethical problems, and millions of Americans consider the practice immoral,” the White House position statement said. The Center for Moral Clarity agrees, and encourages its members to support the president’s decision to once again veto this bill if, or when, it passes in the Senate.

Want to know more about human embryonic stem-cell research?
Click here to download the Domestic Policy Council’s report, “Advancing Stem Cell Science Without Destroying Human Life.”


Posted in Center for Moral Clarity, Children, Christianity, Cloning, CMC, Embryonic Stem Cell, Health related, Health Sciences & Medicine, Partial Birth Abortion, planned parenthood, Political, Recent News & Events, Religion, Religion/Politics, Rod Parsley, Science, Stem cell debate | Leave a Comment »