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Archive for the ‘stem-cell research’ 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 »