God versus the Pope (embryos and
stem cell research)
(Top Posts - Social/Legal - 011005)

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God: 80% of fertilized human eggs abort by act of
God by week 12, apart from human intervention,
if you believe God wills that to occur, or by act of
nature if you believe that nature is to be blamed,
not God.

Why then would you credit God for nature, and
then deny God designed the system by which
80% of fertilized human eggs don't make it past
week 12, with no human intervention involved

By what trick of theology does God get credit for
all good, get credit for the entire universe, yet
escape responsibility for any aspects of its de-
sign or supposed intervention that fall outside
the desires of some believers?

For believers who act like fertilized human eggs
are humans, you're faced with the following quan-
dary regarding God:

80% of fertilized human eggs failing to make it
past week 12, how is that *not* part of God's de-
sign, and if part of God's design, is God a mass
murderer -or- is the perception by some believers
that fertilized human eggs are humans simply pop-

If you declare fertilized human eggs to be human
beings, you are declaring God to be a mass mur-
derer of humans at the earliest possible moment.

If you declare God to be uninvolved in the failure
of 80% of fertilized human eggs to make it past
week 12, with no human intervention whatsoever,
by what logic do you detach God from that, and
declare fertilized eggs to be human beings?

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Beginning of Human Life


... At 2-3 days, or the 8-cell stage, probably every cell
is totipotent. 45-70% of "preembryos" do not success-
fully implant. ... By 12 weeks, about half of the embryos
that implanted may have spontaneously aborted (about
80% since conception). ...

... There are sufficient doubts over the commencement
of human personhood until the cerebral cortex begins
to function, not to consider the embryo a person until
at least 8 weeks and possibly up to 24 weeks.

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Pope (recent pronouncement): "The challenge to life has
grown in scale and urgency in recent years. It has involved
particularly the beginning of human life, when human be-
ings are at their weakest and most in need of protection.

Conflicting views have been put forward regarding abortion,
assisted procreation, the use of human embryonic stem
cells for scientific research, and cloning.

The Church's position, supported by reason and science,
is clear: The human embryo is a subject identical to the
human being which will be born at the term of its develop-
ment. Consequently whatever violates the integrity and the
dignity of the embryo is ethically inadmissible.

Similarly, any form of scientific research which treats the
embryo merely as a laboratory specimen is unworthy of
man. Scientific research in the field of genetics needs to
be encouraged and promoted, but, like every other human
activity, it can never be exempt from moral imperatives;
research using adult stem cells, moreover, offers the
promise of considerable success."

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The following article conveys the writer's view that Jesus
should be counted as among the supporters of embryonic
stem cell research. Also, the writer points out some errors
in perception on the part of embryonic stem cell research
opponents ...

Jesus votes for stem-cell research
Posted: December 31, 2004
1:00 a.m. Eastern

2004 Tribune Media Services, Inc.

Complete article:

SAN FRANCISCO – Whatever it portends for Americans
elsewhere, for California the year 2005 promises pure
excitement. Starting Jan. 1, the Golden State will lead the
world in embryonic stem-cell research.

California was able to catapult into leadership because of
two related events. First, the decision by President George
W. Bush in August 2001 to limit research to existing stem-
cell lines. Second, Californians' overwhelming support for
Proposition 71 in November 2004.

Buoyed by the endorsement of Gov. Arnold Schwarze-
negger, 59 percent of California voters approved Propo-
sition 71: establishing a California Institute for Regenera-
tive Medicine and agreeing to spend $6 billion for stem-
cell research aimed at finding a cure for cancer, Parkin-
son's, diabetes and other as-yet-incurable diseases.

It's good news for California. Overnight, the nation's largest
state replaces the National Institutes of Health as the world's
foremost medical research center. Every year, California
alone will award $300 million in grants for stem-cell research,
compared to a stingy $24.8 million awarded nationwide by
NIH in 2004. Leading scientists and laboratories will relo-
cate to the West Coast for the second California Gold Rush.

But what's good news for California is bad news for the rest
of the country. Unlocking a cure for the worst diseases is too
important a task to be left to any one state. Nobody wants
bigger government, but this is one area where federal over-
sight is essential – to regulate how and where stem cells are
created, for what purpose they're used, and how they're dis-
posed of.

More than anything, California's sudden ownership of stem-
cell research proves how short-sighted President Bush was
in slamming the door on science. Every argument he made
for doing so has been proven wrong.

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Fiction: There's no need to produce any new lines of embry-
onic stem cells. Existing lines give researchers everything
they need.

FACT: This was the compromise on stem cells proposed
by President Bush. It's pure nonsense. There are far fewer
existing lines than Bush claimed – 23, as opposed to 78 –
and they're not of much scientific value. They lack genetic
diversity and because they were raised in mouse, not hu-
man, cultures, they risk viral contamination.

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Fiction: There's no need to use stem cells from embryos,
because stem cells can be taken from adult humans, and
they're just as effective.

FACT: While it is possible to harvest stem cells from bone
marrow or brain tissue, the very fact that they are adult cells
means they are far less versatile. They simply do not offer
the same potential found in stem cells from embryos. In
terms of promise for new cures, medical scientists now
consider adult stem cells a dead end.

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Fiction: Embryonic stem-cell research is the moral equiva-
lent of murder, because embryos are little human beings
with all the rights of adult human beings.

FACT: Stem-cell research is about saving life, not destroy-
ing it. Stem cells gathered from embryos are visible only
under the microscope. These tiny clusters of cells are in-
capable of surviving, even inside the Petri dish, for more
than a couple of days unless frozen. The idea that, outside
the womb, they are living human beings is simply absurd.

Besides, not one embryo dies as a result of stem-cell re-
search. Every day, as part of routine scientific research,
embryos are worked on, frozen or tossed out. And that's
the key point: Embryos not used for research are going
to be destroyed anyway – burned with the rest of the day's
medical trash.

That sums up the moral choice on stem cells. What to do
with 400,000 frozen embryos? Toss them in the dumpster
along with the coffee grinds, orange peels and empty beer
bottles? Or use them to save perhaps millions of lives?

There's no doubt which choice reflects the "greater good."
And there's no doubt which choice Jesus would make.

After all, as every one of the four Gospels relates, Jesus
spent most of his public ministry healing the sick. It was his
life's work. And stories of his healing – St. Peter's mother-
in-law, the man with the withered hand, the centurion's ser-
vant – are among the most vivid passages in Scripture.

Having cured people of leprosy, dropsy and palsy, is there
any doubt that Jesus would embrace today's efforts to find
a cure for Parkinson's or heart disease using embryonic
stem-cell research? I think not.

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