Wednesday, 5 September 2007

Disconsolate over the permission for Hybrids/Chimeras...the authentic catholic response.


Vatican City, Feb 27, 2006 / 12:00 am (CNA).-


As the Vatican’s much-anticipated International Congress on “the human embryo prior to implantation” begins today, Pope Benedict XVI met with delegates, to whom he stressed the importance of the divine reality of God, shining forth through even the simplest and smallest human being, namely, the embryo.
The General assembly, being held today and tomorrow at the Vatican, is being hosted by the Pontifical Academy for Life.
The Pope called the Congress theme "fascinating, but difficult and arduous given the delicate nature of the subject being examined and the complexity of epistemological problems concerning the relationship" between experimental scientific data and reflection on anthropological values.
He went on to reference scripture, which "expresses the love of God towards all human beings even before they take form in the mother's womb," adding that "The love of God does not distinguish between the newly-conceived infant still in its mother's womb, the baby, the youth, the grown adult or the elderly.”
In each of these, Benedict stressed, “He sees the sign of His own image and likeness."
The Pope explained that "This limitless and almost incomprehensible love of God for man reveals to what point human beings are worthy of love in themselves, regardless of any other consideration, be it intelligence, beauty, health, youth, integrity and so on. Human life is a good thing, always and definitively."
He also pointed out that "in man, in all men and women, whatever their stage or condition of life, there shines a reflection of God's own reality.”
“For this reason,” he said that “the Magisterium of the Church has constantly proclaimed the sacred and inviolable nature of each human life, from conception to natural end” adding that “This moral judgment also holds at the beginning of an embryo's life, even before it is implanted in the mother's womb."
The Pope closed his brief address by touching on the origins of life itself, calling this "a mystery which science will be able to illuminate ever more clearly, though with difficulty will it decipher it altogether."
He said that "those who love truth must be aware that research into such profound themes puts us in the position of seeing and almost touching the hand of God.”
“Beyond the limits of experimental methods, at the confines of the area that some call meta-analysis, where sensorial perception and scientific tests are neither enough or even possible,” the Pope concluded, “that is where the adventure of transcendence begins."

14 comments:

WhiteStoneNameSeeker said...

I've posted quite a strong reaction to this at Mulier Fortis.
Every time something like this happens the media find some poor pathetic crip to wheel out who will speak all shakily about how important this (pseudo)science is.
It's so undignified!

Of course the media would never allow an irritated up front crip like me to say "I DON'T NEED DEAD BABIES TO CURE ME THANK YOU!"

Embryonic stem cell research has been a complete failure. WHat makes these arrogant idiots think this will be any better?

Meanwhile crips like me will be left like this for far longer than need be because the funding that could be spent on real research (such as the great strides forward in adult and umbilical stem cell) will be starved of funding while scientists fund playing god.

God help us!

Psiomniac said...

I can see why embryonic stem cell research is incompatible with Catholic teaching. I think it might turn out to be a jolly good idea though, and it is a bit early to call it a 'failure'.

On the side of the angels said...

dude, you scare me sometimes...
I know you're a 'strong agnostic' but surely even the most ardent atheist should be a proponent towards the right to life for every individual who is conceived ?
They are creating something which if implanted could be born and lead the fullest of lives - instead they are wilfully creating and destroying...

for what ?
to see what happens !!!??
it's incredulously evil ; and even if you're a moral relativist you must concur it's inhuman - a species using its own members as means to an end ?

we're insane !

as for embryonic stem cell research it's used because it's cheaper than other forms...wait till the law changes and cosmetics companies are given the green light to do what they are already doing in their labs - using aborted foetal material for 'regenerist' skin cremes - because it's cheap and there's a constant fresh supply...
to go all Bonhoeffer on you , what happens when they come for you ?
when in the future you fall ill and perfectly curable but you're a valuable resource in harvestable organs ? or rather than operate on you they'll instead use you to guinea-pig a new drug which might work but you'll more than likely be killed by it but ably assist the researchers in untangling the solution to combatting the side-effects ?
The time's coming dude - if not you, they'll do it to your children or their children; and nobody will protect them the same way nobody is protecting these human beings -albeit in potential.

Psiomniac said...

I look at this another way. I look at it in terms of value. If you were struck down by fatal organ failure but they could take some cells, insert them into a bovine egg and then grow you some new organs then I think that since they did not create a sentient being, this would be ethical. It would preserve the thing of greater value.

WhiteStoneNameSeeker said...

Embryonic stem cell research has failed and failed. Didn't stop the eejits experimenting on people with parkinsons and altzeimers (Sp?) and making the 'subjects' even sicker even quicker.

Adult and umbilical stem cell research otoh has produced actual working therapies already. Even China (that bastion of ethics!HA!) has put money into adult/umb research and NOT embryonic because they are not stupid and can see where the returns will be.

As for the person who has more value-yeah being in a wheelchair has taught be a load about THAT attitude. Thanks.

Psiomniac said...

WhiteStoneNameSeeker,
It is too early to call time on embryonic stem cell research.
As for my attitude to value, given the hard choice, I'd save you intstead of a human that had yet to develop a nervous system.

Red Maria said...

Er, hardly. Embryonic Stem Research has had £millions pumped into it in the UK alone on the back of hyper-hysterical claims of the blind being made able to see and the lame to walk, which have so far resulted in precisely nothing.
It is quite simply an enormous waste of money. That's a good enough reason to stop propping up this under-performing industry.

gemoftheocean said...

Embryonic stem cell research is pure evil. It's killing the innocent. And that's not right.

Red Maria said...

Yes, its certainly that but there are also other reasons for opposing it, namely that it fails on the "rationalists" own terms.
Embryonic stem cell (ESC) research been the subject of excitable claims of an almost religious nature. It was predicted that it would lead to miracle cures for a whole number of afflictions. To that end its been pumped full of gallons of public money but in bald cost benefit outcome terms, ESC research has achieved ...nothing.
In the same period, adult stem cell research has actually achieved the following:

Successful rebuilding livers with cirrhosis,
Repairing spinal chord injuries
Putting Crohn's disease into remission
Putting lupus into remission
Treating sickle-cell anaemia
Repairing heart muscles in those with congestive heart failure
Restoring bone marrow in cancer patients
Restoring heart attack damage
Putting leukaemia in remission
Successfully treating bone fractures

In other words, adult stem cell research has justified its costs in terms of qualitative benefits. ESC research very conspicuously hasn't.
The argument for continuing and continually funding ESC research which fails to produce anything of value is neither logical nor reasonable.

Psiomniac said...

Red Maria

In order for your argument to work, you would have to show that there are no precedents for technologies that required £millions of investment before any return, or that this particular one is not worth pursuing because:
There are other reasons for assuming it will not come to fruition or there are alternative treatments with as much potential that are, or are likely to be, more effective. This might be the case but you are a long way from demonstrating it.

Red Maria said...

I have shown that ethical adult stem cell research is powering ahead. So there's no need for unethical embryonic stem cell research or the creation of chimera embryos for bored science dons to play around with.
There's no need and its costing a lot of money for damn all. And that's damn all progress despite the crazy, dare one say, unscientific claims made for embryonic stem cell research and now chimera embryos.
We should have listened to the sage words of Public Enemy back in 1990, in 2000 and even more now: DON'T BELIEVE THE HYPE.

Psiomniac said...

red maria,
You have not so much 'shown' as stated that adult stem cell research is powering ahead. But let us suppose this is true, it does not logically follow from this that embryonic stem cell research is moribund. It might be the case that if the latter were successful it would have uses that the former cannot fulfill.
In summary, you are asking us to believe that invstors are putting their money into an unproven technology that has a working less ethically problematic alternative that can deliver all the functionality. Your rationale? They are nasty and bored (typical scientists eh?) Why am I not convinced....

Red Maria said...

Because nothing rational would convince you, frankly. You seem to imagine that a bottomless pit of money should be poured into unethical embryonic stem cell research simply on the basis of a maybe. And you are prepared to extend that maybe for an infinite period of time.
I have stated that unethical embryonic stem cell research has resulted in a big fat nothing because that is unequivocally the case. Equally it is unequivocally the case that ethical adult stem cell research has been successfully used to treat 70 ailments. It's called accurate reportage but let's not allow mere facts to get in the way of an expensive pipedream, eh?
The question has to be why you are prepared to suspend your disbelief about unethical embryonic stem cell research despite its conspicuously failing to achieve anything like the amazing claims advanced in its favour.
I suggest three reasons: one, your inate credulousness when faced with demi-God like scientists uttering impressive sounding jargon-riddled pleas to let them do whatever the hell they want. Two, you haven't exposed yourself to the other side of the argument in any meaningful way. Three, the symbolism of the embryo in all this. If we were talking about any other field of research which had conspicuously failed to achieve a damn thing you'd probably at least agree that no more public money be poured into it. But this concerns the status of the human embryo, which must be crushed! The siren song of scientific promise in all this is no more than a means of achieving that particular aim.

Psiomniac said...

Because nothing rational would convince you, frankly.
Such hubris on your part. You assume that because your desultory attempts at a rational argument have yet to convince me, then nothing rational would.

You seem to imagine that a bottomless pit of money should be poured into unethical embryonic stem cell research simply on the basis of a maybe.
Tell me, do you usually get away with such blatant straw man tactics? I have never advocated a bottomless pit. Think about this a little though, all research initially proceeds on the basis of a maybe.

And you are prepared to extend that maybe for an infinite period of time.
Would I be mixing my metaphor if I said you were over egging the pudding with your straw man tactic?

It's called accurate reportage but let's not allow mere facts to get in the way of an expensive pipedream, eh?
It isn't what I would call it. I think 'failure to address the argument' is more apt.

The question has to be why you are prepared to suspend your disbelief about unethical embryonic stem cell research despite its conspicuously failing to achieve anything like the amazing claims advanced in its favour.
I merely said that it is too early to call 'time'. You disagreed and I then outlined what I thought you would have to show to make your case but you just didn't bother addressing this, perhaps because since you regard the research as unethical anyway, it is always a secondary issue for you.

I suggest three reasons: one, your inate credulousness when faced with demi-God like scientists uttering impressive sounding jargon-riddled pleas to let them do whatever the hell they want.
That is quite funny, you lecturing me about credulity. Good one.

Two, you haven't exposed yourself to the other side of the argument in any meaningful way.
I take it that by 'meaningful' you actually mean 'in a way that leads you to agree with me'. Breathtaking arrogance seldom helps an argument you know.

Three, the symbolism of the embryo in all this.
And this really puts beyond doubt that your argument is clouded by emotion and irrationality.

If we were talking about any other field of research which had conspicuously failed to achieve a damn thing you'd probably at least agree that no more public money be poured into it.
I at least made an attempt to outline the considerations that should form part of the decision about continued funding for any field of research that has not yet delivered product. You completely failed to engage with this debate.

"Modern medicine relies on many forms of therapy that, during their development, went through long periods of setbacks and failure before the underlying conceptual and technical unknowns were solved. These periods often included patient injury and even death. But today’s medicine would be impoverished if it lacked these important technologies – disease-fighting techniques such as bone marrow transplantation, cancer chemotherapy, and the use of monoclonal antibodies for the design of targeted drugs. Bone marrow transplantation – which now saves so many lives – began clinical trials in 1958. By the early 1970s, the survival rate from the procedure was only around 1 percent. It was 32 years before the technology earned its principal discoverer, Professor Donnel Thomas, a Nobel Prize in medicine. Similarly, chemotherapy for childhood leukemia began in 1948, but the cure rate remained below 10 percent well into the 1960s." --Theodore Friedmann, former head of the American Society of Gene Therapy.

In summary, you do your cause no good by conflating your ethical abhorrence to the procedure with the issue of determining rigorous criteria for continued funding of research.