Friday, October 17, 2008

Embryonic Stem Cell Research

Robert Gonzales of Reformed Baptist Seminary has written on Embryonic Stem Cell Research:

An Immoral Proposal: A Case Against Embryonic Stem Cell Research

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In the eighteenth century, an Irish minister by the name of Jonathan Swift wrote a powerful satire, entitled, A Modest Proposal. In the most serious language, Swift suggested that Irish babies be sold for food, and that their skin be used as a kind of soft leather. As a result, there would be fewer mouths to feed, more food to go around, and a new industry that would create many jobs. This was his ‘modest’ proposal.

In reality, Swift did not intend what he was recommending. Actually, he was attacking a common philosophy of the day, called “utilitarianism.” This philosophy taught that “the ends justify the means.” Any moral act can be justified if gives the greatest benefit to the greatest number of people. Swift’s purpose in offering a ‘modest’ proposal was to show people just how far utilitarian philosophy would lead them if they followed it through to its logical conclusion.

Swift’s modest proposal was not carried out in his day. You and I, however, are faced with a very similar proposal today in our own country. Only in our case, it’s not satire. On July 11th, 2001, representatives for the Jones Institute for Reproductive Medicine of Norfolk, Virginia, announced that they are intentionally creating human embryos with the express purpose of destroying those embryos and extracting their stem cells. Their goal is to develop these stem cells into therapeutic cures for human diseases, and then to market these cures. According to their ethics committee, “The creation of human embryos for research purposes was justifiable [since] it was our duty to provide humankind with the best understanding of early human development.”

This is only one among hundreds of companies that are poised to do this kind of research. And perhaps the most shocking thing of all has been the response of the American public. Swift’s generation was shocked at his proposal. But for many Americans today, the killing of human embryos not only seems reasonable but even desirable. A recent poll indicated that at least two-thirds of the American public supports this kind of research. In light of this real proposal facing our society, I would like to address the subject of embryonic stem cell research.

Read the rest of the article.

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