Thursday, May 19, 2005

Stem Cell Research

This is sad


At 5:05 PM, Blogger Chad said...

Heaven help us all. FWIW, I seriously doubt they'll be able to prevent those cell lines from forming tumors once grafted into people. But even if they did, it's a grave evil.

Bioethics needs to actually learn ethics.

At 5:11 PM, Blogger st_ignatius110 said...

Amen to that.

At 5:27 PM, Blogger Chad said...

This brings up the whole issue of what is wrong with modern science. I was reading the latest issue of "Nature" earlier today, and the editorials caused me to step back. Most were in response to an article that the journal had published last month about Intelligent Design, and most of the writers were deeply concerned about faith intruding upon science.

Well, I think if you look back in the history of science, the whole idea of science being separate from faith is a relatively new one, and one that should be rethought. Science and faith are both ways of understanding our world, and should never come into conflict. In fact, when rightly understood, I don't think they CAN come into conflict. Both pursue truth, and truth cannot contradict itself.

So, what can be done today? First of all, those of us who work in science must sound a loud alarm that morality must return to our field. I never hear ANYONE ask whether we "ought" to do something, but rather whether we "can" do it. Not all progress is good--to create and destroy new human life for the purpose of theoretically extending other humans' lives is never right. That's the issue with stem cells, plain and simple.

Now, as for intelligent design theory, I think it has deep flaws because it ends up being a "God of the Gaps" type of enterprise, where folks point to things and say, "God must have designed that since we can't figure out how it could have been produced through a natural mechanism." Well, when other scientists DO figure out how it could have been produced through an evolutionary mechanism, one more rung is pulled out of the ID ladder. Eventually, I fear, it will collapse. And, since the hopes of many orthodox Christians in their dialogue with biological sciences rests upon it, we could be in big trouble.

Frankly, when you look at Creation through Thomist/Catholic eyes, the need for ID theory disappears. Because God created ex nihilo, and all of Creation is upheld by Him, HOW He created is a moot point. THAT He created is self-evident. No evolutionist can come up with a satisfactory explanation for how the whole evolutionary process started in the first place, and neither can he explain the human soul/mind. But the evolutionist can explain, quite well, how physical life came into being. As such, he is no threat to faith. When he starts to claim that evolution is all there is, then we come into conflict. But within a proper framework, there is no conflict between science of any kind, and the Catholic faith.

At 5:30 PM, Blogger st_ignatius110 said...

I would totally agree with all of that. I beleive it is especially sad that we have gotten to the point in which we as a society beleive it ok to destroy another human to only try and save another. Thanks to all those churches who accepted birth control and did not fight it!! Do you see know where it has gotten us???

At 5:36 PM, Blogger Chad said...

Yep, this is why I prefer to call the Enlightenment the Darkening :)

At 5:40 PM, Blogger BekahS. said...

Got it pegged as usual, Chad. I've got one evangelical friend who's become quite wrapped up in one of the creation science lecturers. I get very uncomfortable when she starts going on about this or that, about how wrong evolution is. While I agree with her on some points, on others she has no clue what she's talking about. I'm never quite sure what to say. She's big into Left Behind and Rapture stuff, too.

At 5:53 PM, Blogger st_ignatius110 said...

Poor not alone..I have some friends like that too :-)

At 5:53 PM, Blogger Chad said...

Thanks, Bekah.

I have a good friend who's a devotee of "Answers in Genesis." He lent me a DVD once and I watched it in rapt fascination. I think it's a genuine reaction against the scientism/materialism forced onto us by prominent scientists. The creationists have diagnosed the problem; I just think they have a solution that doesn't work. To retreat into a literalistic reading of Genesis that is neither consistent with the Tradition of the Church nor with any valid scientific data runs the risk of pushing religion into further irrelevancy in our society.

It also makes perfect sense that the same sorts of people are big into the End Times as well. Since the world is going to Hell in a handbasket, surely Jesus is coming right around the corner. All I can say is, we've gone through worse times in the past--does anyone really want to return to the days when Arians nearly destroyed the Church, or when horrific plagues decimated cities on a regular basis? I'd image that folks in Europe in 1348-1351 really thought the End Times were upon them.

All we can surely know is that the the Lord's return is sooner today than it was yesterday.

At 8:10 AM, Blogger dcs said...

I firmly believe in the literal interpretation of Genesis. What's more, I think you will find that many Fathers and Doctors of the Church did, too.

At 8:35 AM, Blogger Chad said...

LJD, I think you may have misunderstood me. I make a distinction between literal interpretation: interpretation as the author intended, and literalistic interpretation: using the plain sense of the words only. It is the latter that I'm arguing against. I firmly believe in the Genesis account as well; I just think it leaves plenty of wiggle room for exactly how that creation happened. While I don't have time to look it up right now, I think it was also a common opinion amongst the Fathers and Doctors of the Church that the six days weren't necessarily six 24 hour days.

My point, however, was that it doesn't particularly matter how Creation happened as long as we acknowledge that it did happen, that God did it, and that the soul of man is a special creation. It's my understanding that that interpretation is the current teaching of the Church as well.

At 1:31 PM, Blogger st_ignatius110 said...

Fang, I think you are right on.

At 6:58 PM, Blogger BekahS. said...

What gets me, is that creationists seem not to think much beyond, "God created it." Well, yeah, but how? Is creationism really a process? I have to admit that I haven't really examined these creationism products closely myself, but I have not been impressed by what I have been told about them from others that have, from both those who are enthusiastic about the materials, and those who are not (all Christians who believe in Creation, though).


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