Tag Archives: Stem Cell Now

Moral leadership on stem cells?

Pope Benny’s recent comments on Aids in Africa reminded me of an experience I had as a child in the early 1950s. I used to help my Father (he was a milk delivery man) in the early mornings. One morning we found a wallet dropped outside the local Catholic Church before the early morning mass.  I remember my Mother’s moral indignation when they discovered a condom, alongside a rosary, in the wallet. “Hypocritical Catholics” was her comment.

8 cells

8 cells

But I think it’s wrong to accuse members of a religion of hypocrisy because they refuse to go along with the “moral” demands of the Church dogma. With the “moral” exhortations of the Church leadership.

We know that many Catholics condemned the Pope for his comment on condoms and Aids, and most Catholics also ignore the Church’s ban on the use of contraceptives. People have all sorts of emotional, family and historical reasons for their membership of a religion. The moral exhortations of the Church leadership may well be irrelevant to most members.

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Destroying mystery?

Sometimes I hear the opinion that science is a kill joy. That by discovering how reality work it destroys the “mystery” of things. I have always thought that shallow. After all, improving our understanding of the world produces a great and awe-inspiring narrative. On the other hand – if you love mystery and the unknown – well science should be very satisfying to you. Every time science discovers an answer it inevitably produces new questions.

I think Christopher Thomas Scott expressed this well in his book Stem Cell Now. He said:

“Some say that biomedical science moves too quickly; it intrudes too deeply into the natural world, and sooner or alter, there will be no mysteries to solve. On that day, we will lose our innocence, and perhaps our humanity. However, there has never been a shortage of awe-inspiring challenges. Every time we uncover a mystery, another awaits us. We pursue knowledge about biology and our relations to nature as naturally as we breath. We do so because our acts and efforts generate hope – hope for legions of parents, children, husbands, wives, and friends who need those cures. The optimism that we can improve life and relieve suffering is our humanity.”

A great sentiment. And a great book. It describes the current status of stem cell research and the problems faced by US scientists in this area. It also gives an outline of the politics involved and summarises the ethical and moral arguments used by both the proponents and opponents of this research.

Open mindedness

Meanwhile – here’s a great video about open mindedness.It looks at some of the flawed thinking that prompts people who believe in certain non-scientific concepts to advise others who don’t to be more open-minded. As such it really exposes the faulty logic of opponents of scientific knowledge like creationists.


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