Academics pride themselves on dreaming up the cutting edge ideas that govern us. That might not be a good thing.
They frequently do so without any grave concern about the evidence behind their theories or any regard for the ethical problems inherent in adopting them. Thus, the Ivory Tower is a bastion of support for embryonic stem cell research even though thus far, it has been an abysmal failure and interfering with the creative process of birth is something that you will have to explain to the creator someday.
“Stanford researchers have verified that embryonic stem cells transplanted into mice are resoundingly rejected by the immune system and destroyed,” Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council reported last August. “In contrast, adult stem cells from menstrual blood showed the potential to treat peripheral artery disease and prevent limb amputation.”
“An international research group led by Dr. Michael Murphy, Indiana University School of Medicine, restored blood circulation and limb function in mice treated with these cells, which could potentially be used as an off-the-shelf treatment for damaged or diseased limbs.” Perkins serves as executive director of the FRC.
“Today, Harvard researchers report that they can produce insulin-secreting cells directly from other pancreatic cells in mice, improving diabetes symptoms,” Perkins reported on August 29, 2008. “And in case you missed it, Maarten van der Weijden won the open-water race Olympic gold medal.”
“His life was saved years ago by an adult stem cell transplant for leukemia, one of thousands of lives saved by adult stem cells.” Don’t count on many academics to acknowledge any of the above.
“The question is: Is it ethically more acceptable to destroy these embryos by pouring acid on them, or do you deploy these clusters of cells to create new cell lines that could benefit us in the future?” Dr. Chi Dang of Johns Hopkins School of Medicine asks.
“By promoting such false dichotomies and constructing these kinds of ethical sand castles, we have begun to slip into a kind of complacency, a deadening, moral slumber regarding our most basic duties toward the weakest and smallest of humans,” Father Tad Pacholczyk writes in The Catholic Free Press.
Father Pacholczyk serves as executive director of The National Catholic Bioethics Center in Philadelphia. Ironically, European countries thought to be more decadent than the United States have more humane laws protecting embryonic life than the U. S. does.
“Nearly 500,000 human embryos are currently stored in liquid nitrogen tanks in fertility clinics in the United States, a number comparable to the population of a midsize city like Cleveland or Tucson,” Father Pacholczyk reports. “By contrast, only a handful of human embryos have been frozen and held in storage tanks in the entire country of Germany.”
“The reason for this striking difference lies in the fact that Germany enacted an Embryo Protection Law during the 1990s which included provisions outlawing the freezing of human embryos.” The country that the Vatican is in, which is frequently at odds with Father Pacholczyk’s employer, has such laws in place as well.
“Italy has similar legislation in force,” Father Pacholczyk informs us. “Both countries closely regulate in vitro fertilization treatments, and allow the production of no more than three embryos at a time, all of which must be implanted into their mother.”
“Both countries forbid the production of extra embryos, experimentation on embryos, embryo cloning, and genetic testing of embryos.” The scenario laid out in Brave New World by Aldous Huxley, who died the same day as President Kennedy, seems eerily prescient.
George Weigel argues that “Huxley’s dystopia is, in fact, upon us.”
Malcolm A. Kline is the executive director of Accuracy in Academia.