Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Our modern-day Tower of Babel

Yesterday, the House passed something known as the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act by a vote of 238-194. This bill essentially allows for embryos conceived in test tubes via artificial means to be used to harvest their stem cells for the purposes of research. Some scientists say that embryonic stem cells could potentially be used to treat a whole host of diseases from Parkinson's to Alzheimer's to the cerebral palsy I have dealt with since birth. I won't deal here with the evidence (and there is plenty) that embryonic stem cells could cause cancer, because, just like the equally powerful evidence that they could cure diseases, none of this can presently be proven. What can be said without hesitation is that the issue of embryonic stem-cell research opens up a whole host of moral and ethical questions.

One thing I would like to say to the 50 Republicans who supported this measure, almost all of whom claim to be pro-life and (up to now) have had good pro-life voting records: In supporting this measure, you have compromised your own pro-life position. By taking essentially the same position as Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah, you are saying that it is possible to be both pro-life and to support this measure at the same time, and while you may think that to be true, you have essentially said that the lives of test tube babies are somehow less valuable than the lives of babies conceived in the normal way. It is easy for liberals to support embryonic stem cell research, since they support the right to kill babies in the womb-they do not believe the unborn have any legal rights, so this isn't a moral dilemma for them. What makes it a moral dilemma for us is that we do believe that the unborn are people too, and many in our Party feel that they must walk a fine line between that belief and the progress of science.

Many in the GOP make the argument that if these test tube embryos are not used for stem cell research, they will just be killed anyway, so why not put their little lives to some good use. I have to admit that this argument might hold some merit if it weren't for the fact that we then have to place a value on some human life that makes its value somehow lower than other human life. This is the slippery slope that leads us into Huxley's Brave New World of the hatchery and the ability to try and create "perfect" people.

The fact is that in even conceiving children in a test tube science has gone into the very realm of the Divine, and in doing so has managed to create moral and ethical questions that must be dealt with on a political level. As much as the left and the secularists like to tell us that politics and religion, or public life and morality, need to be compartmentalized and made separate, it is the secular left that has created many of the moral and ethical dilemmas that, as a result of their very existence, causes public bodies to have to deal with them directly. Mankind's present ability to step into God's very realm has in fact created the need for a unity between politics and faith.

The Holy Scriptures tell us of another time when man attempted to step into the Realm of God. Genesis 11:1-9:

And the earth was of one tongue, and of the same speech. And when they removed from the east, they found a plain in the land of Sennaar, and dwelt in it. And each one said to his neighbour: Come let us make brick, and bake them with fire. And they had brick instead of stones, and slime instead of mortar: And they said: Come, let us make a city and a tower, the top whereof may reach to heaven; and let us make our name famous before we be scattered abroad into all lands. And the Lord came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of Adam were building. And he said: Behold, it is one people, and all have one tongue: and they have begun to do this, neither will they leave off from their designs, till they accomplish them in deed. Come ye, therefore, let us go down, and there confound their tongue, that they may not understand one another's speech. And so the Lord scattered them from that place into all lands, and they ceased to build the city. And therefore the name thereof was called Babel, because there the language of the whole earth was confounded: and from thence the Lord scattered them abroad upon the face of all countries.

Science, rather than becoming an instrument for the advancement of man by God's Law, has instead become an instrument for man to flout God's Law. I do not know what means the Lord will use, but as with the builders of Babel, God will punish those who attempt to use science as a means to enter the Divine Realm, as well as those who assist them in doing so. The ability to create human life in a tube and grow the Creation of God in a dish has become our Tower of Babel.

2 Comments:

At Wednesday, May 25, 2005 11:44:00 AM, Blogger Matt Daley said...

David,

Very interesting post today.

I am also quite disappointed in those House Republicans who voted for this measure, thereby abandoning their pro-life stances. (I have to wonder if my local representatives are among those who voted YEA.)

As to your mention of the argument that "we should use them for something rather than just kill them", I suppose this would be acceptable if there were NO OTHER morally acceptable alternatives and the embryos were to be killed.

However, legislation for such actions would have to be VERY limited, in terms of the scope of how the embryos could be used AND to prevent the creation of embryos for the sole purpose of research.

Still, considering the amount of research that remains before any "benefits" come to fruition AND considering just how many embryos would have to be used, this almost certainly wouldn't work within a scope that would be acceptable to us. No matter how many to-be-killed embryos there are floating around out there now, it is virtually certain that embryos would have to be created for the sole purpose of research...and that should NEVER be acceptable, for ANY reason.

While there could, long-term, be positives...the current risks, moral questions and overall negatives far outweight the long-term benefits. Until such time as the negatives are lessened, we would be better served to not support stem cell research in any form.

Matt

 
At Wednesday, May 25, 2005 11:58:00 AM, Blogger Dave Oatney said...

Matt;
In case you are interested, there is a link to the Yeas and Nays in the post. Just click on the vote tally.

 

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