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Monday, March 19, 2007

Faith-based "Science"

Arizona resident, Rayilyn (Ray) Brown, and I became friends during the writing of my book Right to Recover: Winning the Political and Religious Wars over Stem Cell Research in America. Ray has Parkinson's Disease and has been corresponding with Bob Stump--a right-wing AZ State Legislator who has introduced a $30 million bill to fund adult stem cell research.

Although neither Ray nor I oppose adult stem cell research Bob Stump is very much against blastocyst stem cell research. Mr. Stump referred Ray to two researchers in AZ, one of which is Dr. Joe Rogers, President of Sun Health Research Clinic. Dr. Rogers called and invited Ray to visit his lab to view adult stem cells once he returns from a European trip later this month.

The other referral is Dr. Mobley at Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University, who wrote Ray a confusing letter when she asked him where conception took place. He replied with some reference to a Pope's declarations on this matter stating it might be helpful. The comments below are Ray's response to his letter.

Yvonne Perry

RE: Faith-based "Science"

Dear Dr. Mobley:

With the initial discovery of this process, the Roman Catholic Church in 1869 under Pope Pius IX declared that "Formed Life" or conception begins at fertilization. From what you said in your letter of March 12, 2007, I think you conclude that fertilization and conception are the same thing.

You'll forgive me, I hope, if I fail to trust an institution that promotes virgin birth as one of its central tenets as an authoritative source on conception. Also, the Catholic Church has never been a friend of science, always being several centuries behind the research and persecuting scientists.

"Conception" as the beginning of human life is used routinely by opponents of embryonic stem cell research. They have forged an unholy alliance with the Roman Catholic Church on this issue and that of SCNT (somatic cell nuclear transfer) or therapeudic cloning of cells to derail human progress.

As you know, cloning of cells or organisms does not involve a fertilized egg, yet the Religious Right opposes that as well. Yet Dolly was a sheep and Snuppy is a dog. Scientists have created mice with two mothers, google Mickey has Two Moms. I read they have even created embryos out of sperm.

I conclude that science has outdistanced the Bronze Age theology that attempts to restrict and outlaw it. IVF procedures have split a process that used to take place entirely within the human body, so that old-time religion is not helpful in formulating ethical standards relevant to it.

We do agree, I think, that for human cells to become human beings, implantation must take place. A blastocyst or embryo with its 46 chromosomes is like a blueprint or a plan, but it is not a person. Thank you for responding.

Rayilyn Brown

1 comment:

Addicted to your Blog said...

Hi Yvonne. I came across your Blog through FMB (Fuel My Blog). Would you mind me reviewing your blog sometime in the future?