Successful Human Cloning?greenspun.com : LUSENET : A.M.E. Today Discussion : One Thread
Arguably the single most divisive issue in the sometimes turbulent relation between faith and science is the topic of creation. The concept of a transcendant, life-giver Supreme Being unifies all of the major monotheistic religions (Christianity, Islam & Judaism) and permeates across many of the second-tier faiths as well. Despite the overwhelming evidence in support of human evolution taught in ALL of the top research univerisities, skeptics remain unconvinced and reject science as amoral and biased against religion.
On yesterday the world received news from a press conference in Rome that an Italian gynecologist, Dr. Severino Antinori has successfully completed the first human cloning project and the unidentified woman will deliver the "child" in January 2003. Despite providing virtually no evidence (e.g. sonogram reading, name of mother) to support his announcement, the good doctor was confident that the pregnancy will be successful. Some may recall that in 1994 Dr. Antinori assisted a 62 year old Italian woman become the oldest mother in modern history. Of course those who beleive in the Genesis account about Sarah's pregnancy with Isaac will take issue with this claim. Cloning is designed to create the genetic twin of a life form. Scientists remove the DNA from an egg cell and insert the DNA from the adult being cloned. If it works, the egg cell begins to divide and grows into an embryo, which then can be transferred to a female and carried to term. The theological implications are crystal clear. If God is the Creator and Giver of life does cloning violate this sacred seperation of duties between Creator and creature? Advocates of cloning like Dr. Antinori stress that cloning is beneficial for infertile couples and provides an alternative to adoption. Opponents, typically influenced by religious mores and values, are not only agnostic about the scientific benefits of cloning but more importantly emphasize the unseen long-term dangers and consequences that such a practice carries.
Human cloning, according to the critics, fuels the drive for superior race theorists and justifies the bankrupt thinking of Aryan supporters and other eugenicist ideologies. Human clonng is liken to the opening of the proverbial Pandora's Box. Once the genie is out of the bottle there is no re-bottling of the technology.
The Vatican has repeatedly condemned Dr. Antinori's research as scientifically specious and utterly unethical. I find it somewhat discomforting that outside of a few Evangelical Christian Organizations, many Protestant faiths, including AME, are not vocal in condeming this practice of science. While cloning is illegal in the US, as well as Italy, this prohibition has not stopped the curious from pursuing their trade. Silence can often be interepreted as a form of tacit support. The conspicuous absence of a black theological critique of human cloning should not be surprising since mainstream black churces are all but peripheral players in ongoing controversial topics like abortion or stem cell research. Regrettably, the concerns of the black church are narrowly defined by matters of race and social opportunity. We have been reduced to economic determinists. If a company has a history of disparate and discriminatory treatment among patrons or employees (Adam's Mark Hotel, Denny's, etc.) black churches, correctly I might add, rise up in righteous indignation and mobilize resources for corrective action. The killing of a black fetus in the 1st or second trimester however doesn't seem to warrant an equivalent outrage. This peculiar parochial strategy only marginalizes our theological credibility. Are we concerned solely about matters of "skin" or sin?
The irony about the black church's near complicity in the hman cloning controversy is seen in our liturgical affinity to Old Testament concepts like The Decalogue. We recite these commandments with regularity such that any proposal to amend or modify The Decalogue will be met with stern congregational opposition. The challenge we face now is extending that opposition from outside the freindly confines of buildings were we comfortably worship. QED
-- Anonymous, November 28, 2002
I believe it was David who said, "I was young and now I am old." One thing about living long is that one sees many predictions come to pass.
During my lifetime I have been aware of how quickly what we once considered to be science fiction eventually becomes a reality and is fiction no more.
According to this report the cloning of a human is not only doubtful but it is said that clones are also often deformed as well. New is not always better or for that matter not always good.
While Mary's Sheley's Frankenstein Monster was a response to the atomic bomb, it also may equally apply in this case as well. Are we in what we suppose is progress creating a monster, which will ultimately seal our doom? Regardless to how we feel or how intelligent we think we have become, some things definitely belong to God alone as our finite minds and limited sight cannot see or know the final result they will bring.
As for the stance of the A.M.E. Church, we have just completed our series of most Annual Conferences for the year. One of the duties of the Annual Conference is the writing and reading of Literary Reports. These reports address the issues we presently face. These also eventually make their way to the Council of Bishops and the General Conference and are published for all to see. Since we have a total of 108 Annual Conferences it is difficult to say how often cloning has been addressed.
So, in seeking an official stance of the church we need to avail ourselves of these reports. If something is missing it then behooves us, as members of an Annual Conference, to make sure these issues are addressed and therefore become our official stance. If this fails to occur, we have only our own complacency and ourselves to blame.
-- Anonymous, November 28, 2002
Human cloning will never be able to replace the old-fashioned way of reproduction. Why? Because the old-fashioned way is sooooo much fun. Yous God in Hi8s infinite wisdom gave the human a reproductive method for creation and also recreation. I for one like His way.
-- Anonymous, November 28, 2002
This is a most worthy subject for discussion. At its core is the troubling question where does man end and God begin?
When I was in the 6th grade, I read a short story wherein persons who decried the creation of electricity and the automobile were heard to complain, "There are limits to the ingenuity of man." As is now evident, modern "progress" has done much to discredit these naysayers. God has not, for example, knocked airplanes or space capsules from the sky, as some predicted, as evidence of His Divine Displeasure, i.e., "If God wanted man to fly, he would have given him wings."
With respect to cloning, there is nothing we can do to stop it. If man can clone a man, it will happen. We will simply have to deal with its repercussions. Even if Severino Antorini's predictions for January fall flat, that does not mean that one day they won't be implemented. Edison failed 10,000 times with the light bulb before he was successful. People with passions persist in their pursuits! What are "we" passionate about?
I do not have a medieval view of God, nor of man's relationship to God. I believe that science and religion, like all other things, are reconcilable through and with Christ. I love science and welcome its offerings.
Nothing that we do can be any greater threat to God than that which Adam did "in the beginning," when his conduct, induced God to state: "Behold, the man has become like one of Us, knowing good and evil; and now, he might stretch out his hand, and take also from the tree of life, and eat, and live forever..." Gen. 3:22.
Thus, "cloning" of life would not appear to pose a threat. However, attaining eternal life is quite another thing, and apparently would!
Great subject, Bro. Dickens!
Rev. Dr. Larry D. Coleman
-- Anonymous, November 29, 2002
Well, it looks like the cloning contorversy is just heating up in the US. A quasi-religious/scientific sect, the Raelians, and one of its high priestess, Dr. Brigette Boisselier, proclaimed in Hollywood, FL last week that they have successfully cloned a child right here in the good ole USA. While the group has reneged on a prior decision to allow independent DNA testing for scientific authenticity of the work, the Raelians continue to attract media curiousity and attention. According to official Raelian creed, followers believe that humans were "created" by genetic engineering activities of voluptuous extra-terestrial (i.e. alien) lifeform. Since genetic engineering is the source of human existence, ipso facto, human cloning is an ally in the progression of human life. Now I happen to be an avid reader and viewer of sci-fi literature and cinema. I enjoy watching X-Files. I have been a Trekkie all the way back to the early Star Trek days of Kirk, Spock, Dr. McCoy and Lt. Uhuru (whenever the camera was on her me and my brothers would yell a few admiring expletives). Absent corroborative results, the Raelians appear to be engaged in an elaborate hoax. Though the thought of having cloned persons like Condelezza Rice, Mae Jamison, Halle Berry & Isabella Rosselinni is, well, indeed tempting,........perish the thought. I don't think this is what Jesus had in mind when he told his disciples in one of the Gospels that "greater things than these will ye do". Furthermore, the state of Montana and African Methodism can only take one Pastor Denise Rogers :-) QED
-- Anonymous, January 08, 2003
Bill from on trekie to another I salute you though true trekies greet one another with a special hand sign that Spock taught us. I laughed and laughed when I heard about the cloning hoax. And brother Bill you are right we could not have two Denise's I have satan's children on the run now. I could really overtake with another Denise;-)
-- Anonymous, January 08, 2003