therapeutic cloning : LUSENET : A.M.E. Today Discussion : One Thread

Recently, Korean scientists made a startling break-through in the field of human cloning, when they were able to extract stem cells from a cloned human embryo. While they have not as yet been able to perfect the technique of developing specific tissue from the stem cell, they speculate that they may be able to replace a damaged pancreas for persons with diabetes, and to repair damaged spinal cords, for persons with paralysis, among a host of other applications, with the stem cells, which are the building blocks of human morphology, apparently.

Moreover, because one's own tissue is employed in the tissue or organ repair, e.g., is the source of the stem cells, the probability of rejection is nil.

This technique has ignited a wide spread so-called "ethical" debate about the propriety of the practice. I, for one, see nothing wrong with it. I deem it to be unethical, not to pursue it! If man develops the scientific sophistication to be able to replace or to repair damaged or diseased parts of himself, more power to him. That is only consistent with man being made in the "likeness" of God.

Frankly, it will not be long before man can clone a man, and realize all of the promise and perils, long predicted by eugenicists. This too is consistent with the divine admonition to "Multiply". Obviously, I have no problem with it, either.

I am one who sees no incompatability between science and theology. As Dr. George Washington Carver once stated, "Science is the truth." So, I would urge our connection not to fear the science, but to embrace it, and to encourage our young scholars to do likewise.

As far as fearing that man may threaten God, man is already, in one sense, "God," i.e., Psalms 82:6-7, "You are gods, children of the Most High, all of you; nevertheless, you shall die like mortals, and fall like any prince." God can take care of himself! Trust me!

Faithfully, Rev. Dr. Larry D. Coleman Pastor, Grant Memorial A.M.E. St. Joseph, Missouri N.W. Missouri Conference Fifth Episcopal District

-- Anonymous, February 16, 2004


Parson Coleman -

You pose, as usual, a challenging question which requires a non- superficial response. I am convinced that science and faith can "peacefully" co-exits within certain prescribed limits. The recent discovery by the team of Korean scientists will add to the debate both by scientists, theologians and philosophers regarding the appropriateness of cloning, stem cell research, the Genome Project and other medical marvels. There is a biomedical ethicist at the University of Chicago (Leon Kass) who I find useful in my feeble attempt to understand the essence of these esoteric but vitally important issues. Dr. Kass is both an M.D. and a trained philosopher so he brings a rare blend of scientific rigor complimented with philosophical curiousity. He is one of the leading critics of current human cloning programs. The following link provides a good summary of Kass' comments on topics like human cloning. Go to: QED

-- Anonymous, February 16, 2004

Professor Dickens--

Thank you for supplying me with the link to Dr. Leon Kass' views on bioethics. It was too long for me to read at this setting, but I did scan it, and appreciate your reference to it. As he heads up President Bush's Commission on Bioethics, I am immediately suspicious, as my views and the President's are somewhat at odds on a wide range of subjects, from Iraq to Judge Pickering.

Even so, I thank you for making me aware of the status of the current debate, and the respective champions of various points of view. In my posting, I resorted to scripture to justify my view. What is Dr. Kass' view of scripture? Many philosophers are also atheists or agnostics. Which, if either, is he, do you know?

I shall abide by my view, contentedly, until someone comes to me on the same plane of justification, and shows me the error of my ways.

"Racism" is also unethical. However, the bioethicists are silent on that front. Unless, and until, they (Krass, etc.), or their proponents (whoever they may be) can demonstrate textual consistency in the application of their ethics, I shall count them among the hypocrites, whose views are unworthy of credence. I am not derogating Dr. Krass, mind you. I am in no position to do so. I would simply articulate my standard. If he meets if, good. If not, good.

Notwithstanding, your breadth of knowledge and wisdom, I find to be utterly enriching. I thank you, again, sir, for sharing.

God Bless.

Rev. Dr. Larry D. Coleman

-- Anonymous, February 16, 2004

Pastor Coleman,

I share your sentiment that the church need not be afraid of science. However, I diagree with Dr. Carver's statement that "science is the truth." As you may well know, the word science is derived from the Latin word, "scio," which means, "to know" or "perceive." Science is not the truth. Rather, it is our human perception of the truth. Science is only what we can and do know of the truth. I would suggest that this still leaves plenty of truth that is perhaps unknown to us, yet completely known by God.

I encourage scientists to search for more of the truth. However, scientists as well as those of us who learn from them, must proceed with a humility that acknowledges that the reality of God extends far beyond our ability to perceive; far beyond the realm of our knowing; far beyond science.

-- Anonymous, February 17, 2004

Dear Mr. Maynard:

I agree with your statement about the gulf between God's truth and man's science. It is beyond debate that the gulf between man's science and God's truth shall remain infinite. However, it is the pursuit of truth that ennobles man, and separates him from the animal, plant and mineral world. Dr. Carver would agree also, I suspect. It is by "Seek[ing] ye first the kingdom of heaven," after all, that "all these things shall bee added" unto us. Is it not? Science is the highest expression of that quest, whether man realizes it or not.

Some men fear that man, in his quest for knowledge, may overtake God, and thus feel constrained to disabuse man of that notion by rebuking each scientific advance as somehow blasphemous. Such people are "disappointed misanthropes" to use one of Dr. Carver's other terms. Dr. Carver was also one of God's prophets, even though we, African Americans, tend to derogate him as some man from Tuskegee who made stuff from peanuts and sweet potatotes. That's the extent of our knowledge of this divinely sent man, who created an industry, himself, known as chemurgy. We are even less charitable in our assessment of his friend and fellow prophet, Booker T. Washington.

Permit me to quote a few passages from the book, GEORGE WASHINGTON CARVER: IN HIS OWN WORDS, edited by Gary R. Kremer (U. of Mo. Press, Columbia,Mo., 1987): "I believe the Great Creator of the universe had young people in mind when the following beautiful passages were written: In the 12th chapter of Job and the 7th and 8th verses, we are urged thus: 'But ask now the beasts and they shall teach thee; and the fowls of the air, and they shall tell thee. Or speak to the earth and it shall teach thee; and the fishes of the sea shall declare unto thee' In St. John the 8th chapter and 32nd verse, we have this remarkable statement: 'And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.' Were I permitted to paraphrase it, I would put it thus: And you shall know science and science shall set you free, because science is truth. There is nothing more assuring, more inspiring and more literally true than the above passages from Holy Writ.

I realize that I have gone well beyond your careful, and quite welcome, comments. However, I am didactic by nature, and the ignorance among our people is so willful and so palpable, I found a teaching opportunity to be irresistible. Please forgive me, if I appear to be overbearing, I am. It is ineluctable.

Tnank you and God bless you.

Rev. Dr. Larry D. Coleman

-- Anonymous, February 19, 2004

As one trained in biology, I am excited about the possibilities of research with stem cells. Unfortunately, because of the restriction of research into this area by US laws, this country is going to be behind in this area. Absolutely, there will be legal, ethical, and moral debates about whether or not this research should be done.

Embryonic stem cells are pluripotent cells. This means that they can differentiate into any type of tissue or organ in the body. Fetal and adult stem cells have less potential to do so. It is quite possible that research with the embryonic stem cells could enable molecular biologists to induce adult stem cells to produce kidneys, livers, hearts, nerve tissue, pancreas glands, and any organ in the body. Imagine being able to harvest an adult stem cell from a patient and transplanting it back into a patient to replace a failed organ. It is for this reason that I think that this country should revisit its position on abandoning this type of research.


-- Anonymous, February 19, 2004

Mr. Jazzman--

Allow me to state the obvious: Your response to this discussion on embryonic cloning is also "pluripotent" approaching the omnipotent.

You bless us with your specialized scientific insight. May your rich response, inspire other scientists, or specialists in any realm, to chime in on this important discussion.

Again, sir, I thank you for your wonderful insight!

Rev. Dr. Larry D. Coleman

-- Anonymous, February 20, 2004

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