Wednesday, December 21, 2005

God would be in favor of human cloning?

That's the position of Paula Gott, an ordained minister (it appears she makes a living by writing), whose incoherent opinion piece on how God would view embryonic stem cell research and cloning is here.

Those opposed to stem cell research have accepted as fact that life begins at the moment of conception, although there is nothing in the Bible that supports this belief. Only "church tradition" provides a specific moment at which life begins.

They've accepted that fact because they have a basic knowledge of embryology. Besides church tradition, embryology textbooks also provide a specific moment for when the life of a human being begins. Gott seems to prefer to ignore evidence from science and put the question of life's beginning into a solely theological realm. Does Gott believe that since the Bible doesn't say that "life begins at conception" that it isn't true?

If a scientist can remove one of these surplus eggs, place it in a growing medium and produce differentiated cells that can save lives, why would God object? Surely he had good reason for providing nearly half a million surplus eggs per woman.

Did you catch that ladies? According to Gott, God placed those extra eggs in you so that one day you could go through hormonal therapy, risk Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome, have those extra eggs extracted and used in human cloning efforts. That must have been His plan all along.

Gott is either largely ignorant about cloning or being intentionally deceptive (my guess is the former). In cloning, eggs aren't placed "in a growing medium." Somatic cells are placed in eggs and then prodded to develop into a human embryos. The cloned human embryos would then be killed for their stem cells. This is another great example of those who advocate for human cloning research failing to mention the word cloning or embryo in their discussion about cloning and embryos.

It seems Gott went to the God Would Never Let Anything Bad Happen School of Theology.

The Bible reveals an all-powerful God who created the heavens and the Earth, plants, animals, human beings — the entire universe, every living thing. With this unlimited power to create life, surely if God does implant souls at the moment of conception, he also has the power to transplant a soul and donate a cell that can save a life.

Wouldn't God know the difference between a cell in a woman's body dividing to become a human life and a cell in a laboratory dish dividing for the purpose of saving a human life?

So in other words, human cloning should be allowed because God would understand the intentions of researchers and make sure that the embryos used in embryonic stem cell research didn't have souls and weren't really human life. That's new one.

Transplant a soul? Does that sound like Buddhism to anyone else?

So according to Gott, the researchers aren't really killing a human being because if the human embryo was a human life and did have a soul, God would remove that embryo's soul and transplant it to another embryo. Her biblical basis for this reasoning? (Cue chirping crickets)

Hmmm.... Couldn't that reasoning also could be used to justify every killing. I mean, it's okay for me to kill my annoying neighbor because God would have the ability to transplant his soul, right?

HT: Mark Shea

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