: Stem cell research that requires the destruction of human embryos is incompatible with Catholic moral principles, and with any ethic that gives serious weight to the moral status of the human embryo. Moreover, because there are promising and morally acceptable alternative approaches to the repair and regeneration of human tissues, and because treatments that rely on destruction of human embryos would be morally offensive to many patients, embryonic stem cell research may play a far less significant role in medical (...) progress than proponents believe. (shrink)
The debate about embryonic stem cell research is a conflict not between “religion” and “science,” but between two ethical approaches to the dignity of human beings. The newer, more pragmatic ethic is not necessarily more conducive to rapid medical progress as is often assumed.
The ethical debate on embryo research, particularly on whether to destroy human embryos for stem cell research, is sometimes said to involve a confrontation between religion and science. The claim is misleading at best. Ironically, religious claims have not infrequently been invoked by those who support human embryonic stem cell research, who have said that such research will enable us to “answer the prayers of America’s families” or present us with “the biblical power to cure.” And even religious organizations have (...) often made the case against the ethical acceptability of this research relying on science, and on general ethical considerations that transcend religious divisions. The Catholic Church, in particular, maintains that the ethical norm against directly taking the life of any innocent human being can be understood and embraced by people of good will, with or without religious faith, and that the application of this norm to the present controversy depends on an understanding of some basic facts about early human development. (shrink)
The March 2002 symposium Human Dignity and Reproductive Technology brought together philosophers, theologians, scientists, lawyers, and scholars from across the United States. The essays of this book are the contributions of the symposium's participants.