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Monday, March 26, 2007

D'ya Think?

Pope Benedict:
"A society in which the Christian conscience does not live anymore loses direction, does not know anymore where to go, ends up empty and bankrupt," the Pope told parish elders on Sunday.

Such a conscience was needed to promote justice and a sense of responsibility among one another, he said.
Interspecies cloning:
At least three respected teams of British scientists have reignited the moral debate over inserting human genes into animal eggs by proposing experiments similar to Cibelli's.
Minger's request for a government license to use cow eggs instead of women's eggs to generate human embryonic stem cells stirred significant controversy in the United Kingdom last year. His application with the Human Fertilization and Embryology Authority—along with another from Lyle Armstrong of the North East England Stem Cell Institute—is expected to be ruled on later this year.
Growing part human, part sheep organs for transplant(different guy, different research):
He has already created a sheep liver which has a large proportion of human cells and eventually hopes to precisely match a sheep to a transplant patient, using their own stem cells to create their own flock of sheep.

The process would involve extracting stem cells from the donor's bone marrow and injecting them into the peritoneum of a sheep's foetus. When the lamb is born, two months later, it would have a liver, heart, lungs and brain that are partly human and available for transplant.
We're playing with fire here. Nuclear DNA is not the only genetic material in an egg, so you can't create a human stem cell using an animal egg and human nuclear DNA, nor can you remove all genetic material from an egg and still have a viable cell. You can only create a human-animal hybrid using this technique. Furthermore, any hosted diseases from the animal egg cell donor will still be there.

And any time you start using animal organs for transplant you run the risk of creating new human strains of diseases. It's not a minor risk, either, as the mad cow disease problem has shown. (That was caused by feeding cows ground-up sheep, and in the process giving cows a new disease which then passed to humans.) To use such organs as transplants magnifies the risk, because you have to use immune-suppressants to block rejection, which creates an immune-suppressed host for whatever's in the mix. It's the perfect immunological storm, and other patients in hospitals will inevitably be exposed to whatever may boil up in these poor persons' bodies.

In short, we're crazy to be considering this. We already have enough of a problem with disease passing through human-to-human tissue and organ transplants. Much knowledge, no sense. This isn't a problem of a lack of Christian ethics, but of a lack of any ethics.

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