Tuesday, November 27, 2007

A Virtue

"What on earth gives Christians [the] right to assume that love and self-sacrifice have to be called Christian virtues? They are virtues, full stop."

Philip Pullman, quoted in Christianity Today

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

A Clone By Any Other Name

It looks like promising news, human skin cells have been coaxed into growing human neurons.

Of course, social conservatives are gloating. They knew all along that we didn't need to Play God in order access the potential cures hinted at by stem cell research. We liberals need to just shut up and take their word as gospel in the future.

We don't know whether embryonic or the newer model of stem cells will revolutionize medicine - it's just too early. Leaving the vagaries of scientific research aside, there is another issue that most of these culture warriors haven't hit upon yet. What happens when you create a perfect stem cell without destroying an existing embryo? Mission accomplished, right? I don't think so.

It seems to me that the perfect stem cell would be so close to the hallowed, one-cell fetus that the technology to create an new embryo from it would be well within grasp. It seems inevitable that some lab, somewhere in the world will make the attempt, no?

If life starts at conception, is a lab-produced, pluripotent cell a human life as well. This is a really big question that the conception-equals-baby crowd needs to start thinking about.