John Tierney: Who’s Afraid of “Soulless Scientism”?

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Some Republican presidential candidates are breathing easier because of the news on stem-cell research, and some religious leaders are proclaiming a truce in their conflict with scientists. But I wouldn’t bet on any longterm peace, for a couple of reasons.

First, despite the breakthrough in producing stem cells without using embryos, researchers will continue working with embryos. Some still believe it’s the most promising approach for stem-cell therapy, as Nature reports. Shoukhrat Mitalipov, the scientist who reported the first creation of stem cells from cloned monkey embryos (the other big stem-cell news this month) says that the embryos is the only “perfect reprogramming machine” and is confident that this method of producing stem cells will be the first to show therapeutic value.

Second, no matter what happens with stem-cell research, there are lots more areas of conflicts between religion and biotechnology — and lots of religious leaders, politicians and bioethicists ready to fight. Leon Kass, the former chairman of the President’s Council on Bioethics, recently gave a lecture at the Manhattan Institute in which he listed some of the threats to our “human nature” coming from biotechnology: cloning, genetic engineering, organ swapping, mechanical spare parts, performance-enhancing drugs, computer implants into brains.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHealth & MedicineLife EthicsReligion & CultureScience & Technology

Posted November 28, 2007 at 6:16 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

1. Bart Hall (Kansas, USA) wrote:

If embryonic stem cell research were all that promising we’d be seeing significant private investment in that particular sub-field. We don’t, and Mr. Bush’s executive order merely denies federal government moneys to that avenue.

The smart money is elsewhere. In fact I wish Mr. Bush had been far more diligent with his veto pen in denying federal government funds to a wide range of projects and schemes that should never be funded by taxpayers in the first place.

November 28, 10:35 am | [comment link]
2. carl wrote:

Resistance is irrelevant.  Man is irrelevant.  God is irrelevant.  You will be assimilated.

November 28, 11:09 am | [comment link]
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