Saturday, December 11, 2004

A Creepy Compromise

Ramesh Ponnuru has two interesting pieces about a possible compromise on embryonic stem cell research at Tech Central Station: "The Wisdon of a 'Creepy Solution'" and "Learning From Teratomas, II" . The creepiness is certainly there, but I can't fault Ponnuru's reasoning. (Not that I would have expected to be able to, as Ponnuru is a brilliant man.)

Something I will throw out there, though, as many people do not seem to know it. The Church does not oppose stem cell research, the Church opposes killing embryos to get stem cells. Stem cells can be taken from adults and from the blood in umbilical cords (a nice bit of recycling, that). The possibilities Ponnuru mentions--taking stem cells from dead embryos or dying embryos (if we can get them without further harming them) or from teratomas--seem licit to me; although those dead embryos would be frozen embryos from fertility clinics, and the Church does not approve of the kind of high-tech reproductive tampering that results in huge numbers of frozen embryos sitting around in canisters for years on end until they deteriorate so far they can't be used for pregnancy--something that is pretty creepy to start with, whether you think the Church has any authority or not. I was either opposed to or at least uneasy with most of the high-tech reproductive tinkering way back in my atheistic, neo-pagan days. As is mentioned in one of the articles, there is sometimes wisdom in repugnance.

No comments: