Adult Stem Cell Awareness

December 6, 2007

The beginning of the end of the stem cell wars – again?

Fr. Thomas Berg’s latest, The Beginning of the End of the Stem Cell Wars? offers some optimistic analysis about the future of the opposition, those who are not in favor of halting embryonic stem cell research. My own sense is less optimistic, but I think he makes some fine points.

With the cloning of human embryos just within grasp, not everyone will be so ready to pull a Wilmut and just throw up their hands and embrace reprogramming. His was a radical “conversion” built entirely from a pragamatic position, and it may have given us a false impression that the broad stem cell research community would soon (and so easily) follow suit. With that in mind, seemingly on cue,  prominent researchers have very recently expressed the hope that the new development in reprogramming won’t negatively impact embryonic stem cell research policy – positing the need for new embryonic stem cell lines. At this point, they argue, embryonic stem cells still hold the most promise because there are kinks yet to be worked out with using iPSC’s for therapeutic purposes. Fr. Berg asserts that those who argue this way are just stuck in an old paradigm and are in danger of being left behind because embryonic stem cells are simply no longer the gold standard.

It’s wearisome, really. That’s why the title says “again”. But we have to take these steps in arguing the points and remain not only steadfast, but also patient and charitable. After all, what we are hoping to see change goes beyond the intellectual. If we ever hope to bring about a moral conversion in our scientific community, we need to prepare minds and hearts to receive supernatural grace. If Thompson and Yamanaka have missed their moral moment – we don’t give up. We keep praying and keep promoting in whatever way we can.

So, we may witness many new “beginnings”. Let’s not grow weary.

Editing to add that Chelsea has pointed to a great way to help bring down those supernatural graces we so need:

“Merciful Jesus, I beseech You through the intercession of Your dearest Mother, Our Lady of Guadalupe, who nurtured You from childhood, bless my native land. I beg You, Jesus, look not on our sins, but on the tears of little children, on the hunger and cold they suffer. Jesus, for the sake of these innocent ones, grant me the grace that I am asking of You for my country.”

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