|Posted on Monday, December 30, 2002 - 05:17 am: |
First, see the article on the main part of the site:
|Posted on Monday, December 30, 2002 - 05:28 am: |
I decided to add to what I posted.
First, on the subject of stem cell research, there seems to be quite a bit of misunderstanding. What is involved, as I understand it, is the harvesting of eggs. A woman has 500-800 eggs that can be fertilized or wasted. In short, she has hundreds more than will ever be needed to conceive children.
How abhorrent is the harvesting procedure? I think we have to look at the situations people face and ask them on an individual basis what each feels is appropriate.
In the case of someone like Christopher Reeve, organ transplant is not an option, but use of stem cells in conjunction with his own DNA presumably is not merely an option but a procedure that has been successful in countries where it is permitted. So, the real question is which is more abhorrent: paralysis or use of a few eggs from a willing donor?
With organ transplant, there is no question in my mind as to the superiority of stem cells over transplants. If you ever worked with someone who has had a transplant, you understand that the medications used to prevent rejection diminish the quality of life significantly, often to a truly crippling extent. Additionally, in many instances, family members have emotional pressures put on them to donate kidneys or parts of livers for use by other family members who are an approximate genetic match. For me, donating an egg would be far preferable to donating an entire kidney.
Thus, while stem cells are perhaps not my personal preference in terms of how I would most like to see someone healed of a serious disease, I feel that the use of stem cells is preferable to transplants. Therefore, I have no more moral objections to this than to the eating of an unfertilized egg. I emphasize unfertilized because no life is being taken to offer this opportunity to another human being. If the egg were not appropriated for use in medicine, it would be rendered useless in the course of a woman's monthly cycle. This, therefore, is an opportunity for an egg to perform service when otherwise not called upon to do so. In short, it's an honor for the egg and a potentially loving gesture on the part of the woman offering the eggs, provided there is no coercion or pressure on her to do something she does not wish to do. The main argument against stem cell research has been that women might be exploited. While some may fail to see the parallels, I am not certain that washing clothes and cooking meals is not a more thankless burden and exploitation, but most women will continue with the laundry and meals regardless of how they feel about these chores. For me, the potential for exploitation is a consideration, but most likely a large number of the cells provided for early stages of research would be donated by medical students who are fascinated by science and who place their scientific interests above concerns over the loss of a few eggs through a slightly invasive medical procedure. So long as no ambitious scientists make grades or careers or other issues a factor, I am not opposed to this; but I easily understand the issues about science going too far, attempting to play God, and so on and so forth.
To this I might respond that everyone who tries to relieve suffering might be guilty of playing God. None of us would succeed if God did not wish us to succeed so, to repeat, this is not my issue. I have problems with science exceeding its mandate when injury and/or death is caused to animals. This violates my behavioral code.
Second, with respect to cloning, there are many factors to consider that most people are not taking into their psyches when forming opinions on cloning. At present, about a quarter of all young couples in the U.S. who marry will not have children without some kind of intervention. The least controversial way to overcome barrenness is to adopt, but, as we all know, there is a shortage of children available for adoption due to a variety of issues that sociologists and politicians can debate forever.
Fertility drugs, like Thalidomide, were once another high ranking option but after defects and multiple births, enthusiasm for these drugs has diminished. Then came artificial insemination. This presumably works if the timing is right and there is no problem with fertility except for timing. I know couples whose children were conceived by sperm from the husband/father that was artificially deposited into the wife/mother. I even know of instances in which one or the other person was reluctant to engage in "normal" sexual relations so this became the means of having children who were genetically related to both parents. There are also very complex gender disorders that necessitate very complex solutions. Unless you deal with these issues in a personal or professional manner, you might not have much sympathy for the individuals who opt for "unusual" remedies.
Then, there are sperm banks in which anonymous but ostensibly carefully selected donors deposit reproductive fluids for use with women who are either not married or who are married to someone who is infertile. The scandals associated with some clinics providing these services are truly horrendous so why would a couple consent to the vagaries of such a process if the risk factors could be narrowed somewhat.
Finally, there are women offering themselves as surrogate mothers for men who wish to have children but whose wives are unable to bear a child for them. We have basically permitted ALL of the above on the basis of whatever sociological and ethical standards we deem applicable, but, all of a sudden, it's not all right for a woman to produce a child without the intervention of a man?
Men are upset by the implied obsolescence and are quick to label it deviant, but if more men addressed the issues of their own fertility and sexuality, perhaps women wouldn't be so reluctant to conceive their children. Clonaid has risked tremendous sociological backlash by offering their services to lesbian women/couples who prefer to procreate in this manner than some other manner.
In theory, men can't do this, but that's just a theory and sooner or later, someone might prove that theory obsolete also.
I am not wild about cloning nor the ramifications of it. I am simply not offended and I have no ethical basis for objecting to it IF it is safe and no suffering to anyone results from these procedures. I don't understand the science. I don't know how to make a baby in a test tube and then implant it in a womb. However, I do not find it repugnant to chose this option over some other. In fact, I feel it is probably preferable to the roulette of a sperm bank.
However, what everyone needs to consider over and above whatever reactions one might have to "new scientific frontiers" is that no individual will survive without a life force.
What I mean to say is that when the Bible states that Eve was created from Adam's left rib, I understood that he extruded ectoplasm and she was morphed so he could have company under the apple tree. If the proportion of etheric matter to dense physical substance is significantly greater than it is in most humans today, one could pull this off. It might, in fact, have been the primary method of procreation during earlier phases of existence on this Planet when there was less density, like early Lemuria. What is fascinating is that Eve was created from Adam, not vice versa! Ha! If we know how it was done, men will have the last laugh.
Or, we can say, this is all gibberish and Eve wasn't really created from Adam. . . does it matter?
It matters that life is created in a matrix that is sustained by energy. If there is no energy, the matrix collapses and the form disintegrates. So, morphing won't work and neither will cloning when there is no energy. It only works if there is a vivifying force. If there is a vivifying force, it comes from the Creator so, if this works, the Creator has consented to it.
|Posted on Monday, December 30, 2002 - 06:54 am: |
A consensus was reached "that cloning does not bring into question any Islamic belief in any way. Allah is the Creator of the universe but He has established the system of cause-and-effect in this world. Sowing a seed in the ground is the cause but only Allah produces the effect from it in the form of a plant. Similarly cloning is a cause and only through Allah's Will it can produce the effect. Just as the person sowing the seed is not the creator of the resulting plant, so the cloning technician is not the creator of the resulting animal. Allah alone is the Creator and all creation takes place solely through His Will."
|Posted on Friday, February 07, 2003 - 10:20 pm: |
It seems to me that human cloning should really be no big deal, and actually, probably a very useful technology. I say this for the following reasons: 1) Astrologically, there is no way that the cloned human would ever grow to be an "exact copy" of the cloned individual. Environmental, parental, social and other earthly factors would also create a "different" person. 2) The soul that would occupy the body in all likelyhood would be a different soul than the one that had occupied the previous body. A twin soul or split soul might occupy it, but it would still constitute a "different" being. 3) The soul would have selected the Karma of living in a cloned body. 4)Cloning a total human could slow evolution of the human species which could potentially be useful for medical science (in the same respect it could be harmful!) 5) If the human clone did not recieve a soul (therefore Dead-On-Arrival), the body parts could be used for organ donation. These are just my thoughts.
|Posted on Friday, February 07, 2003 - 11:28 pm: |
I wanted to add to my above comments. I think the whole "human cloning" issue is happening right now because more and more people are beginning to realize that as humans we are not just a body, but we are a body that houses a soul. When the body dies, the soul does not. It does not matter what religion the body was on earth, the soul is still subject to reincarnation.
If we look at the body as a house, we can compare human cloning to manufactured housing. If we look at a life span (0-75+ years old)as one fixed location (i.e., New York City), we can compare reincarnation (several life spans) to moving to different houses in new locations (i.e., Boston, Los Angeles, Tokyo, Bombay, London).
In this day and age, with transportation and communication bringing the world closer and closer together, we are exposing ourselves more readily to the different points of religious view, some which are very fixed. These religious institutions have built structures that are very fixed (Cathedrals, Mosques, Temples). These structure are really symbols of how fixed they are. I believe enlightened people know one does not need to go to a fixed structure to find a connection to "god." Also, these structure are built with the cash gained from the power the leaders of these religions imposed on large numbers of people by instilling "the fear of god" into them. Thus, the introduction of HUMAN CLONING, and the resistance to it becomes one of power. The idea threatens to destroy established religious structues. It introduces "mobile homes" into the manicured lawns of religious palaces around the world.
If you look at those that are resistant to human cloning, undoubetly they are from one of two camps: 1) they live in a very fixed world -- have never lived anywhere but they house they grew up in, so to speak; OR 2) they are the power controllers (and not just The Pope).