On Human Dignity, And The Lack Thereof

Reuters quotes Pope Benedict XVI on bioethics.

In an address to members of the Vatican department on doctrinal matters, Benedict said the Church had a duty to defend the “great values at stake” in the field of bioethics.

It’s not clear who else will do that job.

Benedict, who headed the same department for years before his election in 2005, said the Church was not against scientific progress but wanted it based on “ethical-moral principles”.He said this included total respect for the human being as a person “from conception until natural death,” and respect for the natural transmission of life through sexual intercourse.

Practices like freezing embryos, suppression of embryos in multiple pregnancies, embryonic stem cell research, the prospect of human cloning and artificial insemination outside the body had “shattered the barriers meant to protect human dignity”, he said.

“When human beings in the weakest and most defenseless state of their existence are selected, abandoned, killed or used as pure ‘biological material,’ how can one deny that they are being treated not as ‘someone’ but as ‘something,'” he said.

You might want to remember those words – How can one deny that they are being treated not as ‘someone’ but as ‘something’?

As if by coincidence, from the University of Newcastle this is reported on the same day:

Sperm cells have been created from a female human embryo in a remarkable breakthrough that suggests it may be possible for lesbian couples to have their own biological children.British scientists who had already coaxed male bone marrow cells to develop into primitive sperm cells have now repeated the feat with female embryonic stem cells.

Ann Althouse points out the implications.

And face it: A woman could be impregnated with her own sperm.But right now, at this stage of the technology, [italics]a female embryo is being destroyed to create a sperm cell[/italics]. One doctor calls this procedure “double-damned,”

(Ann’s emphasis). I am boggled and agog.

Late Update: With (very) few exceptions, the Denizens of Slashdot have gone out of their way to prove that the popular conception of geeks as idiot-savants with pocket protectors is correct.

Explore posts in the same categories: Catholism, Science

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