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Discovery Magazine 3/1/2006

Right is always Right

by  Brad Harrub, Ph.D.

Imagine a virus that kills one third of your classmates! Years ago, this horrible virus would spread rapidly through schools. Known as smallpox, it would cause weird spots (similar to chicken pox) and give victims a high fever. But unlike chicken pox, small pox was often deadly! Thankfully, small pox has been wiped out. After years of experimenting, scientists created a medicine that prevents smallpox, called a vaccine, and we no longer have to worry about getting this virus. Many advances in medical research have greatly helped mankind. Newly discovered vaccines and antibiotics help prevent serious illness.

But what happens when scientific advances go against God’s will? Some of the experiments researchers are doing don’t uphold the value that God has placed on all human lives. We must remember that just because a medical technology is available, does not make it right in the eyes of God. We have to ask ourselves if these technologies are acceptable to God. Let’s consider two cases: human cloning and stem cell research.

Dolly the sheep was the first cloned mammal. Cloning is a process where an exact duplicate of something is created, using the same genetic material (DNA). Imagine if someone took a few skin cells from you and created a clone that would grow up to look exactly like you! In order to make Dolly, researchers took a cell from a six year old and starved that cell almost to death. Right before that little cell died, they zapped it with electricity and poured in lots of nutrients so that it would grow again. When the cell “woke up” it forgot where it came from, and so it started dividing like a newly formed baby sheep embryo. All the researchers had to do at this point was place that growing material into a mother sheep, and months later Dolly was born. Since that time, researchers have cloned lots of mammals- including deer, mules, rabbits, dogs, cats, mice, and cows. Now some of the researchers want to clone humans. But should they clone people?

Dolly was not the first attempt at cloning a sheep. In fact, those researchers failed 277 times before they finally created a cloned sheep. Imagine 277 dead or dying baby sheep embryos! While that may seem extremely sad, imagine how much worse it would be if those were baby humans instead of sheep. Human cloning is not safe and is not a part of the plan that God had for a family unit. God intended for children to be brought into this world by their parents- not by cloning experiments, which would destroy many human lives!

Another topic that is often discussed on the news is stem cell research. Stem cells are special cells that God created. These extraordinary cells are unique because they haven[t yet decided what they want to become. For instance, they can become liver cells, heart cells, or brain cells. Researchers are trying to use these special cells to cure illnesses such as Alzheimer’s disease. They hope that by giving people healthy stem cells, diseased organs such as the brain or heart can be cured. This is exciting research and it holds a great deal promise. But there’s one major problem- where the scientists get the stem cells! Right now researchers collect these cells from: adult tissue (including your baby teeth!), umbilical cords, babies that are aborted, and human embryos. There’s nothing wrong with using stem cells from adult tissue or umbilical cords. However, taking stem cells from aborted fetuses or leftover human embryos means that tiny babies had to die. God created humans, and He expects us to treat all humans (from tiny babies to old adults) with love and respect. Research that uses human embryos or aborted babies goes against God’s will. That’s why Christians should not support “embryonic” stem cell research, because it involves the destruction of human life.

Humans. Unlike animals, were made in the sight of God (Genesis 1:26-27). We always need to remember that God is the Giver of life (Acts 17:28), and that we shouldn’t kill fellow humans just to make scientific advancements (Romans 1:29).

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