Embryonic Stem Cell Research and Harvesting - A Unique Declaration
This is an excerpt from the Ebook, “Abortion: How (and Why) Abortion Resides in the Weakest Form of Human Thought and Valuation” (pages 41-45). This comes rather late in the discussion, so some statements here refer back to previous points in the Ebook. I will insert a few comments in [brackets] to clarify a previously made point. I hope this excerpt will create a desire to read the full work. It is free at Website in the Author Bio.
Embryonic Stem Cell Endeavors
There are several ways to approach this subject. But since I have been approaching abortion from the three world views, it seems reasonable to continue on this path. Let’s first examine the Naturalistic view, then the Biblical Theological view, and then the Humanistic view. But first, what are “Embryonic Stem Cell Endeavors”?
Stem cells are extracted from human embryos in the hope that those cells may one day be used to cure various maladies in other human beings. As of this writing, the cells are being used for research and experimentation in the hope of finding those cures. There is only a five day window in the development of the embryo when this harvest can occur. Presently, embryonic stem cells taken for this research require the death of the embryo. If embryonic stem cell research one day results in cures for other humans, then a full scale cultivating and harvesting of embryos will ensue.
The Naturalistic View. [In pages 8-28, I established that Naturalists/Evolutionists are adamantly pro-life. The following assertions flow from that demonstrated conclusion.] For starters, it is irrelevant to the Naturalist if these stem cell endeavors are a natural or unnatural enterprise. As we have seen, the Naturalist is for the life of any embryo over any present, malady-ridden human. Any one of them might possess the needed genius to save our species - and world - from our impending planetary doom [our sun is dying]. Currently, stem cell research is just research and a relatively few embryos have been killed. But even this loss is totally unacceptable to the Naturalist, as our next Einstein may already be strewn in some lab - forever lost. But if this research leads to cures for other humans, embryos will be grown for harvest. Its stem cells, indeed its life, will be extracted for consumption by another human.
Now let me ask you a question. When a species consumes those of its own species, what is this called? I was going to give you a moment to think of the answer, but you already know it. And, you are right! This is known as cannibalism. Therapies coming from embryonic stem cell harvesting will be a sophisticated form of cannibalism.
I hear the screeching even now. “What kind of radical lunacy is that? Cannibalism? Cannibalism is the eating of the flesh of ones own species! Nobody is eating an embryo! They will enter sick bodies by injection, or implant, or pills or some way other than eating. And besides that, eating is for nutrition - and the embryos will be consumed for medicinal purposes!” Well, are you done yet? “ *#%@* no, you twisted, *#+%*, ! These embryos will be used to heal people from all kinds of horrific diseases. Do you want to let these people suffer and die? And what if it is your Mom or your Dad that can be cured? What if it is your child? What if it is you? You will change your tone real quick. And what if ....” I know you are still screeching, but I am temporarily cutting you off and will now address those not ruled by emotion. When I stated this harvesting would be “a sophisticated form of cannibalism,” I am simply speaking of the biological reality. Embryonic stem cell therapies will be the consumption of one genetically complete (and unique) human life form - by another genetically complete (and unique) human life form. Any biologist, researcher, or doctor who denies this physical reality has left the realm of science - and opted for some kind of metaphysical speculation. And, to state what is now obvious to you, an embryo is human flesh. It is nothing else and it cannot become anything else. It’s just very young and very small - and unable to defend itself.
As far as the objection about “eating” an embryo, from the embryo’s point of view, whether injected into the receiving body, or chewed up by the recipient - this is a distinction without a difference. The embryo’s life is ended - with its stem cells consumed by a member of its own species. And the receiving body does not care how the needed materials come into it. So, this is at least “a sophisticated form of cannibalism.” But, the more I think about it, this is probably just plain old cannibalism with a high tech twist.
Concerning the objection distinguishing between “nutrition versus medicine,” our body uses food for more than just growth. Foods are often used to heal and repair - so they are medicinal just like stem cell therapies will be. Our body uses any consumed material in whatever way is most advantageous to itself.
And if it is my Mom or Dad, or child (or me) who would be cured by this cannibalism, what does that have to do with anything? Does personal need supplant the facts of an activity? Well, it might for the Humanist, but never for the Naturalist or Biblical Theist.
If we were harvesting the embryonic stem cells of a pig, cow or chicken for consumption, the Naturalist would not automatically be alarmed about this. After all, many of us eat those animals all the time. We would simply be sustaining ourselves, at their expense, in another way. That is just part of survival of the fittest. But there is no scenario where the Naturalist countenances a species growing and consuming its own preborn. Even the desire to do such a thing sounds alarms in all true Naturalists. This concern dovetails directly back to the current inadequacies of viable materials on the causes of extinction in species. Surely the desire, and practice, of the cannibalization of one’s preborn population would be a part of self-extinction science. Maybe the dinosaurs started eating their own eggs.
But I hear you say, “Ah! But these research embryos are frozen “extras” destined for the dump. They are not designated to grow up. And if cures are found, the embryos grown for harvest would be grown only for that purpose - none of them ever intended, or allowed, to develop past that five-day window.” This is not the speech of the Naturalist. Read on.
The ability of making “test tube” embryos opens a whole new world for the thinking, non-cannibalistic Evolutionist! See what you think of this! Rather than growing embryos for harvest why not grow them for birth and unique adulthood? With current technologies, the “test tube” could be modified to imitate a real womb. It could be a “rubberized womb” with a simulated heartbeat - programmed with variations to imitate a mother’s daily range of activity. It could be moved around to simulate the mother’s movements as well. Voices could be provided, as well as songs and all kinds of regular noise stimuli. But here is the best part. The fluids around the developing preborn, plus all nutrients going through a fabricated umbilical cord would be absolutely free of all pollutants! No crack babies, alcohol damaged babies, tobacco damaged babies, or junk food damaged babies. These newborns would have no impurities other than what was present in the first two original cells! What an enhancement to evolutionary development! It is also quite feasible that many women would choose to forego the entire pregnancy ordeal and bear their children in this manner. No more vaginal deliveries, and the only C-sections would be those performed on the rubberized womb!
So what makes more sense scientifically? Cannibalize the coming generation for a current, malady-ridden, older one, or to bring all embryos to fruition as they may hold the beneficial mutations we desperately need? For the Naturalist, the answer is evident.
The Biblical Theist View. From a Biblical view, this is fairly simple. Before the advent of artificial insemination, egg fertilization occurred in the womb at the discretion of the Creator. But even in the “test tube,” man cannot make the egg fertile and cannot make the egg develop into an embryo. These “test tube” embryos are not human life created by humans. They are simply the result of humans manipulating other human life. Manipulating life does not translate into creator rights over life. Look at it this way. If medical people manipulate my life through gene therapies, adult stem cell therapies, or if I was an implanted embryo from one of their clinics, that does not give them creator rights over me. Manipulation into life does not reduce embryos to fodder for cannibalization or the garbage dump. These “throw away” embryos are as human as you and I. Indeed, whoever manipulates these humans into life has a special charge for them! Bottom line: If you create the environment which leads to the creation of the fertile egg and ensuing embryo, then you are responsible for his/her well being. This position is no different from the responsibility incurred by a coupling man and woman. You have made yourself a surrogate parent.
I do not believe man will ever be able to make anything alive. Until man can create life, he will always be subject to the decrees, standards and judgements of the Creator of life. The Author of the Bible claims to be that Creator, and there is no indication He ever intends on relinquishing this position of sole dominion. “See now that I, I am He, and there is no god besides Me. It is I who put to death and give life ...” (Deut 32:39). I believe the “spark” that makes something alive - the “magic” that causes innately inorganic elements to come to life - will always rest with the Creator. It will always elude man and he will never figure it out, replicate it, or bottle it.
So, here is how I believe this works out. Once alive, no human can act against the life of another human unless that human is guilty of a capital offense. An embryo is fully - and only - human life. The Author of life Himself levies charges against those who unrighteously assault others. These attacks on embryos are premeditated killings and ensuing therapies will have an additional charge of cannibalism. “All unrighteousness is sin” (1 Jn 5:17).
The Bible maintains that human life is the most important object in our observable physical universe. When this life is over, I would not want to stand before our Creator as an advocate for, or researcher of, these embryonic stem cell endeavors. If I had to choose between being a lying, adulterous, murdering drunk - or being an embryonic stem cell research advocate or participant - I would choose to be the lying, adulterous, murdering drunk. The eternal punishment will be less severe.
Some make the case that these “extra” embryos should be used for the greater good - research now and therapies later. After all, they already exist and will come to nothing as they are not slated for implant. That view starts from an amoral position - a blank slate. It is based upon the assumption that no one has any responsibility for embryos being placed in such a perilous situation. That base, and assumption, is not one that will prevail before the Creator.
The Humanistic View. It is only here that embryonic stem cell endeavors have a home. Because the embryo has been declared nonhuman, or subhuman, then anything can be done with this blob of protoplasm. The life of the embryo can be experimented with, removed, or given to another human. After all, an embryo is only the size of this period. (Your eye just skipped it).
For the Humanist, any consideration contrary to the embryo’s life trumps that life. The curiosity of researchers trump the embryo’s life. The cries for cures trump the embryo’s life. Economic gains for a State (i.e., California) trump the embryo’s life. Politicians, who smell the gain of votes, trump the embryo’s life. Any grounds which the Humanist envisions as some kind of gain for somebody - other than the embryo - trump the embryo’s life. The unscientific declaration that “the preborn is not human life,” fosters all kinds of predictable atrocities. As subhuman living tissue, they can be flushed down the stool, cannibalized, ripped into pieces - anything the Humanist so desires. With science gone and Biblical Theism gone, the sole authority for valuation is someone’s opinion - that is grounded in nothing. The “substance” of Humanism is thin air....
[When abortion on demand was legalized, many pro-lifers warned of a “slippery slope” with human life being devalued in all kinds of ways. Some predicted euthanasia. Some may have even predicted the starving to death of those in a “vegetative state.” But, I doubt any of them envisioned cannibalism of the preborn after only a few decades of abortion practice.]
About the Author
Robin Calamaio became a Christian in 1977.
B.A., Business Administration (Milligan College '90),
Associate of Divinity (Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary '86), and
Master of Divinity (Emmanuel School of Religion '92).
He was also elected to the International Society of Theta Phi, an academic honors society.
He calls himself a "conservative, evangelical, interdenominational, nondenominational, brother in the Lord."
In the last few years he has written on many important topics. Major works include,
"No Tithe for the Christian,"
"Love and the Bible,"
"Death and the Bible,"
"Abortion: How (and Why) Abortion Resides in the Weakest Form of Human Thought and Valuation"
"Capital Punishment and the Bible," and
"Evolution and Homosexuality."