Scientists Discuss Religion's Role in Stem-Cell Research
Fuller, James, Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL)
Byline: James Fuller Daily Herald Staff Writer
While visiting a lab, Dr. William Hurlbut once observed a minuscule human hand in a test tube grown from a bud snipped from an aborted fetus.
The scientist in him sparked his first impression of what he saw. Someday, full-sized human hands could be grown for thousands of people who endured an amputation.
Then the ethicist in him that would one day land him a spot on President George W. Bush's Council on Bioethics awakened him to the moral problem faced by every stem-cell researcher.
"That was going to be somebody's little hand," Hurlbut said.
The Stanford University consulting professor shared that story with Wheaton College students and faculty Tuesday at the close of a stem-cell research seminar series.
On Tuesday, Hurlbut and Trinity International University bioethics professor John Kilner told the Christian college's audience Biblical principles mandating help of the poor, weak and sick make stem-cell research a moral obligation. Then they took it one step further by posing one way to do it without destroying life.
For both speakers, the initial moral battle begins with the classic argument of when life begins. Those who believe it begins at conception didn't find a moral gateway to all forms of stem-cell research.
Still, Kilner argued adult stem-cell research is acceptable because it does not result in the loss of human life. Embryonic stem-cell research, in its current form, does result in destroying life, he said. …