March 10, 2009

Embryonic stem cell research and therapeutic cloning

Melissa Clouthier has some important clarifications on President Barack Obama reversing of Bush Administration’s restrictions on embryonic stem cell research. Yet, there must be something in that piece I wasn’t able to understand. It’s when she quotes Katherine Jean Lopez :

[A]s Katherine Jean Lopez notes, “Notice the qualifier. Cloning is fine for research — ‘therapeutic cloning.’ In other words, you can create life as long as you’ll destroy it and not raise it as your child. That is an assault on human dignity. How many Americans realize the import of what Obama said today?”

“She is right,” Melissa Clouthier says after a moment. “Scientists may form cellular clones on which to experiment, but citizens may not use the same technology to create a human life.”

Since Katherine Jean Lopez is a conservative, pro-life and Catholic columnist, I guess I must have missed something. Let’s just say that “therapeutic cloning” is intrinsically evil—if not an affront to basic human values—because it creates life only in order to destroy it for research purposes.

Dalai Lama's statement on the 50th anniversary of Uprising Day

Here are some excerpts from the Statement of His Holiness the Dalai Lama on the Fiftieth Anniversary of the Tibetan National Uprising Day:

Today is the fiftieth anniversary of the Tibetan people's peaceful uprising against Communist China's repression in Tibet. Since last March, widespread peaceful protests have erupted across the whole of Tibet. Most of the participants were youths born and brought up after 1959, who have not seen or experienced a free Tibet. However, the fact that they were driven by a firm conviction to serve the cause of Tibet that has continued from generation to generation is indeed a matter of pride. It will serve as a source of inspiration for those in the international community who take keen interest in the issue of Tibet. We pay tribute and offer our prayers for all those who died, were tortured and suffered tremendous hardships including during the crisis last year, for the cause of Tibet since our struggle began.
Our aspiration that all Tibetans be brought under a single autonomous administration is in keeping with the very objective of the principle of national regional autonomy. It also fulfils the fundamental requirements of the Tibetan and Chinese peoples. The Chinese constitution and other related laws and regulations do not pose any obstacle to this and many leaders of the Chinese Central Government have accepted this genuine aspiration. When signing the 17-Point Agreement, Premier Zhou Enlai acknowledged it as a reasonable demand. In 1956, when establishing the Preparatory Committee for the “Tibet Autonomous Region”, Vice-Premier Chen Yi pointing at a map said, if Lhasa could be made the capital of the Tibet Autonomous Region, which included the Tibetan areas within the other provinces, it would contribute to the development of Tibet and friendship between the Tibetan and Chinese nationalities, a view shared by the Panchen Rinpoche and many Tibetan cadres and scholars.If Chinese leaders had any objections to our proposals, they could have provided reasons for them and suggested alternatives for our consideration, but they did not. I am disappointed that the Chinese authorities have not responded appropriately to our sincere efforts to implement the principle of meaningful national regional autonomy for all Tibetans, as set forth in the constitution of the People's Republic of China.

Quite apart from the current process of Sino-Tibetan dialogue having achieved no concrete results, there has been a brutal crackdown on the Tibetan protests that have shaken the whole of Tibet since March last year. Therefore, in order to solicit public opinion as to what future course of action we should take, the Special Meeting of Tibetan exiles was convened in November 2008. Efforts were made to collect suggestions, as far as possible, from the Tibetans in Tibet as well. The outcome of this whole process was that a majority of Tibetans strongly supported the continuation of the Middle-Way policy. Therefore, we are now pursuing this policy with greater confidence and will continue our efforts towards achieving a meaningful national regional autonomy for all Tibetans.

From time immemorial, the Tibetan and Chinese peoples have been neighbours. In future too, we will have to live together. Therefore, it is most important for us to co-exist in friendship with each other.

Since the occupation of Tibet, the Communist China has been publishing distorted propaganda about Tibet and its people. Consequently, there are, among the Chinese populace, very few people who have a true understanding about Tibet. It is, in fact, very difficult for them to find the truth. There are also ultra-leftist Chinese leaders who have, since last March, been undertaking a huge propaganda effort with the intention of setting the Tibetan and Chinese peoples apart and creating animosity between them. Sadly, as a result, a negative impression of Tibetans has arisen in the minds of some of our Chinese brothers and sisters. Therefore, as I have repeatedly appealed before, I would like once again to urge our Chinese brothers and sisters not to be swayed by such propaganda, but, instead, to try to discover the facts about Tibet impartially, so as to prevent divisions among us. Tibetans should also continue to work for friendship with the Chinese people.

Those rose-colored glasses of embryonic stem cell dogma

President Obama, they say, is determined to insulate scientific decisions across the federal government from political influence, and “to use sound scientific practice, responsible practice of science and evidence, instead of dogma in developing federal policy.” But what about if, for instance, among the “dogmas”—or “principles,” as someone might prefer to call them—there is one, called respect for human life, that has governed medical and scientific practice since Hippocrates’ day, and, in the United States, is at the heart of the Declaration of Independence’s guarantee of the “unalienable” rights of “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” for each individual?

There is a post on that very thing at which is worth reading (thanks: Sandra Kennedy Schimmelpfennig).