2/1/08

Reuters: Arrogant and Ignorant Pope Wields Dignity to Attack Science

One arrogant and ignorant man whose specialty is arcane theology and who has had success as a church politician, has the extreme chutzpah to attack "some science" as if it were and would be practiced uncritically and without "ethical-moral principles" if not for his Catholic preaching.

The assertion that some cloning "shattered" human dignity is absurd and meaningless. "Shattered" is nothing but a loud rhetorical excess.

And expertise in human dignity is not something that the Catholic Church can lay any claim whatsoever to.

Even if the Pope renounced today every antiSemitic word, phrase and sentiment in the New Testament and in centuries of Church teaching -- and he has not and will never do that -- he would have no right to claim to represent "human dignity." His church bears the burden of millenia of human cruelty against my people.

Let the pope speak against science because of his benighted theological background in Catholicism. Let him say whatever he wishes about what he likes or dislikes in the world based on his claim to divine insight or some special charismatic talent.

But we cannot let him speak on behalf of a "shattered" human dignity when throughout its history his church has done more than its share to "shatter" the dignity of my people.
Pope says some science shatters human dignity
Thu Jan 31, 2008 9:57am EST

By Philip Pullella

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - Pope Benedict said on Thursday that embryonic stem cell research, artificial insemination and the prospect of human cloning had "shattered" human dignity.

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.

The speech was the latest in a series in which the conservative Pope has told his listeners that scientific progress should not be accepted uncritically.

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.

Such practices "questioned the very concept of the dignity of man," he said in the speech to the department known as the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

Widespread interest in medicine by the general public, who get most of their information from the media, had made it even more imperative for the Church to take a stand, he said.

Embryonic stem cell research involves the destruction of embryos. Scientists hope to use stem cells to transform medicine, providing regenerative treatments for injuries and seeking new insights into diseases like cancer and AIDS.

Last year scientists reported they had tricked ordinary skin cells into behaving like embryonic stem cells.

The Pope said the Church "appreciates and encourages" research on stem cells that come from other parts of the body and do not involve embryos or their destruction.

He rejected accusations from critics who say the Church is an obstacle to science and human progress, saying growing concern about cloning and other practices showed it was right to raise the alarm.

It was the Pope's latest foray into scientific issues. On Monday he warned against the "seductive" powers of science, saying it was important that science did not become the sole criteria for goodness.

U.S. Cardinal William Levada, Benedict's successor as head of the doctrinal department, said it was mulling the possibility of preparing a new Vatican document on bioethical issues.

1 comment:

bryce said...

Your buddy Neusner would have your hide over this post.