Friday, 28 March 2008

more on the embryology bill

Updated again Saturday morning

The Church Times has a report by Bill Bowder Bishops attack embryos Bill and also a Leader: Church fails its Biology exam. (Another comment article by Paul Vallely is subscriber-only until next week.)

The news report refers to earlier evidence given to Parliament by the CofE Mission and Public Affairs Council, last June, on a separate but related topic. See this press release Church says IVF children need fathers and the PDF with the full text here.

And Dave Walker on the Church Times blog draws attention to a report by Jonathan Petre on 18 March of some remarks made by Rowan Williams, Society can’t handle science, and a rather more useful contribution made this week by Alan Wilson Embryo Wars — five critical questions.

Update Friday evening

The Tablet carries this article by Colin Blakemore For pity’s sake.

Update Saturday morning

The Times carries this article: Sir Leszek Borysiewicz says Church is wrong on hybrid embryo Bill:

The most senior Roman Catholic scientist in Britain has attacked his Church’s opposition to proposed laws that will allow the creation of human-animal embryos for research.

Sir Leszek Borysiewicz made a passionate defence of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill and the science that it will make possible…

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Friday, 28 March 2008 at 9:09am GMT | TrackBack
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Categorised as: Church of England

Christian Concern for our Nation has a very clear outline of the legal issues involved via

Posted by: Stephen H Smith on Friday, 28 March 2008 at 4:09pm GMT

rowan williams:

scientists don't understand morality
an embryo is a person
evolution has limitations
darwinism is flawed

some of these ideas have some very limited truth, but the overall effect of saying these sorts of things is a disaster. this clown is an embarrassment to us. can't anyone get rid of him?

Posted by: poppy tupper on Friday, 28 March 2008 at 5:15pm GMT

Right on Poppy.

It was the secular rather than the priests who responded to John the Baptist. Similarly in this generation, the secular and scientists have been faster and more credible to recognise divine inspiration than the priests.

Oh, and morality is a non-biblical word (doesn't exist in it).

Yes, an embryo is a person. Just as a GLBT, woman, non-Christian or sentient entity (even if metaphysical) is a person. God is in charge of and loves ALL creation.

Evolution has limitations. So do priests and theology. That's why God sends prophets.

Darwinism is flawed. So is fundamentalist biblical theology that denies or distorts reality to justify elitist castes' rewards and privileges at the expense of "the others".

That said, I don't agree with using embryos for research. Stem cells can be created from adult cells or umbilical/placental blood taken just after a baby is born. We don't need to murder souls, however immature they might be. It's rather like eating all the seed and then complaining there's no crop. Go and plant the seed and then eat the fruits from a mature plant.

Posted by: Cheryl Va. on Friday, 28 March 2008 at 6:42pm GMT

"Yes, an embryo is a person . . . We don't need to murder souls, however immature they might be."

Cheryl Va,

I really have NO idea of what you mean by "person" or "souls" in this context. Is any organic mass w/ Homo sapiens DNA a "person" (w/ a "soul")?

I have almost become inured to Rowan Cantuar *embarrassing* me. Almost. >:-/

Posted by: JCF on Saturday, 29 March 2008 at 4:04am GMT

"Is any organic mass w/ Homo sapiens DNA a "person" (w/ a "soul")?"

An embryo isn't merely an "organic mass with Homosapiens DNA". My appendix is an organic mass with homo sapiens DNA, yet it can never, not even with stimulation, develop into an entire person. An embryo can, and all it needs is the right place to reside for 9 months. I think there are probably two logical starting points for life: conception or birth. I lean towards the former, since, at fertilization, something happens that is akin to a switch being activated. But then, I also have a sneaking suspicion that, like the consecration of the Eucharistic elements, there might not actually BE a point at which it happens, but there might well be a point by which it can be said to have happened. Ps 139 speaks of God numbering all our bones when as yet there is none of them. Whatever the resolution of this issue, it is pretty clear that a fertilized ovum is not merely a group of ordinary cells.

Posted by: Ford Elms on Wednesday, 2 April 2008 at 7:50pm BST
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