Monday, August 08, 2005

Dobson is Shameless

Dobson is standing by his comment likening stem cell research to Nazi experiments of live subjects. Media Matters reports that he refuses to apologize to Jews for the comments and had one of his subordinates insist that Jews should agree with him.

The Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America supports stem cell research.

I'm still waiting for Dobson to explain why he thinks the imago Dei must have a genetic structure rather than a spiritual one. Logically, that would mean that sin -- which corrupted the imago -- also had a genetic structure.

If eight cell blastocysts are fully human persons -- created in the image of God, but with a propensity to sin -- then why don't we have genetic engineers searching for the "original sin" gene. If they could find it and remove our rebellious nature, we could all be sinless and perfect.

Then no one would have to be "born again" and Jesus' death would have been unnecessary.


Snoofy said...

God chose to use 11 billion years of evolution to create man and his genetic structure. Man's genetic structure is fundamentally tied to who he is - intellectually and physically. Yes, Christians believe man is also a spirit which endures forever - whether "saved" of "lost". But man's genetic structure is integral to him from a functional perspective. To dismiss a fully human genetic structure as superfluous fluff dismisses the intricacy of the process by which God brings about functioning, spirit endowed life. By aborting physically human life man enters that intricacy with unknowable results.

Bruce Wilson said...

My wife is of the Cohanim and, even though she is not a practicing Jew, I would say she has a good claim to a valid opinion on the Holocaust : as an Ashkenazi Jew, the European branch of her family line was largely wiped out by the Nazis. All that now remains of these relatives are scattered photos.

"Would it be too far to call Dr. Dobson's claims "blasphemous" ?" , I asked my wife.

"Well", she replied, " I wouldn't call it "blasphemous" . I don't use words like that. I'd call it "disgusting".


To reply to the commentator above, who are you referring to when you talk of those who dismiss "a fully human genetic structure as superfluous fluff" ? Who has used that description, "superfluous fluff" ? I am curious to know.


On another note :

All of human existence, by way of our invention of technology, could be interpreted as "meddling with God's plan".

Think about it - all of our human existence is predicated on such "meddling" and the only consistent course of action that would flow from such reasoning, for Christians who held "meddling" to be sinful or at least undesirable would be to shed all clothing and wander into whatever remants of wilderness such as they could find to seek to live without any tools and technologies whatsoever.

Such "Edenists" would eschew all human contrivance. They would only drink from streams ( polluted or not ) and eat only fruits and nuts plucked from trees and consume only those animals and insects which could be caught with bare human hands.

In winter, these "Edenists" would not light fires - for that would be human contrivance, or "meddling".

In short, they would not "be fruitful and multiply" - they would perish.

God's plan ?

Another way of looking at this involves the simple observation :

God endowed humans with the brainpower, inclination, and ability to make tools, and technology.

Thus, birth control is very much part of "God's Plan", and those who would reject birth control can be rightly viewed as hypocritical, or at least inconsistent, if they do not shed their clothes and return to a short but perhaps educational "Edenic" existence.... Albert Mohler of the Southern Baptist Convention included.

Dr. Bruce Prescott said...

Snoofy & Bubba,

I remember reading that we share somewhere around 95% of our genetic code with other primates.

What makes the rest of our genetic structure sacrosanct? Do we share that other 5% with God?

What makes a handful of cells in a petri-dish my "brother in humanity"?

Dr. Bruce Prescott said...


Hours old newborns aren't sitting in petri dishes.

There's a world of difference between a fully grown baby and a fertilized egg.

Jim said...

I wouldn't call it a "world of difference" Bruce, just several months.

Where is the line Bruce? Babies can feel pain, hear, and move while they're in the womb. So, where's the line. Your argument here is weak at best.

Dr. Bruce Prescott said...


You're argument is more extreme than Dobson's.

Even Dobson admits that teh embryos from which stem cells are harvested feel no pain.

Greek Shadow said...

If you are going to argue over these fertilized eggs, the argument shouldn't be over the stem cell usage, but the fact that they exist at all. They are what is left over from invitro fertilization. After those who had them harvested, either gave up conception or concieved and they are now no longer needed. In short the potential life is frozen and will be tossed out. If there is infanticide taking place it not done by stem cell research, but by the process of trying to make infertile couples parents. Stem cell research is just the scientific attempt to make this byproduct useful and not letting their genetic material go to waste.
If Dobson were to be consistent then he should be advocating the end of test tube babies and the dreadful toll on fertized eggs that are either rejected or unused and then destroyed. But how would he face infertile couples and tell them that to concieve artificially is sinful and the equivalent of genocide? He would be exposed for the narrow minded Pharisee he really is.

Snoofy said...


I?m not talking about ?meddling with God?s plan.? I?m talking about what it means to be human.

In the material world we identify what something is by its material makeup. A hydrogen atom, for example, has one proton and one electron. In the plant and animal kingdom we identify what something is by its genetic makeup. You think to identify what something is by it functional capability. But that thinking fails because immature forms of a species never function like an adult. You wish to abort human life in its earliest forms and believe it has no value because it does not have mature capabilities. But that does not negate the fact it is an early form of an individual of the human species in a biological sense.

Sometimes we have to use a God given common sense of right, a natural law argument, as a moral guide (regardless of how irrational this approach may appear to become when put in the hands of the Pope). I knew a boy who took his gun and went out to a pond and shot about thirty frogs and left them to rot in the sun. They were just frogs, he wasn?t killing people, but it still struck me as a senseless act. Similarly the image of a doctor with gloved hands and forceps tearing apart a fetus in the womb makes us shiver with the thought. Though certainly not as graphic, the idea of giving genesis to thousands of biological humans and then dissecting them, even if in a very rudimentary stage of development, seems to me somehow not right. If knowledge of the embryo?s biological identity doesn?t give you pause, or even just a tiny weenie bit of doubt, then your sensitivities are simply on a different wavelength than mine.

Bruce Wilson said...

I look at this all rather differently:

First of all, I'll add my wife's first reaction to Dr. Dobson's position equating stem cell research with Nazi experimentation on concentration camp victims. [ My wife's father's parents were Jews who escaped from Nazi Germany and thus she was made possible ].

Her initial reaction to Dobson's claim was - well - unprintable. Her second reaction ?

"That's insane".

But I would also note that many who oppose abortion and even stem cell research nonetheless extol the wonders of medical technology at extending and preserving human life ( or just keeping a brain-dead Terri Schiavo breathing ) :

How are such applications of technology not "meddling with God's plan" ?

The use of contraception - according to Alfred Mohler, head of ther SBC - amounts to "meddling" with God's design, but how doesn't all human technology then amount to "meddling" ? .

Mohler extends the illogic a bit further : simply not marrying early enough and failing to produce children from wedlock is a type of "rebellion" against God.....

So , by that logic, antibiotics, medical technology, toaster ovens and televisions, nuclear weapons, firearms - all the fruits of the last 500 years of scientific and technological discovery - amount to "meddling".

Or not because - after all - God gave us brains and the inclination to invent.

Further, even our ability to witness the development of foetuses in utero is the result of "meddling". The Medieval Catholic Church ( correct me if I am wrong on this, Dr. Prescott ) did not sanction abortion because it held that the human soul only entered the body of infants in the womb when those began to stir and kick.

Following Mohler's reasoning, why acknowledge the artificial distinction of fertilization ? Why ( or why not ) wouldn't avoidance of childbearing be a sin" ?

Further, if the destruction of potential human life was the goal, it would follow that female ova should all be extracted at puberty and frozen rather than chance accidental egg-destruction during menstruation, and males would be legally compelled to contribute their entire sperm production, day in and day out, to personal sperm banks held for the production of the maximum number of children possible.

When males and females married, the ( theocratic ) state would compell the implantation of fertilized eggs from the repsective individual sperm and egg banks. The goal would be to require continual pregnancy for the wife until death.

And, if artificial wombs were contrived, well - the better to produce more babies.

Would that glorify God ? It would certainly maximize human life. Do greater numbers of living humans glorify God more than fewer ?

Jim said...


I didn't say that fertilized eggs feel pain.

I see that you did avoid my question, though.

Where is the line, Bruce.

When is it okay to kill the child (or cells, as you call them)?

Jim said...

... and when does it become wrong to kill them?

Dr. Bruce Prescott said...


You made the leap from stem cells to abortion. I didn't.

You've also ignored the thrust of Bruce Wilson's argument. If fertilized human eggs are fully human, then God designed a system that is extravagantly wasteful and cruel to human life. By natural processes, literally millions of fertilized eggs of never come to full term.

Something is wrong with any logic that presumes to know a morality higher than God's.

Jim said...

Again you have ignored the question and put up a false premise to attack. I have not said that a fertilized egg is "fully human." If I have, please point out those words for me.

My argument is that human fertilized eggs are human life. You may say monkey have a similar dna structure, but the last I heard is that humans and primates cannot procreate. So, there is something that makes humans distinct... genetically as well as spiritually.

Human fertilized eggs are human and they are living. My Baptist and Christian heritage celebrates and upholds the sacredness of all life... especially human life.

Now, as regards to my earlier question that you have avoided twice. When does it become okay to destroy the cells, child, baby (whatever you want to call it)?

Dr. Bruce Prescott said...

Bubba = D.R.

I'm through discussing anything with you.

Post on your own blog.

I'm just going to delete everything you write --without bothering to read it.

Dr. Bruce Prescott said...


You've ignored the response that Bruce Wilson gave which is more than adequate to address your question.

If potential to become human is your criteria, all ova and sperm share that characteristic.

You are proving the points that Bruce Wilson was making.

Jim said...